Choosing a Wedding Caterer

Here are a few things to ponder before choosing your wedding caterer.

1. Budget is typically a consideration in choosing a caterer.  Even if you are a bride with a very discriminating taste, there are price considerations.  Menu choices vary always giving brides choices on their tastes and preferences.  Other decisions that will effect the budget is do you want to serve appetizers?  Do you want more than one meat choice?  Do you want food stations?  Do you want real china and silverware or plasticware?  All of these decisions will effect the final total but can also let you choose where to spend your money; i.e. on the food and less on the dinnerware.

2.  Your tastes should always be considered in your choice of a caterer.  If you are a vegetarian, consider putting out a spread of amazing vegetarian food choices for your guests that not only reflects your preferences but introduces some menu choices and special recipes to them to try.  It is smart to take in consideration your guests, indeed, so maybe offer several mainstream choices to their food line-up.  If you and the groom are known for being at the local Mexican restaurant each Friday night, then consider offering a Mexican food buffet.  Again, it reflects on your tastes and weddings in general should tell the story of you two from beginning to end.  Think outside the box and consider all options.

3. Being well staffed is a key element to take note of when choosing a caterer.  Plenty of staff will help have your food prepped on time and served promptly which is as important as how it tastes.  Most venues have guidelines on what they expect from outside catering in regards to what is required, procedures during their stay, and what is needed prior to their exit. It often takes a small army to haul in the food properly, have it set up and ready to serve in time, set out all of the dinnerware, napkins, and often a multitude of glassware, and then be ready to jump when the dinner bell rings.

4. A good reputation reigns.  Building a positive reputation as a caterer is difficult because this is one area that a bride and even guests will readily respond to on review boards if there was louzy food.  Of course, the same is true about the service even when the food is tasty.  If the food is cold or delayed or the staff is short-tempered or the food was delivered late or if the dinnerware was dirty, etc. there are so many aspects of catering needs that when you can locate a caterer who is highly recommended, then they are worth their weight in gold.  In all fairness, even if you find a caterer who has some bad reviews, it is always best to read a dozen or so comments before you make your judgement.  Most venues will actually offer you a preferred list of caterers that they have worked with in the past which can give you the confidence to choose one of those.  A caterer relies on a good reputation with the brides to leave positive reviews and a good working relationship with venues to steer future brides towards them – a win win scenario.

~ Margie