- 1 - Research, research, research!
- 2 - Check availability
- 3 - Choose a caterer who is familiar with your wedding venue (ideally)
- 4 - Select a caterer who can operate within your budget
- 5 - Ensure there are no hidden charges
- 6 - Ask about menu flexibility
- 7 - Choose local if possible
- 8 - Check they offer a tasting session
- 9 - Drive a hard bargain
- 10 - Strike up a positive relationship
Wedding catering is one element of your wedding planning that you want to get right! For many, it’s one of the highlights of the day – enjoying the wedding breakfast with friends and family, along with all the formalities that come with it.
It’s a tradition that’s been around for centuries, and so you’ll want to make sure that the catering lives up to expectations as, if it doesn’t, your wedding could be remembered for all the WRONG reasons!
But, with so many professional catering companies out there all vying for your business, how do you choose the best wedding caterer to suit your specific requirements? Hopefully our top 10 tips below will help you when the time comes, by saving you some time, money and effort.
Research, research, research!
There’s no excuse, in this day and age of the internet, to not do extensive research. Social media gives you a great resource for finding out who is doing a good job out there, and who’s not.
Even offline, why not ask friends who have recently got married which caterer they used (after all, word of mouth advertising is the very best!), or maybe your wedding venue might have a preferred supplier list who they use.
Some or all of these options will help to guide you down the right path, and avoid any potential pitfalls in the early planning stages.
Once you have narrowed down your list of preferred caterers to a list of, say, 3, then it’s worth contacting them to find out their availability for your special day. Remember, like anything else, the best in the business are always in demand, so don’t be surprised when at least one of them is already booked, especially if you are holding your wedding in the peak summer months.
Choose a caterer who is familiar with your wedding venue (ideally)
There’s no doubt that a caterer who is already familiar with your wedding venue has its advantages in that they have operated there before, and so will be aware of any restrictions and what catering equipment is already in-situ, for example. Of course, if they haven’t, all is not lost, but it would certainly be worth a site visit in the lead up to your special day to check things out in advance.
Select a caterer who can operate within your budget
We all have budgets to work to, and yes, some have more than others. However, what is important is that you work with a caterer with a budget that is comfortable for you. Many caterers work on a price-per-head basis, so work on the menu offering together and see what they come up with. If it’s too expensive, then don’t be afraid to either negotiate or even walk away.
It’s vital that pricing is transparent, and you know exactly what the quote covers. For larger weddings, your caterer might need you to hire additional catering equipment or crockery hire, for instance – is there an allowance in the budget for this?
If you need to, catering equipment hire is readily available online at affordable prices, so have a look around – you certainly won’t be short of choice when it comes to catering equipment for weddings.
And remember, not everyone likes to eat the same thing. With an ever-increasing number of us choosing to go vegetarian or even vegan, it’s vital that your caterer embraces these dietary requirements, rather than see them as a hassle, and pay lip service to them. Whether it’s meat and two veg or a vegetarian option, you want your wedding guests to be WOWED by all aspects of the catering on your special day.
Choose local if possible
In whatever we do, we’re always encouraged to ‘shop local’, and the same is true when you are looking for a wedding caterer. The nearer their location to your wedding venue, the better. Why? Because transport will be charged to you as the client. They are unlikely just to swallow lots of mileage costs to and from the venue. So, choose wisely!
Check they offer a tasting session
This is the highlight for many, and any professional caterer worth their salt (pardon the pun), will offer you a tasting session to sample the menu options you have chosen. If you’re happy, then great. If not, then say so and choose something else – now is the time to say!
Drive a hard bargain
We’ve already spoken about budgets, and catering will be just one part of your overall wedding budget. As they say, every little counts, and so it’s always worth asking about price, even though it’s often an uncomfortable topic for some.
Strike up a positive relationship
And last, but by no means least, it’s important to build a positive relationship with all your wedding and event suppliers in the lead up to your big day. It’s amazing how much people will do for you if you’ve invested the time and effort in them.
So, hopefully the above top 10 tips will help you when the time comes to choose a wedding caterer. All that remains for us to say, in advance, is congratulations!