The food and drinks you serve your guests are one of the most important parts of your wedding plan. Since a large part of many wedding budgets often goes toward catering, it’s important to choose a caterer who provides the best options that fit your tastes, guests, season, and budget.
To help you in your search, here are our top 10 insider tips for choosing the best caterer for your wedding!
1) Obviously, make sure the food is delicious
This is a given, but there are a couple of things that can help you determine this.
Ask your caterer if the food is going to be freshly prepared. You don’t want to assume this, and then have someone tearing open a bag of ready-made frozen entrees hours before your reception.
Also, a caterer you are seriously considering should be willing to provide tastings. Be prepared to pay for this, but the price will be well worth it for this important decision.
2) Pick a caterer who adds style
Beautiful food presentation is an extremely important part of your wedding reception style. Does the caterer provide garnishes, pretty serving pieces, and colorful menu items? Ask to see photos of other wedding receptions the caterer has served, and make sure they look stylish and offer an appealing presentation.
3) Make sure to choose an experienced chef and kitchen staff
Beyond making sure your caterer is licensed and insured, you also need to determine that he or she is an experienced chef and that they hire and train good kitchen staff and servers. Ask about this! The staff that will be working your wedding–how long have they been with the caterer? You’ll also want to ask what the servers wear.
4) Choose a professional caterer who is a experienced in servings weddings
These days, everyone from the local deli to your favorite Tex-Mex restaurant claims to cater. But you need to be aware that there’s a BIG difference between restaurant food packaged to-go and true catering!
Pulling off a delicious and problem-free menu for all of your wedding guests is no easy task. When it’s your big day, we strongly advise you choose a professional caterer who has already served a lot of weddings. Take it from us–from a catering standpoint, there’s really nothing else like the pressure and detail that this demands. Don’t be training grounds for someone!
5) Make sure the caterer is responsive and shows an interest in your needs
Pay attention to how responsive and interested a caterer is during your initial conversations–this is a strong indicator of how they will work with you. How long did you wait for information after contacting your caterer? Did they send the information you requested? Do they answer your emails and phone calls in a timely manner? Planning a wedding is a huge task, and you will need a caterer who gives your wedding the attention it needs.
6) Ask about waitstaff to table ratio
Find out how many waiters the caterer recommends for a wedding your size. The ratio of staff to guests is critical. When reading the reviews and ratings for a caterer, pay attention to service staff comments. These are important!
7) Make sure your caterer is able to work with your venue
It’s very helpful if your caterer has worked with your venue in the past. That way, they’re familiar with the ins and outs of your venue and have a good working relationship with the venue managers.
It’s not a problem if they haven’t though, as long as they are willing to make a site visit in advance. An experienced caterer will be able and willing to tour your venue ahead of time, allowing them to identify potential concerns based on their past experience. If they haven’t worked at your venue before, a site tour is a must!
8) Get a complete contract explaining all services and goods promised
Get a contract that spells out completely what food, drink, and services will be supplied on your big day. Make sure it covers the details like type of tableware, cutlery, glassware, and number of staff provided. Are they providing tables, chairs and linens, or is your venue handling these items?
9) Book EARLY!
You don’t want to spend your time and energy, finally decide on a caterer, and then learn that they’ve already been booked on your date. Once you do make your catering decision, let them know and get on their schedule!
10) Check out reviews and ratings
Check out sites like WeddingWire.com and view the responses of previous brides. Investigate the reputation of your caterer through Wedding Wire, your venue, other vendors, and brides who have used them.
Do your homework
So there you have it…print out your questions and bring them to your catering consultation. You’ll get the perfect-for-you caterer if you do your homework. Just remember to choose one that contributes to the style of your wedding and fits your budget.
Seven Loaves: 2017 Couples’ Choice Award winner four years in a row!
We mentioned WeddingWire.com above and so this seems to be a good time to say that we’re very proud that Seven Loaves Catering & Events has just been given the 2017 Couples’ Choice Award for the fourth year in a row!
We’re honored to receive this award again because the WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards recognizes the top 5% of local wedding professionals who demonstrate excellence in quality, service, responsiveness and professionalism. Unlike other awards in which winners are selected by the organization, the WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards are based solely on the reviews from over 1.2 million newlyweds. Awards are determined by a combination of excellence in four factors: overall quality rating, total number of reviews, recent review performance, and consistency of reviews from year to year.
A big thank you to our wedding clients who took the time to write a review after their wedding!
If you are looking for a caterer in the Dallas area, please consider Seven Loaves. Give us a call (972-293-5111). Also, sign up (above and on the right) for upcoming wedding tips blog posts!
Good luck in the search for your perfect caterer!