LOOKING FOR YOUR CATERER
If you selected a full-service venue or are working with a wedding planner, your catering selection may already be done(one less thing on your plate!). But if not, give a quick glance to your budget and start thinking about how you want to feed your people.
Obviously, brunch, lunch, and light bites are more affordable than serving a three course plated dinner. (Belgian waffles or gourmet doughnuts, anyone?) If you know you want to serve dinner, but you’re working with a limited budget, why not get creative? Check with a few restaurants within close distance of your venue or ask about food trucks, since both can be more affordable than stand-alone caterers.
Wedding planners are typically familiar with vendors in your area, so consulting with your planner before picking a caterer is a good idea. Jaime Dydalewicz of Coordinate This event planners advises that your wedding planner can be “as involved as you want us to be. We can help guide or we can select a few choice vendors for the clients to choose from. Ultimately, it is the clients’ decision.”
When meeting with caterers, it’s best to come armed with as much information as possible. Share your venue name and location, and provide photos of the reception space and any kitchen facilities on site. Bring a rough estimate of how many guests you’ll be serving, including the number of children and vendors (Hello Wedding breaks down your guest list so that you can easily see how many adults versus children will be attending). Be sure to communicate the style and level of formality of your event, because your caterer will want to make sure the style of food is a good compliment to the rest of the atmosphere. And be upfront about your budget.
If you’re working with a wedding planner, ask her to tag along to your tastings since catering plays such a big role in setting the tone of your reception. At the consultation, run through the questions below:
- Is the caterer licensed and insured (some venues require proof of this in order to approve your caterer)?
- What does their typical wedding catering service looks like? Does it include tables, chairs, and linens if need be? What about serving ware and cutlery?
- Is there a charge per waiter, and how many waiters do they recommend for a wedding your size?
- Can the wait staff also act as bartenders?
- Are there any additional fees on top of waitstaff and dinner service, such as cake cutting, breakage, or overtime charges?
If you’re choosing between multiple caterers, ask for a proposal listing all of the menu items you discussed (hors d’oeuvres, appetizers, entrees, drinks, and dessert) as well as the total fees, including cost per person, tips and tax, service fees, rentals, delivery, set up, and clean up fees, and how many hours of service the quoted price includes. Compare proposals and determine which is best for you.
Wedding insurance might sound over the top, but it’s not a bad idea if you’re investing a lot into your big day. A good insurance policy protects you from major financial liability in the case of any last minute cancellations, either due to weather, illness, or deployment, or fees from no-show vendors. Wedding insurance typically runs from $100 and upward depending on the type of coverage you select.
Start by checking out the insurance companies below: