Catering at your wedding

Wedding catering has always been one of the most crucial aspects of planning a wedding. Besides choosing the food menu items for the palette, you also need to think of other factors – could there be potential allergies to certain types of wedding food, will the food arrive on time, and will it taste great?

For all these reasons and more, it is very important that you take the time to review the details of providing great cuisine through a responsible and reliable wedding caterer. Ideally, you will find someone who has experience in catering wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners, theme weddings and bridal showers. If the caterer is a custom designer, baker or Chef, they might also help you plan your stunning wedding cake or cake tops. Here are some tips we have found that might help make planning your wedding catering easier than you might think:

1. Meet the Caterer(s) in person with questions.
Many local wedding florists, planners and coordinators know the industry well. Ask them about potential caterers for your event. If you contact a caterer, ask to meet with him or her in person. You will want them to provide references in terms of their abilities and experience. Make you sure you also contact the BBB (Better Business Bureau, bbb.org) to see if they are listed there or are in good standing. Ask your potential caterer about the largest number of guests they can handle and when their last wedding catering took place. Other important details are whether they are insured, have health permits, and whether they are licensed. Without a health permit a caterer cannot provide your wedding food needs.

2. Check to see if a Caterer is included in your wedding package.
Many couples choose to have a destination wedding and find that special place to hold their wedding ceremony and reception. If this is in your plans make sure you check that catering is not included in a wedding package if you chose one. If catering is included, make sure you still ask the appropriate questions.

3. Tasting
Ask about food tasting. Many caterers will allow a tasting in advance of the wedding so that you can choose cuisine that meets your needs. Some charge a fee for this, while others don’t allow it at all. Use discretion, and if possible, ask about bringing others to the tasting.

4. Write up a well-detailed contract
A business contract is always necessary in any business transactions and catering is no exception. The contract can be written and signed by you, the contractor and a witness (if possible your fiancé or friend) and should include even the smallest of details to ensure there are no misunderstanding as to what is expected by both yourself and the caterer. Assume you will need to put down a deposit.

5. Wedding catering menu ingredients
Ask about the ingredients used in preparing your meal. Are the ingredients high quality, does the caterer bake in-house or order out (especially for bakery and dessert items)? All of this will play a role in pricing out the ultimate professional caterer for your wedding.

6. Inquire about the cancellation policy
Always inquire about the cancellation policy. Read the fine lines in any contract as there may be stiff penalties / taxes involved if you need to change your event date or cancel altogether.

Another suggestion is to put some thought into a backup plan. Although it’s rare and highly unlikely a wedding caterer or catering company would leave you high and dry, stranger things have happened.

In the end, your choice of wedding cuisine should match you and your fiancés personal preference and style. By planning your wedding catering thoroughly and wisely months in advance, one of the most important aspects of you wedding will be thoroughly enjoyed by all. Bon appetite!