For weddings, caterers can be a huge benefit in that they organize, schedule, plan, and manage various portions of the reception. For example, whether you want a formal, sit-down dinner, a buffet line for your guests, a cocktail party, or an informal outdoor barbecue for your reception, a qualified caterer can take the load of responsibility so that you do not have to worry about anything. Instead, you can relax and enjoy your wedding day without the stress of feeding and taking care of guests.
However, when hiring a wedding caterer, you have the responsibility of choosing the right one. To accomplish this, you need to ask questions. If at any time during the interview process the caterer hesitates to answer or provide requested information, then you should move on to the next person. A good caterer will listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and provide references and anything else you need. To help you through this process, the following questions should be asked.
- Are you licensed, insured, and bonded for service, food service, and liquor?
- What is the cost per person for the various options (sit down, buffet, cocktail party, informal, etc)?
- What is the staff to guest ratio? Typically, you want to have one server for every 10 guests.
- How many years experience can you offer within the catering field and how many weddings have been serviced?
- Would you offer several references of recent weddings?
- What type of menu set up do you offer and are you flexible on the menu items?
- How much notice do you need?
- Do you provide a written contract?
- How much input will I have when it comes to food, liquor, displays, seating arrangements, and decorations?
- If I have guests with special dietary needs (vegetarians, diabetics, etc.), can you accommodate?
- What level of service do you provided? Will you bring all the needed food, liquor, supplies, linens, table settings, centerpieces, and so on?
- What is your payment policy and what types of payments do you accept such as credit cards, cash, etc.
- Do you offer a guarantee or refund policy and if so, what is it?
- What attire will you and your staff wear?
- If the reception will be held outdoors, how are the food and drinks kept at proper temperatures?
- Are there any additional charges that would be charged not expected?
- How is tipping handled?
- How much time is needed to set up the reception hall?
- How much food will be needed for the number of guests?
- What is the standard service time and after that do overtime charges apply?
- Will you handle the wedding cake to include the making, delivery, and setup or do I need to work with a cake maker?
- What type of tables will be used and how will the wedding table be set up?
- Will the other vendors such as musicians, photographer, and so on also be fed?
- What is the best way to serve alcoholic beverages and save money?
- How soon will you need the final guest list?
- How much will I be charged for any guests over the final guest count?