Most couples about to walk down the aisle will tell you that one of the most important things to them is creating a reception that guests will enjoy and not soon forget. After all, the wedding would not be the same without the guests and as a way of thanking them for sharing in your special day; you want them to have a nice reception. An excellent way to do this is by serving food.
The most common way to approach this is by hiring a caterer. They are the professionals in creating great tasting food, setting up a nice display, serving the food, cleaning up after the reception, and keeping within a budget. If you like, you can also include the cost of any rental equipment in the price of the caterer as well as beverages, liquor, bartenders, and so on. However, as you begin looking around for the right caterer, you need to be prepared to ask questions.
While this may seem like a long list, these questions are very important. Too many wedding receptions have turned out disastrous because of inadequate service. Therefore, it is your responsibility to ask many questions and make sure you are satisfied with the answers before signing the contract. Always check with the Better Business Bureau to see if there have been any obvious problems with the catering company and before you sign the contract, make sure you read every word. If there is something that you are not comfortable with or do not understand, make sure it is clarified before the contract is finalized.
- What type of food can they offer within your budget?
- What type of service is available (sit down or buffet)?
- What is the cost of food on a per person basis?
- Will linens be included in the price or are they extra?
- Will they work with the color and theme of your wedding?
- Do they supply the plates, glassware, and silverware?
- Can they provide the rental equipment and if so, at what cost?
- How much time is needed for delivery, set up, and breakdown?
- Who will personally be handling the serving and attending the reception?
- Do they also design wedding cakes and handle the reception decorations, music, and flowers?
- Is there a fee for cutting and/or serving the cake, food, coffee, and/or other beverages?
- What is the cost of drinks per person?
- Is there a corkage fee per bottle if the bride and groom provide their own wine and champagne?
- Are a guaranteed number of guests required or will they work with an estimate?
- Will they provide a written contract outlining all the services and charges?
- How much is the down payment and when is it due?
- When is the final payment due?
- What is their cancellation or refund policy?
- Will gratuities be included in the total price and if so, what is the percentage being charged?
- Will food be included for the other service people in the wedding such as the musicians, photographer / videographer, and florists? If so, what type of discount will you receive?
- What is the extra person fee?
- Do you offer a to-go box for the bride and groom?
- Will you wrap the top tier of the wedding cake for freezing?