Hiring a Caterer for Your Wedding: Where to Begin

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Weddings can easily become expensive, and hiring a wedding catering service to take care of food and drinks can eat up quite a bit of your budget. Besides the cost involved in booking the locations for your ceremony and reception, the catering bill will most likely be your wedding’s priciest component.

If you’ve ever attended a wedding, awards banquet or other festive gala, you’ve most likely eaten food prepared by a catering company. Think about your experiences at those particular events, and write a short list of things you liked and things you did not like. That exercise should assist you in your quest of hiring a wedding caterer, but the following information will also help you out.

 

Choosing a Catering Company: Things to Consider
There are plenty of factors that you should consider when hiring a wedding catering service, and below are some of the most important.
 

Determine your catering budget and the type of food you’d like to serve at your reception.

Before you begin hunting for a wedding catering company, sit down with a calculator and go over your wedding budget yet again. Catering costs are typically presented as a “per-person” figure. How many guests do you anticipate attending your wedding reception, and how much money can you realistically spend on food and drink? Have some ideas ready so you can discuss food options with potential caterers, and be prepared to make changes unless you have an unlimited catering budget.

 

Research the local catering companies in your area.

Spend some time researching local caterers. The phone book and the internet are great places to start, but don’t forget to ask friends and family for advice. They may remember the name of the catering company that prepared the food at their own wedding or another event that they attended.

 

Call some caterers, and don’t be afraid to ask for references. 

Once you have a list of catering companies, it’s time to make some phone calls. Keep notes of who tells you what, and be sure to remember your overall impression of the company based on the phone conversation. If you “got a bad vibe” from the phone call, the caterer may not be worth your time—or your money. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking a caterer for references. If they are proud of their work, they should be more than happy to provide the names and numbers of satisfied clients.

 

Meet with several different wedding caterers in person.

Set up appointments with the catering companies that you enjoyed speaking with on the phone so you can discuss your wedding reception in-person.  Meeting face-to-face with the caterers may help you figure out which ones you feel comfortable dealing with.
Sample the food. You’re hiring a catering company to take care of the food for your wedding, and most likely you’re spending several thousand dollars to do so. That said, it’s critical to sample the food that the caterers typically serve at events. Don’t rely on photographs of the food—eat it!

 

Get all of your questions answered before you make any type of payment.

Be sure that the catering company answers all of your questions and addresses all of your concerns before you write a check or hand over your credit card to pay a deposit. If something is unclear, ask! Learn what is included in the price you’re paying and what is not included, and find out about the catering company’s cancellation policy—you never know when an emergency may occur that will cause you to change your wedding date at the last minute.

Published: 08/21/2010 by Wedding Catering

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