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Choosing a Caterer

  • February 2, 2011
  • By Jessica Brose
Choosing a Caterer

The date is set and the perfect wedding site is chosen, now comes the task of finding a menu that will complement your special day. You'll spend more money on wedding food than any other aspect of your wedding reception, so you’ll want to work with a top-notch professional.

If your reception venue is not all inclusive, ask if they recommend a caterer as this is the best way to find a qualified vendor. Have your preferences in mind before you begin your search including whether you prefer a buffet vs. plated dinner, traditional fare vs. ethnic menu, etc. Compare two or three different companies as there can be a wide range of pricing between caterers for the same type of food.

When requesting a proposal, ask if caterer will provide tables, chairs, china, linens, silverware, or any other rental item that you need to complete your reception. Ask to see these items to make sure they’re acceptable. Caterers can often provide these items at or below the cost of hiring a separate rental company.

Depending on your needs and budget, hiring a “full-service” caterer is the best option to ensure the most enjoyable dining experience for your guests. Events with a buffet dinner will require approximately one service staff for every twenty-five guests, one service staff per twenty guests for a plated dinner, and one bartender per seventy-five guests is usually recommended. Additional staffing includes an event supervisor and food prep staff. The average cost for catering staff can range from $25-$40 per staff per hour.

Choosing a caterer is as easy as pie -- just make sure your taste buds have a say in the matter too. Inquire with your caterer as to whether they will provide a complimentary tasting of your favorite menu items. While you may not be able to sample everything that their chef has to offer, you should at least be confident in the overall quality of the food. Be sure to ask if the chef is open to different recipes if you have particular requests, such as a family favorite.

If you are confident in your chosen caterer’s ability and talents, you can relax and enjoy your special day. Between the vows, pictures, first dance, and mingling with your guests, be sure to find time to indulge!