Choosing a caterer for your reception is a big deal. The food (as well as the service) plays an important role in your guests’ overall satisfaction. Some brides stress out about finding a good caterer, but it doesn’t have to be complicated if you do a little research and know what to ask.
1. First things first. If you’re thinking about more than one venue for your wedding, you’ll need to check with each of them first to see if you’re allowed to bring in your own caterer or if you’re required to use their preferred caterer. This might help you make up your mind about venues because if you don’t like the food options, the service or the prices offered by the venue, you won’t be able to do anything about it after you’ve booked it. Also, be sure and ask about the wedding cake – most venues and caterers let you bring in your own cake designer.
2. When you sit down to meet with a caterer, be ready to do more than just taste the food. Yes, the food is important, but so is the quality of service you’ll receive and so is their level of experience. Ask your caterer how many servers they recommend per number of guests. And, by all means, ask if they operate from a commercial kitchen. Great caterers can handle “problems” at your reception in a way that you don’t even know they happened. Now, that’s great catering service!
3. Have an honest conversation with your caterer about your needs. A good caterer will be able to help work with your budget and offer various alternatives and solutions. Sometimes you have guests with special needs like food allergies. And sometimes you have guests who are just going to need a little extra attention in order to enjoy your wedding ( the high maintenance relative – you know the one). It’s important to have these conversations with your caterer so they can put together a plan that meets your needs and the needs of your guests.
Aven Whittington, head chef for Mange Bene Catering sat down with us and gave us some information from the caterer’s point of view. He said a catering event is about more than just the food, it’s about building a relationship with the bride to understand exactly what she wants. After he gets to know the bride’s vision of the wedding and the food, he can start building a menu with her, and then make adjustments based on budget if necessary. He gets to know more about the family and guests and their specific needs to ensure everyone is taken care of. He focuses on not only providing fantastic food, but also on making the wedding an experience everyone will love and remember.
You can get more great tips from Aven at 10 Things to Ask the Caterer, plus he’s put together a free Party Planning guide you can download.