Wedding Caterers: What you want to know

Before saying “I do” to a potential wedding caterer, you need to know some crucial things about that caterer. After all, catering will eat up a large portion of your wedding budget. You don’t want the disappointment of having to eat rubbery chicken with a soggy side salad, do you? Knowing important details about your caterer will help avoid that huge let-down, especially during an important day such as your wedding. It is also helpful to know what you require beforehand so that these are clearly lined out and agreed upon by you and the wedding caterer.

But first things first. You need to determine whether your selected wedding reception venue allows you to hire an outside caterer. Some venues have their own in-house catering service.

If your reception center gives you the go-ahead, here are some things you need to know about your personal requirements and how your prospective caterer will deliver that according to your budget:

–          Type of wedding catering required. A five-course sit-down dinner or buffet? It depends on what you want for your reception. Of course, each type of catering will have its own requirements.

–          Catering staff. Does the catering staff simply serve your guests or are they trained to explain what is on offer (particularly for a buffet) in a professional and respectful way? Will the drinks and hors d’oeuvres be served to the guests or will guests need to go to a station for these?

–          Appearance of the staff. Ask how the wait staff will look during the event. Their look should, of course, match what you are going for in your wedding reception. You don’t want wait staff walking around in slacks when you are having a formal affair.

–          Reputation. What do other people say about the caterer? Ask around for recommendations and as the prospective caterer to give you referrals.

–          Food quality and availability. Book a food tasting session with the caterer. Don’t just consider the taste, but also the presentation of the food. Ask what cuisine the caterer specializes in and whether he or she is able to accommodate special dietary requirements such as service kosher food to some guests.

–          Costing. The quote provided should include a listing of the food cost, plus other charges – staffing costs, service charge, taxes, corkage, setting up and clean up fee, fees for drinks, delivery fee, fees for rented equipment and so on. You will discover that the quoted cost per head is actually lesser when you add up the extra charges. Having a listing of the costs will help protect you from any hidden costs that may come as an unpleasant surprise when the final bill is presented to you.

–          Package offering. Also, get a list of what is included in your package. Check whether items such as tea or coffee, wine and other add-ons are already included in the package or will cost you extra. Be sure to ask for a separate package for your kids.

–          Ratio of staff to guests. The caterer should be able to provide you with the number of team members who will serve during the catering event. Make sure that there is a comfortable ratio and that there is enough wait staff to serve your guests’ needs.

–          Familiarity with the wedding reception center. Has the prospective caterer worked with your selected wedding reception center? This will help ensure that things go more smoothly since the caterer already is familiar with the venue and knows just what to expect. They can bring in additional equipment that are not readily available in the reception venue. They also have a better idea of the best ratio of staff to guests since they have already taken into consideration distances from the guest tables and the kitchen.

–          Work load. Check that your prospective caterer has a reasonable work load. Ask how many catering jobs the caterer has accepted for the month and day of your wedding. You don’t want other jobs to “compete” for the caterer’s attention during crunch time. You also want to be sure that your contact will be present at the wedding reception location on the day of your wedding to manage things.

–          Payment policy. How soon will the deposit be required and how much is required? When will the full payment be due? Does the caterer have a refund policy in case something unavoidable happens and the wedding is cancelled?

Western Gardens’ Sandy, Utah reception venue, The Atrium, The Ivy House, has a list tried and tested caterers that have worked with them. This means that you can easily cross out one important item off your to-do list of choosing the right caterer for your needs. Aside from this, The Atrium also provides an excellent set of facilities for your dream wedding. If you are planning a wedding in Sandy, Utah, be sure to visit The Atrium and ask about their caterers.

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