As far as wedding expenses go, the catering or food bill is one of your largest expenses (40-45% of most wedding budgets). So, spend plenty of time with your caterer talking about your budget, the style of reception you’d like (i.e. buffet, food stations, sit down dinner or cocktail reception) and the types of food that you’d like to serve.
There is so much variety and choice when it comes to menu selection. It’s no longer “chicken” or “paneer”. It all depends on your personal preference and budget.
Let your caterer know your budget upfront. Don’t assume that a buffet or food stations is less expensive than a sit down dinner. Remember, it depends more on what type of food you serve that determines the price.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR CATERER
- Taste Testing – Ask if your caterer will do a “tasting” and make sure some if not all of the main dishes you are asking your caterer to prepare are included in the tasting. Pay attention to the food presentation as well as the
- Tableware and Linens – Does the price include table linens, napkins, dishes, and glassware? Ask to see samples. Remember, if you don’t like the tableware or linens they offer, most everything can be rented, but usually at an additional price.
- Decorations – Ask to see pictures of their table displays. Some caterers will include floral arrangements and other decorations as part of their buffet tables or food stations. As your wedding plans progress, talk to your caterer about your color theme so that all decorations and floral arrangements will
- Guaranteed Numbers – Many caterers will quote prices based upon a certain number or minimum number of guests. For instance, many caterers base their figures on a minimum of 100 guests. If you’re final guest count is for only 80 guests, there may be an additional
- Ratio of Servers to Guests – This can vary depending on the type of reception you have. However, even a buffet style reception should have good service – i.e. waiters clearing dinner dishes and serving coffee. One good rule of thumb is to have one server for every 8-10
- Dress Code for Wait Staff – Will they be dressed formally in a black and white tuxedo look?
- Tax and Gratuities – Are they included in the price? Are there any additional fees that are not included in the quote or proposal?
- Licenses – Your caterer should be licensed by the state. Most display their license in their office, but if you’re not sure, ask!