Meeting with wedding, party, event caterers and don’t know what to ask? Start with these questions!
Finding a caterer might be the most fun part of wedding planning. Yes, really! Rumour has it, people aren’t finding a caterer until near their event date and this madness must stop. The sooner you choose your caterer, the sooner you can tick a big vendor off your to-do list. Firstly, that’ll be very satisfying. Secondly, it’ll inform the rest of your planning. Confirming your food service (plates, table, buffet) and the positioning of your bar and food tables (proximate to the water source and kitchen) will help you and your stylist plan your event layout and décor. Of course, most importantly, it’ll be delicious because you need to taste the food before you select your menu. Why would anyone delay tastings!?
When you’re interviewing potential caterers, they should listen to what you want and be helpful. They should be transparent about previous work they’ve done and have photographs from the events to show you examples. They should have a contract to discuss in detail and provide you with a copy to take away and check thoroughly before signing. If you come across a caterer that doesn’t deliver on these very simple points: listens to you, is helpful, and has a contract, then move on and try another. Easy! The hard part (snuck that in didn’t I) is knowing what to ask your caterer to avoid surprises down the track. Here’s a question list to kick start your journey...
Questions for yourself.
Do I personally enjoy their menu?
If you’re serving meat for your guests but you’re a vegetarian, consider serving delicious vegetarian food instead. Your event should reflect you as much as possible.
Have they listened to me, communicated well, and provided a contract?
No? Find another caterer.
Am I comfortable with the way they operate?
Surrounding yourself with vendors that can take care of things quickly, quietly, and professionally will allow you to relax and enjoy your occasion.
Questions for your caterer.
When does the tasting take place?
How do you present the food on plates? What serving dishes do you use for a buffet?
Your caterer should have example photos from previous events.
Are your ingredients locally sourced, organic, frozen, fresh? Can you source sustainably farmed ingredients?
What are your options for guests with allergies and dietary requirements? When do you need a list of these?
Can you alter your menu to include a special dish I’d like served?
Do you charge a cake-cutting fee if we provide the cake?
What happens to any leftover food?
You may want it saved for you to serve at your day-after lunch or donated to a local charity.
Do you provide a Champagne toast following the ceremony?
Do you charge a corkage fee if we provide our own wine and Champagne?
Is a coffee and tea service included? Do you provide herbal teas?
Can you provide references from previous clients?
Are you working any other events that day? What impact could this have on my event?
How many waitstaff will you provide?
What will you and your staff wear?
Will you set up before the event begins to avoid any disruption?
What are your water, electrical, and equipment needs? Will you liaise with my venue regarding facilities, venue access, and set up?
Follow up with your caterer to confirm that they’re comfortable with your venue’s facilities. Avoid finding out on the big day that there’s no microwave to heat pre-prepared sauces in!
Where will you prepare the food?
This is important for an outdoor event like a glamping wedding or woodland picnic birthday. The caterers may provide their own space or require a preparation tent.
Will I need any alcohol or food service permits for my event? Will you handle obtaining any required?
Who will manage the catering on the day of the event? What happens if they’re unexpectedly unable to be there?
How long does your food service take?
How will you manage last-minute requests or guest number changes?
Can you make special meals for children and other wedding professionals?
Can we discuss the detail of your contract, and do you have a copy I can take away?
What is your refund and cancellation policy?
How soon do I need to confirm my booking?
Enjoy your catering journey and take a friend to your tasting for extra fun! If you need help, simply send us a message!
Help your caterer understand your event style with our FREE Mood Boards (+ colour palettes).
Header Photography: Toa Heftiba