When planning your wedding, you have so many details to consider. One of the most important elements is food. Your guests will be dining at your reception, so you want it to be delicious and plentiful enough to feed everyone comfortably.
Fortunately, planning your wedding doesn’t mean you need to know how to cook! Caterers can offer a wide variety of foods, from finger foods and hors d’oeuvres to full-course meals with salad, soup, entrée, side dish and dessert. Finding a caterer who specializes in offering a variety of food options can make planning much simpler. Here are some things that you should consider when choosing your caterer:
What type of food do you want?
This may seem like an obvious question, but it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you have an idea of what your wedding will be like. When choosing your caterer, get a sense of what types of foods are typical for the types of events you typically attend. If you’re getting married in a Mediterranean-themed wedding, then Mediterranean food would be expected.
However, if you’re getting married at a country club, then you’d likely want to incorporate a more traditional menu. While your wedding won’t necessarily need to be traditional, it will likely be more memorable if it follows the cultural values and traditions of the guests.
If you’re getting married in the city, you may be able to find a caterer who offers cheaper prices. But, if you’re getting married in the suburbs, it may be worth your while to pay a little more to find a caterer who is more central to your guests.
You could also consider having your reception at a restaurant that is owned by the caterer, which could help you receive significant discounts. If you’re having a dinner reception, ask your caterer whether they have any special rates for dinner only or if you could have the buffet for lunch and dinner. Make sure to factor any discounts into the price of your food.
Do they offer flexible menu options?
Many caterers only offer one or two menus, which can be limiting. It would be nice if your caterer could customize their menu to suit your specific preferences and wedding style, but many caterers do not offer this flexibility.
If you’re planning a dinner reception, you may be able to find a caterer who offers a flexible menu option where you can switch out certain components of the meal. For example, you could add soup to your dinner reception meal instead of the entrée so that you don’t have to eat the same thing as everyone else at the table. If your guests have different food preferences, then you could also have a dinner reception with a range of foods to accommodate their preferences.
Ask about alcohol service
A significant number of events, especially dinner receptions and weddings, include alcohol. You could accidentally overlook this fact, but you should ask about the alcohol service at your caterer. Most caterers offer some type of wine service. If you’re having a dinner reception, you could have a signature cocktail or choose from a variety of pre-set drink options.
For an open bar, you could choose from a variety of mixed drinks, bottled beer, or a fully stocked bar. If you’re having an afternoon wedding or a cocktail reception, you could have a beer, wine, or mixed drink options available. Make sure to factor the cost of alcohol into the price of your caterer.
Ask about their décor and theme
You may be able to find a caterer who offers a variety of décor options and themes. If so, you could choose one that complements your wedding style. For example, you could have a Mediterranean-style wedding and choose a caterer that is themed to that style, or you could choose a country club wedding and have a more classic décor.
Ask about their cleanliness standards
What does a caterer’s cleanliness standard mean for you? If you are having a dinner reception, you may be concerned that your caterer will not be clean enough to handle serving food. A caterer’s cleanliness standard means that they are required to clean their kitchen and serving areas to a certain standard between each use.
This means that the food and other serving items are cleaned between each use and will not become contaminated. It’s important to ask your caterer about the cleanliness standards of their kitchen. If your caterer does not have a cleanliness standard or you’re unsure, then consider having a cocktail reception and using a different caterer for food.
Ask about their service hours and delivery options
Some guests may be eager to arrive at your reception at the designated time, but others might arrive late. It’s important to take both of these groups into account when choosing your reception venue. Many people like to arrive at a reception on time, but others might like to arrive late
. Some caterers offer custom late-arrival options, while others may not. If you’re having a dinner reception, you need to consider how you want the guests to be fed. Some guests may be eager to sit down to a meal, while others may prefer to have drinks while they socialize. Make sure to choose a caterer that offers both a buffet and sit-down service.
Choosing a caterer is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in planning your wedding. Make sure you choose a caterer who offers food options that are familiar to your guests, who can accommodate their dietary preferences, and who can deliver your food on time and in a clean environment.