You’ve already settled on your wedding date, dress, flowers, and wedding venue — perfect wedding planning process right!? Now it’s time to lock in your catering company.
Whether you have a casual or formal wedding, catering is one of the most important elements of your big day. After all, you can’t have a wedding reception without the food! From cocktail hour to dinner and dessert, every part of your reception needs excellent catering.
But with so many different wedding catering companies to choose from, it can be tricky to know which one is right for you. Are they affordable? Do they offer a variety of menu options? How will they cater to your guests’ dietary needs (if applicable)? Will they work with your budget and style preferences?
With all this in mind, here are some helpful tips on how to choose the best full-service catering company for your wedding day:
Decide on a Wedding Food Budget First
When planning to choose a wedding caterer, it’s important to decide on a food budget before picking out a menu.
There are many caterers who will allow you to pick out custom menus and catering costs for your food, however, it’s best to look for caterers who provide an all-inclusive menu where the food, service, and taxes are combined into one price. This will allow you to plan out your wedding budget more easily and will allow you to be more flexible with menu choices.
Ask for a Tasting and Provide a Wedding Menu
When requesting a tasting, ask the caterer to provide a menu so that you can cross-reference your desired menu with the caterer’s current menu. This will allow you to get a better idea of what the food will taste like, and will help you to decide on a menu.
It’s important to note that different caterers will have different tasting policies. Some caterers will allow you to come to their kitchen where you can taste the food in its natural state, while other caterers will offer you a tasting plate, so you can get a better idea of what the food will look like on your wedding day.
When providing a menu for the caterer, don’t be afraid to be specific about what you want. It’s important to be detailed and specific with your desired menu so the caterer can create a custom catering experience that meets your expectations.
Interview Your Shortlisted Caterers
After you’ve finalized your desired menu, it’s time to interview your shortlisted caterers.
During your interview with the caterers, you can ask them any questions that may come to mind. It can also be helpful to think of questions beforehand so you don’t forget to ask anything important.
The following are some questions you can ask during your interview:
- What is your experience with catering weddings?
- How many weddings have you catered?
- What is your catering philosophy? Have you any experience in catering for corporate events?
- Do you have insurance?
- Does the staff who are in contact with the food have food safety certification?
- Do you have your health inspection report for the past 12 months?
- What is your cancellation policy?
- Are there any hidden charges in your contract?
Check the Reputation and Credentials of the Wedding Catering Company
When looking for a wedding caterer, it’s important to check the reputation and credentials of the caterer.
You can visit their website, search for reviews online, and talk to people who have used their services in the past. Additionally, you can request to see their health inspection report and their staff credentials (if applicable).
Choose a wedding caterer whose credentials and reputation align with your event. For example, if you’re having a formal wedding, it may not be a good idea to hire a laid-back, casual caterer.
You should also be aware of any biases or conflicts of interest that can create an unfair advantage for certain caterers. Remember, you’re getting married once and it’s best to hire a caterer whose experience and credentials align with your event.
Ask About Staff Training and Hygiene Practices
Most states require that food service workers have a food handlers card, however, it’s best to ask your caterer about their training policies as well. You should ask about their staff training policies and what type of training their staff members receive.
You can also try to find out about their hygiene practices such as how they clean their dishes, knives, and equipment. Ask to see their food handling certification, and make sure that the date is current. You can also ask to see their health inspection report.
These things will help you to determine how clean the restaurant is and how they handle their food. Remember, you’re paying these people to feed your guests and it’s important to make sure they’re following proper hygiene and safety practices.
Don’t Forget the Little Things
As you’re interviewing potential wedding caterers, don’t forget to ask about the little things. For example, if you’re having a buffet-style reception, you should ask about their set-up and clean-up procedures afterward including how they will clean the serving plates, bowls, utensils, etc.
Remember, these little things are just as important as the big things and are very crucial to a memorable event.
The Final Words
When it comes to planning your wedding, there are a lot of details to keep track of and things can get overwhelmingly fast. The catering is one of the most important details because it can either make or break your reception. The right caterer will not only provide excellent food but also leave your guests with a good impression of your wedding that they won’t forget anytime soon.
If you’re currently in the process of choosing the best wedding caterer, you should hire Corky’s Catering to do the job.
We have years of experience catering to weddings so rest assured that the food and service will align with your event and that we will do an excellent job from start to finish.
Give us a call today at (630) 491-8387 for more details on how we can best cater to you.