What to Ask Your Caterer
If the caterer’s food tastes great you’re done, right? Not quite, says Napa, California–based event designer Sasha Souza. It’s not enough that they can prepare delicious meals, she says — they also have to be able to handle the size and scope of your event and have fantastic service.
Photo Credit: Shawna Yarbrough/Studio Seven Photography
1. What foods do you specialize in? Do you have set menu options or can you create a custom or themed menu?
2. What would you recommend given my budget, guest count and event theme?
3. How do you handle tastings? (Ideally each dish should be presented as your guests will see them, and you and your groom shouldn’t have to take a bite from the same serving.)
4. What’s the price difference between a buffet and a sit-down meal, and between passed appetizers and appetizer stations? How are your fees broken down?
5. Do you provide linens, utensils, serving table decor, etc.? How about tables and chairs? What colors and styles do you offer?
6. Will you be overseeing the meal service at the reception, or do you have an on-site manager to coordinate these things? (If the caterer won’t be present, it’s always a good idea to ask to meet whomever will be in charge ahead of time.)
7. Is there a cut-off date for making menu changes?
8. Are you licensed to serve alcohol? (If not you may need to hire a separate bar service.)
9. How much do you charge for vendor meals? (Musicians and photographers get hungry, too!) Can leftovers be wrapped for guests or donated?
10. What’s the ratio of servers to guests? How will servers be dressed?