Booking a wedding caterer can be overwhelming. Food and drinks will probably be the largest portion of your wedding budget, so choosing the right caterer is important. Here’s a list of 45 questions to ask your wedding caterer as you make this vendor decision.
As we make our way through The Ultimate Wedding Checklist, it’s about time to talk all about wedding caterers. Food and drinks will probably be the largest portion of your wedding budget, so choosing the right caterer is important.
I was blessed to work in “the industry” years ago as a banquet server at a restaurant in San Diego that was always very busy during wedding season. There were some times where we would have upwards of 5 weddings taking place in one weekend at our restaurant. During the years I worked there, I learned a thing or two about catering and wedding planning. I also learned a ton when I planned my rustic DIY wedding.
I’ve come up with 45 Questions To Ask Your Wedding Caterer below. They should be fairly all encompassing, but there may be extra things that you will need to ask or questions that may not apply to your wedding.
In some cases, your wedding venue may provide a caterer. So in those cases, you still want to be sure to ask your venue’s wedding caterer these questions.
It’s great to make sure you know all of the information before you hire the caterer or sign a contract just in case you don’t like one of their answers.
Without further ado…
45 Questions To Ask Your Wedding Caterer
Do you have our wedding date open?
Can we schedule a tasting before hiring you? If so, is there a tasting fee?
Have you ever done an event at our wedding venue?
What is your cancellation policy?
Is there a deposit required? Do you have a payment schedule?
Do your fees change based on the time of the day, day of the week, or season?
Who will be my point of contact for the planning of the wedding? Will that person be at my wedding? If not, who will be in charge on the day-of?
What is included in the catering services?
- You should find out if any of these items that are included: tables, chairs, linens, plate ware, utensils, napkins, cups/glasses, straws, alcohol, alcohol license, event insurance for serving alcohol, servers/event staff/security/bartender, set up, clean up, ice, appetizers, etc.
Do you provide table numbers?
Will your staff handle set up and clean up? If so, will they set up the tables and chairs or just the food? How much time do you require to set up?
Will your staff fold the dinner napkins? If so, are there options for fold styles?
If serving appetizers, how many do you prepare per guest?
If serving appetizers, will your staff tray pass them? How many servers will be walking around?
Are salads served or pre-set before guests sit at their tables?
What time do you recommend serving dinner?
How do you recommend setting up the reception schedule?
Will dinner be served in buffet, family style or plated dinner? If buffet, will your staff dismiss the tables to go get their food?
Do you have alternative food options for children? Are children charged differently than adults?
Do you accommodate dietary restrictions like vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, allergies, etc? If so, are there any additional fees?
What non-alcoholic drink options are available?
What will you do with the extra food after the wedding?
How do you handle vendor meals?
Will the staff clear all plates and food from the tables after dinner is served? Does “clean up” include cleaning the entire venue after the reception is over?
How long will the staff stay after dinner has been served?
Will you set up a coffee bar after dinner? If so, will you include creamer, sugar, cups, napkins, and stir sticks? Do you provide tea in addition to coffee? Is there a fee for this?
Does your staff handle cake cutting and distributing the cake? If so, is there a fee?
Can we bring in our own dessert?
What will you do with the extra cake (or dessert)?
Does your staff handle passing out the champagne toasts? If so, is there a fee? Do you have an alternative toasting option for those that don’t drink alcohol or are under-aged?
When will the bar close?
What brands of alcohol will be served?
If the reception runs long, do you charge overtime fees?
Can we bring in our own wine/champagne/beer to be served? If so, what will happen with the left over?
Will your staff make sure no guest is over-served with alcohol?
Is your company catering other events on the same day as our wedding? If so, will you have adequate staff to cover our event? How many servers will work at our wedding?
How will the staff be dressed?
What happens if someone on your staff calls in sick?
Is there any additional event license, permits or insurance we need to secure?
Is gratuity added to the bill? How is the gratuity distributed to the staff?
Are there any additional fees that I should know about?
When do you need a final head count?
Do you provide any decor for the buffet tables, appetizer stations, cake table, coffee bar, etc?
For outdoor venues/weddings – How will you keep food warm/cool? What happens if you run out of ice? Will the food be prepared on-site?
Best of luck in finding your wedding caterer. Once you do, let us know how it went. Do you have any other helpful questions to ask your wedding caterer?
Be sure to check out our Ultimate Wedding Checklist for our all of our wedding planning advice from A to Z.