20 Questions For Your Caterer
1. Do you have a license?
Why ask? This means the caterer has met local health department standards and carries liability insurance.
2. Do you have liquor liability insurance (if they're providing alcohol)?
Why ask? Anyone serving alcohol needs to have this type of insurance! If your wedding guests leave your party after taking advantage of the open bar and injure themselves, you could be held responsible.
3. Can you provide references from previous clients?
Why ask? References can tell you what you may not find out just by talking to the caterer :)
4. Are you working any other weddings or events on the same weekend or same day?
Why ask? This doesn't have to be a deal breaker, but you want to be sure if the caterer does have other events, your wedding will get the staff and attention it deserves.
5. When do you need finalized food choices?
Why ask? Your caterer needs to know your menu choices by a certain date, so they'll have all the ingredients ready to go for the day of your wedding.
6. Are you able to prepare vegetarian, kosher or halal meals for a few guests, and is there an additional fee?
Why ask?: A caterer may be willing to work with special dietary restrictions, but it could mean additional costs.
7. When will the tasting take place? Do you offer tastings before being hired?
Why Ask? You'll need to taste the food yourself to be sure you like it!
8. Will you provide a waitstaff?
Why ask? Top caterers say they always use their own serving personnel, they know the ins and outs of how the company operates, so they're better able to provide seamless service. You'll want about three waiters for every six tables for a sit-down meal.
9. What will you and your staff wear?
Why ask? You want to make sure the catering staff dresses appropriately for the tone and style of your wedding.
10. Do you also provide a bar, and will you provide alcohol?
Why ask? There are usually two ways caterers charge for bars: either by set fee per person or by the amount of alcohol consumed. Most catering companies supply the bar and alcohol, but supplying it yourself can save you money. Check with the caterer or wedding venue first—they might charge a corkage fee for every bottle opened, which could slash any savings.
11. How many bartenders are included in your package?
Why ask? Ideally, you should have four cocktail waiters for every 100 wedding guests and one bartender for every 50 wedding guests to make sure your guests aren't hanging around with empty glasses.
12. How do delivery, setup and breakdown work?
Why ask? You need these details in order to coordinate with your wedding venue and determine a time when your caterer can start setting up.
13. How much time will you need to set up? When will you need access to the wedding site?
Why ask: You need to know how much time the caterer needs for clean-up, because some venues may have a restriction on how late staff can stay. Not all companies will include setup and breakdown in their pricing.
14. Where will you prepare the food? Are there on-site facilities, or will the caterer need to make additional arrangements with the wedding venue?
Why ask? If the caterer has to bring in equipment, there may be an additional fee. So before you decide on a company, make sure you know what type of facilities your wedding venue has and the potential obstacles this could pose.
15. Will you set out the wedding place cards and menus we created?
Why ask? If the caterer says no, you'll need to enlist the help of your wedding planner, or friend to deal with these wedding details.
16. Who will oversee the event on the wedding day?
Why ask? Hopefully, the person who worked with you from the begining will be available as your point of contact.
17. What will happen if you are sick or otherwise unable to be there?
Why ask? If this person isn't available, they should have a suitable replacement in mind from the company (ask to meet with this person too).
18. Do you have extra charges, such as a security deposit, sales tax or service fees?
Why ask? Any extra charges are going to affect your budget, better to know ahead of time.
19. What, if any, are the expected gratuities?
Why ask? Plan out how you are going to tip your staff, have cash ready if you choose that route.
20. How do you arrange the food on the buffet or plate? Can you see photos of previous presentations?
Why ask? Presentation is everything, and even the most delectable dish can seem unappetizing if poorly presented by the caterer.