an important role in the wedding festivities, so you'll want to take plenty
of time and care when choosing your caterer. Here are some great questions
to ask your caterer to ensure that you have an amazing "wedding feast"
without any surprises!
Options and Reception Styles
There are so many food varieties to choose from when it comes to menu
selection. You can have a traditional sit down dinner, buffet, food stations
or a cocktail reception. It all depends on your personal preference and
Let your caterer know your budget up front. Don't assume that a buffet
or food station is less expensive than a sit down dinner. It depends on
the type of food served not how it's served.
Does the caterer practice food safety, and is health department approved?
Will the food for the reception be delivered in a food safety approved
the Caterer Insured
Ask if your caterer If he has Liability insurance and ask for proof. There
are many "Fly by Night Caterers" who are not insured and licensed
and who work illegally out of their homes. Although they may be cheaper,
quality , quantity and safety may be sacrificed in the preparation of
Ask what is done with the leftover food. Particularly, if you are having
a buffet or food station, there can be food leftover. Some brides choose
to have the leftover food given to a homeless shelter or service club,.
Some caterers may allow you to take food home, but others do not offer
the option because they can't guarantee it's freshness and they don't
want anyone to get sick if the food is not stored properly.
Ask if dishes can be prepared that are not included on the regular menu.
Some brides have a special "family" dish they'd like or a particular
type of ethnic food prepared. This is a great way to really personalize
your dinner and reception.
Many caterers will quote prices based upon a certain number or minimum
number of guests. For instance, your caterer may have a minimum of 100
guests and if only 80 show up there may be an additional fee. It is a
well known fact that 5 % of your quests will not attend your reception
because of various illnesses or changes of plans. They usually don't let
you know before you have to give your guarantee to the caterer. So if
you guarantee 95 when you expect 100 there will be plenty of food, if
the caterer prepares insurance food over and above your guarantee. Some
caterers will also offer you a ½ price option on setting up tables
over and above your guarantee. So that you are not caught off guard if
too many show up. Keep your guarantee low because there usually isn't
an upcharge to add guests in the final days.
Do they offer wedding cakes in their package? Can they make you a wedding
Are they included in the price or will they be added later? Find out what
the final price is. Also you'll find some caterers neglect to tell you
about a service charge, *(usually 10-20 %) which is added to cover incidental
charges for travel , gas, extra labour and or supplies.
of Servers to Guests
Now, this will vary depending on the type of reception you have. But the
rule of thumb is 4 servers per 100 for a buffet and 6 per 100 for a seated
reception. For afternoon cocktail receptions or evening Hor d' oeuvres
you can expect 2-3 servers per 100
Code for Wait Staff
How will the staff be dressed? Will they be distinguishable from the guests?
Ask to see pictures of their table displays. Some caterers that do buffets
or food stations will include floral arrangements and other decorations.
As your wedding plans progress, talk to your caterer about your colour
theme so that all decorations and floral arrangements will coordinate.
Also, find out what type of decorating they might do for you. Will they
swag your head and cake tables? Will they set out your favours and seating
cards? Will they come to set tables the same time as you decorate..?
Does the price include table linens, napkins, dishes, and glassware? Ask
to see samples. Remember, if you don't like the tableware or linens they
offer, most everything can be rented, but usually at an additional price!
Your caterer should be licensed by the province. Most display their license
in their office, but if you're not sure, ask!
Do you need to get a Special Occasions Permit from the liquor board? If
you are supplying the alcohol and they are bringing the mix, what is the
price Will they do your bar? What are your options?
We have found a Website
that may help prepare you for your first meeting with your potential
caterer, by letting you in behind the scenes of what is involved.