Food plays 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!

Menu 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 budget.

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.

Food Preparation
Does the caterer practice food safety, and is health department approved? Will the food for the reception be delivered in a food safety approved carriers?

Is 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 the food.

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.

Ethnic Recipes
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.

Guaranteed Numbers
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.

Wedding Cakes
Do they offer wedding cakes in their package? Can they make you a wedding cake?

Taxes and Gratuities
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.

Ratio 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

Dress 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..?

Tableware and Linens
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.

950 Hot Springs Road
Harrison Hot Springs
British Columbia, VOM 1K0