Choosing the right caterer for your wedding is a tough decision that can really make or break your reception. Here in Portland, for example, there are a few dozen great catering companies that can cater your wedding. You’ll spend more money on wedding food than any other aspect of your reception, so you’ll want to work with top-notch professionals. We put together a few points to consider when choosing your wedding catering.
TIPS ON CHOOSING A WEDDING CATERER
1. Referrals & recommendations. Find out from your family, colleagues and friends which caterers they used. It’s the best way to start the process. Attending local bridal shows and visiting open houses is also a great way to learn more about the caterers. It’s also a great way to narrow-down the list of caterers to a manageable number to concentrate on.
2. Know your budget. First, you need to figure out how much money you have to spend on your wedding, and how much of that can be allocated to the food. There’s a caterer out there for almost any budget, but you can save yourself time and aggravation if you have an idea of both your overall budget and your food budget before you start looking.
3. Check your Venue. Some wedding venues may have an approved list of vendors. Some make you use only their “house” or “preferred” catering venders. This is why it’s important to decide on a venue before choosing a caterer.
4. Make phone calls and setup meetings. Is great to have a recommendation for a caterer, but if they are a smaller firm, they may not be available on your date. It’s best to call first and setup a in-person meeting if they are available. You can setup a separate time for tastings if you desire to sample their dishes if you like! Make a list of questions to ask your potential caterers of wedding receptions. You will be comparing these caterers and hopefully choosing the one that meets all your needs.
5. Feeding your vendors. Yes, we’re a little biased here, but we think it should be one of those questions you ask your caterer. It may be in your contract with the band/DJ and the photographer that you need to provide them with meals. Discuss getting special vendor meals with the caterer. Remember, a well-fed photographer is fueled and ready to photograph all the action that will happen at the reception (and not thinking about how hungry and tired he or she is). Let your catering manager know how important your photos are to you, and that the best way to get great photos is for your photographer to eat well at the same time you’re eating.
Remember, you want a caterer who understands what your personal needs are and who is dedicated to making that happen. When you do choose a caterer, review the contract fully before finalizing your decision. Make sure you are getting everything you want within your budget and that there are no hidden charges. More importantly, like any large investment in your wedding, give yourself enough time to shop around. The last thing you want is to rush into a decision and be disappointed with the end result.