Wedding Planning Guide

Questions to Ask Your Wedding Caterer

what to ask your wedding caterer checklist
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AVAILABILITY

Is my wedding date available?

Have you ever worked at our wedding venue?

Do you have other weddings or events on the weekend of my wedding?

Are you available to do a venue walk-through before the wedding date? If so, is there an additional fee for this?

EXPERIENCE

How long have you been in business?

How many weddings do you cater per year?

Do you have a license and liability insurance?

Do you have a license to serve alcohol?

Will I need special permits for my event? If so, will you handle obtaining them?

Have you ever worked with our wedding planner?

Are references and/or reviews available for me to access?

FOOD

What meal service styles do you offer (plated dinner, buffet, family style, etc.)?

Do you have any signature dishes or specialties?

Given the style, time, and date of my wedding, what are some menu items that you suggest?

Would we work off a preset menu or can you create a custom menu for our event?

If I have a special dish I'd like served, can you accommodate that?

Where do you source your ingredients?

Can you accommodate special menu requests and guests’ allergies or dietary restrictions? Are there additional charges for dietary restrictions/menus adjustments?

Will you provide children's meals? If so, what's the pricing?

Do you do wedding cakes? If so, what's the pricing?

If we use an outside cake designer, do you charge a cake-cutting fee?

If I decide not to serve cake, what are some other dessert options?

DRINK

Do you provide alcoholic beverages and bartenders?

Can you accommodate specialty cocktails?

What brands of alcohol will be served?

Can we provide the alcohol and you provide the bartenders?

Do you charge a corkage fee if we provide our own wine or champagne?

How do you charge for alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages? Per consumption or per person? Which is more cost-effective?

Is a champagne toast included in your meal packages or is it extra?

Will your staff serve the wine with dinner?

How long will alcohol be served?

Is coffee and tea service included in the pricing?

PRICING & PAYMENT

Do you offer catering packages or is everything à la carte?

What do your packages include and what will I have to pay extra for?

How much do you charge for vendor meals?

Can I taste the menu, or parts of it, in advance? Is there a fee for this?

How many menu tastings can you do?

Are there any additional fees I should know about?

What’s the difference between a gratuity and a service charge?

How far in advance do I need to book you?

When can I expect to receive my contract from you?

How much is the deposit and when is it due?

When is the final payment due?

What is your refund/cancellation policy?

What information do you need from me before the wedding day?

When would I need to finalize the menu?

When will you need a final guest count?

LOGISTICS

Where will the food be prepared and what are your water, electrical, and equipment needs?

Will you provide a catering captain/banquet manager to coordinate the meal service?

How long does the meal service usually take?

What time will you and your staff arrive at the site?

How long will it take your team to set up and break down the event?

How many staffers (servers, bussers, bartenders, captains, culinary, etc.) will be at my event?

What is the ratio of servers to guests?

Are the servers/staff employees of the company or temporary staff?

Will your team handle all table settings? Will they light candles and put out place cards and favors?

Do you handle rental equipment such as tables, chairs, etc.?

What types of linens, glassware, plates, and flatware do you provide?

Do you offer rental upgrades such as lounge furniture, Chiavari chairs, etc.? What would be the additional fees?

Do you provide any décor for food tables like appetizer stations or buffet tables?

Is there an additional fee to move ceremony chairs to the reception?

What is your policy on cleanup?

How do you handle gratuity for your staff?

What is the dress code for your staff?

What do you do with leftover food?

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