10 Questions to Ask a Wedding Caterer

Posted by Kim on Oct 29, 2013


Photo by Hearts & Horseshoes Photography

Of course, your guests will attend your wedding to watch you and your fiancé(e) get married. But they’ll also want to celebrate – and eat! When looking for a wedding caterer, you’ll want to make sure that the food both tastes and looks appealing and fits your wedding style and budget.  Plus, it’s essential to find a caterer that’s approved by your venue. Check out WeddingWire’s Vendor Reviews to find a caterer near you, and then take a look at these questions to ask a potential caterer.

Are you available on my date? Of course if the caterer is not available on your date, it’s a no-go.

Have you ever worked at my venue before? Some venues only allow approved caterers to work at their site. Whether or not that’s the case, it’s a good idea to find a caterer who is comfortable at your venue, though not a deal-breaker.

Can I see a sample menu? Start by telling the caterer about your wedding – your style, the guest count, how you visualize the food, etc. and ask to see a menu from a wedding that’s similar. You’ll get a sense if you and the caterer are on the same page in terms of style.

Do you allow couples to customize their menus at all? If you have specific requests or dietary restrictions, it’s important to find a caterer that’s flexible. Maybe you’d like to have your grandmother’s green bean casserole recipe served at your wedding. Find out if the caterer would be open to preparing family favorites, if that’s important to you.

Are you licensed? Depending on the state, make sure your caterer is licensed from the health department and for alcohol service.

Can we do a tasting? If so, is there a fee involved? Having a pre-wedding tasting is an important part of the planning process. Find out how the caterer’s tastings work – are they done before or after the contract is signed? What is included?

Will you provide rentals like tables, chairs, linens, etc.? If the answer is no, your venue should be able to assist you with finding a rental company to work with.

What’s your typical ratio of servers to guests? This depends on if you’d having a buffet or sit-down dinner. Usually sit-down dinners will have around a one server to 20 guest ratio or less, while for a buffet the guest count will be higher.

Who will be on site on my wedding day? You’ll want to be sure that you meet the coordinator who will be at your wedding beforehand.

Can you provide a per person price range for an event like mine? While this won’t be exact, it’s a good idea to make sure that the pricing fits within your budget. Note that catering will be one of the biggest expenses of your wedding day.

Summer Menu Inspiration: Beverages

Posted by Alexandra on Jul 09, 2013

Summer-BeveragesPhotos (clockwise from top left): Carmen Ash Photography, Hunter McRae Photography, Christa Elyce Photography, Austin & Dara Photography, Ashley Bartoletti Photography, Mackensey Alexander Photography

With so many delicious fruits in peak season during the summer months, there are plenty of great beverage options for summer weddings. Beat the heat with any of these refreshing summertime drinks!

Sangria – wine infused with fruit, spices, sweetener and soda packs a flavorful punch.

Lemonade – it wouldn’t be summer without the season’s fresh-squeezed signature drink!

Berry Fizz – pour bubbly or sparkling water over muddled summer berries for a sweet, sparkling sip.

Peach Iced Tea – fresh summer peaches add a flavorful twist to this warm weather pick-me-up.

Mojito – swirling sprigs of cool mint make this Cuban cocktail a summertime favorite.

Sea Breeze – this cranberry-grapefruit concoction is as refreshing as the ocean air!

What will your summer wedding guests be sipping? Let us know in the comments!


Summer Menu Inspiration: Appetizers

Posted by Alexandra on Jul 08, 2013

Summer-AppetizersPhotos (clockwise from top): Riverland Studios, Viera Photographics, Bound By Amelia Strauss, Viera Photographics

We hope everyone had a happy Fourth of July and enjoyed the holiday weekend! This week on the blog, we’re talking summer wedding food! We’ve broken down the menu and rounded up some of our favorite seasonal fare for each category. Let’s start off with some delicious summer wedding appetizers!

Shrimp Cocktail – we love the idea of serving shrimp in chilled shot glasses with a bit of cocktail sauce!

Summer Salad – mix seasonal fruits like peaches, plums, melons and berries with fresh greens for a light, tasty starter.

Oysters – fresh raw oysters chilled over ice make a perfect seaside wedding hors d’oeuvre.

Sliders – hold guests over with bite-sized versions of this summertime classic.

What hors d’oeuvres are you serving at your summer wedding? Let us know in the comments!

Hors D’Oeuvres Trends

Posted by Kim on Feb 04, 2013

Clockwise from top, left: Photo courtesy of Rochelle Myers Catering; photo courtesy of Pure Kitchen Catering; photo courtesy of The Barbeque Exchange; photo courtesy of Milan Catering & Event Design; catering by Lola’s Cafe and Catering, photo by Uplift Photography

When sketching out your wedding budget, you can expect to spend about half on your catering and venue. So it’s super-important to find a caterer you’re happy with and select food that you are excited to eat. But it’s not all about how your food tastes (even though that’s a big part of it!) – finding fun, creative, and user-friendly ways to present your meal is essential. This is especially true during cocktail hour, when your guests are trying to balance mingling, drinking, and eating all at once. That’s why we’re fans of these hors d’oeuvres which can be eaten with one hand.

Soup Shooters: Choose your favorite soup, but serve it in a tiny glass for easy sipping. Depending on the season, you can serve hot (chicken consomme with mini matzo balls, anyone?) or cold (tomato gazpacho) varieties.

“One Bites” on a Spoon: If you’ve been watching the new TV show “The Taste,” you probably know that it’s completely possible to create a composed dish with layers of flavor on a small spoon.

Anything on a Stick: From Asian chicken to macaroni and cheese to sushi, many of your favorite hors d’oevures can be put on a stick for easy eating.

Cones: They’re not just for ice cream anymore! Serve tuna tartare, smoked salmon, even barbeque chicken in waffle cones so guests can eat them with just one hand.

Two-in-Ones: Grilled cheese and tomato soup, mini hot dogs and beer – think about items that go well together and stack ’em!

What hors d’oeuvres are you serving at your wedding? Tell us in the comments!

Quick Tip: Plan that each guest will eat six to eight hors d’oeuvres during cocktail hour – and make sure you have some extras!

Spread the Love!

Posted by Caitlin on Dec 10, 2012

Have you ever noticed how much food is left over from a cocktail hour or a wedding reception? There’s a lot—from leftover rolls, bread, butter, cheese, seafood, chicken, salad and desserts—that could be donated to your local soup kitchens or pantries to help those who are less fortunate.

A wedding is the perfect opportunity to give back to your community. Across America, one out of seven households is “food insecure.” That’s 17.2 million households, or 14.5 percent of all American households that are not sure when they might eat their next meal or where it will come from.

Let your event planner, caterer or venue know if you would like to donate to the hungry. Thanks to the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act passed in 1996, there are no liability issues in donating food to non-profits so long as the donation is in good faith, and the donor has not been negligent in appropriate care of the food. In fact, The New England National Association of Catering and Events’ Feeding Our Neighbors Initiative was one of the first event-industry based initiatives to encourage food donation from events.

Brides, grooms and parents should consider this option. Communication is key. Inform your caterer, venue and event planner of this information. You can even include this in your contract by adding, “leftover food will be donated to _______ and will be arranged to be picked up the following day.

However, you should contact a local food pantry or shelter at least two weeks prior to your wedding to coordinate pick-up and determine what kind of food the non-profit accepts. This will vary, with some shelters being more willing to come that night or the next day after your reception to take any leftover food, to other non-profits, who will have more limited availability and stringent regulations for what types of food are acceptable.

For more information on food donations and a list of food rescue centers in your area, please visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or EPA.