Your wedding may well be the first experience you’ve had of organising a large event or entertaining on a grand scale, so it’s no surprise you might feel a little daunted by the task ahead. Here at Jacaranda, we see all kinds of couples during their wedding plans – some who have come to us through the venues where we’re the recommended catering partner, others who have heard about us from family and friends, and of course legions who stumble upon us through the worldwide web.
Whatever the occasion and however they’ve found us, we’re always keen to offer a helping hand to our clients. As such, if you’ve never worked with a caterer before, we’ve put together a list of questions you might want to ask before you decide who to hire.
- Are menus set as packages or is there flexibility for you to choose what you like and add your own input?
- Can you attend a tasting session? If so, how many dishes are you allowed to try?
- What are the sizes of the portions?
- Which dishes are the most popular? Which are the most suitable for the time of year you’re getting married?
- Will they be catering for any other events on your wedding date?
- Can they provide children’s meals and do they offer a reduced price for smaller portions?
- Can they cater for the rest of your wedding suppliers who may be on site?
- Do the staff have a uniform? If not, what will the front of house staff be wearing?
- Can they provide testimonials from previous customers? Can they show you a portfolio of catering they’ve done before at your wedding venue?
- Can you review the standard contract?
- What is the payment process? Will the deposit hold the date? What’s the cancellation policy and can your deposit be refunded?
- What does the cost cover? Ask about food and drink but also VAT, gratuities, set up and strike time, table linen, crockery, cutlery, glassware, cake stand, staff hire and equipment rental, too.
- Do they charge overtime if the reception runs long and what would that cost be?
- Are they licensed to sell alcohol? You’ll want to check about charges for a cash bar, corkage and bar staff.
- What insurance and licenses do they have? Are you required to get any special permissions?
- Will there be a catering or event manager available on the day? Will this be your same point of contact throughout the planning process?
- How many serving staff will there be and how far is the kitchen from the dining room? You don’t want guests to be served cold food if the kitchen is miles away or the event is understaffed!
- When do they need to have your final menu decision and confirmed head count?
Image Credit: Lizzie Patterson Photography
Don’t forget to ask about the basics too, including their availability on your wedding date and ability to deal with dietary requirements. A good caterer should know your wedding venue inside out by the time of your wedding date, so don’t be afraid to ask for advice if you need it. Our main purpose on the day may be food and drink but there’s not a lot we don’t know about!