Your wedding catering may be the biggest expense of your day, so you want to hire the right team for the job. They will set the mood with delicious appetizers, set your tables, and serve a memorable meal all within a tight schedule. To make sure you don’t miss a beat, we have questions to ask when interviewing a catering company and a Wedding Catering Checklist and Timeline!
Note that some venues will have an in-house caterer, others will have a preferred list of caterers to choose from, or you may be able to choose your own!
Questions to Ask Your Caterer
- Are you available for my wedding date?
- What deposit do you require?
- When is the final payment due?
- How many weddings does your company service in a day?
- Can I get a contract in writing?
- What is your cancellation policy?
- Can you share some reviews with me?
- How many years of experience do you have?
- How far in advance should I book with you?
- Do you have any travel fees?
- Can I customize the menu?
- What style of catering do you offer?
- Do you offer tastings? Are they complementary? How many people can I bring?
- What is included in your pricing? Does it include clean up?
- Do you specialize in certain types of food?
- How does delivery, set-up, and teardown work?
- Do you provide a wine pour option?
- Where will the food be prepared? Do you need to use on-site facilities?
- What time will you be on-site and off-site?
- Do you provide special dietary options?
- Do you charge per person or per item?
- Will you provide tables, chairs, plates, napkins, silverware, etc.?
- Will you make special meals for kids and my wedding service providers?
- Are you licensed?
- What is the server-to-guest ratio?
- What will the staff wear?
- Will you set out place cards, menus, and table numbers?
- When do you need our finalized choices?
- Do you have any extra fees? I.e. sales tax, service fees, gratuities
- Do you provide cake cutting? Is there an added fee for this?
- Do you have liquor liability insurance? (If they are providing bar service)
WEDDING CATERING CHECKLIST + TIMELINE
- Decide on the type of reception you want to have — cocktail, sit-down, brunch, formal, etc.
- Define your food and beverage budget
- Attend introductory tastings with caterers
- Interview and choose a catering company
- Meet a variety of companies and taste samples at one of our wedding shows!
- Pay deposit
- Schedule tasting with the caterer and finalize the menu
- Late-Night Eats
- Beverages (If provided)
- Choose plates, linens, tables, glassware, chairs, and flatware
- Finalize rehearsal dinner menu with the caterer (or venue/restaurant)
- Record guest menu selections as RSVPs come in
- TIP: Record any food allergies or dietary restrictions as you receive them and communicate everything to the catering company
- Finalize seating chart
- Give final guest count to caterer, bar service, and venue
- TIP: Don’t forget to include wedding vendors in meals!
- Give place cards, table numbers, and menus to the catering manager
- Confirm arrival and teardown time of catering
- Send the catering team a day-of schedule and floor plan layout
OR CLICK THE BELOW IMAGES TO SAVE TO YOUR CAMERA ROLL
Be sure to check out our other planning checklists!