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Are you planning your wedding and not sure how to handle the catering for the reception? First, consider the type of wedding you will have. Will it be outdoors in a garden, by the beach, in a private home, or a large church? With this information, you should be able to get an idea of the types of foods you are interested in serving. For instance, the garden wedding would be excellent for an appetizer bar or light brunch, the beach wedding, finger sandwiches and fresh fruit, the private home, more of a potluck style, and for the formal wedding, a sit down dinner.

Just remember that you want to talk to numerous caterers and reserve the month you like several months before the wedding date. As you interview, ask about years of experience, what they specialize in, how they prepare and handle the food, delivery, food stations, servers, and so on. Once the caterer chosen and the deposit made, the two of you can start putting together a menu that will make all your guests happy.

A good caterer will take into account your style and size of reception, any ethnic concerns, and budget, and create a wonderful menu. However, the key to any successful reception is the caterer, which is why it is crucial to ask questions before you choose one. Remember, the caterer should help you determine the best set up and food dishes but choosing a caterer goes well beyond that. To help you with the planning stage, consider some of the important questions you should ask:
  • What is the cost per person
  • Are linens, dishes, and utensils included in the price or are they extra
  • Will you be able to choose from various colors to coordinate with your reception
  • Does the fee include any equipment rental
  • Does the fee include set up, clean up, and break down. If not, weigh the difference between the caterer taking care of these items or hiring friends
  • Will the caterer personally handle the reception or will an assistant be on the job
  • Who do you contact in case any problems arise
  • Can the caterer also make the wedding care and is there a cutting fee
  • Will a grooms cake be included and if not, what is the extra charge
  • Will the caterer provide beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic and what is the cost per drink
  • Is there a corkage fee per bottle
  • When is the final guest count needed
  • Will the caterer provide a written contract (if not, go elsewhere)
  • What is the payment, deposit, and cancellation policies
  • Are gratuities included in the fee
  • As you interview caterers to get ideas for your own wedding reception, ask to look at their portfolio. This will give you an idea of the qualifications and style. Additionally, read over the contract carefully and before you sign anything, run a check with the Better Business Bureau to see if the company has had any complaints. Finally, get all charges to include applicable tax and service harges in writing.

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