Skimp on other things, but not the food! Such a cliché, but couples might have heard their folks saying this several times already. Indeed, food almost always consumes the biggest budget in any wedding. Given how meticulous the guests are, newly-engaged couples cannot just choose any wedding caterer.
Here are the 20 mind-boggling-albeit-food-related questions that will help you in narrowing down the choices–choosing the best catering provider among them and making your wedding as memorable as it should be.
1) Can you cater to our chosen location? Is there an additional charge if the location is outside the city?
2) Do you provide a banquet coordinator who will take care of everything on the wedding day itself?
3) Do you have wedding packages? What are the inclusions of each package? Do you have an ala carte food choices?
4) Do you specialize in a particular cuisine? Can you serve Italian, Japanese, or native Filipino cuisine, for example?
5) Do you have preset menus? Can we customize our menu?
6) Can you accommodate theme menus along with the appropriate décors?
7) What food choices will you recommend? What if we want a particular dish to be served? Will you accommodate our request?
8) Are you using fresh produce? What if we prefer organically farmed ingredients? Can you accommodate such request?
9) Can you accommodate our and our guests’ dietary restrictions, if there are any?
10) Which is the best option given our budget: appetizer stations or passed appetizers?
11) Which is the best option based on our budget: plated or buffet? If we choose buffet, are the costs of the other food stations inclusive or not?
12) Are the buffet tables and appetizer stations fully decorated?
13) Are there any package upgrades such ice sculptures, chocolate fountains, cappuccino machines, etc.?
14) What about children’s meals? Are there separate meals for them? How much do you charge per kid?
15) Are the packages inclusive of the wedding cake? Do you have samples that we can browse? Can you accommodate our request if we have a cake design of choice?
16) If we outsource our wedding cake from another vendor, will you require a cake-cutting fee?
17) Are the packages inclusive of desserts other than the wedding cake? Can we choose our own dessert(s)?
18) Are the packages inclusive of other paraphernalia such as the guest book, pair of dove in decorated birdcage, souvenirs, etc.?
19) Do you offer food tasting for free?
20) What type of fabric do you use for skirting cloth? What kind of dinnerware, glassware, and flatware do you use?
Evidently, the questions above are mostly about the food. We might as well dig deeper into asking drink-related questions. Yes, drinks mean non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages. Consider asking these questions:
• Are the packages inclusive of the sparkling wine or champagne for post-ceremony toast or not?
• Do we have to pay a corkage fee if we are going to provide our own wine?
• Can you accommodate our request for specialty cocktails?
• Are you going to serve alcoholic beverages? What brand(s) and until what time?
• Can you set up a minibar with bartenders?
• Can you serve coffee and/or tea after the meal? What brands of coffee or tea do you serve?
There are catering-related questions that may affect how organized your wedding will be. These questions include:
• Are the packages inclusive of the service charge and tax?
• What is the ratio of the server to our guests? Will we be required to pay extra for additional servers?
• How are the servers and/or bartenders be dressed?
• How much time do you need to set up?
• Can you assist with other activities such as choosing a theme or looking for a venue?
• Will we be charged with overtime fees if the wedding runs longer than contracted? Is the charge per hour?
• What are your payment policies? Do you accept check, credit or debit cards or PayPal?
• Is a deposit required for holding my date? Will the deposit be reimbursed if we aren’t able to pay the downpayment?
• How long until our slot will be released if we aren’t able to pay the downpayment?
• Is the downpayment fully deductible from the total cost?
• How long can we expect the contract after booking? Are you going to provide us a revised contract if there are any changes in menu choices?
• What are the inclusions of the contract?
• What are your refund policies? What about the cancellation policies?
• What are the other fees and costs involved that we must know of?
Further, your quest for the best wedding caterer doesn’t stop at asking the right questions. There are various factors to consider as well.
1) Per pax
Be reminded that other than giving a quote for a wedding package, wedding caterers mostly charge per pax. Some caterers require a minimum number of persons before entitling the clients to basic amenities such as setup, sound system, Tiffany chair upgrade, etc.
Basically, the basic per person charge is not the only thing to consider. You might as well bring a calculator with you when you visit the wedding caterer in your shortlist.
Leftover is one most often overlooked factors of wedding catering. Establish what must be done to the leftovers. As a client, you may request the caterer to have them wrapped and let the guests take them home. You may also instruct the caterer to wrap the leftovers and then deliver it to a nearby charity.
Yet another commonly ignored factor is cleaning up. So, you also need to establish with the catering provider who will do the cleaning. Cleaning is usually a component of the package, but it is always wise to determine who will be responsible with the dirt and trash.
When planning the menu, you should be realistic about your food choices given the budget and the guests. Ask many questions as you possibly can.
With all these, the catering company representative must willingly answer your questions. All these questions should be easy to answer. Take a cue from how the representative behaves when you ask a question and how he or she answers the questions thrown at his or her way in actuality.
Hesitation on the part of the representative is a clear indication of the kind of service that the caterer provides. Certainly, you must know when to stop asking question and move on to the next caterer in your list.