A five-point checklist for choosing your wedding caterer

Here's some food for thought.

The one thing you’d always remember about a wedding party, other than the bride and groom, is the food served. And whether you enjoy the lip-smacking delicacies at the wedding or if you have a long list of complaints about it, it is going to be etched in your memory. And if you want your guests to remember your wedding for all the good (and food) reasons, it's imperative to choose the right wedding caterer. 

If you’re planning to get married anytime soon, here’s what your checklist should include to make sure you’ve hired the right one. 

Establish a budget and work around it

The first step to choosing your wedding caterer is deciding on a budget. A way to go about this is finding out the average charges of caterers at your venue. It's best to keep a tentative guest list ready to work out the per plate costs with them. You can propose your budget to the caterer and either see what he has to offer within it or go with a list of items you want in the menu and work things around. It will give you a chance to see how creative they can get with their menu to fit your budget. 

You also need to understand what is included in a wedding caterer’s fees, to avoid any surprises. This includes specific details such as the strength of the team to be present at the event is also important among other things. 

Know what you want to serve

When you think about the food you want to serve your guests, what dishes come to your mind? Will it be a sit-down or a buffet? Will it include cocktails? The choices are endless. If you know the style and cuisine that you’re going for, choosing the right wedding caterer becomes a lot easier. 

Do your research well

Much like other departments involved in your wedding, caterers, too, are booked months in advance. So lock them in early. You can check at the venue if they’ve any suggestions, as chances are, they’ll have a list of vendors they regularly work with. If you don’t like their options, ask them any specific requirements the caterer of your choice needs to meet and plan accordingly (most venues will want to do a review before their approval). 

While you can go by the reviews on the Internet ask your friends, family, and co-workers about their experience working with a good caterer. It’s always great to get firsthand knowledge of how the food and service was on their big day. 

Ask them the important questions

Ask them the questions, however basic they may seem. Their availability, if they’ve catered a wedding at the chosen venue, how much space will they need, and the time they will take. Check if they are charging per person or a lumpsum and if they will take care of any allergies and dietary requests (they ideally, should). Get a clear account of how many items will be made live at the venue and the bartending set-up. One of the most important questions you should ask them is what they will do with the leftover food. 

Schedule a tasting session with your top picks

A tasting session is imperative before any money is exchanged. It will give you a fair idea about the quality, style, and presentation of the food. It also keeps your expectations in check and gives you time to decide if you want anything more. Furthermore, it allows ample scope to integrate any minor additions into the menu.