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Hiring a Wedding Caterer

While your wedding ceremony  will probably be the most meaningful and memorable part of your wedding day , that doesn't mean that your wedding reception  should fall by the wayside.  In fact, the reception is a time where you can do some serious de-stressing after all those gruelling months of planning, while your relatives and friends get to catch-up on old times or be acquainted for the first time.  And you know what helps get those good times rolling?  A lot of delicious cocktails  and foods .  That's why wisely picking your wedding caterer is one of the most important decisions you'll face when planning your reception.  So take a deep breath and a good look at the following tips to get you on a savoury path to wedding dish  bliss.

Resources

Good places to get the scoop on wedding caterers:

  • Area Bridal Magazines . Pick up some publications geared toward your state or region and start making some calls.
  • Friends and Family. Who better to trust? Just make sure to ask people who had a wedding party  of similar size and style. Not all companies can accommodate large venues and formal fare.
  • Your Wedding Planner . Hopefully your wedding planner is experienced and may already have a few ideas in mind. If not, give him or her your specifications and ask for a list of potential vendors. You are paying them for this, right?
  • The Reception Venue . If your reception site has hosted weddings and other formal affairs in the past, chances are they'll have a caterer on-site or some good working relationships with some caterers nearby.
  • Web-Surfing . This offers you the most options and the most avenues for disaster. As with anything online, don't believe everything you read and do your homework.

Decision-Making

Before you go meeting with potential caterers, you need to have a few things set in stone.

  • Your Budget. There's no use in dealing with caterers who have prices that overwhelmingly exceed your budget; it's a waste of everyone's time.
  • Your Style. Determine how formal you want the reception to be. This will help caterers determine what types of foods to serve along with the number of courses. This may also help determine whether seat-service or buffet  is best for guests.
  • Your Guests. Consider guests with special needs like allergies and dietary restrictions so that you can choose a caterer that can best accommodate those cases.
  • Your Wedding Date  and Reception Venue . If the caterer is unavailable that day or is located so far away that travelling with the food may cause it to spoil, you need to assess other options.

After reviewing all this good stuff, then you can sit down to discuss your options.  Meet with several different caterers, and have tastings with each one.  You wouldn't settle on the first wedding gown you see, nor should you settle on the first caterer you meet with.  Ask a bridesmaid or groomsman to come along to help you judge taste and presentation.

Quick Picks!

Wedding Catering Cookbook 

Perfect Wedding Planning 

Wedding Planning Made Easy DVD 

Caterers & Outside Catering 

Staying Sane When You're Planning a Wedding 

 Related Guides

Hiring a Cake Designer

Hiring a Wedding Planner

Choosing an Officiant

Cocktail Receptions

Hiring a Wedding Florist