Tips on choosing a caterer for your wedding
A caterer might not be the first thing you think about booking when you plan your wedding, but especially if you have a guest list of 50 or more it’s a serious consideration. The last thing you need on your wedding day is to worry about whether people have had enough to eat. Unless you’re related to a professional caterer, it’s probably a bad idea to accept family offers of help too – it’s much nicer to have your relatives and friends enjoy the day with you instead of running around after everyone else.
What type of catering do you need?
The catering and refreshments will very much depend on the type of reception you would like. Some venues, like Ufford Park, have their own caterers; others will happily recommend suppliers to you. If you’re having an informal wedding with a marquee, you could even get quotes from local restaurants, off-licences or supermarkets.
Part of a package?
It’s increasingly common for venues to include catering in their wedding packages. Not only do you know the cost upfront, it can be really helpful as it means one less supplier to organise and gives you one point of contact instead of several. You’ll still need to be clear about your requirements, as packages can vary. At Ufford, we do a ‘fixed price per head’ option and even a ‘fixed price per wedding’ option. A simple wedding breakfast and buffet will suit some couples, where others will prefer a more luxurious event. It’s your day; be sure to ask for what you want.
Word of mouth
If you want to find your own caterer, one great way to find someone reputable is by word of mouth – if you enjoyed a wedding recently, why not ask the couple who catered it? Alternatively, some venues will also let you ‘try before you buy’ and sample suggested wedding menus at a reduced price, or even free of charge, once you’ve booked.
Once you know the dates, times and guest numbers, you can make an appointment to see your caterer. Think about what you actually want to offer your guests; will you have a maximum amount per person for example? And always get quotes in writing.
Wedding caterers can be booked up months in advance, so although you need to give yourself time to compare quotes and decide what you prefer, don’t leave it too late or you might end up with a second choice – or having to start all over again.
Doing the paperwork
When you’ve decided who you’d like to cater your wedding, you need to get down to the finer details before you sign the contracts. Confirm the date and times, get a full breakdown of the cost of the food and drink, ask about any corkage fees if you intend to supply drinks yourself, and make sure any additional expenses like staff, travel expenses and equipment hire are included so that there are no hidden extras when the invoice arrives.
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