Getting married? Here are five questions to ask your wedding caterer!

by | Jan 27, 2020 | Blog, Family Parties, Weddings

If 2020 started with an engagement – congratulations, it’s time to start planning your big day!

Once you’ve picked your venue, you’ll want to start thinking about your menu. Whether you’re dreaming of a large event or an intimate ceremony, food and drink will be one of the largest items in your wedding budget. So, it’s important to get it right.

At Elsie Perrin Williams Estate and Grosvenor Lodge, we trust our celebrations to three of London’s top caterers – Culinary Catering, Great Hall Catering, and Blackfriars Catering.

We reached out to find out what questions couples should ask to ensure their wedding caterer serves up exactly what they’re hoping for. Here’s what they said:

What type of wedding meal can you offer within our budget?
When it comes to your wedding reception, will you be hosting a cocktail party, brunch, buffet, or a formal plated dinner? And what is the cost associated with each option?

“It’s important that a couple know their budget and try to stay within it,” says Betty Heydon from Blackfriars Catering.

If you’re looking for something that reflects your personal taste or ethnic heritage, find out whether your caterer can customize a menu outside of their catering package, says Kristian Crossen of Great Hall Catering. That includes asking about any dietary restrictions or other special requirements. Take the time to find a caterer who can provide a few options that fit your vision, and your pocketbook.

What’s included in the quote? 
“Often a couple has very little knowledge about what is needed to host a successful large event and the associated costs,” says Heydon. For example, does your venue supply chairs, tables, linens, china, cutlery and glassware? If the answer is no, will they be supplied by your caterer, or can they assist in the ordering of rentals?

Then there’s the alcohol.

Can you apply for a license and supply your own liquor? If so, will there be an additional fee for corkage and to serve? Or, would you prefer your caterer to look after the bar from start to finish?

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What about staffing costs? 

You’ll need enough servers to ensure your celebration goes off without a hitch. That’s why Crossen says couples shouldn’t be shy about asking about the ratio of service staff to guests. It’s also important to know whether those staff are ‘Smart Serve’ certified and insured, and whether gratuities and any other miscellaneous service fees will be included on the final invoice.

Finally, don’t forget to find out about the deposit required to book your date, and what payments may be needed in advance.

How and where will the food be prepared?
Couples may not look at the kitchen when they tour their venue, so when it comes to hiring a cater you need to know what they can handle. “Some venues only offer a barebones kitchen with a countertop, fridge and sink,” says Heather Sutherland from Culinary Catering.

Does your caterer have the capacity and experience to prepare celebration-worthy food in your chosen venue? Don’t be afraid to ask for references!

Where do you source your ingredients?
Knowing where your caterer is buying or sourcing their items is equally important, says Sutherland. “Understanding the difference between locally sourced, seasonal, or organic items can impact the overall quality of your meal,” she notes.

How will you handle last-minute requests?
Even the best-planned wedding will have last-minute hiccups. “This could be as simple as ‘I forgot we were doing sunset photos’ or ‘the wedding cake I ordered doesn’t look like the right size to cut up as dessert,’” says Sutherland.

An experienced caterer should be able to adapt to any situation so you can simply relax and enjoy your big day!

Learn more about hosting your Winter Wedding celebration at Elsie Perrin Williams Estate or Grosvenor Lodge. Contact Paige at bookings@londonheritagefoundation.ca