Cooking For A Crowd
Choosing Your Caterers
Recipes for Quantity Cooking

Choosing Your Caterers

Once you’ve found your ideal venue, the couple and /or the bride's parents, should make an appointment with the person in charge to discuss dates, times, numbers of guests and the exact prices of things - specifically the cost of the meal, which is usually the biggest expense.

It is important to allow yourself sufficient time to get various estimates and to compare catering services, facilities and costs if necessary. Remember that caterers tend to get booked up months in advance.

A personal recommendation or your own experience of a caterer’s work is always the best guide. If the caterer runs a restaurant or hotel, try to sample a meal on the premises before making your decision. Many hotels will let you sample their suggested wedding menus, either for free, or at a reduced price, once you have made your booking with them.

Your caterer will need to know the date, time of reception, number of guests, level of hospitality you wish to provide and your limit on charges per head to supply you with ideas and quotations. Costs are usually quoted per ‘head’ (guest). Always ask for quotes and confirmation of everything in writing – and file your copies carefully!

You should also check on the following:
Do they cater for people with special dietary needs, providing vegetarian, vegan or kosher alternatives?
Will they provide the wine or can you bring our own? (This is usually cheaper, depending on the corkage charge.)
Will they supply the cake stand and knife?
How much notice of final numbers do they require?
Will they take care of all the clearing-up?
If catering at the bride's home, what kitchen facilities do they require?
How much deposit needs to be paid by when and when is the final bill to be settled?
And don't forget to finalize numbers with the caterers just before the wedding, especially if there are late cancellations, otherwise you’ll have to pay for wasted meals.

Bear in mind that, in addition to the catering staff, you may also need someone to open the door and take coats, people to look after the coats, a toastmaster (optional) to announce guests and run the proceedings, waiters and waitresses to hand round food and drink and someone to help with any young guests.

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