Pittsburgh Wedding DJ | DJ Rockin Steve - Tips On Choosing Your Wedding Caterer | What To Ask
  • Tips On Choosing Your Wedding Caterer | What To Ask

    Choosing the right caterer for your wedding reception isn't as difficult as it may seem but keep in mind wedding food will reflect probably the largest portion of your budget. Hopefully by now you have a rough idea of the total number of people you are expecting at your wedding reception, and this includes you two, the bridal party and family. You may or may not have a few children so note that as you will not want to feed the three year old a filet mignon.

    Once you have narrowed down an approximate number of meals ask yourself how much do we have to pay for dinner. Traditionally it is the brides parents that will pick up the expense for dinner but these days the bride and groom often help out a little to divide up the overall expenses. Once you have a general idea of how much you have budgeted it's time to check out a few caterers.

    The venue you are having the reception at may have a few suggestions for you or they may allow you to select from three or four caterers that they have found work well over the years. Start off with getting general information from each of them such as what they offer and are they available for your wedding day. Some caterers are able to handle multiple events while some are limited to one per day.

    Ask each caterer if they offer a wide variety of selections or would you pick from a few entrees. Can you substitute any portion such as changing the vegetable if you so desire. They should be able to provide you with a sample menu for you to look over. Ask if they work with fresh and not frozen foods. Do they provide a child's meal such as chicken fingers and fries if you are having little ones at the reception? Will you need any kosher or vegetarian meals?

    Once you have looked over the menu check the cost and see if what you are considering is within your budget. If not you may alter the dinner menu or look into another caterer. You will find that prices will vary so be sure to understand what you are getting for your money.

    Things such as tables, chairs, table coverings, settings and even the wedding cake may be included, or not in the price. Don't be afraid to ask and listen carefully to their reply. A good catering manager will know what you are going to need and offer suggestions to make this work.

    If things are tight you may opt for a nicer meal for the bridal and parent table with something similar for the guests. However it is easier and probably better to stick with one meal or a choice of beef, chicken or fish for guests.

    Will the caterer allow a tasting of specific foods that you are interested in prior to hiring them? They should and if you are interested in them go ahead and schedule a time when you can sample some of their foods and be able to ask additional questions. Inquire if there is a flat rate or does each type of food have a different price. Do these prices reflect linens, tax and gratuity?

    If you are still within your price range and like the food inquire about how involved in the wedding reception are they? Will they prompt you to cut the cake and cue the band or DJ? We run the reception for you so this is not an issue as we will coordinate with all of your professionals and keep everything moving along.

    If the caterer does not get involved like that then consider hiring a wedding coordinator or talking to your disc jockey about handling this. Again if we are a part of your wedding day we will handle these things for you.

    Will this be a sit down, buffet or station service? How will the food be placed on the plates or how will the buffet be set up? If you are having stations what will each station include and how long will the station remain open? Do they have pictures of the meals you are considering to give you a better idea how everything will look? If you will be having hors d'oeuvres will they be plated or butler passed?

    Who will be the main contact and the person in charge on your wedding day? Will this be the same person you will be dealing with right up to the day before the wedding? It's normally better to work with one person during the entire process.

    Does the venue have tables and chairs or will the caterer have to provide them? What about items such as salt and pepper shakers, are they included or will that be an extra charge? Is the caterer allowed to use any kitchen equipment (if available) or will these items need to be rented? If there are appliances in the kitchen is there a fee for the caterer using them?

    Will the food be prepared there or at another location then trucked there until serving time? What time would they be arriving and will your venue location be open to allow them access? This would be the case of a social or fire hall.

    How many wait staff will there be for the number of guests you are expecting? The professional caterers will usually supply their own staff even if the venue comes with a wait staff. Ask what is the dress attire for the staff. This is a formal affair and they should be dressed appropriately.

    Has the caterer you are considering have a license and has met all of the health code standards? Do they carry liability insurance? If not it may be wise to look further. If they will be handling the alcohol and this would require a liquor license?

    Will your caterer provide the alcohol or will you be responsible for it? If they provide the alcohol ask to see a list. If you are to provide the alcohol will there be any corkage fees and when do you need to have the alcohol to the venue/caterer?

    After all of this if you are still interested with this caterer ask if you may contact some recent clients of events similar to yours? With the internet these days most caterers will have testimonials and reviews of recent customers. Reading some of these may aide you in your decision.

    I hope these tips for choosing your wedding caterer and questions to ask have helped you in selecting the right caterer for your wedding.

    DJ Rockin Steve Credo