Caterer Check-List

Tuesday, June 1, 2010
When going into a meeting with your cater whether an in-house cater at your reception venue or an outside cater here is a list of important questions to ask before finalizing and/or signing a contract. The most important thing to remember is to get everything in writing and don’t rely on verbal promises.

• Is there a particular style of food they specialize in?
• Can we create our own menu?
• Do you work with fresh foods (non-frozen)?
• Will the food be prepared on-site?
• Ask about a sample tasting.
• What is the price per person of a plated dinner vs. buffet-style? Does that cost-per-person just cover the food, or are charges such as staff, rentals, and linens included? What service costs are included and what costs are additional? Are set-up and clean-up included? How much is overtime if the reception runs long? Are gratuities included?
• Who will be in-charge/running my wedding? Who will be responsible for their staff? What will the staff wear?
• Can we bring in outside food (special family or cultural dish)? If not, will they use family recipes?
• Can they prepare specialized meals for food allergies (gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, etc.)?
• Do they have a license and liability insurance and a liquor license? (You can always ask to see their licenses)
• How many other weddings and/or events will you be doing on the day of my wedding?
• Is there a cake-cutting fee?

• Do you provide a bartender(s)?
• Host Bar vs. Cash Bar
o If doing a cash bar, can you get a discount for reaching a certain amount?
o Signature drinks
• Can you bring in your own alcohol?
o If so, what are the extra prices (i.e. corkage, etc?)
• Can you make special request for alcohol (specific brands of wine, beer and liquor)?

• Do you provide tables, chairs, linens, plates, utensils, glasses? If not, who do they recommend or do they handle rental orders?
o For those items, what colors and styles are available
• Will they set-up my tables as I want them including the folding of napkins, placement of centerpieces, favors, place cards and menu cards?
• How much time is needed for set-up and clean-up and what are you responsible for doing?
• Ask to see their contract?
• What kind of deposit is needed to hold a date?
• Ask for testimonials and see their portfolio of work?

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