Last month, we brought you expert advice on dessert bars from My Sweet and Saucy. Next in our series of tricky wedding quandries: selecting a wedding caterer. Aside from the joyous moment when you and your groom are pronounced husband and wife, the food might just be the most anticipated element at your wedding. Because of this, the search for catering can lead to many stressful discussions and decisions. Luckily, our good friend Michael of Michael Stuart NY has a few words of wisdom to make this task a little less daunting. We asked Michael what questions engaged couples should have ready for their potential caterers:
Since most wedding caterers handle so many facets of wedding production, such as staffing, rentals, bar, and coordinating with other vendors, the sheer volume of details can be daunting. We pride ourselves on developing personal relationships with our wedding clients, so they will feel comfortable coming to us with any questions or concerns they may have.
Here are a few questions to ask that will help in narrowing down your choice of caterer:
-Ask how many food passers they are providing per guest. Ideally, we like to have 1 food passer per 25 guests; 1 per 40 at the very LEAST. Many people don’t have the budget for a caterer to provide that many food passers, but anything under 1 per 40 guests is not enough food for such a short time span.
-Ask if they have worked at the venue where you are getting married, and for references from clients who were married at that venue.
-If you are booking your caterer far in advance of your wedding, ask who will be your contact person for the entire process. Your account manager and possibly an assistant should be the only people you deal with from your caterer during the whole process. Make sure the person who does your proposal and tasting isn’t going to just hand you off to someone else once you hand in your deposit.
-Ask for other vendor recommendations, but never feel like you have to use those recommendations. You will generally find that groups of vendors like to work with each other, whether it be rental companies, florists, lighting, or décor. Be wary of any caterer who only tells you they work with a certain vendor, especially when it comes to rentals. While most rental companies generally have most of the same products, each one usually has a different variety of specialty products, such as farm tables, platters, glassware, and china. Do your research to make sure you get the items you really want. Simple things can make a huge difference in the aesthetic.
-If the caterer is providing an open bar, ask for a list of all the products they will be providing. Ask to taste their house wines and champagne; ask what beer options they have; ask what specific alcohols they provide.
Michael Stuart NY is a member of Blue Label.
Check back soon for part II!
photo credits: Jen Huang Photography and Missy Photography