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  • If your reception is a sit-down dinner, consider the quality of printing of your custom menus and name cards. Detail counts.
  • Fresh food is the best. Ask your caterer when the food is prepared. The less re-heated food, the better.
  • Find out if a relative does catering.
  • Find out if you can get a discount for X amount of people.
  • Ask the caterer to help you out in choosing the menu items. However, do not give him a free hand. The menu needs to be tailor made to your liking (or that of your guests). Your reception should be unique and the selection of food should not be identical to other weddings you or your guests have been to, especially from the same caterer.
  • Find a restaurant that might be interested in catering.
  • Comparison shop.
  • Don't let your caterer talk you into dishes you have never heard of. Simpler foods often come with simpler price tags.
  • Weigh your choices carefully (is X dish worth X times more to you?).
  • Interview your caterer and get references. Be sure to taste the product before you agree to buy it.
  • Follow up on any references. Ask specific questions rather than general questions. For example, don't ask "was the caterer good?", but instead "did the food/service meet with your expectations?" or "did the caterer show up on time?".
  • Get a contract stating everything you want as well as the caterer's duties (foods you want, date of wedding on contract, a clause stating that if caterer backs out, they have to provide you with another caterer who has comparable costs, etc)
  • Personal recommendations are best when choosing a caterer but some may be just starting their business, providing an excellent service, so make sure you sample the food.
  • Remember that the food and drinks will be prepared and served by hard-working kitchen staff and waiters. Whilst not obligatory, a small tip per catering staff, pre-arranged with the head-waiter in order to have the staff know about it before the actual event, will make it all the more worthwhile for them. And for you.

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