You may be so nervous on your big day that you forget what food even is. But your guests won’t. They will most likely be hungry after the ceremony and what you serve them can set the tone for the rest of the reception, not to mention the memories they will take away with them.

Now, I’m not saying this to stress you out. Planning a wedding on its own is hard work, so you already know what you are up against. This is why we are here to help. We have put together a short guide to help you choose the right caterer so you can stop any of the worry right now.

First things first. Ask yourself these simple questions to get headed in the right direction.

Do I even need a caterer? Depending on the location of your reception, the catering may be included or available at an additional cost. On the other hand, they may not even allow you to bring in an outside caterer so make sure to ask the event planner at your venue.

Do I want a buffet, sit-down dinner, or hors d’oeuvres? When you think about your reception, your main thought may be food. But delve a little deeper. What is your budget? What time of day is the reception? What type of food option fits your theme? Getting this straightened out right away will help you to eliminate caterers from your maybe list.

What aspects of the food at my reception are most important to me? If you have children and know a large number of guests are bringing their own children, you may want to choose a caterer who is child-friendly. Or maybe you are having a country themed wedding and you want to serve BBQ. You want to choose a caterer who specialized in this food.

Do I trust this caterer? The best way to find a professional for any big event is to ask friends and family for recommendations. It is also advisable to do an Internet search for both positive and negative reviews. When you interview a caterer, make sure to ask for references, as well. If they stand behind their work, they will be glad to share these with you.

Now that you have gotten your basic needs figured out, it is time to go through your list of potential caterers and check some off. Once you have narrowed the list down, call caterers and set up interviews. Prepare a list of questions from your responses above and bring the list with you to each interview.

Here are some sample questions you may ask. But remember, the questions you bring to an interview are specific to you and your wedding so take the time to write out some well thought questions.

  • Will you cater to my needs? Do you specialize in the specific foods that I am looking for?
  • What services do you offer? Will you provide your own settings? Do you set up and clean up on your own? Will you provide a set menu or allow me to choose my own menu? Do you provide alcohol?
  • Do you have experience serving the number of guests I am planning to invite?
  • Can you work in the space provided at my venue? What will you bring? What do I need to provide?

Once you have thoroughly interviewed each potential caterer and read their reviews or called their references, it is time to pick. If it still isn’t so clear cut, make a list of what you believe is most important aspects of your caterer and compare each one. Still can’t choose? You most likely have narrowed it down to the best options so go with your gut. It rarely fails you, right?