Wedding catering has the second biggest impact on the feel of your wedding day after the venue. From plated beef Wellington to buffet pulled pork sandwiches and everything in between the food you serve will dictate your guests experience. That can make finding the right caterer for your wedding more challenging than you would imagine. Luckily there are plenty of options for wedding catering in Indianapolis.
With these 12 questions of what to ask wedding caterers you will be on the right path to finding the right caterer for your wedding here in Indiana. Before you start calling around to caterers you should have a wedding budget and also check with your vendor first to see if they even allow outside caterers. Be sure to check out all of the questions to ask your wedding venue here.
Once you have a budget and know your venue will allow outside catering, 10 months before your wedding is when to book a wedding reception caterer. Here are the 12 questions you need to ask any potential wedding caterer.
PS Download the PDF with all of the questions below to take with you to your next caterer interview at the bottom of the page!
1: Have you ever catered at my venue?
This should not be a big deal if they have not, but if they have ask if there is anything you need to be aware of to avoid any surprises.
2: Are you licensed to serve alcohol? If so do you accommodate special mixed drinks? Can we provide the alcohol? If not what brands will be served? Are prices per drink or per person?
Weddings and Alcohol go hand in hand. If you plan on serving drinks to your guest be sure to ask these questions as they will give you a clear idea on pricing and logistics.
3: Will we need any special permits for my wedding? If so will you obtain them?
If you are getting married at a state park you may need a special permit to serve food and other places may need a permit to serve alcohol. The caterer should know and also know how to obtain them.
4: Can you accommodate dietary restrictions? What about kids meals and vendor meals?
Many people have dietary restrictions. It may be for medical reasons of health conscious reasons. Regardless your caterer should be able to accommodate if you give them notice. Also there is no reason to provide a pricier meal to any picky children who would be happy with chicken tenders or Mac and cheese. Also ask about vendor meals options. Typically vendor meals are for your wedding planner, photographer, and DJ.
5: Do you provide any decor?
Often caterers will supply some decor like posted menus for a buffet or other arrangements for an appetizer table. Ask what their options are. It could save you from having to rent extras.
6: Do we have to work off a preset menu or can we customize a menu or have a theme?
More and more couples are including food in the theme of their wedding. From BBQ to Hawaiian Luau. If you will have a predominant theme for your wedding, ask your caterer for ideas!
7: What are my options for cocktail hour? What’s the price difference between an appetizer station and passed appetizers?
Cocktail hour is for your guests to enjoy a bite to eat after the ceremony while you and the bridal party are with the photographer. Caterers should have a wide variety of options to serve your guests. Having passed appetizers encourages your guests to walk around and chat with other guests as they will not naturally head to a table.
8: Do you charge a cake cutting fee? / If we don't want cake, what other desert options are available?
Your caterer will be the ones cutting up your wedding cake to serve to all of your guests. Some will charge a cake cutting fee, typically only if they did not produce the cake. And if you don’t want cake, ask them what other options are available.
9: Do you have boxes for guests to take home leftover food / can it be donated to a local shelter?
If there is leftover food that you don’t to go to waste ask for containers that let your guests take home food or many caterers partner with local shelters. Ask what the typically do and make a plan so that it does not get wasted.
10: How much time is required to set up / breakdown? Are there extra fees for that?
This is important if you have time restrictions from your venue.
11: Given our budget and number of guests what menu would you recommend? Do you have any speciality dishes?
Caterers are the experts when it comes to serving food. Ask for their suggestion. They do this every day and know the logistics of serving at weddings. You might be surprised with their recommendation.
12: What’s the price difference between buffet and plated meals? If we do a plated dinner how many servers would be needed for the number of guests we have?
Buffet style serving is typically the most cost effective but the time it takes to get everyone through the line and served is much longer. With a plated service, everyone gets served at the same time meaning you can have toasts or even dances without worrying anyone will miss them in line getting food.
Ask to see a cost breakdown
Next before you sign anything, ask for a cost breakdown. This should go over everything you decided on for your wedding catering needs and also show any hidden fees.
Look over the contract and cancellation policy
Going over legal documents is not fun but for a big day like your wedding you want to make sure you are covered. Make sure it covers things like what happens in the event of a supply shortage and of course look over the cancellation policy. No one wants to think about these things but there could be a natural disaster or a death in the family that caused the wedding date to be postponed or canceled.
See More: Complete Wedding Planning Guide!
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