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Tuesday
Jan292013

11 Questions You Should Be Asking Your Wedding Caterer

Hearts and Horseshoes Photography

Top 11 Questions YOU should Ask a Caterer by Natalie Vishny

Are you currently shopping for your wedding?  Finding the perfect dress, the most talented florist, the most swoon-worthy venue?  If you plan on feeding your guests, this post will be very helpful to you! Finding the best caterer for your wedding involves more than just tasting the food (although tastings are SO fun!!) ... here are 11 questions you should be asking before you sign on that dotted line!  This advice is brought to you by Natalie Vishny of Swellegant.  Natalie has 10+ years of working in the wedding industry, so this is advice to bookmark!  :)
XO~ Heather
Pssst ... the photos used in this post are not weddings coordinated by Swellegant.  They are photos that have been featured on Style Unveiled before and I felt they were SO pretty, they needed another life on the site :)
Alante Photography 
Question 1: What do you do best and why do your clients love you?
Natalie:  Caterers LOVE to talk about what they do best! Why not ask that question right out of the box? You’ll most likely get a straightforward answer and get a great sense of the catering company's style.
Question 2: What is your RANGE of pricing for the type of party I am interested in having, and would you describe yourself as a budget, mid-range, or high-end caterer?
Natalie: Many caterering companies have wonderful packages that they can send over right away, while others will send a customized proposal when you give them your specific desires. MOST caterers won’t give you specifics on the first phone call, but should be back to you within 48 hours with some sort of pricing.
Brooke ImagesQuestion 3: Will you customize my menu?
Natalie: Know what you want when you ask that question. Here’s the rub on this one: If you want three specialty drinks, your mom’s famous Chicken Piccata, or the latest trend from Top Chef, ask up front so that the caterer can put together a well-informed quote.
Question 4: Do you have a minimum for your events and when is my guest count due?
Natalie: Make sure that you understand the fine print when signing the contract. Let’s say that you think you’re going to have 200 guests. Are you guaranteeing all 200 guests when you sign your contract? 50%? 80%? Find out when your final guest count is due.
Bamber PhotographyQuestion 5: How many times will we meet before our wedding and will you meet me for a final venue walk-through?
Natalie: The bottom line is that you want to be comfortable with your catering sales specialist. Your wedding planning process should be FUN, and so should the people that you work with.
Question 6: Will you create a floor plan, timeline, and oversee the entire event for us?
Natalie: This is an important question, so listen carefully to the answer. A great caterer usually creates a floor plan, and can assist with the flow of food, beverage and service, but they are NOT a wedding planner or an emcee and don’t usually oversee the entire event and take care of all details for you.
Question 7: What are a couple of totally cool things that you’ve created that won’t break my bank?
Natalie: Once again, even though it is “All about YOU and your wedding “ (and it should be!), you’re not the first wedding that has been catered. Ask the professionals their best advice, and listen to it!
Kirsty Edwards PhotographyQuestion 8: Who do I (or my wedding planner) call and email if they need something?
Natalie: Understand who you’ll be working with through the process, and know who will be present on your wedding day.
Question 9: Do you have any references online that I can read?
Natalie: We live in times of full disclosure because of Wedding Wire, Yelp, The Knot, websites, and blogs, read up! Know the answer to this question before you ask it.
Question 10: Do you have a liquor license and liquor liability insurance?
Natalie: Enough said. Someone has to have both of those items in order to serve alcohol.
Question 11: Are you a full service caterer and are there any hidden costs that could come up along the way that we might not know about now?
Natalie: Make sure that all food, beverage, rentals, service staff, and gratuities are covered up front. 

 Carlie Statsky Photography

Advice Post: Natalie of Swellegant

Photographer: Carlie Statsky Photography

Photographer: Alante Photography

Photographer: Brooke Images

Photographer: Bamber Photography

Photographer: Kirsty Edwards Photography

Photographer: Hearts and Horseshoes Photography

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