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{I'm ENGAGED...Now what?! ~ How to Choose the Perfect Caterer for your Wedding Day}

After you get engaged your wedding planning instincts kick into high gear!! One of the things that we hear from most brides-to-be is that they are not sure where to start when it comes to choosing a caterer! Some of the toughest questions to answer are...How many people should I plan for, What kind of food should I have, How much food should we have, Should we have Vegetarian, Gluten-Free options, and the list goes on and on. While there is no magical formula to choosing a caterer hopefully we can lend you a helping hand to make your decision a little bit easier.


Cottrell Photography

Step 1:

The first important thing about choosing a caterer is to know your budget! There is no easy way to determine a budget for your wedding, but the best way to do so is to check out several different caterers and see how much each one would cost based on the number of guests you are planning on having. A great way to find a potential caterer is to ask your recently married friends about the different caterers they looked at and the one they used.

** Helpful Hint **

When trying to determine your budget, it is helpful to have a guest count to base it on. When determining your guest count, it’s important to know that, on average, your guest count will be 70%-80% of the number of guests that you invite. This will help when planning various details including the amount of cake, the number of favors as well as the number of tables and chairs that you will need, not just catering.


Michelle Scott Photography

Step 2:

After speaking with a couple of different caterers it is important to sit down with your fiancé and determine the style of food that you have envisioned for your wedding. Whether you want a simple BBQ meal, heavy hors d’oeuvres, a nice filling buffet or an elegant five-course meal. A great way to determine what kind of food you plan on serving is to think about what time you want your wedding to take place. If you are planning on having an early afternoon wedding, around 3 pm, then it may be better to do heavy hors d’oeuvres, however if you are planning on having your wedding later in the evening, around 5 pm or 6 pm, then you will need to provide your guests with something a little bit heavier since it will be around dinner time.

Step 3:

After narrowing your choices down even further to the type of food you want to have, now it's time for the fun part! Taste Testing!! Most catering companies offer a free complimentary tasting, or for a small fee depending on the number of participants in the tasting. Be sure to ask each company what their policy is on tastings, because tasting the food is an important part of the selection process. You want to ensure that they food you are providing your guests is up to your standards, and you want to make the food your eating on your wedding day doesn’t make you regret your choice!

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Hillary Leah Photography

** Helpful Hint **

When choosing your final menu for your wedding day, remember to consider the guests you have invited. It is your wedding day, however if you like octopus salad, chances are you’re probably the only one, and if you order enough octopus salad for 150 people... you are probably wasting your money because there it is unlikely that 150 people will eat it.

Also consider your friends who may have allergies. It always nice to have at least one dish that is gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian friendly. This way your guests will at least be able to eat something on the menu.

Step 4:

The next step is to determine which caterer you would like to book for your big day. It may be as simple as booking the caterer that offers the perfect price point paired with the perfect food, but sometimes it's not as easy. Something to consider when booking a caterer, is the look that your caterer can bring to your wedding day. Some caterers do a great job of decorating your buffet table, or if you are planning on having a plated meal, they may have different chargers, glassware, plates and silverware that may fit the theme of your wedding. Some caterers will include this in the price, however some may charge extra based on what kind of look your going for. If the caterer you choose doesn't offer different serving pieces and decorations you can always bring your own to help complete the look of your wedding.


Courtney Ward Photography

Step 5:

The final step after choosing your caterer is to not stress about it anymore. Once you have picked the caterer you want to use as well as the menu, don't think about it anymore. One of the biggest mistakes that brides make is over thinking their decisions. You chose that caterer for a reason and don't let your wedding brain over run your spot on instincts.

Choosing your caterer is a huge accomplishment to check off your wedding checklist so be sure to reward yourself after you have chosen your caterer.

We hope that this gives you some direction on choosing a caterer and remember to enjoy this special time in your relationship and don’t stress to much about it!

#weddings #catering #ChoosingACaterer #ImEngaged

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