The food and dining style at your wedding are some of the most influential decisions in creating an unforgettable experience for you and your guests, but knowing how to choose a wedding caterer can feel a little overwhelming.
Before starting your Charleston wedding caterer search, identify your venue and budget. This will help narrow your search during the next step: researching caterers that are available on your wedding day. Lastly, schedule a tasting before signing the dotted line to ensure the food matches your overall vision.
Here, we will discuss the most important considerations and tips for choosing a perfect wedding caterer for your special day, along with a list of must-ask questions when you meet with each potential option.
Most wedding caterers are booked far in advance – you will need to reach out to caterers starting at least 2-3 months after getting engaged to ensure your first choice will be available.
“Start looking for your caterer as soon as you have a date and venue. It is never too early to secure your caterer, especially if it is during peak season.”
Typically, full-service catering includes your choice of menu, food prepared by professional chefs, dining expertly set up, food service throughout the function, and clean up taken care of at the end.
Sometimes this is taken a step further. For example, Duvall Catering & Events emphasizes full in full-service by offering to take care of any decisions needed to ensure they are cohesive across the board. This can include floral arrangements, decor, furniture, bar service, and much more.
This saves you time, money, and stress, and helps to ensure your catering will match or enhance your wedding vision. Read more about full-service catering and what it entails.
When searching the internet for promising caterers, check out their social media pages for images, videos, and testimonials from their past customers. You should look for the quality of their past work, identify if they’ve worked on any weddings similar to yours, and decide if their skills can meet your expectations.
People in your life including the venue coordinator, your wedding planner, or family and friends can be a great source of general information or even specific catering recommendations.
One of the best ways to determine if a caterer is the right fit for your wedding is to set up calls where you can speak to them and get the information you need.
Here are some questions you may want to ask:
During the meeting, be sure to set clear expectations for yourself and all potential caterers that communicate exactly what you have in mind for your vision, preferences, and priorities. Be consistent with your ideas and ensure they are being not only heard but listened to.
“Pinterest Boards are always fun to see!”
Menu samples can show you how much the caterer is willing to customize their offerings to your needs. Some vendors offer static menus that offer little to no flexibility, while others offer varying levels of customization.
It’s always a good idea to ask each potential caterer for their pricing information. Caterers like Duvall will customize packages based on the venue, food and dining style, and other considerations. We recommend following up a second time to make sure you fully understand their offerings and can thoroughly consider how it fits into your budget.
“Pricing is based first and foremost on the menu selection, followed by the length of the event and type of service, i.e. served, buffet, or stations.”
After your initial meeting, scheduling tastings with your top caterer options is the best way to see if they can create something delicious that harmonizes with your vision. Though these are not always possible, you can always ask for images or references from past clients.
Once you’ve set up a meeting with a catering company that you are considering, prepare for the interaction like you are conducting an interview. After all, you may be paying a lot of money for their services. Ask for all you need to decide if they would be able to bring your vision to life.
Before you begin your search for a caterer, there are several decisions you should make so you can approach the decision with confidence and know exactly what you are looking for.
As you continue to plan your perfect wedding, we have several related resources for you to consider: