Good food is an integral part of most celebrations, and weddings are no different. Choosing the right wedding catering service is something that make take time, so you will want to plan accordingly. The right menu can make your wedding reception something everyone will talk about for months.
Many wedding venues offer their own catering services. The majority of these venues will not allow outside caterers. It is essential to inquire about this when looking to book a wedding location. It makes sense to choose and book the wedding venue before choosing your caterer, and even before choosing who makes your wedding cake. If the venue does not offer a catering service, they will likely be able to recommend several catering companies in the area that they have worked with before. Do not forget to ask friends and family for recommendations as well.
Unless you have used a catering company before, you will probably want to sample their food before making your final choice. A decent caterer will be happy to make time for clients to sample food. If a caterer does not allow sampling ahead of time, be wary. During a sample, you probably will not be sampling the actual menu for your wedding, but you will get a general idea of whether the food is good or not. Some caterers will give you samples to take home to try with your family.
Price ranges for caterers can vary widely, depending on the education and reputation of the chef, the menu chosen, how many people will be served at your wedding, whether it is a buffet or sit down, and so on. Some caterers will have a very limited menu for you to choose from. While many can prepare whatever you want, having this limited choice selection allows the caterer to be prepared well in advance.
Be sure to discuss menu requirements with potential caterers before booking one. You will need to mention if there are special dietary needs, such as vegetarian, food allergies or other requirements. Food allergies are especially important to mention before settling on a menu. Many dishes contain ingredients you would not normally think are in them, and cross-contamination in the kitchen often happens. If the caterer knows about food allergies ahead of time, they can make sure that recipes are modified and that steps are taken to prevent cross-contamination when preparing and serving the food.
As you speak to caterers and sample their food, keep notes and rate each caterer as to taste, menu variety, presentation, and price. Give yourself time to interview several wedding caterers well before your wedding and your wedding reception will be one remembered forever.