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Do you know what the best part of a wedding is for the guests? The open bar. Er, just kidding, the best part of the wedding is the fact that they are witnessing you and your partner’s love! Do you know what the second best part of a wedding is for the guests? The open bar, for sure. The next best thing? The food. A well fed guest is a happy (and not too boozed up) guest. Hiring a wedding caterer is one of the most important decisions you’ll make during your planning.

As with all wedding-related decisions, it’s good to have a list of considerations and questions in mind when you start doing your research on who to hire to provide sustenance for your guests. Of course you want someone reliable, who is going to show up on time, but you also want to hire a caterer that makes truly bomb food. On top of all of that, you and your partner might have some special dishes, family cuisines, or even dietary considerations to take into account.

Phew, that’s a lot. Nervous? Don’t be. We’re got you covered with a list of seven considerations you should make before hiring a caterer, because we can’t all hire Salt Bae to roam the tables at our wedding. Here goes.

1. Start With A Budget

Yes, this is a wedding and you want to have the best, but no, caviar is not usually in the budget if you’re hosting 285 guests. (Plus, caviar is not even actually all that good.) It’s important to set a budget and stick to it — tasty food can make it tempting to overspend. You need to find a caterer who can work with your budget.

2. Think About Your Venue

Getting married at a traditional wedding venue? Talk to them about caterers they’ve worked with before. A caterer who actually knows the space will make wedding day logistics more seamless. Getting married at a summer camp? Get some information about exactly what kind of kitchens and food prep spaces are available.

3. Talk To Your Partner About What Kind Of Food You Want

Do you want your traditional, “Chicken or steak?” or do you want to serve tacos out of a taco truck? There are so many options, but make sure that you and your partner both come to an agreement before you start perusing the internet for local wedding caterers.

4. Obtain Their Proposal, And Compare It To Others

It’s good to take a look at what different caterers can provide for similar prices. Make sure you do research, and entertain proposals from more than one company.

5. Don’t Forget About Restaurants

Is there a restaurant you and your partner love? Maybe one that you even went on an early date to? Call them up and explain how important they were to your love story, then get an estimate. Restaurants with catering divisions can be an excellent choice for some.

6. Read All Of The Reviews

Scour the internet for trash talk about your favorite caterer! Seriously. It’s easy to look for positive reviews of caterers you really liked speaking to on the phone, but go out in search of other feedback to make sure you’re getting the full picture.

7. Gauge Their Level Of Responsibility

Is the caterer in communication with your promptly, or do they take weeks to reply to emails? Do they have a backup plan if a chef gets sick? How many people are they planning to send over? Getting clear on the nitty-gritty policies of the service you’re hiring is vital.

Bon appetit!

Written by: Kimmy Foskett