10 Questions You Need To Ask Your Caterers…
Choosing the right caterer is a key part of your big day. Alongside ‘the dress’ and is he ‘the one’ it’s right up there as one of the most important decisions you will make.
From what type of catering you need to numbers, budgets and special dietary requirements – choosing the right caterer can be an absolute minefield. With that in mind we caught up with the multi-award winning and super-lovely events guru herself, Kim Maher, from Cheeky Chilli Catering & Events, to find out the do’s and don’ts when organising a fabulous feast…
‘The most important thing is to gather as much information as you can from your caterer,’ said Kim. ‘Ask lots of questions and ask around amongst family and friends as word of mouth recommendation is as good as it gets.’
‘I would always recommend asking the following before making any decisions about who to use for your big day.
Do they do set packages? What are the menu’s like?
A lot of caterers only offer set packages which can be quite restrictive. At Cheeky Chilli we offer a fully bespoke package which means we can build a menu that totally suits your vision and is within budget.
If the caterer only does packages, ask if there is any flexibility within this – for example, you may want to drop the dessert and add a cheese course if you prefer savoury.
Timings & deadlines
It’s really important to agree a time line with your caterers. You need to pin down the date that they will need final numbers to allow for any last-minute cancellations, additions or menu changes. We like to give our couples as much time as possible to make their final food choices and are as flexible as possible when it comes to final numbers and table plans but its good to know the time lines up front so you can build it into your planning.
Do they specialise in certain types of food?
These days the sky is literally the limit for wedding food. Forget dried up chicken breasts in watery gravy – couples today want exciting food that really matches their personal tastes. From relaxed street food style feasts and on-trend grazing platters to beautifully instagrammable afternoon teas and inventive taster menus, you need your caterer to create your perfect menu.
Special dietary requirements
Veggie, vegan, gluten-free, no-carbs! Dietary requirements these days can be as varied as your guests. Just because they are having something different doesn’t mean they should miss out on taste. With so many food allergies and nutritional trends out there it’s important that your caterer embraces this and goes all out for guests who require something a little bit different.
Do they have references?
There is nothing like a recommendation to give you that extra bit of confidence in your suppliers. As well as checking out their Google and Facebook reviews you should also ask them for testimonials from previous clients. At the end of the day a caterer is only as good as their last job and you need to make sure that they won’t let you down on the big day and that your guests will remember the food (for good reasons) for years to come.
Do you get a tasting?
Tasting your menu before the big day is absolutely key. We include a full taster session for 2 people in every event package. Not only does this allow you to tweak and fine tune your choices it also helps take the stress away when you know you are 100% happy with your food. Definitely ask your caterer if they provide this – at no extra charge of course!
What about the ‘extras’
Make sure your caterer is clear about any additional costs for ‘extras’. At Cheeky Chilli we provide everything to do with the actual meal and service, such as plates, napkins, silverware, salt & pepper shakers as standard but some caterers do charge extra for this.
Obviously if you are having an outdoor wedding in a marquee / tent or are getting married in an alternative venue you will have to pay extra for things like a pop-up kitchen and tables and chairs if you need them. Just make sure these types of additional costs are clear from the get-go.
Does the catering come ‘full service’
Make sure that all the staff and service costs are included in your quote. Also if you need a full event package make sure your caterers do the full set-up, bar service and clear up too as sometimes this does not come as standard.
Who will oversee the big-day
At Cheeky Chilli we allocate all of our couples their very own events manager. That means you have one point of contact throughout your journey from start to finish. 99.9% of the time your event manager will be there to oversee the day itself but in extraordinary circumstances, such as illness one of our senior team will be able to step in as they will be 100% up to speed with the running order and intricacies of the day.
What if we change our minds
Most caterers have a cut off of 2-6 weeks before the event for any last-minute changes. If you have to cancel for any reason you will probably lose your deposit which is a good reason to consider purchasing wedding insurance before the event. We always try and be as flexible as possible with our couples but planning super-early is always a good idea.