Hiring Your Caterer: Tips and Advice

I previously wrote general tips about hiring your wedding professionals. This post is more specifically about hiring a professional catering company. No other vendor has as much impact on the wedding day and your guests’ experiences than the caterer.

You want to hire a caterer who is knowledgeable about backyard weddings so that they come prepared with the appropriate equipment. An experienced caterer will also know how much time they actually need to properly set up for the wedding. They will be upfront about the amount of staff they will need to bring in order to properly execute your plans. You should be wary of a caterer who low-balls the labor estimate in order to present you with an attractively priced proposal. They should be comfortable working out of a garage, basement or tent without access to a full kitchen. They ought to offer ideas on how to make the event more comfortable for you and your guests, and suggest seasonally appropriate menu items that work well at off-premise events. They will probably visit your home once or twice during the planning process, and you will likely have a menu tasting at their office.

When it comes to tables, chairs and all tabletop rental items (linens, napkins, china, silverware etc.), you have a couple of options. Your caterer will either have an in-house inventory for you to select from, or they will partner with one or two rental companies to offer you a nice selection of items at a discounted rate. If you are not crazy about the choices your caterer offers, you can check out the inventory of another rental company to see if they have what you are looking for. If you decide to not work directly through your caterer, you will be solely responsible for making sure that you are ordering the correct amount, and scheduling deliveries and pick-ups at the right times.

Beautiful photo by Katie Stoops.