As a San Antonio wedding photographer I interact with many other types of wedding vendors. Along the way I have seen how a wedding is a group effort and like any team it is important to have the right individuals on that team. Many people think that wedding photographers are isolated from the rest of the wedding, but I make every effort to constantly meet other wedding vendors and to learn more and more about the wedding process. Today I offer you my 5 tips for hiring a wedding caterer.
1. Get recommendations and referrals
Like anything else in life you should ask other people who have had experience with caterers for recommendations. If you have recently been to a wedding and you like the food and the service find out who catered the event. Remember that caterers also provide service at other events, like office parties and organizational events. If you enjoyed the food and the service at an event, find out who provided the catering. Once you have some referrals or recommendations you should make sure to check them out. Don’t just go on someone else’s word. Your friend may have just been to a wedding and loved the food but that does not mean that you should just blindly take their advice. Check it out for yourself.
2. Use a wedding planner
In a recent post I talk about the importance of hiring a wedding planner. You can read that post here. One of the things that I pointed out is that a wedding planner has connections and experience. With some information on your likes and budget they can help to steer you to a good caterer. They have worked with many wedding vendors and you should rely on their experience and knowledge. Many planners have a preferred vendors list that has all types of wedding vendors on it.
3. Check with your venue
Just like the wedding planners your venue will have a preferred vendors list of the people who they have successfully worked with in the past. This list should be short. I am always a bit put off by long lists as it seems like anyone can get on it. Short lists mean that those vendors have to maintain very high standards. When venues are looking to put people on their approved vendor list they are very careful that these vendors match the price point and service level of their typical customers. As a San Antonio wedding photographer I have to work very hard to put myself on the preferred vendor lists of the best wedding venues, but it is worth it in the end.
4. Taste the food
This might seem obvious but you need to taste all of the food from a caterer before making any decisions. I know couples who thought that they wanted a certain type of food but discovered that they liked another type of food better. One couple wanted a beef dish, because they thought that it would be more elegant, but preferred the taste of the chicken dish. Another couple I know went all vegetarian at their wedding because they liked the vegetarian foods better. Do not assume anything, taste everything.
5. Use a professional certified caterer
I highly recommend that you use only professional, certified caterers. They should belong to a national organization like NACE (National Association for Catering and Events) or ISES (International Special Events Society). I am a member of both to help foster the wedding team mentality. After you have some recommendations you can go to these organizational websites to see if your perspective caterer is listed as a member. You could also start with these organizations and then go through the rest of the process.
Taking a multi-pronged approach to hiring your wedding caterer is what is going to get you the best results. It may be a little bit of work but in the end you will have a great wedding reception and your hard work will pay off.
I will be providing 5 more tips in a future post so watch for it.
San Antonio Wedding Photographer
Austin Wedding Photographer
San Antonio Fine Art Wedding Photographer
Austin Fine Art Wedding Photographer
San Antonio Photojournalism Wedding Photographer
Austin Photojournalism Wedding Photographer