How to Select Your Wedding Producer and Caterer
You’re about to embark on one of the most important relationships that you’ll ever encounter: a relationship with the group that will take your wedding dreams and turn them into a reality. Finding the right wedding event company and caterer to produce your wedding day requires many important considerations, so it is imperative to take the time to cultivate a delicate dance with the team.
Before you get to that stage, though, you have to go through the selection process. To help you through it, read our suggestions about what you should ask, look for and decide before you sign with a wedding caterer or wedding event company.
Look for Photos
Do a little homework before you agree to meet with any companies. Most event and/or catering companies are specialists, meaning they excel in certain types of wedding celebrations. Find out which companies do well with certain types of events by checking out images online from their website, Facebook page, Pinterest boards and Twitter accounts. Photos can speak volumes! Perusing those galleries will help to determine very quickly if your styles are cohesive. Be wary of companies with websites or social media profiles that do not have any real photos of events that they have produced.
Ask About the Food
While style is extremely important, food also plays a vital role in your event design. Ask the caterer about their food practices. What is the chef’s training and background? From what sources do they purchase their food? Where and when will your food items be cooked and prepared for your guests? Questions like these allow you to better determine the level of service the culinary team will bring to the event table.
Additionally, address some food concerns before selecting your caterer. Creative caterers will provide couture menus that are developed with you and your fiancé in mind. Consideration should be taken about dietary restrictions and your preferences. How does the chef do tastings? Some event companies may invite you to view a sneak peak of an event they are setting up prior to the guest arrival. This will give you a clear understanding of how the team works and what your own celebration may be like.
Request a Price Range
Early in your “courting” phase, ask the production/catering company representative for a pricing range for the type of reception you want to have. Remember, many elements may change and your pricing may vary accordingly, but this general range will help you decide with whom to further develop a relationship.
Note: not many companies will offer you a tiered pricing model, which is one of the models we’ve instigated. We’ve found that with our special tiered pricing—which is essentially a matrix offering you a sliding scale of prices and production based on your wants and needs—is what 99% of brides and grooms prefer to see!
Learn About On-site Support
Another important aspect in the production team selection is whether your team will be on-site during your celebration. Find out if you will have a key contact on the day of the event and who that contact would be. Will your event planner/sales representative be handling your coordination on the event day? How are the staff chosen for events? Are those individuals temporary staff or are they professionally trained by your caterer? How will event staff look during setup and while guests are present? What is the event company’s professional recommendation for the number of staff members based on the size and type of wedding reception you’d like to host? Small details such as how the staff are dressed can help you see a glimpse of the technique, level of formality and attention to detail your caterer will provide.
Find Out About the Catering Vendors
Many event production companies and caterers use multiple vendors to supplement their own equipment and services. Ask how the company will coordinate this effort on your day and how it will provide seamless and unified execution. Be wary of too many vendors. Responsible producers (the type A personalities) will manage through conference calls, walk-throughs and production schedules so that all the key players act as an ensemble.
Know Before You Sign
Ask your production team how many events it will produce at the same time as your wedding. If it can do multiple parties, ask about the size of the team. This will help you feel comfortable that the team will be able to provide the special attention to detail that you deserve for this once-in-a-lifetime event.
Compare Apples to Apples
It is extremely important to compare apples to apples when you are choosing your production team. Some event companies give you a quote that includes food, staffing, rentals, set up and take down, beverages and everything that is used to cook and present the food. There are some caterers who give a list price, then add a required gratuity and service percentage to that price. Make sure you know all of the additional fees or add-ons that the company may have. Then, comparatively shop with the knowledge of not only how much your investment will be per person, but the level of service the group will provide.
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