One of the most important elements of your wedding is catering for the reception. You will be spending quite a bit of your budget on the food for the event, so you will want to make sure you are working with a true professional. You will want to cover every single detail, because nothing detract from your wedding quite like an ultra dry cutlet or runny pasta. This is one of the most detail laden aspects of the entire wedding planning process, but you should have no problem finding the right caterer if you do your research and legwork. Fortunately, Baltimore has a plethora of great catering options. Follow some of the tips below to get on your way.
The first step is to gather some recommendations from your friends and family, particularly those who have been recently married. If you have your venue booked, which you should, ask them for their referrals, as they may have a list of suggestions or even requirements. It is also advisable to contact the International Caterers Association and National Association of Catering Executives, as these are great sources to help you connect with caterers in your area. Searching Google and any online wedding websites may also be of use to you. Be sure to scour through any general information, especially pertaining to pricing, and read through reviews and bridal testimonials if available.
Once you have a handful of candidates that peak your interest, reach out and call them. You will want to inquire about their general price range, and also if they are available on the date of your wedding. If they are, set up an in-person interview with them so you can get a feel for their shop and sample some of their wares! It goes without saying that their shop should be well organized and clean. Their food should be delicious, but that is usually the easiest part. There are plenty of questions you will want to ask them. At the end of the interview process, you should be well acquainted with the caterer, and feel comfortable going forward with them.
Share your vision of your wedding with the caterer, and ask for their suggestions. Ask if they would be willing to include a traditional dish from an old family recipe in the menu. Ask for a copy of a sample invoice or contract. You should also find out if the caterer has any other weddings or events planned during the day of your wedding, and how many if applicable. Ask the candidates if they provide furniture, utensils, linens, and other miscellaneous necessities. Usually the best professional catering companies handle those logistics, but they come with a cost. Ask for pictures of previous work to get a feel for how they display the food on the tables. You will want to ask if they specialize in certain things on the menu, and will make special plates for the guests that eat kosher, halal, vegetarian, or vegan. You should also ask for at least two clients as references of their work, in particular, clients with a similar size wedding that you plan for.
Last, you should cover their cost and any packages they offer. Some vendors may provide wait staff, some also provide beverage and bartender services. If you feel you have the right candidate at hand, draw up a contract, outline every single detail and demand, and have both parties sign. You will also need to place a deposit. If you are diligent, thorough, and even somewhat incessant, you will have no surprises on your wedding day besides for the surprise on how utterly delicious and moist the Chicken Parmesan is.
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