Prosecco & Petals

Wedding planning guide

- Venue - Suppliers -
The dress - Bridal party
- Stationery - Final touches -

how to find wedding caterers

Hiring an independent caterer for your wedding will enable you to choose personalised food and drink options. Below is a step by step guide to timescales, finding, shortlisting and booking the right caterer for you.

how to find wedding caterers

catering options - wedding cake ideas - choosing a cake maker

How far in advance to book a caterer

It is recommended to book your catering as soon as you have a venue and approximate guest number. This should be approximately 10-12 months before your wedding unless you are opting for in-house catering.

Information to find out from our venue before contacting caterers

It is recommended to send an email, or after speaking request a summary via email, so you have an accurate record of the information given by your venue. You will need to check:

  • If external catering can be used
  • Any restrictions or specific requirements (e.g. insurance)
  • If beverages are supplied by the caterer, is there a corkage fee?
  • What equipment the venue has that can be used or hired such as chairs, chairs, centre-pieces and a seating plan easel
  • Are there kitchen facilities that can be used
  • How far in advance will catering need to be confirmed/provided?
  • how to find wedding caterers

    What you need to decide as a couple before contacting caterers

    Extend of catering required: It is important to determine what you would want a caterer to quote for. This might include; Drinks reception canapes, wedding breakfast, wedding cake, evening buffet and beverages.

    Style of wedding breakfast: Options often include; Self-service buffet, BBQ, sit-down 2-3 course or sit-down family style sharing.

    Any must-have food preferences: As a couple, you may have specific cuisine preferences, intolerances or cultural specialisms that a caterer may need to consider when giving an initial quote.

    how to find wedding caterers
    How to find caterers

    Unlike most other wedding suppliers there will often be a finite amount of caterers in your wedding location. Best places to start your search are via:

  • Recommendations from your specific venue
  • Caterers used by other local venues
  • Caterers that have won or been nominated for Region awards.
  • A Google search in your local area (check for reviews)
  • how to find wedding caterers
    Making initial contact with caterers

    Once you have found 4-6 caterers whose service looks interesting. It is worth making contact to understand if their services are within budget. It is recommended to provide the below information in an email.

  • Date of wedding and venue
  • Approximate guest number
  • The extent of service required and food style
  • Request menu options, a breakdown of service and cost with VAT explicitly detailed
  • The extent of the response, food options, clarity of costs and response time from wedding caterers contacted will enable you to get an indication of those suppliers who will be right for your wedding day.

    how to find wedding caterers
    Scheduling a food tasting

    Schedule tastings with top three caterers. If these are not included or offered, it is worth seeing if this is possible by paying an additional fee or if they provide catering anywhere that is possible to trial. When investing in an external caterer, it is vital to make sure that the taste matches the look.

    wedding food tasting checklist:
  • Make sure you are tasting the items that would be on offer on your menu
  • Make sure that the items are your preferred options
  • Go for different options and wines to contrast
  • Try to go easy on the alcohol to keep a clear head
  • Keep your guests in mind
  • Consider how you are treated at the food tasting, look at cutlery, waiter attention
  • Are the waiters and chefs the ones that will be creating your menu
  • how to find wedding caterers
    Final details before booking a caterer
  • Review the T&Cs fully
  • Check special dietary requirements are catered for
  • Make sure they have contacted your venue to make sure they have the facilities needed
  • Determine who is responsible for cleaning returning equipment
  • Is a cake knife and stand included
  • Coverage in case of sickness of staff etc
  • Where food is sourced from
  • Who will coordinate with the venue and will they be there on the day
  • What extras would not be included in the base rate (this will avoid surprise bills.
  • how to find wedding caterers
    How to book a wedding caterer

    Once you have found a caterer who offers the menu you want at a reasonable price, it is recommended to book early to avoid disappointment. Booking will typically involve paying a deposit and then paying the remaining balance nearer to your wedding date.

    Unlike other wedding suppliers there should be a contract or T&cs: make sure to read these carefully and query anything that seems different.

    What to do after booking

    After securing the services of your preferred caterer, there will often be a gap in communication while you confirm guest numbers and food options. It is crucial that your wedding invitations and inserts are worded clearly to help this process. Once these are confirmed, it is wise to contact your caterer to start finalising menu options.