Prosecco & Petals
Wedding planning guide
Hiring an independent caterer for your wedding will enable you to choose a more personalised menu, which is bespoke to your tastes and guest requirements. Below is a step by step guide to timescales, finding, shortlisting and booking the right caterer for your special day.
It is recommended to book your wedding catering as soon as you have a venue and an approximate guest number. This should be around 10-12 months before your wedding as reputable vendors will only have a finite number of weddings they can cater for at one time.
Before contacting external wedding caterers it is essential to check the below details with your venue:
Extent 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, along with cutlery, crockery and waiting staff.
Your wedding meal style preference: Options often include; self-service hot or cold buffet, BBQ, sit-down 2-3 course meal or sit-down family-style sharing platters.
Food preferences and intolerences: As a couple, you may have specific cuisine preferences, intolerances or cultural specialisms that a caterer may need to consider before giving an initial quotation.
Unlike most other wedding suppliers, there will often be a finite amount of vendors near your wedding venue due to the specialism and skills required to cater for large volumes of people at once. Best places to start your search are via:
Once you have found 3 - 4 caterers whose services look interesting, it is worth making direct contact to find out their approximate costs and availaility. It is recommended to provide the below information in an initial email.
When comparing responses, make sure to factor in the speed/detail of information given, , friendlness, personalisation and flexibility of the service; these factors will all be vital much closer to your wedding day.
As your choice should largely revolve around the quality and taste of the food, it is essential to try before you commit to a particular caterer. When investing in an external caterer, it is vital to make sure that the taste meets your expectations. A food tasting shoud be included or at least offered by all wedding caterers. Where possible, ask for this service before signing any contracts (specifying commitment or paying a fee as this can be difficult to claw back).
Once you have found a caterer who offers the menu you want at a reasonable price, it is vital 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 formal written contract or T&Cs; make sure to read these carefully and query anything that seems different to that discussed.
After securing the services of your preferred wedding 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 RSVP inserts are worded clearly to help this process. Once these are confirmed, it is wise to contact your caterer to start finalising menu options.