Wedding table, plates set up by wedding caterer

What You Should Know Before Hiring a Wedding Caterer

Your wedding day is likely one of the most important days of your life. It’s a time when your closest family and friends come together to celebrate the love between you and your bride- or groom-to-be. Despite all of the stress, most people know how important it is to book your vendors way in advance, but there’s one, in particular, we want to discuss today—your wedding caterer!

There’s not much that brings people together better than food. Whether you’re doing a seven-course meal, having a buffet, or even bringing in a few food trucks, the food (and maybe the drinks) are what people tend to look forward to the most at the wedding. Well, except maybe spending time with the happy couple!

Different Types of Catering Options

Before you decide on a catering company, there are a few items you should have sorted out before you get to the actual part of choosing a caterer. While theme and décor are essential, you’ll want to make sure you have your budget, a rough guest count, and your venue sorted out before you choose a caterer. That way, you’ll be confident that you can adequately accommodate your guests with whatever type of catering company you decide to work with. Here are a few common examples of catering options that Melhorn Manor has worked with in the past.

  • Full-Service Wedding Caterer: Most full-service wedding caterers will bring food, linens, plating, alcohol, staff, etc. for your wedding. If you don’t want to clean up or have to worry about anything related to the food during the big day, this is the route you’ll want to go.
  • Drop-Off Catering: Most often used when you have a buffet-style wedding is drop-off catering. This option is likely going to be a little cheaper, but you may not have anyone managing the food during your event. Most drop-off catering companies will set up and break down the buffet for you, but not provide the in-between services.
  • Self-Catered: Some couples skip the wedding caterer entirely and go for making or bringing the food themselves. This is certainly an option if you have enough people to help you, but it also can add more stress to your already stressful day.
  • Food Truck Wedding: More prevalent in the last few years are food truck catered weddings! Choosing a caterer can be difficult, but if you know you want delicious tacos from your favorite food truck, why not hire them to cater the wedding? Your guests get to eat whenever they want (and however much they want) and have various types of food as well.

Questions to Ask the Wedding Caterer

Now that you have a better idea of what type of catering company you want to hire, there are a few questions you should be prepared to ask them. The last thing you want is to spend money on a caterer only to find out they can’t serve at your wedding venue or don’t provide all of the services that you expected. Here are a few of the recommended questions we suggest asking.

Does the Catering Company Specialize in Certain Types of Food?

Depending on the type of wedding you’re having, you’re likely going to want a particular kind of food. Is the wedding more casual where something like home cooking and barbecue are the right food choice? Or will this be more formal where you’ll want several courses? When you’re choosing a caterer, you’ll want to make sure you’re looking at the right type.

Is the Catered Meal Full Service?

As we mentioned above, there’s a difference between the types of catering services available. If you want the least amount of stress during your wedding day, check and see if the catering company you want to hire offers full-service catering before you put any money down towards them.

What is Their Average Rate, and do They Offer any Packages?

Price is a significant factor when it comes to choosing a caterer. While food is important, you want to make sure you stay within your allotted budget to avoid any financial stresses down the road. Most catering companies have packages available that may help you save some money in the long run.

Do They Offer Tastings Before Hiring?

It may go without saying, but if you can’t taste your food before you buy it, why would you buy it? Think about how many weddings you’ve been to where the food was bland and not satisfying—you don’t want that at your wedding! Make sure you’re able to taste whatever food or meals you plan on purchasing.

Do They Cover the Wedding Cake as Well?

If you’re looking to possibly save a little money, check and see if your wedding caterer can provide the wedding cake for your day. Instead of going to a separate bakery and possibly spending more money, certain catering companies will provide the cake for you.

Are They Providing Tables, Chairs, Plates, etc.?

Nothing is more frightening than having all of your vendors and food planned out, but then not having any tables or chairs for your guests! Make sure you double (or triple) check with your wedding caterer beforehand to make sure they’re bringing any or all of these items on your big day.

Are There any Additional Service Fees?

Will your wedding caterer charge you extra for cake cutting or cleaning up at the end of the night? It’s important to ask if there are any added service fees before you actually ask for them. You don’t want to tell them to clean up after your wedding, only to see a big added fee tacked on to your final bill. Save yourself a headache and money and ask ahead of time!

Looking for a Wedding Caterer in Lancaster, PA?

To save you the headache of coordinating the catering for your wedding, Melhorn Manor offers a list of 12 exclusive caterers who have all proven to offer exceptional food and professional service across a range of food styles and budgets. When you’re looking for the most perfect historical and refined wedding venue in Lancaster County, we know you’ll turn to Melhorn Manor. Contact us today for more information on our wedding venue, our caterers, or any other questions you might have about your big day.