7 Questions to Ask Your Caterer for a Private Property Outdoor Wedding 

When you’re planning a private property outdoor wedding, it’s important to not only hire an experienced outdoor wedding planner, but also to choose a caterer who can provide everything you need to make your event run smoothly, this includes bartending services! 

Here are some of the most important questions you can ask your caterer to make sure they’re the right fit for your big day:

1.) What exactly are you paying for?
When you receive a quote from a caterer, it is important to know exactly what services and food items are included in the price. Things like table-side water service, wine pouring, and tray-passed appetizers are aspects of the meal you might not think about, but they contribute to the overall experience of your wedding meal.

2.) What isn’t included in the quoted price and what to expect to be added?
As important as it is to know what services are included in a caterer’s quote, it is also crucial to understand what is not covered. Services like cutting and serving the cake, pouring champagne for the toast, providing coffee service, and taking care of set-up and break-down might or might not be included, so before meeting with potential caterers, think about what services you will need on the big day. Perhaps you don’t want a champagne toast or you prefer a spread of homemade desserts instead of a cake; in which case, it won’t matter if the caterer doesn’t include those services.

Having a clear understanding of what is and is not included in the quoted price will also help you compare caterers. If you have to add the cost of coffee service and cake-cutting to the least expensive caterer’s quote, it may end up being comparable in price to the most expensive.

3.)  Where do your ingredients come from?
Before you start meeting with caterers, decide if you are willing to pay extra for premium ingredients. How important is sourcing the food to you? Do you care if it’s not organic or sustainably sourced? Local and seasonal ingredients are not necessarily more expensive, but caterers who make an effort to carefully source their ingredients often cost more. Is this important to you? If so, ask about it. Your caterer’s answer should leave you satisfied that the extra cost is worth it.

4.) What is the caterer’s policy on guest count?

Caterers typically have a minimum number of guests they are willing to cook for, and oftentimes there is a fee associated with canceling or reducing your guest count after a certain point. Be sure to ask about this before signing a contract so that you are not surprised by any fees later on.

5.) Have you ever catered events on private properties and outdoor venues?
Even if a potential caterer has never done an event outside or is not well versed in private property wedding catering then they should have a plan for how they will execute your meal in a new space. Understand your set-up spaces that a catering team may be able to occupy and talk in detail about the setup beforehand just in case your outdoor space could be considered unusually complicated.

One thing to remember is that the configuration of your wedding venue can determine what type of meal will work best, so you want a caterer who will have some understanding of the space before serving your guests (in the outdoor elements) on the big day.

6.) How will the food be prepared at my wedding?
Asking your potential caterer about how the food will be prepared for your wedding is important. You will need to decide if you are willing to pay more for a caterer who prepares the food on-site, or if transporting it from an off-site kitchen in warming boxes is acceptable. Also, how much are the necessary rentals for your caterer to be successful during your wedding service? Rental items like ovens, grills and expediting tables are critical to your meal service and will add additional cost to your final catering invoice. Consider what type of menu you would like and whether certain items would work better cooked on-site.

7.) What is your policy on substitutions or special requests?
Some caterers are very inflexible when it comes to substitutions or special requests, while others are happy to make changes to their menu to accommodate your needs. It is important to know what the policy is before you sign a contract, as this will avoid any surprises or disappointments on your wedding day.

Asking these seven questions will help ensure that you are getting the best possible value for your money when you hire a caterer for your private property wedding. By being an informed and savvy customer, you can rest assured that you will be happy with your choice of caterer and that your wedding day will be a success.

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