Selecting a caterer for your wedding reception is one of the most important steps you will take in your planning process. Not only is the catering often one of the most – if not the most – expensive aspects of a wedding, but the food often helps to set the overall tone of the wedding and is frequently what sticks out in the memories of wedding guests.

The last thing you want is all of your guests trying to choke down food that is unattractive and unappetizing! Finding just the right caterer is the easiest way to make sure that you are getting exactly what you want and need.

There are three things to consider when choosing a wedding caterer that are, arguably, the most important to keep in mind. Making sure you have all of your bases covered includes getting answers to the following questions:

  1. What do you charge?

Because the catering is sure to be expensive no matter how you try to avoid it, it is a good idea to make sure you have at least some clue what your cost will be (always overestimate even after getting a quote, just in case). Caterers that quote an impossibly low number may be ones to avoid – they are usually the types to tack on ridiculous fees.

One shady caterer charged a couple an extra $500 in “heating fees”…apparently, if they had not paid the extra money, their food would have been served cold and uncooked! Make sure your caterer gives as straight an answer as possible to this question and discusses all additional fees with you in detail.

  1. Can you accommodate any special dietary needs?

This is vital, especially if you have guests that are intolerant to common ingredients like gluten, dairy, or nuts, or if you have people attending the wedding who refrain from meat. If your caterer is especially inflexible about accommodating these special dietary needs, you will want to look elsewhere – in particular to avoid any fraudulent activity. You don’t want to become a horror story involving a caterer that swore the stuffed chicken was free of peanuts only to have three guests have to be rushed to the hospital!

  1. What is your emergency plan?

If there is an emergency that keeps your caterer from being able to attend the wedding or which affects the food (such as a power outage), it is imperative that there is some sort of backup plan.

A good caterer will be easy to contact and will have at least one backup plan, just in case of an emergency! An example of a backup plan is sending an assistant or another caterer in their stead or having a restaurant on standby in case a massive takeout order is necessary.