Wedding planning can be made into a bigger beast than it needs to be, but if you come prepared to vendor meetings it will tame things quite a bit. Vendors don’t expect you to walk into the meeting knowing the ins and outs of the wedding world … that’s their job! However, in order to successfully find the right vendors for your big day, you do need to know what you want to a certain extent. Here are four key things you need to know, or at least have some idea of before starting your search for the perfect wedding caterer:
- Your Budget
This topic always feels so taboo to couples which is why I bring it up first. Your budget really dictates what can be made possible. There is nothing wrong with saying your budget, it actually helps in many ways and makes planning much easier. Stating your desired budget helps your prospective caterer choose the best menu for you. Don’t fixate on whether your budget is too high or low for what you want. Tell your caterer what you want and what you are willing to pay for it. If your budget truly is unrealistic, caterers will help bring you to reality. There isn’t a caterer out there that could pull off serving surf and turf for $8 per person. However, if you are willing to work with the caterer and be open-minded to their suggestions, you may be able to get closer to your ideal wedding menu without completely hurting your wallet. Trust the pros! Tell them what you want. Be honest and open, and they will do the same.
- Your Desired Theme/Style
Whether you want traditional or quirky, you need to have an idea of which road you want to take. Some caterers specialize in very elegant, traditional plated meals while others are known for breaking the mold. Then, of course, there are the caterers in the middle who do a little bit of everything. It’s not a matter of talent, but your preference. Knowing earlier on what type of meal you want to have at your wedding helps save you time and stress. Choosing your vendors is like dating all over again, you find the one you click with, and the rest is history.
- Guest Count
By no means do you need a final headcount before meeting with caterers, but having an idea of how many guests will be attending will help your prospective caterer choose menus that are more realistic for you. This goes side by side with your budget like we just talked about above, 250 people versus 50 people can mean a completely different menu for your desired budget. If you really don’t have any idea how many guests you plan on having, you need to step back and sort that out first.
- Event Hours
This detail gets overlooked a lot, but it affects your caterer just as much as the menu or rentals. Most caterers include an hourly rate for their staff, so you need to have an idea of how long you want your event to be. If you already have your venue booked, this should be an easy answer. If you are still looking for your venue, just having an idea of the type of event you want is enough for your prospective caterer. Some couples choose to only have a light cocktail reception that wraps up within two hours while others want a six-hour reception. You don’t need to know your exact event start and end time, you just need to know what kind of event you have in mind.
So there you have it, the 4 details of your wedding that you should know the answer to before starting your search for the perfect caterer. The more information you can provide your prospective caterer with, the better off you will be and the more they will be able to help you. Planning your special day is never anything short of stressful, embrace the help when it is available and allow your caterer to make your ideas work the best they can. You will be surprised at what is possible when you let down your wedding planning guard a little and leave some aspects to the pros. Happy wedding planning!