I’ve only recently found out how important it is to go with prepared questions when you go to meet with your caterer or venue… we’ve now been to see them 4 times, and we still don’t have everything straight yet!!
Here are some questions I’ve found helpful to be able to piece together our budget, and generally plan for the day:
1. Does the price include VAT?
2. Do we pay a set amount per person, or a total for the package?
3. How many courses does the price include?
4. Is there any movement on the price if we cut a course?
5. Are there any alternative ingredients or serving options that would help bring our costs down?
1. Do you need the meal choices in advance, or do your waiters take orders on the day?
2. Do you offer a meat, fish and veggie option for every course? (eg canapés, starters, mains, buffet)
3. Are your veggie options also vegan? -Or do you offer a separate vegan option?
4. Is your produce organic, and locally or sustainably sourced?
5. Are sides included with mains?
6. Are teas and coffees counted as a course?
1. Do you have your own bar and/or do you charge corkage?
2. Do you offer drinks for the speeches?
3. What is the average price of a drink at the bar?
4. Could you facilitate prepaid drinks tokens?
5. Can we swap branded drinks for non-branded, to cut costs?
1. Do you offer template table plans, and will you print our place names?
2. Will you set our tables for us, including setting our place names and favours?
3. Can I use my own centrepieces?
4. When can we drop off any place names/favours/centrepieces?
You wouldn’t believe how important some of this stuff is… and as I’m sure you know, all the little costs soon mount up. Depending on your venue, you will find most caterers are fairly flexible – they want a good recommendation afterwards. A big thing for me was negotiating on courses that gave us value for money, and also knowing ahead of doing our invitations that meal choices would have to be communicated in advance to our guests.
Easy things to cut costs would be to switch up courses or the serving style; try help yourself canapés rather than having them served, or a buffet course to make things a bit more relaxed (these save on serving staff, and therefore costs).
I’ve also found that most of the caterers I have spoken to will set your tables and your favours for you, as they’d rather not have you in the way on the day, however most brides I’ve spoken to also want to do it themselves to ensure it’s the way they want it! This is definitely something to discuss depending on how creative you plan on being.
Are there any questions you think I’ve missed? Or any questions you wish you’d asked?
Please feel free to add some in the comments below, I would genuinely love to hear them!
Any further insider knowledge or experiences also most welcome!