Pulling of a great wedding requires all aspects harmoniously tied in together, which includes everything from the invites to the decor. One of the most important aspects especially in a food loving culture like ours is the catering! Once you decide on your wedding dates and venue, often the next big step is finding a caterer best suited to the event you have in mind. Whether you decide to go for in-house catering that many venues offer or have to sift through dozens of possible options, there are a few key points you need to keep in mind before you make your choice.
Reputation: Make sure you talk to your near and dear ones for possible caterers they have used before or know of. A wedding caterer with a largely good reputation for their work ethic as well as quality, should be part of your list. Talk to your wedding planner about what you have in mind, since they have worked with many professional and well reputed caterers before. Experience definitely counts, so do find out how many weddings, Indian wedding functions or other events they have done. If you are still not sure, ask if they can provide references and photographs.
Food and Beverage: You need to check what cooking skills and cuisine types they are best known for e.g. Indian cuisine, world cuisine, Chinese etc.; this will help you shorlist depending on what kind of food you are looking to have at the wedding and the different functions. Check if they have the vegetarian and non-vegetarian options that you are looking for. Ask if they can provide a detailed menu for all the food and drink options they can provide for you. Make sure you ask if they will provide for dishes with dietary restrictions (if applicable).
Do check if they will provide alcohol and have the appropriate licenses. Ask if they will set up a bar for you and the applicable bar and corkage fees. Make sure you ask whether they will be serving any complimentary drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Once you decide on the food budget make sure you go through all possible menu combinations that are available to you in that amount. Ask if they provide a tasting once you have narrowed down your selections.
Availability and Pricing: Make sure the caterer is available on the dates you require well in advance, since they get pretty booked during the wedding season. Ask whether they will be able to cater for the different events you have planned and at the times you require. Ask your caterer how much it would cost per head and exactly what their pricing and payment policies are. Some wedding caterers also offer packages that include the tables and chairs, cutlery and plates, linens, table dressing etc.
Set up: Ask what kind on serving set-up they have, whether its table service or buffet style. Do ask if they are familiar with the venue you are having your wedding and what their working method and hygiene standards are. Find out how many and what kind of staff and waitstaff they will provide. Check if the caterer will serve your cake or dessert that you may want to arrange for from another place.
Always arrange for a face to face consultation with the wedding caterers, preferably with your Indian wedding planner present. This is just a basic list, make sure you talk to people who have just gotten married and your wedding professional for a detailed list of things you need to take care of. Be patient and do your homework, finding the right caterer for your wedding will be the icing on your wonderfully orchestrated cake!