Hire the best

You just got en­gaged and al­ready your fam­ily is throw­ing sug­ges­tions at you left and right.

Central Otago Mirror - - WEEDDIINNGG GUIIDEE -

You haven’t even cho­sen a date for your wed­ding, much less a style or colours. Well, you can’t blame your fam­ily for be­ing ex­cited. You can take a break from all of the fuss, though, and once you are fi­nally ready to get back into ac­tion and start the ac­tual plan­ning, here are some tips for se­lect­ing a caterer. Un­less you have a close friend or fam­ily mem­ber to take care of all of the food for your wed­ding or plan to serve just cake and punch, you will prob­a­bly need to hire a caterer. The best cater­ers are of­ten booked months in ad­vance, so you should start look­ing for one the mo­ment you se­lect the venue for your re­cep­tion. Ask friends and fam­ily for rec­om­men­da­tions, and if that turns up noth­ing, try your florist, pho­tog­ra­pher or any other pro­fes­sion­als you have hired for your wed­ding. If all else fails, you can al­ways con­sult the phone book. Once you have a list of po­ten­tial cater­ers, contact each of them and ar­range to meet with them one-onone. This will al­low you to get a sense of their per­son­al­ity and style and en­sure they suit your own. Come pre­pared to the meet­ing with the lo­ca­tion, date and time of your re­cep­tion, an ap­prox­i­mate head count and a good idea of your bud­get. Find out ev­ery­thing you can about the caterer at the meet­ing. Ask how long they have been in busi­ness and how many peo­ple they em­ploy. Ask about their qual­i­fi­ca­tions and poli­cies. Make sure they are li­censed and in­sured, and ask to see pho­tos of their past events. If pos­si­ble, ar­range to at­tend one of the func­tions they are cater­ing. Af­ter your ini­tial round of meet­ings, you should be able to nar­row your list to a se­lect few cater­ers. Ar­range to meet with them again and ask them to bring a pro­posal. The pro­posal should lay out all of the de­tails from the foods they could serve in your price range to all of the costs in­volved, in­clud­ing price per head, price for ser­vice, price for ta­ble set­tings, etc. Make sure you find out ex­actly what is in­cluded in the es­ti­mate and what isn’t. Dis­cuss por­tion sizes, chil­dren’s plates and staffing. Fi­nally, ar­range for a tasting of the items they would like to serve. With pro­pos­als in hand, you can start the hard part - choos­ing a caterer. Don’t go on cost alone. The least ex­pen­sive es­ti­mate may not get you ev­ery­thing you need like servers. Once you have made your choice, contact the caterer and meet with them again to dis­cuss the fi­nal de­tails and sign a con­tract. Find out about the gra­tu­ities and ad­di­tional charges should the re­cep­tion run over as well as the can­cel­la­tion pol­icy and date for a fi­nal head count. De­ter­mine a time­line of events, in­clud­ing setup and tear­down and cleanup, and be pre­pared to put down a de­posit. Choos­ing a caterer takes time and ef­fort. Do your home­work and hire the best per­son for the job.

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