Today’s informative guest post comes to us from wedding planner Sarah Chancey of Chancey Charm and author of The Chancey Charm Practical Guide to Planning Your Wedding. Enjoy!

Finding the right caterer can make or break your guest experience. As we all know how bad it is to have to wait for the food to finally be ready or unexpectedly dive into a cold, or even worse, undercooked entree.

Read the full post after the cut!


The delicate bites your guests will consume are often the most memorable part of their evening, and the presentation should be seamlessly integrated into the overall event design. As a rule, I generally try to reserve 27% of the budget to cover catering services.

The following questions will help you secure a professional and experienced caterer. They will also help you avoid hidden fees, which caterers may use to present a lower up-front cost. I highly recommend that you bring this list along to your catering interviews:

  • How many staff will be on-site at my event? (Make sure that you have plenty of staff serving your guests and a great leadership team, including a head catering manager who your planner can communicate with prior to the wedding day with a timeline, etc.)
  • How many events do you cater in one day on average? (While a large caterer can certainly serve more than one event in a day, make sure that your team is specifically devoted to your event on the day of your wedding. )
  • How is your food prepared? On-site or off-site? (Off-site preparation can drastically affect the quality of the food you serve if it is not done properly.)
  • How many hors d’oeuvres do you provide per person? (This will give you a great idea of the quantity of food each guest is given. You do not want to work with a caterer who is skimping to make an extra dollar.)
  • How many people do you base your food stations on?
  • Do you have the ability to meet the needs of people with special dietary restrictions? Are you willing to provide an ingredient list for those with allergies?
  • What is your food-overage policy?
  • Can I expect any additional charges beyond what is presented in your proposal?
  • What sets you apart from other caterers?
  • What are your food safety precautions and preparations?
  • How much are your service and catering fees and what do they cover?

Pro Tip: It is important to factor the service charge (22 – 30%) and taxes that will apply to the final bill into your budget.

All Photos by: Twin Hearts Photography

Great advice, thanks Sarah! for more information about Chancey Charm, please visit their WeddingLovely Vendor Guide profile or head straight to their website.

Do you have any questions or comments for Sarah? Add them to the comments below!


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  • Sarah Chancey

    Thanks for sharing these thoughts. I truly hope they prove helpful to all the brides out there starting the planning process!nnCheers!

    • weddinglovely

      Thanks for the comment and supplying us with such a lovely post!

  • Bill

    Great Article!nnhttp://lisalovesdesign.co.uk/

  • Practical tips that brides should know. 27% is a good chunk of the budget so plan carefully!

    • weddinglovely

      Thanks for the comment as always! Very good point. :)

  • Myfirstbooking .com

    Wow, you have a great thought.. Really, we have to find the right caterer. Keep posting, thank you

    • weddinglovely

      Thanks for the comment!

  • weddinglovely

    Awww! Thanks so much for referring us! We’re glad to hear that you had a great party by taking services from online wedding catering companies. Have a lovely day! :)

  • Jade Brunet

    I appreciate this information about the questions one should ask a caterer before hiring. It would be nice to know about all charges, even beyond which is presented in the proposal. Something else to find would be to ensure that you are the only client for the day to make sure that the catering business is not in a rush.

    • weddinglovely

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts here. :)