It’s no secret that planning a wedding can be stressful. From venues to photographers, hairstylists to florists, there seems to be an endless amount of planning needed. You want your wedding to be perfect (we don’t blame you) and one of the most important parts of a wedding is the caterer. But how far in advance should you book your wedding caterer?
Do I Need a Caterer for my Wedding?
The first thing you might be asking yourself is “Do I even need a caterer for my wedding?”. And the answer is always “Yes”. Whether you’re having an intimate 50-person wedding or an extravagant 300-person celebration, it’s best to have a professional wedding caterer help plan your menu.
Should we serve everything buffet style or as a plated dinner?
Do we really need to offer chicken, beef, fish, and a vegetarian option?
Should there be interactive food stations?
Your caterer will answer all of these questions and help you decide on your reception’s serving style, while also providing a pre-wedding tasting to choose your specific dishes.
Whether you want your menu served buffet style or as a full sit-down dinner, it needs to go off without a hitch, and that’s where the caterer comes in. A good wedding caterer will work within your budget and guest count to plan the perfect menu for your big day.
How Far in Advance to Book the Caterer
Before booking any vendors you should have a rough idea of which vendors you’ll need, and when you’ll need to book them by. It’s recommended to book your venue and caterer first, since these are the most important vendors and communication between them is key.
Your venue can also play an important role when booking your caterer. For example, the venue that you choose may have an in-house caterer, or a list of preferred caterers that you can choose from instead of bringing an outside caterer and paying an expensive landmark fee.
We recommend booking your wedding venue and wedding caterer at least 12 months in advance. Popular venues get booked quickly, so the earlier you can lock in your date, the better! If you don’t have a specific venue in mind, another option is to book your caterer first. A good caterer will work with you to find the perfect venue for your wedding.
Choosing the Right Caterer for Your Wedding
A good caterer goes beyond just providing food for your wedding. A full-service caterer will also coordinate rentals like linens and serve ware, as well as staffing. This helps reduce a lot of the logistical planning on your end, which means it also helps reduce stress!
When choosing the right caterer for your wedding there are some important things to consider:
- Reviews: See what the community has to say and check out the online reviews for the caterer. A great place to start is by looking at Google Reviews. Look at both the quantity and quality of reviews; if there are any negative reviews, how does the caterer respond to them?
- Budget & Guest Count: Make sure you communicate your budget and guest count with the caterer; the right caterer will be able to work within any restrictions you might have. If you’re on a limited budget, the caterer will be able to offer budget-friendly yet still delicious menu options.
- Tastings: Caterers often provide a pre-wedding tasting so you can try the food before choosing the menu. There’s usually a charge for the tasting but it’s often deducted from the final invoice if you end up booking with that caterer.
- Social Media: Check the caterer’s social media pages like Instagram for menus they’ve put together in the past. You want your wedding menu to look as good as it tastes!
- Meet in Person: Schedule an in-person meeting with the caterer to make sure they are a good fit overall. It’s important to talk about budget, menu options, and your overall vision.
Planning a wedding is always a little bit stressful but choosing the right caterer can help alleviate a lot of this stress. Booking a wedding caterer is one of the most important aspects of planning a wedding, and ideally you’ll want to book your caterer at least 12 months in advance. Things book fast, especially in big cities like Toronto, so just remember—the earlier the better! If you’re in need of a wedding caterer contact us today to see how we can help.