Post # 1
Umm…. How do you go about finding a caterer and florist? I have a list of vendors my venue allows me to use, but tackling these two is intimidating!
Photog – easy. I’m familiar with her work. Venue – easy. Its where we got engaged. Rentals – easy. Cause chairs are chairs 🙂
But I have NO idea how to get started in these departments. Can anybody tell me how they began their search and narrowed it down? I’ve been asking around and looking on weddingwire etc, but haven’t gotten much further than that.
Post # 3
Our venue is a restaurant and I’m makign the flowers from clay, so I’m completely blank on this, but I figured I’d bump your question.
Post # 4
You don’t sound dumb! It is overwhelming so you’ve come to the right place – I’m sure you’ll get lots of good advice.
When I was planning I basically wrote a generic email asking for information about their services and asked for any brochures etc… they could provide with pricing/’menus (for the caterer)’/portfolio (for florist)
If you know what you want (caterer – seated? buffet? number of people? etc…) (florist – how many bouquets? centerpieces? boutonnieres? types of flowers?) then ask them and if you don’t then ask for general info. If you know what your budget is you can tell them or you can ask what they charge for certain things and go from there.
I sent my generic email to everyone I was interested in (all with BCC so they couldn’t see who else I was writing to!) and then went from there. A lot of vendors were eliminated because they were just too expensive so that cut the list significantly and then I emailed with specific questions. Some vendors will offer to meet you but it’s not necessary (I think) until you’ve narrowed your choices down to 3 or 4 at most.
I hope this helps! Good luck and congrats!
Post # 5
Hey- you don’t sound dumb at all. I’m in the process of finding a caterer right now. First, FI and I discussed what we want from our caterer; style of meal, cuisine, wedding cake, rentals, budget. Then I used the list from our venue as a start. I visited their websites and facebook accounts. I was able to find sample menus that way and see what services they offered. Then I used sites like weddingwire, the knot, and even WB to check their reviews. Then I just sent out email after email to the caterers that I felt fit the bill. The caterers that I am choosing between were quick to respond (though I would give them a little more time now that it’s their busy time of year), willing to work within our budget, and were excited about our wedding.
I also used this little checklist for some of the conversations with the caterers, it was a big help (and I felt more confident when I talked to them) http://wedding.theknot.com/wedding-planning/wedding-reception-planning/articles/17-questions-to-ask-your-wedding-caterer.aspx
Post # 6
- Wedding: June 2010 - Tannery Pond at the Darrow School
Caterer- Contact several that are recommended in your area and ask other people or your venue if they have anyone to recommend. You can put up a thread on your local board asking for recs or look up on The Knot for caterers recommended in your area. Talk to each caterer about your budget, their food packages and experience. After you’ve spoken to a few, see if you can do a tasting or two and go from there!
A note of warning: Caterers seem to be notoriously unresponsive to emails and inquiries, so don’t be discouraged if they don’t reply very quickly. Send a follow-up or two and if they still don’t respond, move on…
Now repeat the procedure with florists 🙂 Good luck!!
Post # 7
Since your venue gave you a list of vendors, I would contact each of the caterers, and ask for their price lists and menu lists. That might quickly shorten the list, and narrow it down to a couple of caterers.
Do you have any particular foods, or any food “theme” you want served? If so, I would also ask each caterer if what you want is something they prepare regularly for weddings, or not. I would also ask the venue the same question – maybe based on what you are looking for, the venue could recommend 1 or 2 caterers on the list.