Post # 1
Hi all! I’m new to the bee, and weddings in general, so pardon if this is such a newbie question.
My FH and I are marrying next year at a non-traditional venue, and will be hiring a caterer. We’ve met with one briefly, and they drafted an initial menu for us with pricing. We’d like to make some changes to it, discuss options for lowering the price a bit, and taste their food. They are caterers only, so no chance to dine at a restaurant to see if we actually like them. There are photos on their site, which look great, and of course good reviews are posted (what business person would post a bad review?).
But how do we tactfully ask to taste their dishes? We haven’t given a deposit yet, and they can’t likely spend time and money preparing food for only the possibility of a client. We want to be sure of them, but they also can’t "waste time" with us.
The ceremony/reception/caterer is about 2 1/2 hours from where we live, and we can only get there on the weekends. But this is wedding season, and they are catering events on the weekends!
What to do?! Do I crash a wedding they’re working
From what I know, a year out is the best time to hire a caterer. We’re just shy of that now. And I like to simply have things settled. No drama!
Post # 3
Call them and ask when you’ll have a tasting. Tell them you’d like references and call those people before you book them. Also, you can offer to pay for a tasting before you book, maybe they would do that.
Post # 4
I wouldn’t book a caterer that makes me pay for a tasting. That should just be part of the process, before you even put a deposit down. After picking a preliminary menu, just email or call and say, "This all looks so delicious! When can we schedule a tasting?"
Post # 5
We had a full tasting with our caterer before we signed a contract or put down a deposit. Initially, we emailed with the caterer to confirm availability and narrow down the menu choices, given our budget and the timing of our wedding (they do seasona menus based on what will be fresh & local). Once we had that, we coordinated a date for a tasting.
Beware of caterers who refuse to do a tasting or who charge you for it. While it’s not unheard of to charge for a tasting, it could be a bad sign. If they are busy on weekends, they should still be able to accommodate you – perhaps an early or late tasting? Check in with them to find out what they would suggest. Sundays may be a less busy day or even a Friday night (if you can manage to get yourselves out there on a Friday night).
Post # 6
I’ve never had a tasting until after I booked a caterer, but I’ve also never booked a caterer I wasn’t familiar with. I guess we’ll see this time, since we’re doing a destination event. I always assumed the tasting was done afterwards. You learn something new everyday.
Post # 7
Thank you, bees! This is a small caterer in northern New Husband, but they seem very up to date and creative with the menu and willing to cook any cuisine. I haven’t lived in New England in forever, and don’t know people in the area who make a habit of booking caterers, so going on reputation is limited. I’ve done a BBB search, but was trying to avoid asking for references to call…it just seemed tacky to me. Maybe it’s standard procedure?
Thanks for the info about paying for a tasting!