Post # 1
I’m trying to get a feel for how much “shopping around” I should do for my catering.
My venue has a preferred list, but also allows outside vendors with a fee of $2 pp and some additional requirements (visit to the venue beforehand).
Several of the preferred caterers are within my price range (<$30 pp for food and non-alcoholic drinks), well-reviewed, and seem to have delicious menus. Should I just stick with one of the preferred options, or continue researching to try to find a better deal?
How much shopping around did you do for your catering, and was it worth it?
Post # 2
I’d probably try your top two off the preferred list and stick with one of them unless the food is terrible or a friend recommends somebody at 12 pp where even with the surcharge you’ll save money.
Post # 3
We researched 6 pretty heavily, out of an original list of 18.
My vendor required we use one of their preferred caterers. There were about 18 on the list. We quickly were able to reduce that down to 12, as there were some who only did specific types of food which didn’t meet our needs. We were able to knock that down to 6 based on reviews and ratings on Yelp, WeddingWire, etc by arbitrarily picking the 6 caterers with the highest ratings.
Once we had a list of 6, that’s when the heavy research came in. We were able to narrow the list of 6 down to 3 based on reading more of the reviews/ratings as well as from content from the caterers own websites.
We then spoke with the top 3, and wound up doing tastings with our top 2. Not surprisingly, we went with the caterer who had been our top pick pre-tasting.
I agree with the previous posted who suggested trying your top 2 picks, and assuming the price is acceptable and the food is agreeable, just go with them. Otherwise, you could get bogged down and spend too much time researching caterers.
I recommend making a list of the catering related things that most matter to you, and use that to pick your top 2-3 caterers – things like, are they locavore? Do they offer half price children’s meals/vendor meals? Do they do buffet/plated/family style? How accomodating are they of food allergies (if that’s a concern). Can you provide your own alcohol? Do they charge corkage or cakeage fees?
Post # 4
I knew who I wanted before I even got married. My brother used them and only heard good things. I got my quote from them but thought I should shop around a bit. I got 5 other quotes and they were anywhere between 50-150% more than the first place and my first quote was for a plated reception. The others were for buffet. When drilling down in the itemized list of what they were charging me for I saw the other quotes were just highly inflated (like $12/person for coffee and tea. 🙄). So I just went with my gut and booked the caterer my brother used.