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Wedding Planning 101: Catering

Oysters on the half shell | Photo: Sarah Alleman Photography
Photo: Sarah Alleman Photography

If there is no on-site caterer at your reception location, the catering professionals on The NOW List are among the very best in the business. Do your research, accept recommendations and be sure to taste-test! A full-service caterer provides linen services, waiters and table service. Choose one who will listen to your ideas and help plan a menu for a delightful, memorable event.



1. May we see a menu and package samples?

2. Will you be at the reception? Who will be assisting? How will your staff be dressed?

3. How many servers do we need for a seated/buffet reception? What is the estimated cost per person for each? What does that include?

4. How much floor space do you need for preparation, serving and bar service?

5. Are you licensed/insured for bar service?

6. What is the bar fee? What does that include? How many bars and bartenders can you provide?

7. What amount of liquor do you recommend based on our guest list?

8. Will we be charged for unopened bottles/can those be returned?

9. What bar supplies do you provide?

10. Can you provide cash/open bar services?

11. What time will the bars close?

12. When will we need to finalize our menu?

13. When do you need a final guest count?

14. Can you provide special dietary food?

15. What are the taxes and gratuities? Are there any additional fees?

16. How much set up time do you need? Are you full-service?

17. How is the food presented? Do you provide any decor for buffet tables?

18. Are we able to do a tasting? If yes, when?

19. What are your payment terms?

20. What is your cancellation policy?


Don’t forget the cocktails!

The cocktail hour is a wonderful time for couples to infuse their own unique personalities into the precursor to the more formal reception. Everything from the food to the beverage to the décor of the cocktail hour can be customized to reflect the couple and set the stage for the rest of the night.

Signature drinks can encompass anything from a favorite cocktail of the couple to a special concoction with a story attached.
Consider printing the signature cocktail recipe and story behind the featured signature drink right on coasters or beverage napkins!

Mint Juleps and Champagne | Photo: Sarah Alleman Photography
Photo: Sarah Alleman Photography

Bon Appetit!

Here are some great planning tools

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