1. Are You Free on Our Wedding Date?
Be sure to ask this question in your first correspondence with a potential caterer. If a caterer isn't available on your wedding day, you shouldn't move forward with a meeting, catering companies take bookings for weddings years in advance.
2. Do You Ask for A Deposit?
Most caterers will ask for a deposit to secure the booking, so make sure you've got some money set aside for this ahead of your consultation, or food tasting so they can pop your special day in their diary.
3. Will You Be Catering for Any Other Weddings on the Day?
If they’re a large company with multiple teams, it’s reasonable to expect that they may cater for more than one event per day/weekend. Just make sure you know who exactly will be there on your day so you can ensure they know what you’re expecting. Ridgway try to keep the same team supervisor who you will meet on your tasting as the same supervisor who will be looking after your wedding.
4. Have You Worked at Our Venue Before?
Having experience at your venue is a plus, but even if a potential caterer has never done an event at your wedding venue, they should have a plan for how they will execute your wedding breakfast in a new space. Gerald and Natalie typically speak with the venue to learn more about the set-up and will pay a visit beforehand.
5. Can I See Pictures of Your Food?
Some say we eat with our eyes and to a certain extent this is true. The presentation of your food is second only to the taste and so it’s worth knowing how your chosen caterer presents their food and the level of care they put into making it looks as impressive as it sounds.
Do your research and check out their social media platforms.
6. Do you have insurance?
The legal side of wedding planning isn't the most fun aspect, but it's vital that you cover it. Ask the wedding caterer if they have a catering license to be able to cater at your wedding venue, as well as liability insurance.
7. Do You Have a Set Menu or Can We Request a Bespoke Menu?
For some, a set menu is a total dream as it allows them to relax while someone who really knows what they’re talking about when it comes to food creates something on their behalf. Ridgway Caterers offer set menus or a build your own bespoke menu so you could mix and match whatever starter, main course, or dessert you like.
8. Where Do You Source Your Ingredients From?
Eco-conscious couples should focus their search on caterers who work with locally sourced ingredients rather than imported goods with a hefty carbon footprint. Remember, ingredients sourced in the UK are likely to be fresher than if they have been frozen and imported, so quiz your caterer on their ingredients and make sure you get the freshest produce on your plate.
9.Do You Cater for Dietary Requirements?
You learn a lot about your guests once you ask the question ‘do you have any dietary requirements?’ on your invites. At first when this information begins to flood back to you it can feel overwhelming.
Ridgway are more than happy to cater for allyour guests adapting your menu to suit any dietary requirements. Generally, unless you prefer otherwise, we will tailor the original menu adapted removing any elements each guest cannot eat.
10.Do You Provide Silverware, Linen, Tables and Chairs?
Many caterers will provide everything you need for a sit-down meal but not all do and so it’s vital to ask. All of Ridgway’s Cutlery, Crockery, Linen, and napkins are all included, there are no hidden costs, but tables and chairs are often provided by the venue.
11.Will Staff Lay Out Place Names and Menus if Required?
Your venue or wedding planner may be able to set them out when they're decorating the space, but you can always ask your caterer if they're the ones laying the tables. Although extra costs could occur for their staff wage. Another option would be to meet their team the day before your wedding which is when they normally lay up the tables and place your name tags or menus out yourself or ask a family member to do it if you’re too busy.
12. How Long Do You Need to Set Up?
It’s important to know how long your caterers will need to set up as you’ll need to communicate this to your venue so that they know when to expect them.
13.How Many Waiters/Waitresses Will You Provide?
Ideally, you need one waiter or waitress per table of around 20 guests. This will ensure everyone’s food comes out at a similar time.
14. Who Will Be in Charge of Coordinating on the Day?
Someone should be in charge on the day, overseeing timings and ensuring everything is going as you have planned. You might have already met this person at your tasting, if not ask who this person will be and request a chat with them to make sure they know what you’re expecting and when you expect things like cake cutting or canapes to happen on the day.
15. Do You Charge for Menu Tastings?
Ridgway caterers will offer a menu tasting for the Bride and Groom for free but if you’d like to bring additional guests along, you can expect to pay extra.
16.When Can I Book My Tasting?
You’ll want to get your tasting in the diary early on so that you can sample your caterer’s dishes and make your final choices before you pay your deposit.
17. When Do I Need to Give You Final Guest Numbers and menus?
You should set a deadline for RSVPs around five weeks before the big day. Ridgway’s will ask for your final numbers, menu choices and their dietary requirements around this time before the big day. We will need to order ingredients in advance from our suppliers and so we must set a deadline for final menu choices.
18.I’m Hiring an Outdoor Venue, Will You Bring Equipment or Do I Need to Hire It?
If you're hosting a tipi or marquee wedding somewhere remote, you'll need to make sure the caterer has everything they need to prepare your wedding breakfast. A professional marquee supplier will be able to design and build a caterer’s area that meets their needs, ask them what they can provide first and then speak with your caterer.Ridgway caterers have our own equipment that we can bring, such as cookers, warming cabinets, cutlery, and crockery, but othercaterers may hire them on your behalf and ask you to pay an additional fee to cover the costs.
19. When Do You Expect the Final Balance?
No matter what your wedding budget is, you must factor in the cost of catering for your big day. It's one of the most important aspects of your wedding to keep your guests fed with delicious food and entertained with a couple of drinks. Ridgway will verbally go over all event details 5 weeks prior to your event. A final guest count is required the guest count cannot be reduced after that point. Full payment is required 4 weeks advance of your event.
20. What is Your Cancellation Policy?
Upon acceptance and confirmation of your booking, a legally binding contract exists. If you are forced to cancel your booking for any reason yourself no refunds will be issued. COVID-19 had a major impact on most food businesses.Lots of events needed to be cancelled. Asking about their cancellation policy ahead of time will help you to avoid any potential problems if you need to cancel your event, it's worth just checking on before signing on that dotted line.