The Captivating Culinary Delights of Saint Germain Catering

How to Hire a Caterer


Caterers are a necessity for large events. However, for many of us it’s pretty uncommon to plan an event large enough to need one. If you have a wedding coming up, or another special occasion, it could easily be the first time you’ll ever have to book a caterer. So what do you do, and what should you expect?

Experienced caterers will want to make your event a success and will strive to bring it to life exactly the way you imagined it. Thus, getting good catering service is a combination of shopping around for the right company, and maintaining very open and clear communication with them about what you want. Here are the basics.

1. Shopping around. It’s worth it to talk to several catering companies, to get a feel for what each offers and what you can expect across the board. Instead of cold calling, we highly recommend reaching out to friends and family to see if they have recommendations on caterers. In particular, you’re looking for caterers who were easy to work with, took care of all the details and created an event that everyone was pleased with.

2. First contact. When you first talk to a caterer, you’ll need three key pieces of information to give them: the date, the number of guests (approximate is fine), and a sense of your budget. If you’re not sure on the budget yet, the caterer can help give you a better sense of what to expect the event to cost, and what can be changed to make it more economical.

3. Know what questions to ask. You should be prepared to ask your caterer some key questions. Ask about their specialties, if any, and what other events similar to yours they have done. Ask them what is included in their service. Do you need to rent tables separately? Are there any hidden fees? And ask them if you will be able to sample dishes from the proposed menu ahead of the event.

4. Be prepared to pay a deposit. Your caterer will give you a quote on your event and, if it sounds good, you’ll be asked to pay a deposit or pre-pay part of the price. This is normal. Caterers can’t put in hours planning your event unless they know you have committed to them and that they will get paid.

5. Get a contract. You should have a signed catering contract, but more importantly, make sure it reflects everything you talked about. If the caterer agreed to provide napkins and flatware and that there would be no extra charge, then this needs to be in the contract.

6. Stay in regular contact. Your caterer is your employee, and you’re entrusting them with an important event. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or check in on them at any step of the process.

Hiring a caterer doesn’t have to be hard and, if you take the time to ask all your questions and get to know what your caterer offers, it can actually be a very relaxing experience because you’ll know your event is in good hands.

If your event happens to be in the Washington, DC or northern VA areas, consider Saint Germain Catering to guide you through the process. Saint Germain Catering is one of the Virginia’s most experienced caterers and is always happy to work with a first-time event planner.

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