Choosing a Caterer – Top Tips

As more and more brides move away from a traditional hotel ballroom to a unique wedding venue space, many are tasked with a new level of organization…caterer, event rentals, layout, parking and more are all details to consider that are typically taken care of with a hotel. I’m working with a client on her August 25th wedding, which is going to take place at an amazing new venue in Chicago.  Greenhouse Loft has a set list of caterers that clients must use, so we are working through the list to find the optimal company for this momentous event! The most important vendor for your wedding day is your caterer, since they will be running the show on your wedding day, from set-up and food service to managing the flow of the day and taking care of your guests. Here’s our tips to consider when choosing your caterer.

  • Budget – Make sure to get a quote in writing. You’ll want to know prices of all menu items. Taxes and Fees can add over 25% to the cost of the food service, so make sure these are stated clearly in the estimate. Caterers can charge additional fees for bread service, rentals, bar mixers, water, coffee, and cake cutting. These charges can sting if you aren’t expecting them!
  • Timeline – Caterers, on average, need at least 2 hours to set up before guests arrive and 1 hour after guests leave to tear down. Make sure this fee, including wages for staff, is included in your estimate.
  • Staff – what will the staff-to-guest ratio be? Will the event planner you work with throughout your planning process be present at the event? What will staff be wearing?
  • Experience – how many weddings has the caterer served? What is their average guest size? It’s always a good idea to call references and check recommendations.
  • Food – you want to LIKE what you eat at your wedding, so make sure to schedule tastings.
  • Camaraderie – you’ll be working with your caterer the most throughout the wedding planning process, so make sure you feel comfortable with them! They are working FOR you, so it’s up to them to make you happy.

We can help facilitate caterer meetings, review proposals & estimates, provide feedback, check references and even take the entire process out of your hands. Let us know!

And it’s all small stuff…

As you embark on your wedding planning, it is VERY easy to get caught up in the details and stress out about the tiniest, insignificant thing. I was definitely guilty of it! It’s important to remember that the wedding is just one day and it’s just one big party…the part that comes AFTER it is what matters.

I came across this blog post the other day and it made me cry. It’s a wonderful reminder of the importance of your wedding…it’s not the flowers, the seating arrangements, the signature cocktail…it’s who are you walking down the aisle to meet. Life is short, so make sure to appreciate and love that guy (or girl…we’re equal opportunists over here!) that’s waiting for you!

Check out the blog post here…this amazing photographer captured their story to perfection. Lainie, battling cancer, stands with her future husband, Joseph, as they shave all her hair off just weeks before their wedding. True love and commitment here!

Emily Harris Photography (Intimate Bridal Portraits blog)

Happy Monday!


Welcome to! We’ll be blogging here regularly on everything party-related, so sign up to follow us and check back often! Let the prettiness begin…


Topics coming soon:

  • Spring Inspiration
  •  A Kentucky Derby engagement party
  • The Best Budget Secrets
  • Creative Dessert Displays
  • Real Brides’ views on day-of coordinators

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!