There are many pieces to the wedding planning puzzle, some a bit trickier to find and place than others. One of those key pieces is the food and drinks you’ll serve on your big day. From cocktails and appetizers to three-course meals, you only want the finest, tastiest options for your guests, as well as a dedicated and friendly staff to prepare, serve, and clean up.

So, where to start?

First, let’s take a look at your catering options. While looking at this list, keep your budget in mind, what kind of food you’d like to serve (as well as what your guests would enjoy), and the level of service you need/want. These will all play a major part in choosing a catering service that is right for you.

Photo by Nikkolas Nguyen, Austin, Texas Wedding Photographer of table with food and wedding guests enjoying it

TYPES OF WEDDING CATERING

Food trucks

These portable kitchens can roll in and serve your guests straight from their truck counters. Plus, you’re likely to find a food truck that makes whatever it is you have in mind. From basic hamburgers to gourmet avocado balls, food trucks offer plenty of creative options, but you’ll have to take care of the catering logistics (chairs and tables, clean up, etc.).

Restaurants

Some restaurants have special event departments that can work with you to create a menu, but even those that don’t may be willing to serve items from their own menu, as well as play host to your wedding reception dinner. If this sounds like something you’d be up for, it’s worth asking your favorite establishment if they cater weddings.

Traditional catering

This includes caterers who work with you to create your ideal menu. Maybe that means a plate of steak and grilled vegetables or maybe you prefer less-traditional items like crab cakes and antipasta. Whatever the case, traditional wedding caterers can be expected to prepare and serve the food.

Full-service catering

Full-service wedding caterers do everything a traditional catering company does, plus coordinate rentals, set up tables and chairs, provide wait staff, cook and serve the food, clean up, pack up, and take out the garbage.

Related: 7 Tips for Planning a Successful Vegan Wedding and How to Create an Epic Wedding Grazing Table

Photo by Nikkolas Nguyen, Austin, Texas Wedding Photographer of caterer holding a serving platter with finger foods

WHERE TO FIND A WEDDING CATERER

Depending on what kind of catering service you choose, there are a number of ways to start your search and find the best caterer for your wedding.

Married friends

Did you attend a wedding with amazing food or know any recently married couples who raved about their menu? If so, go ahead and ask them for their caterer’s info.

In-house

Wedding venues often provide in-house catering, and if they don’t, they’ll likely have a list of preferred vendors that you can choose from.

Restaurants

As mentioned above, you can ask your favorite restaurant if they have a special events department or if they are able to cater your day (whether in-house or at your venue).

Vendor recommendations

Wedding photographers, florists, planners, and the like typically have a list of reputable vendors, including caterers. Ask the people you’re working with to see if they have any suggestions or recommendations.

Once you’ve narrowed down your list, it’s time to set up appointments so that you can ask important questions, get to know the caterer’s personality, and sample the goods. It will be a great help to both you and the catering company if you go to the interview prepared, which means you have an idea of what your budget is, a guest count, and your menu ideas/vision.

Photo by Nikkolas Nguyen, Austin, Texas Wedding Photographer of a set table for a wedding dinner

QUESTIONS TO ASK CATERER

  1. How many weddings have you done?
  2. Do you provide table settings and linens?
  3. If not, do you provide rental coordination?
  4. Will we need any special event permits and do you provide those?
  5. What is the amount of the deposit due and when will the remainder be due?
  6. What is your cancellation policy?
  7. Do you offer a payment plan?
  8. Is our wedding date available?
  9. Have you catered at our venue before?
  10. How much space will you need?
  11. How much time will you need for set-up/clean-up?
  12. What are your specific needs?
  13. Can you do a custom menu or do you only provide a static menu?
  14. Do you charge a bulk fee or cost-per-person?
  15. What kinds of meals do you serve? Plated? Buffet?
  16. Do you prepare food on-site or is it brought in?
  17. Do you handle last-minute requests?
  18. What is the portion size?
  19. Do you provide bartending services?
  20. Do you provide the alcohol?
  21. What do you do with the leftovers?

When you take all of these things into consideration and prepare yourself for the catering meetings, you’ll have no problem finding the right catering company for your wedding.

On the hunt for a wedding caterer in the Austin, Texas area? I know a few that I would recommend!

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