Los Angeles Wedding Caterers
It’s official. You’re getting married and it’s time to start planning the wedding. With so many things to think about and plan, it can feel a little overwhelming. You’ll need all the help you can get in planning and execution. Obviously, in addition to hiring the photographer and DJ, you will want to find the best catering in Los Angeles for your big day.
One thing you will not want to sacrifice is great food and service, because that’s part of what makes your wedding event, well, an event. Yes, people come for the ceremony and to celebrate your union, of course they do… but if we’re being real, they also come for the dancing, the bar, and the delicious food. A professional caterer that specializes in events like weddings can help make your big day a little less stressful and a lot more fun and memorable. But, where to begin?
Establish Your Budget
The first thing you should do before considering any Los Angeles catering company is sit down with your spouse-to-be and establish a budget for your special occasion. You will need a total budget for the wedding as well as your specific budget for catering. Decide how much you want to allocate to a caterer and start there.
You will also need to factor in potential up-charges and hidden fees, because some caterers will try to sneak those in and may not tell you. For instance, some caterers charge a cake-cutting fee if they didn’t prepare your cake and you bring one in from a separate vendor.
Other caterers charge fees for opening bottles of alcohol if you bring your own instead of using theirs. Decide if you even intend to provide a bar and if so, whether you’ll do a cash bar or open bar. Do you only want to serve beer and wine, or do you want to offer full liquor? These decisions will all impact your budget.
There are even some caterers that sneak in little charges like pouring coffee, and you need to be aware so that you can ask your LA catering company right off the bat for a breakdown of fees. Also, keep in mind that everything is always negotiable. Sometimes you can negotiate lower rates for certain things or as a trade-off for other things.
Don’t forget to factor in tip charges to your budget as well, or you will have an unwelcome surprise when you get the bill for your special event. Make sure you read everything and be careful you aren’t being double charged gratuities. Anything that says service charges, tips, or gratuities usually all mean the same thing. Only pay them once, either as a flat fee per service provider or as a percentage of your total bill.
Another thing you can do when talking to potential Los Angeles catering companies is inquiring about guaranteed numbers. Sometimes caterers will quote based upon a guaranteed minimum number of guests, which could be of benefit to you and your budget.
Decide What Kind of Wedding You’re Having
This is an important decision you should make ahead of time, because that will influence your choice in pretty much everything, including your choice of caterer and food options. Think of some adjectives you could use to describe the wedding you envision, and that will help you get a firmer grasp of the style of wedding you dream of.
Maybe you want something a little casual, like a beach wedding or a picnic wedding in the woods during morning or lunchtime hours. This will influence your menu choices and the way you intend to serve your guests, plus a multitude of other factors to consider when hiring a caterer. Maybe you envision something romantic and elegant at an indoor wedding venue. These will often be evening weddings, so you will want to serve your guests’ dinner.
In some cases, your choice of location and venue can limit your menu, so that’s something to keep in mind as well. The style of wedding you have in mind will greatly influence what you need in catering services, so it’s important to start there when looking for the best catering in Los Angeles. Then you’ll know what to look for and ask your potential caterers before deciding which one you want to contract with.
Narrow Down Your List of Potential Caterers
While it may be tempting to contact every caterer you find in the Los Angeles area, it’s a surefire way to lead to being overwhelmed. Decide your catering budget and the style of wedding you want, then narrow down your list of potentials based on those factors. Which caterer fits your budget and seems to have a style and flair that you resonate with?
Try to decide on a maximum of two or three potentials that meet your qualifications before you contact them. Schedule a meeting with each of them and sit down face-to-face to talk about what you have in mind for your big day. In most cases, the caterer will pose questions you hadn’t even thought of, and may have ideas for things you never considered that can help weight your decision in one direction or another.
Request a complete tasting with each of them, and make sure the tasting is with the china and decor you want, and the same drinks you intend to serve so you can see (and taste) right away if something will not fit with your vision.
Ultimately, if the caterer you meet with doesn’t seem to have a single creative catering idea or gives you any kind of vibe that they will not meet your expectations, move on. There is no reason to settle on a caterer that isn’t a perfect fit for you and your big day, from creativity, to budget, to professionalism and enthusiasm. After all, marriage is a big deal! Choosing your perfect Los Angeles catering company should be a big deal too.