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1. Does the caterer specialize in certain types of food or service? (Ask for sample menus to review even if you assume that specializations will be costly, they might be within your budget)

2. Can you sample specific foods you're interested in prior to hiring a caterer? (They should upon request)

3. What is the catererís price structure? Are costs itemized depending on the foods you choose, or is there an all-inclusive flat rate? What would that include (linens, tax, gratuities, etc.)? (You should be provided with a cost sheet outlining all cost items in detail)

4. To what degree will the caterer be involved during your reception? Does he or she operate like a wedding coordinator/banquet manager, cueing the band, telling the couple when to cut the cake, adjusting the schedule as needed when trying to get guests seated for dinner? (You will need to find someone to fill this role if your caterer isn't going to do this. Appoint others willing to take responsibility or think about hiring a wedding coordinator)

5. Will the caterer provide tables, chairs, plates, table linens, silverware, salt-and-pepper shakers, and more? Ask to see these items to make sure they're acceptable. Do you have to rent tables, tents, place settings, and/or other equipment or will they arrange for the rentals? (Know who is responsible for ordering these items, you, the caterer, or other. Last minute ordering might not be an option in the event that someone does not clearly understand his or her ordering responsibilities)

6. Who is the main contact? Will the same person you work with when planning also oversee meal service on the day of the wedding? (You want the initial contact person to be present on the day of your wedding)

7. Is the caterer working any other weddings on the same weekend, on the same day, or at the same time as yours? (You want to be sure they will devote sufficient attention to you. Know and understand how the catererís team plans to do this before you hire them)

8. Does the caterer handle all settings of tables including putting out place cards and favors? (If caterer does not handle this, find someone (wedding coordinator, family, or friend) responsible, neat, and with the ability to set-up before guests arrive for the reception)

9. Will the caterer provide a wait staff, if so, how many is recommended for the size of your wedding? What will the wait staff wear, style of uniforms? (Top caterers say they always use their own serving personnel because they understand the caterer's way of doing business)

10. Will the caterer be willing to include a special family dish or appetizer with recipe specifics? Can they prepare vegetarian, kosher, or another meal of specific culture or religion for just a few of your guests? (You want to show all guests that you appreciate and acknowledge their sharing this special day with you)

11. Where will the food be prepared: on-site, off-site, or will special preparations need to be made? Will the food be fresh? (Know who is responsible for making specific foods, as a family recipe for a few guests might require a guest to prepare at his or her home)

12. Does the caterer have a license? (This means the business has met health department standards and has liability insurance... make sure this includes a liquor license if you're having a bar)

13. Can the caterer provide alcohol? Or can you handle the bar separately? If you can provide it, is there a corkage fee? How and when do you get the alcohol to the caterer? If the caterer will provide it, can you make special requests including wines and liquors? (Review and compare the cost structure when comparing options)

14. How will the caterer arrange the food on the buffet table or on plates? Do you have a say in how table accessories are arranged? Can you see photos of previous work displays? (Most professional caterers will provide pictures of past displays)

15. Can you speak to previous clients? (Get at least two references that had a similar number of guests and a similar menu style in order to reinforce your confidence in the caterer you hold interest)

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