If you asked the guests that you have invited to your wedding what is the most important part of your wedding day they are looking forward to, what do you think they would say? They would probably tell you the moment that you say I do, but we all know that they are actually looking forward to a lot of what they hope will be great food. In order for you to make sure your reception has food that is top-notch and that each bite makes all of your guests smile from ear to ear, you will have to put in some footwork and so some intense research so that you can hire the wedding caterer that will know everyone's socks off.
If you just try and search on the internet for local wedding caterers in the Cincinnati area, you are shooting in the dark to a degree. So, we suggest that you start off by asking friends and family for referrals. Ask your reception venue if they have any recommendations. Or, in fact, do they restrict you to a list of preferred caterers they have? Here is another thought, if you have a favorite restaurant that you absolutely love, ask them if they ever cater weddings. It is worth a try. Once you have a list of a few potential caterers, call each one up and ask if they have your wedding date available on their calendar. If they do, make an appointment with them to interview them about possibly catering your wedding reception.
In your meeting, you will want to be armed with specific questions. Ask them about what menu items they might suggest based on the style of your wedding. What would be their cost per person? Do they specialize in any particular menu item? How much say will they allow you to have in the menu? Do they have a license? This question is more important than you know because it means that they have met health department standards and have liability insurance. What about a liquor license? This seems obvious, but it can't hurt to ask. Find out what the difference in price is between a buffet style and a sit down dinner In terms of price find out what your cost per person actually covers. Does it cover just the food or does it cover the staff, rentals, and linens for example. Really make sure you nail down what costs are included and what costs are extra. For instance, are set-up and tear down included? What if the reception runs into overtime? What about gratuities?
How much time will they need for set-up and clean-up? If they are hired, would they be willing to do a walk through of your venue? What if you would like to provide your own wine, champagne, and liquor? Do they charge an extra fee if you want to do this? Are they willing to provide food for your vendors? What about children, do they have a special menu they can choose from? Once all of these questions are answered and you are feel satisfied by the answers provided by one particular caterer, ask for references and have them show you portfolio pictures of past weddings. Follow through with the references by calling them and asking about their experience with the caterer. This should either dissuade you from going further or encourage you that you have found the right vendor. When you like what you hear, ask them to work up a standard contract. Make sure you sit down and read through every point in the contract with the vendor right there in front of you. When all of the details have been hashed out, put down a deposit to hold the date and sign the contract.