Catering 101

Consider a luxe buffet of stations and beverage pairings for a non-traditional catering option your guests will be sure to remember.
Colin Miller

Food for thought on how to make the most out of your menu plans.

Your caterer is one of the most important and expensive (usually taking up about 40% of your budget!) vendors you'll hire. And its impact isn’t just about the price tag. The caterer influences much of your guests’ experience at your reception, from the food and drink to the service, even décor. But don’t let this daunting and spendy detail intimidate you.

Read on for everything you need to know about finding the right caterer for any budget.


This decision impacts your caterer on so many levels. For one, some locales, especially hotels, may require you to use their in-house caterers so shopping around isn’t necessary—or allowed.

Second, if you’re renting a space without a kitchen or one too small to really accommodate preparing dinner for 200, you’ll need a caterer who is experienced at making meals at remote locations and have generators and other equipment to serve a meal anywhere.

Third, having a venue in place can also settle the kind of atmosphere you’re going for and thus influence the kind of food you’ll want to serve. 


Do your homework before you start meeting with caterers. You should know what is within their realm of responsibilities. Cooking your guests’ dinner is just part of their job.

Generally, caterers also provide the china, table linens, utensils and glassware on the tables, plus serving dishes, presentation platters and other accouterments for buffets and passed appetizers. Caterers also bring the wait staff and provide the bar service for your affair. 

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