How to Start Your Search for a Caterer

To find the right food pro for your wedding reception, start with these helpful tips.
by The Knot
Wedding Entre
photo by Theresa Choi Photography

It's time to get down to business and find an amazing caterer to bring your ideal wedding feast to life. Tackle this major to-do as soon as possible—the best caterers are often booked well in advance, even up to a year. Here's exactly where to begin your search.

Where to Start Finding a Caterer

  • Ask recently married friends for vendor referrals.
  • Scroll through The Knot Marketplace for top local caterers and client reviews in your wedding location.
  • Hotels, country clubs and large special-event facilities often have in-house caterers, and if not, they'll definitely have a list of preferred pros. That means choosing a venue like one of these will take you totally off the hook for finding someone yourself.
  • Ask your favorite restaurant to cater your day. If they don't do weddings, some spots might be able to point you to a trustworthy restaurant that does.
  • The photographers, florists, videographers and planners you're speaking with might keep a list of reputable caterers they've heard of through the industry grapevine or know personally.

Tips for Making Appointments

  • When you call to make appointments, try to schedule tastings as part of the interviews—their personality is incredibly important, but it's their food you'll be putting to the test first.
  • Before you leave, don't just take a business card—ask each caterer to draw up a rough outline including details like cost per person, menu options, exactly what the fee includes (alcohol, rentals, tips), service and presentation style, and less expensive alternatives. Make sure to ask these important questions before making any decisions to book.
  • Check references and find out several things to make your search more helpful: one, the customer's head count, venue and menu items; two, the food's taste, presentation and preparation; three, the quality and efficiency of the waitstaff; and, four, whether or not the menu and bill met expectations.
  • Take extra precaution and get the full scoop on a particular catering firm through the Better Business Bureau before you make any moves to hire them.


Ready to find a fabulous caterer in your area? Search them here.

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