What to Look For in a Wedding Caterer!

Ian RamirezWedding Planning, Wedding Tips

Wedding Catering

Without a doubt, who doesn’t love awesome and delicious food when attending a wedding? Having hosted hundreds of weddings over the years here at Madera Estates, it’s something we feel confident in saying that all guests LOVE. As so, for engaged couples, it never hurts to take your time and make sure you book a reliable and professional catering company! On today’s blog, we’ll take an inside look at this exact topic. No matter if you’re hosting a massive celebration with hundreds of people or more of an intimate wedding, we’ll discuss a few of the qualities that you should look for in a caterer.

In addition to these traits you should be searching for with catering companies, we’ll also provide links to our exclusive catering partners that we work with at Madera Estates. So if you’re engaged and planning a wedding near the Houston area, this could be a worthwhile resource to get some ideas on local caterers.

Before getting started though, we would like to give a warm welcome to any new visitors to our wedding-themed blog. Here at Madera Estates, our mission is pretty simple and straightforward. We take pride in turning your dream wedding into a reality. Whether that entails eliminating unneeded stress in the planning process, providing recommendations on quality vendors or anything else, we would like to do anything and everything possible to truly make your wedding day the BEST DAY EVER! With that all being said, let’s take a look at some of the steps needed to ensure you have scrumptious food on your big day.

* The thumbnail pictured on this post comes from a recent wedding held at Madera Estates that was catered by Cafe Natalie.

Is your date available?

Unsurprisingly, the first question you’re going to want to ask is whether or not they’re available on your wedding date. Particularly if your wedding is on a Saturday during one of the busier months, you’ll want to make sure of this before moving forward with meetings and taste testings. It’ll save both you and the catering company some time! On our 12-month planning timeline that is available in the client portal, you’ll find that booking a catering company comes up pretty early in the planning process, not too far after signing on with your venue. The main reason for this is that the quality ones will book up fast and you don’t want to be left with something that you don’t absolutely love.

Does the catering company specialize in any food types or are you and your fiance looking for something specialized?

While this isn’t certainly the case with all couples, there are plenty out there who have a general idea of what type of food they would like served on their wedding day. As such, wouldn’t it make sense to make sure they either specialize in that particular type of food or at least have plenty of experience making it? Keep in mind that this is even more so relevant for those looking for specialty cuisines. If you’re planning on keeping it more generic and traditional, then their menus should be extremely helpful in determining their capabilities.

What all do they provide? How much flexibility is there on what you order?

While you might expect wedding catering to be fairly cut-and-dry, the truth is it’s important to ask plenty of questions beforehand to ensure you know exactly what to expect. And a major aspect of this is finalizing what all the catering company serves and provides. 

  • Do they primarily offer buffet-style meals or are they plated? 
  • Are the catering packages customizable? When it comes to entrees, appetizers and so on, how many choices do you and your fiance need to make?
  • Who provides all of the extra necessities? Plates, napkins, silverware, tables, chairs and anything else that’s essential for your wedding day.
  • Are there any extra charges or fees that you should be aware of when budgeting?

All in all, it’s good to get everything out in the open early on in the planning process. And if you happen to work with a catering company that’s on your venue’s approved vendor list, your representative from the venue can probably provide some assistance as well!

How many years have they been in business, along with how long have they been catering weddings specifically?

This next question is really applicable for all of your vendors, but is always something worth mentioning. Especially if you’re going with a company that’s not on your venue’s approved vendor list, take your time to do some due diligence and ensure they’re a reputable business. The last thing you want is a huge surprise on the wedding day itself and it’s safe to say issues with the food could be a MASSIVE surprise!

Along with the obvious questions like asking how long they’ve been in business and how long they’ve been specifically catering weddings, take some time to also do a little research. Check out their social media pages and see what their presence looks like there. While this doesn’t always guarantee a good company, it should provide you with some real photos of their work. At the same time, online reviews are huge in 2021 and always can be a telling sign of one’s professionalism and capabilities. Take a look through reviews on Google, The Knot, Wedding Wire or anywhere else to see what past customers had to say about them. 

Who’s covering the wedding cake?

As we’ve mentioned throughout this blog post, every catering company is likely going to be a little bit different. Particularly in a bigger market, like Houston, where there are dozens of quality catering companies, it’s important to ask plenty of questions. Yet another one of these is in regards to the wedding cake itself. Does the catering company cover that or do you need to find a local bakery for that? 

When it comes to wedding cakes, our team at Madera Estates is pleased to recommend one of our exclusive partners, Cakes By Gina. With years of experience, you can always count on them to produce an amazing wedding cake!

Have they ever catered at the actual wedding venue where your wedding is being held?

This next question is definitely more of a logistical question and is a major reason why many of our clients end up going with one of our exclusive catering partners. As you start locking down more and more of your vendors, remember that familiarity amongst them and experience working together can be an incredible asset in ensuring a seamless wedding experience. Is it something that should automatically signal you to look elsewhere? Not necessarily, but it is certainly something worth keeping in mind.

Preferred Vendors at Madera Estates

When you book with Madera Estates, all of our clients are given a “Welcome Packet” that comes with a bunch of useful information for your big day. One aspect of this is preferred vendors and that includes catering options. All of these companies have past experience working with our team at Madera and are ones we feel comfortable recommending. In terms of catering companies, this includes Cafe Natalie, Churrascos and The Hometown Chef. They’re all close by Houston and Conroe, and provide couples with a wide array of delicious food!

Have You Already Found Your Dream Wedding Venue?

As we often say, it’s typically going to be in your best interest to lock down a wedding venue early on in the planning process. This will simplify so many of your other decisions and help you truly get a game plan together for planning your special day. However, not long after booking your dream wedding venue, you’re going to want to start scheduling tastings and eventually book your caterer. We hope this blog post helped clear up some of the questions you should be asking when it comes time to start meeting with catering companies.

Are you engaged and looking to get married near the Houston area? Madera Estates is a luxury wedding venue located in Conroe, TX, just north of Houston and The Woodlands. We offer both venue-rental packages, as well as all-inclusive offerings. We completely understand that wedding planning can seem a little overwhelming, so we take pride in making the entire experience as seamless as possible! If you haven’t yet finalized your wedding venue, we would be more than happy to show you around our venue. To get started, all you have to do is select a time on our booking calendar that works best for you. After that, one of our wedding professionals will show you around the venue and answer any questions in regards to pricing, availability or anything else. We look forward to hearing from you!