When To Book Caterer For Wedding: Best Timeline

Those unsure when to book caterer for wedding can do so ten months before the expected wedding date. But more than knowing the best time to book wedding caterers, please continue reading to understand how to select the best one for your event. 

But what if it’s a relatively small wedding and you’re limited with your budget? Refer to how to cater your own wedding

when to book caterer for wedding


Wedding Planning 101: When To Book Caterer For Wedding

When planning weddings, you want to accomplish the wedding venue and caterer early on. The ideal time to book a wedding caterer is 10 to 12 months before your chosen wedding date.

The catering will also take a significant part of the budget, so booking the caterer early will help you manage your wedding expenses. But other than this, why would you need to secure the wedding caterer early? 

You must book the wedding caterer as soon as possible to have plenty of time to plan the menu according to your budget. You might also want a specific catering company, or your wedding will be during peak season, so you must book them early on your wedding date. 


How to Find a Wedding Caterer

If your venue doesn’t provide the wedding catering, you can find a wedding caterer by:

  • Asking your wedding planner if they can refer you to a trusted caterer
  • Ask the wedding venue if they’ve worked with a wedding caterer they can recommend
  • Ask your friends and family if they would endorse a caterer
  • Browse restaurants and food businesses around your area
  • Check the internet for positive reviews from recently married couples 
  • Ask your favorite restaurant 


How to book a wedding caterer

  • Create a list of about three wedding caterers to compare
  • Make an appointment with each wedding caterer
  • Schedule tastings and interviews to find the best vendor for your wedding 
  • Consider how easy it is to communicate and work with the caterer
  • Don’t forget to stay within your wedding budget
  • Ask all the details regarding the caterer’s package, fees, inclusions, setups and breakdowns, and other essential elements regarding the catering 
  • Ask your friends and family for their opinion


Questions You Should Ask Before Booking Your Wedding Caterer

Feel free to modify these questions accordingly, but these should all cover everything you need to know when booking and choosing a wedding caterer:

  • Are you available on our wedding day?
  • Have you catered in our wedding venue before?
  • Have you catered a wedding similar to us?
  • What do you need to cater to at our venue?
  • What time will you need to set up at the venue?
  • How long have you been catering weddings? 
  • How will the breakdown of the catering be handled after the wedding?
  • Can we see your menu?
  • Are you limited to your menu?
  • What are your most popular food items at weddings? 
  • What menu fits our budget?
  • Can you provide enough meals for our guest list?
  • Do you take special food requests?
  • Is the food made in the venue?
  • What are the inclusions? Are items like table settings included? 
  • When do you need the wedding headcount? 
  • Will you be responsible for serving the cake?
  • Will you be responsible for bartending? 
  • How are the leftovers handled?
  • What’s the ideal server-guest ratio?
  • Can we see the contract?
  • When is the payment due? 
  • What is your cancellation policy?


How Much Does Wedding Catering Cost?

Wedding catering can cost $1,500 and up, but it can be lower, depending on the meals or setup you want for the wedding. Many factors can affect wedding catering price, especially the type and size of your wedding. 

One person can consume a plate amounting to $15 to $30, so consider this when planning the wedding budget. You also want to consider alcohol consumption, which is typically included in the total catering fee. 

And of course, the caterer and the staff should be tipped. A gratuity fee of 15% is appreciated if it’s not included in your final bill. 

If the wedding alcohol restricts your budget too much, read what is a cash bar as it might suit your wedding better.


How to save on wedding catering costs

  • Book your wedding caterer early on
  • Have your wedding during the off-season
  • Consider a smaller guest list 
  • Opt for a simpler menu
  • Consider a buffet versus a sit-down meal 
  • Have the wedding reception after lunch 
  • Make the catering style less formal


When To Book Cake For Wedding

Besides the catering, another important wedding reception element is the wedding cake. This iconic wedding essential should be booked four to six months before the wedding. 

Keep in mind that the more complex the cake is or if it’s using non-local ingredients, the earlier you must contact your baker. You also want to try several cakes to ensure that you’re getting something you want. 



Was this timeline helpful? You just learned when to book caterer for wedding: 10 months in advance. 

You want to secure this vendor early on to ensure that you can have your desired menu within your budget and chosen wedding date. Then, don’t forget to ask the questions discussed earlier to have the best caterer for your wedding needs.

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