Catering Checklist: Be Prepared for Your Caterer Search

Your caterer is one of the most important vendors that play a part in your big day, and there are so many options to choose from! A variety of options can be a good thing when searching for a perfect fit in taste and budget, but it can also be a bit overwhelming when several decisions need to be made. As your coordinator, we want to make sure you’re getting the most for your money by educating and preparing you for all options out there. Use this catering checklist as a quick guide to get you started!

Things you will want to know before contacting your caterer:

  • What is your budget?
  • Do you want a plated or buffet dinner?

Qs to ask caterer

Questions to Ask

Many packages can look inexpensive at the base cost, but are they truly the best deal? Ask what all comes with your chosen package and keep these factors in mind….

  • What all am I getting for my package price:
    • Number of entrées?
    • Number of sides?
    • Cake and/ or coffee?
    • Hors d’oeuvres (Butler passed or station?)
    • Non-alcoholic drinks (Water, lemonade, and/or tea)?
    • Bar services (what type of alcohol and length of time)?
    • Full china or disposable dinnerware?
    • Linens?
    • Does the adult price differ from the child price?


Hidden/ Additional Costs – Don’t get stuck thinking you’re getting an excellent deal and end up paying a great deal more once the bill comes. Be sure to ask these questions while on the lookout for additional costs…

  • What is the Food & Beverage minimum?
  • Additional fees:
    • How much is the service charge? Typically 18-24%
    • Is there a delivery fee?
    • How much is the staffing fee (servers)?
    • What is the gratuity charge?

Service with a smile

Many venues, FORUM being one of them, require full-service caterers, which sometimes leads to staffing fees from the caterer. Venues often require full-service caterers so YOU aren’t stuck taking out the trash or busing tables at the end of the night.

Typical Add-ons:

  • Price for full china if not included? Typically +$3-5/person
  • Additional food displays or Bar packages?
  • How much do linens cost if not included?

FORUM maintains a relationship with a preferred vendor in order to offer our clients discounted linens. Compare prices quoted by your caterer – don’t get caught overpaying for linens!

Choosing a caterer can be a bit overwhelming, so take this list with you to ensure you are getting the best deal for YOU!

Final pic of cake

Until next time,



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