Most Important Questions to Ask Before Hiring your Caterer

Hey, love!


In all of my years as an event planner, I tend to get asked the same questions from couples who simply don’t know the proper questions to ask their vendors before hiring them. Now, yes, that is where I come in as your planner to make sure all the I’s are dotted and the T's are crossed, but I want you all to be better informed should you choose to plan your own wedding and hire a planner only for Wedding Day Management ( formerly known as Day Of Coordinator…. But more on that later!)

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to break down the most common questions you should ask your vendor prior to hiring them as well as the answers you should be prepared to give your planner or the vendor to ensure you are getting the best service possible!  

Today, we are looking at the caterer, which is one of the most important ( and expensive)  aspects of the wedding experience. Good food and drink can make or break your wedding, so the more informed you are, the less stress you will have in planning the menu!

questions to ask your caterer| Events With Ambiance- Chicago Wedding Planner


What to know before contacting Caterers

Before deciding what caterer you want to work with, you should sit down with your fiance and decide what type of food service you’d like:

  • Sit Down meal

  • Buffet

  • Afternoon Tea

  • Cocktail/ Appetizer Reception

  • Dessert Reception


Once you’ve narrowed this down, you can start to focus on more details:


  • An estimated budget for food and beverage ( how much do you want to spend per person?)

  • The estimated guest count ( including your vendors!)

  • The reception location. Make sure to make special note if your reception location doesn’t have kitchen access or if your reception will be outdoors.

  • The theme of the wedding. Your caterer can plan a personalized menu to give your wedding that special flare your guests will love!

  • The time of day your reception will be held

  • Your favorite foods

  • Any food restrictions for health, religious, or cultural reasons

  • Do you plan to host a pre-reception cocktail hour? If so, additional appetizers and beverages will need to be ordered

  • The number of courses you’d like

  • Will any children be attending? Special meals can be included specifically for the kids attending the wedding.


When it comes to your beverage service, this is also generally handling through your caterer. Most caterers do have a liquor license and can legally handle the bar set up and service.

A few questions you may want to think about are:

  • Do you plan to host a beer and wine only bar or full hosted bar?

  • Would you like the bartender to create a specialty cocktail for the reception? ( This should always be a YES! It is a great way to showcase your favorite drinks and brings another personal touch to your wedding!)

  • Would you like the cocktail hour to be beer and wine only, full bar or specialty cocktails only?

  • Do you want a champagne toast during dinner?


Whew! This looks like a lot of information, but not to worry. Take your time making these choices, the more information you can provide to your caterer, the better they can plan a menu for that fits your unique tastes!

Any questions you have that I didn’t list above? Post it in the comments below and I’ll make sure to get you a reply!


As always, share with a friend because like I say……. Friends Don’t Let Friends Plan Tacky Weddings!



amber sanders

My journey to becoming an Event Planner dates back to my childhood, assisting my mother with planning and executing parties at our home and for my dad’s fraternity. I was training to be a professional dancer at the time, so I never thought about being a “Party Planner”, it was just fun for me to help her. After a fabulous and exciting dance career that spanned 20 plus years, I began working as a dance instructor at Arthur Murray Dance Studio in downtown Chicago. Because of my excitement for our studio events and knack for organizing parties, I was soon promoted to Guest Director. This position allowed me to see that Marketing and Event Management was something I enjoyed, and it was then I realized this could be my next career move! I spent the next two years learning as much as I could about the Event Industry, including an internship with Desiree Moore Dent, Owner of Dejanae Events,as well as studying and becoming a Certified Wedding & Event Planner/Designer through Lovegevity’s Wedding Planning Institute. This is how I learned more about the business side of running your own business, which was invaluable information! During this time, I offered my services to family and friends for any event they may have been having to gain as much "real world" experience as possible. In May of 2013, I decided to get my business license and launch Events with Ambiance. It has truly been eye opening that I am now an entrepreneur, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I am grateful to have family and friends support me, my company has truly become a Family Business!! I am blessed to surround myself with people who are just as passionate about my business as I am; for me, Event Planning is about more than just throwing a great party, it's about creating an unforgettable experience for my clients and their guests!