No Thanks
Let

Keep In Touch With MarthaStewart.com

Sign up and we'll send inspiration straight to you.

Martha Stewart takes your privacy seriously. To learn more, please read our Privacy Policy.

How to Choose a Caterer

The Martha Stewart Show, January 2011

It's one of the first questions we're all asked after attending a wedding: How was the food?

The dining arrangements at your wedding constitute one of the biggest decisions you can make. Food helps set the tone of the wedding, and menu variety, quality, and presentation all contribute to the culinary experience.

If your reception venue doesn't provide in-house dining service, it can be difficult to distinguish between caterers that offer similar services. Peter Callahan, founder of Callahan Catering and recent caterer of Martha's nephew's wedding, shares tips on choosing the right caterer for your wedding:

  • Ask what they do best: A caterer might present itself as a jack-of-all-trades that can give you whatever cuisine you envision, but every caterer has its specialty. "Find out what he thinks is terrific on his menu," Peter says, "and decide how well that melds with your own sensibility."

  • Consult friends: No one knows better than the customer whether a caterer does a good job, so ask friends whose taste you share if they have any firsthand recommendations -- or horror stories.

  • Know what they supply: Be sure to ask what kind of rentals the caterer supplies, such as china, silver glasses, linens, etc. Sometimes the reception venue or florist will provide these items.

  • Book early: The best caterers are in the greatest demand, so book as far in advance as possible to ensure that you get your top choice.