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Make sure the caterer is licensed or you may be liable if something happens.

If outdoors, make sure they have refrigeration.

Find out how they dress.

What is the estimated cost per person for a seated dinner? Buffet? Cocktail reception? Open bar? What does the cost include?

What is the staff-to-guest ratio? (For seated meals, the ratio is usually one waiter to 8-10 guests.)

Have you worked at my prospective reception sites? Can you recommend other sites for weddings?

Do you have a set menu? Can the menu be modified?

Can the kitchen staff adhere to special dietary restrictions for some guests who may be diabetic, kosher, vegetarian?

Do you have liability coverage - including liquor liability?

Can you supply me with a list of references? (Contact two.)

How much advance time is needed to confirm a reservation?

Can I arrange to view the catering of another wedding reception to check food display, service style, flow, organization? Can we arrange to taste foods on the menu you suggest?

Do you set the tables? Provide linens? Order floral arrangements? Coordinate the music?

What additional charges might be incurred other than the food, beverages, and rental of requested extras?

What is the policy for payment, tipping? (Some caterers request cash, others accept checks or credit cards. Some include gratuities in the base or overall price, others do not.)

How much advance time will you need to set up?

Can you send me a confirmation letter including the wedding date and time, names of service help, tipping policy, decorating time, color schemes, menu, cost per person?

Can I see available linens? What is the additional rental cost?

How much food is enough? (Ten to twelve hors d'oeuvres per person is adequate. With buffets, offer a choice of two entrees.)

Will the hors d'oeuvres be butlered or on a buffet?

How much are your overtime and cancellation costs?

Can you give me a ceiling on anticipated menu price increases? (Caterers quote final prices 90 days prior to the wedding. Due to rising food costs, an increase might be 10%.)

When will the wedding cake be delivered (if your caterer will provide you with one)? Is the cake cut by the banquet staff?

Can we go over placement of the head table - on a raised platform or floor level, dais or round table?

How many drinks does each bottle of liquor, champagne, provide? Is there an opening fee per bottle of champagne?

Will you feed the photographers, the musicians?

What is the guarantee requirement for number of guests?

When must I provide a final guest count?

Get all estimates in writing; contracts should state what food and drink is to be served, how many servers will be needed, and a provision to inform the caterer of the final number of expected guests at least a week before the wedding.