Hiring a caterer is key to your event's success because serving the right amount of delicious food to keep everyone happy is a guaranteed way to make sure people remember it for the right reasons. Its importance means it's one of the first things you'll want to do, but it shouldn't be the first thing.
The reason you should hold off a bit is that there are various factors that affect how suitable a caterer is and what sort of preparations they need to do. Once you've got these things sorted, you can contact a place that offers event catering and give them all the information they'll need.
Book a venue
The size of the venue, its layout and the facilities included each make a difference to your catering. It's helpful for the caterer to know where they can set up, whether a full kitchen is available and what they need to take with them to provide a full service.
Once you've confirmed where the event will be held, you can let the caterer know what to expect when they arrive.
Get a good idea of numbers
Even if you don't have a firm idea of who will be attending yet, you should try to work out an estimate. The number of attendees affects your costs, and the caterer might need to order extra food if it suddenly increases after booking. It also helps you avoid wasting money if you overestimate how many people will be present.
Find out if people have special diets
It's normal to provide some vegetarian options and maybe even vegan and gluten-free dishes, but if there are more specialist diets such as for people with allergies, it can take more planning on the caterer's part.
The earlier you inform them, the easier it is to make sure everyone present has something delicious to eat, so wait until you know what people's needs are.
Decide whether you're having a theme
If your event is themed, it's a nice idea to have the food fit in somehow. Even if the caterer doesn't normally offer dishes that work with your theme, they may be able to come up with something, so it's worth asking.
Deciding on a theme before booking a caterer isn't the most important task to complete, but it can really help give your event an extra special something.
Work out a schedule for the day
Your schedule determines when you and your guests will be eating, so you should get it together before booking a caterer. Don't forget, they need to prepare and cook the food before it's served, so they need plenty of notice to plan.
By working it out well in advance, you can be sure your chosen caterer will be available and the event will run smoothly.