Wedding Planning 101: A Caterer’s Guide


From summer BBQ’s to formal functions, we’ve been providing catering services for weddings small and large up and down the country since we started back in 2011.

It’s safe to say the team here at Social Pantry know a thing or two when it comes to providing the perfect wedding food ideas for our client’s big days. Here we’ve put together a guide from our professional perspective to help you choose your wedding caterers with confidence. 


What should I ask a wedding caterer?

Do you have a set idea on how you envisage your wedding food menu or are you open to all suggestions when it comes to ideas and inspiration? Good communication is key when it comes to considering your wedding food ideas. Ensure you feel comfortable with whoever you choose to provide your catering services. A good wedding caterer should only be a phone call away, and will strive to work with you every step of the way, making sure every detail is fine-tuned to bring your wedding meal ideas to life.

It’s easy to overlook the more basic requirements when you tie the knot, but they are things that wedding caterers are often able to advise on. This may include

  • Plates and cutlery
  • Chair covers
  • Serviettes

Establish from the beginning what exactly your wedding caterers provide, so you aren’t left hunting down tablecloths the night before your big day. 

It’s not just the wedding meals you need to consider when choosing which wedding catering services are right for you. There are many other factors that can impact the services you choose. As well as serving delicious wedding meals suitable for every guest’s needs, as with everything on your big day, it’s important it looks good too. The right people will be able to serve up your chosen wedding meal ideas in a creative and professional manner that fits with the overall feel of your big day. How your food is served is also to be given thought. How many staff are your wedding caterers able to provide, and do they have a uniform policy? This is another detail to iron out long before the big day. 

How to Cater for Guests with Dietary Requirements

Dietary requirements are an important factor when it comes to picking the perfect wedding catering service. Whether you want to go for more of a traditional wedding food menu or a laidback buffet style, it’s vital that the whole wedding party is covered including those with allergies and religious requirements. Check that your wedding caterer has a wide range of options to please every palate. Good wedding catering services will be able to come up with a range of food & original dishes to make sure any requirement is covered. 

While we have you: We’ve put together a more comprehensive wedding caterers guide to make sure there is something for everyone included in your final menu choices – check it out if you were in need of more ideas and inspiration!

What’s involved in booking a wedding caterer?

The size of your wedding party is essential when deciding upon your catering services and can impact on your budget and wedding food ideas. Work to a rough number of guests from the beginning but make sure there is always room for dropouts and lastminute add-ons until the day is in sight. There’s nothing worse than under-estimating the catering services you will need but over-estimating can be costly and wasteful. An experienced wedding caterer will be able to advise on the perfect quantity and suitable wedding food menu depending on the size of your party.

Wedding contracts are vitally important when planning your big day and all eventualities should be considered. Before agreements are made and money is exchanged for your wedding catering services, make sure a contract is in place that you are confident gives you peace of mind and protection. Discuss the contract with your caterer so you are both clear on expectations and there are no hidden costs down the line. 

When should I find my wedding caterer?

There are many important factors to decide upon before you begin to plan the food you’ll serve, including your date, venue, budget and guest list. It can be helpful to speak to a few wedding caterers about your initial ideas who will be able to offer you some ideas on your final menu. This may affect your planned budget and venue depending on the route you want to go down. A good wedding caterer can be booked up on key dates years in advance, so it helps to provisionally book your wedding meals when you have an idea of your date. 

Wedding caterers may be able to promise you the world on a plate, but there’s nothing more trustworthy than personal recommendations from couples who have used their services for their own special days. Before you find a caterer speak to friends and family about their experience of using catering services and take time to look into all possible menu ideas & considerations, so you know what your requirements are.

What food should I serve at my wedding?

You may want to go for the latest food craze or perhaps you’re considering more tradition over trend when thinking about your final menu. Whatever your preference there are so many different options when it comes to your wedding food ideas and speaking to a range of caterers can be the best way to create the best wedding food menu for your big day based on many factors including your budget, theme, and date.

Here at Social Pantry, we pride ourselves on our dedication and transparency and our wedding team will be only too happy to discuss your perfect day’s details and how we can bring your dream to life. Feel free to get in touch here to find out more or email