Wedding and Event Catering

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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

How do you find a good caterer?

Reviews, interviews and menu tastings will help you find the right catering choice for your big day. Start by screening possible wedding caterers based on past reviews. If a caterer you are interested in has a review that concerns you, ask them about it; how they respond will be very telling. Next, ask about their availability for your wedding date.

If the wedding caterer is available on your date, it’s time to talk about menus and prices. Be clear about what your maximum budget is find out what choices this will allow you. Caterers may custom-create a menu for your event, or they may have menu templates within different price ranges that can guide your decision. A clear budget gives the caterer clear parameters within which to work and offer creative suggestions. Schedule a menu tasting to confirm you love your wedding menu. Once you have a menu and date, and have paid a deposit to reserve the caterer’s services, confirm additional details including when the food will be delivered to the site, what kind of service will be provided, how many servers will be onsite and for how long, and who is responsible for setup and cleanup. The more specific your contract, the fewer worries you’ll have on your wedding day. Get more smart hiring tips here.

How much are wedding DJs?

Hiring a DJ typically costs anywhere from $300 to $1,200. It all depends on how long they’ll be working at your wedding and other various factors. The cost to hire a wedding DJ is usually higher than the cost to hire a DJ to play at a birthday party or similar event. 

To find out exactly how much your wedding DJ will cost, ask for a cost estimate from several professionals in your area.

Do wedding officiants offer remote or virtual services?

Reach out to wedding officiants in your area, and ask them if they can offer a remote or virtual ceremony. Some officiants may be willing to meet in person while maintaining 6 feet of distance, while others may prefer to conduct the entire service over the phone or a video call service such as Skype or Zoom.

Familiarize yourself with the social distancing rules in your community, city and state, and move forward only if both you and the officiant are comfortable with the arrangement. 

Do photographers offer remote or virtual services?

Photography happens in person, but photographers may be able to offer other remote services safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, they may be able to offer editing and other post-processing services. 

If you see that a photographer is offering remote services in their profile, contact them and ask what those services include.

How do you find a good hairstylist?

First, pull up a list of nearby hairstylists on Thumbtack, and read their profiles to get an understanding of what they specialize in — hair coloring, cutting, extensions, wedding hairstyles, etc. Then, start searching for stylists who have high ratings and customer reviews. You should also spend some time looking at photos that showcase their work. That way, you can determine if a stylist has the experience and skills needed to achieve the look you want. 

When you’ve identified at least three hairstylists you like, ask them for a cost estimate and make sure they have the proper credentials.

How do you find wedding DJs?

Use Thumbtack to find wedding DJs in your area. Here, you can quickly see which local DJs have the highest ratings and best reviews. You can also see how many times each DJ has been hired, whether they’re responsive and if they’re in high demand.

How much do DJs charge per hour?

Hourly rates for DJs can vary depending on where you live, the event type (weddings, prom, birthdays, etc.) and many other factors. For an accurate hourly rate, request cost estimates from top-rated DJs near you.

What should you look for in a caterer?

A delicious meal is a critical element of a successful wedding, with happy guests fondly remembering your fabulous wedding food. The right caterer for you will be:

  • Available: Even the best caterer is no good if they aren’t available on your wedding date. Ask early before you get your heart set on someone.
  • Affordable for you: Find a caterer that you can afford. Having a spending plan ahead of time will mean you won’t overspend on food.
  • A good personality fit: Wedding planning is stressful, so work with someone that you can get along with and communicate with easily.
  • Experienced and recommended: Ensure the company has a proven track record with events of your size and the references to back it up.
  • Transparent about money: Steer clear of shady pricing. Find a caterer who is very clear about costs and is happy to talk you through budgets and pricing options.
  • Transparent about food: Find someone who is clear about where they source their food from and where it is prepared.

How much does it cost to hire a caterer?

Catering prices depend mainly on how fancy you want the food and service to be and how many guests you’ll have. When you’re first looking to hire a caterer for your event, consider how many guests you’ll have and your total food and drink budget. The national average for event catering is $340, but catering prices can range into the thousands depending on your menu, guest count, and service.

Event catering is a broad term that covers everything from fully prepared, ready-to-eat food that the hosts plate and serve themselves to full-service, multicourse meals, including rental of linens, glassware and other items, with service staff organized by the catering company. Usually a caterer will determine cost based on the type of event you’re having, how many guests will attend, the level of service you desire, and what type of menu you’d like to have. For example, if you have a set catering budget, say $1,500, and you plan to have 50 people attend, that means you have $30 per person for food. If you have the same budget with 100 people, you have $15 per person for food. In this way, the number of people you want to attend your event and the level of food you want to serve them determines how much catering will cost.

How much should catering cost per person?

Catering prices can range from about $10 per guest on the low end to $150 or more per person on the high end. Catering costs represent the quality of food, presentation, variety, ingredients and service. But catering prices are more than the cost to cook the food that will be at your party; they also include the cost for the company to do business. Here is a simple breakdown of catering prices:

  • Menu: The food you serve your guests will directly affect the price per person. Organic ingredients, complex recipes, elaborate presentations, or high-ticket items like lobster or filet mignon all add to the cost.
  • Service: Buffet, family style, plated dinners — how you serve the food affects the cost per person. For example, a true plated meal can cost about twice the price of a staff-assisted buffet because of staffing costs. Hiring waiters, bartenders and cleanup crew will all be calculated into the per-person catering price.
  • Drinks: Providing beverages and alcoholic drinks for guests greatly increases your catering budget. Hosting an open bar can cost as much per person as the meal.
  • Rentals: Seating, plates, glassware, etc., will all have an effect on the cost per person for catering. For example, a plastic conference table that seats 10 costs about $6 to rent on average, while a wooden farmhouse table is about $80 to rent on average.
  • Business costs: Any catering cost will also include the cost for the company to do business such as insurance, employee wages, commercial kitchen space and more.
Reviews for Tampa wedding service professionals
Damaris C.
Yairis was amazing and very professional at my daughter Ashley wedding.. thank you for your services and professionalism..please book her for your wedding ceremony she is amazing..❤️❤️🙏🙏
Yairis Notary &  Wedding ServicesYairis Notary & Wedding Services
Jennifer P.
Our wedding official backed out at the last minute and Peggy Sue was quick to respond and offer her services. Our dream was for a beach wedding, but due to time constraints and the current global crisis we were going to settle for less. Peggy made sure we had our beach wedding at one of our favorite beaches. She was very easy to work with, sweet, kind, and compassionate. She truly did make our day special.
Weddings by Peggy SueWeddings by Peggy Sue
Maria L.
Neal.... thank you so much for your service. You made my step-daughter’s wedding a huge success!! You are such a great person and I will recommend you to all my family and friends!! You rocked it Neal!!
Quickdraw Records LLC -DJ, bands, & dance floorsQuickdraw Records LLC -DJ, bands, & dance floors
Daniela L.
Laura, you were nothing but flawless and amazing with our wedding. You were so delicate with your words and we are beyond thankful for not only your services but for being there for us on our day thank you so much. I will keep in touch for any other services we might need. Thanks again.
Charmz Services LLC & Love by LTCharmz Services LLC & Love by LT
Nicole M.
We were very happy with the service provided by Black Door Productions for my recent wedding. The communication before hand was great and everything went as planned and even better. The music was on point and the lighting was beautiful. Everyone loved the section of music and nothing but good things to say. If we ever need entertainment services again, I know where I’m looking first. Truly thank you for everything!
Black Door Productions LLCBlack Door Productions LLC
Amelia M.
Wine and dine us has been absolutely fantastic to work with. Weddings are naturally stressful but Jillian remained in constant communication with what she would be bringing and everything she would provide. She took so much stress off our shoulders and our wedding day was absolutely perfect. Her food was absolutely incredible and all of her staff attentive and professional. After the wedding she catered a dinner during our honeymoon which was just as incredible. Because we enjoyed it so much, we had her cater a breakfast the last day of our honeymoon. Jillian still remains in contact with us and we will be using her again in the near future. Thank you so much, wine and dine us, for such amazing food and service.
Wine and Dine USWine and Dine US
Shannon M.
Working with Susan to officiate my wedding this past weekend was seamless and perfect. She was very responsive throughout the duration of the planning, and offered helpful vow suggestions to help our process run as smooth as possible. She was professional and friendly from start to finish, even asking me if the attire she planned to wear would work for my ceremony. I highly recommend Susan for your notary services. She was puntual and prepared, and receptive to everything we wanted for our wedding! Thank you so much for everything! Shannon & Eric Crosby
Notary AffairNotary Affair
Corey J.
I wish there was an option to give 10 stars. The Supreme Makeup & Hair Design Team are not your average hair and makeup stylists. They are professional, talented, easy to work with and provide top notch service. Thank you Shakeena and Nikki for doing an excellent job on the hair and makeup for me and my squad on my wedding day. You guys rock ❤️
Supreme Makeup and Hair DesignsSupreme Makeup and Hair Designs
Nicole M.
Working with Tadhana Forever was a lovely experience. She was very personable and friendly. For our wedding she was able to personalize it just for us. So it had the traditional feel and personal touches that was just about us and for us. We had a very lovely service and if anyone I know of plans to get married I will definitely recommend Tadhana Forever. Truly thank you for everything!
Tadhana ForeverTadhana Forever
David A.
Hunter was absolutely PHENOMENAL! I’m in the servicing industry and have worked with a ton of vendors including photographers and Hunter was by far one of the best professionals I have ever come across in 15 years in the business. My wife and I hired Hunter to capture our Wedding and from the moment we spoke to him on the phone to the time he left the venue at our Wedding reception, he has been just such a pleasure to work with and an extremely talented photographer. He captured us so well and got along tremendously well with all of our guest - including our son who is very hard to impress. And just when we thought that he was done with the photos, there he was capturing more candid moments that we are forever grateful for. Thank you so very much Hunter from the bottom of our hearts. You were fantastic and one of the bridesmaids already wants to book your photography services :) I will recommend you to everyone!! God bless
Hunter Valentino™Hunter Valentino™
Stephanie M.
Jen was absolutely amazing! I initially hired her just to do my hair for my wedding, but after the makeup artist I hired did a terrible job, Jen also redid my makeup at the very last minute! She also did hair for some of my bridesmaids when they requested services at a moment's notice. I can not sing enough praises about Jen. If you ever need hair or makeup done, you can not do better than Beauty to You by Jen.
Beauty to You by JenBeauty to You by Jen
Yakout E.
A month ago, I was doing exactly what the reader of this post might be doing, searching for a good photographer for my wedding photo session. If you get to Hunter’s profile, you don’t need to search any further. I searched, and I contacted many of the photographers on this site, and Hunter has been the most responsive. Hunter called me after I texted him on this site. He explained me in details where we can do the session, what time is the best, and what to expect. In the sessions day, Hunter did show a high level of professionalism, kindness and friendliness. Hunter has been cheerful and happy while he was doing an excellent job with the pics posing. When it comes to price, Hunter offered a very reasonable package, I believe he gives the best deal on this site. I contacted some photographers here and Hunter’s package has been the most reasonable. Thanks Hunter for an amazing service and kindness. You made our wedding day memorable 🙂
Hunter Valentino™Hunter Valentino™
Thumbtack Customer
Charmaine performed my unity candle lightning wedding for me,which last about 30 minutes. What impressed me about charmaine from the first phone conversation we had she made me feel very comfortable about my big day she knew I was nervous & assured me that I would do just fine she never came to a rehearsal & yet she knew exactly what to do she speaks very clearly where you can understand everything she is saying she was awesome. Everything about charmaine services was great my family was really impressed I can tell she has years of experience in her industry. I would definitely recommend Charmaine Doumanian to anyone needing her services.
A Beautiful Wedding In Florida by A Notary On T...A Beautiful Wedding In Florida by A Notary On T...
NeuDivine P.
I first wasn't going to write a review however my sister said, it's not fair for us to have an experience and not share with others so they can be fully aware. First of all, Mike was nice to talk too on the phone. At first I spoke with him and he provided other menu options that would better suit my guest. I was opened for suggestions. Next, we decided to book Mike because he sounded sure of himself and the quality of his work. I made sure he was perfectly clear that I did not want my food bland and I needed flavor. The menu items he sent me was as follows: Menu Salad Caesar Salad with a rasberry Vin dressing, seasoned carrot.shreds and Cherry Red Main Entree Chicken Coq au Vin over a seasoned Fettuccine pasta and a crown carrot Au Gratin potatoes with a tomato based sauce, Fresh Mixed vegetable medley Sautee bruschetta Caramelized fruit chaco. I can assure you the main entree was cut up chicken breast over dry pasta noodles. Potatoes that wasn't cooked at all, they was sliced with some form of gravy over it. ( not edible), a sliced tomato with a mushroom in the middle with 2 baby scallops( no drizzle, no sauce) and last vegetables. The only thing I can say which was good was the salad. This was my wedding day and after we left, we went and got something to eat as well as most of my guest wasn't pleased and till this day talking about that food. I also texted him and let him know I thank him for his time but the food wasn't at all pleasing. I really wish I cooked and prepared my own food ( lesson learned) . Not saying not to use his services just speaking from my personal experience. Pros: 1.He answers the phone and answers your questions 2. He arrived on time and ready to work Cons: 1. Menu items not what was discussed 2. Taste was not there at all 3. Can't stress enough( Taste/flavor) 4. Inconvenience when we should be enjoying our honeymoon not spending more money on food after my wedding. UPDATE::: Unprofessional, please be warned and read all reviews and his response. Lesson learned for me but maybe not for you. The proof is in the pudding. There is no need for me to embellish or lie. I am African American so he assumed I wanted Soul food even though we clearly agreed on menu selection that was not carried out on my special day. Anyone with sense understood his comment. Look at all your options if you planning an event.
Michael Cotton Your Personal ChefMichael Cotton Your Personal Chef
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