After selecting the venue, the second most central decision you make is regarding the caterer. Depending on the venue, this may be included in the package or you may be able to choose from select preferred vendors. Again, your budget and number of guests will play a critical role. Popular caterers also get booked months in advance, so make the decision and reservation in tandem with the venue.
The detailed questions for you to consider when visiting a caterer are listed in the Perfect Muslim Wedding Planning Kit. However, to help you get started and give context, here are things to think about.
- Being a Muslim wedding, one of the first considerations will be: Is the food halal/zabiha?
- Depending on your observance and interpretation of what halal/zabiha is, it is safe to go with the most conservative to avoid upsetting any guests.
- With divergent taste pallets, another major question is to decide if you will be going with spicy or more neutral food. Most, but not all, South Asians like spicy-hot food. Most Arabs, Americans, Persians, Afghan etc. are more neutral. You will have to decide what is the lowest common denominator.
- Besides the halal and spicy questions, it is thoughtful to accommodate other dietary needs like vegetarian. Considering all these factors, you can converge on a particular cuisine.
- Check the reputation of the caterer through references. As always, do your due diligence but trust your gut.
- Based on your budget and number of guests, determine what type of catering service you will be offering. The two major choices are formal sit-down versus buffet. Each have their merits, and depending on how the roles and responsibilities are of venue versus caterer, you can figure out the best options.
- When the venue and caterer are different don’t let anything fall through the cracks, e.g. who is providing the drinks (water, soda, chai, etc.)? Who is providing the wait staff?
- Schedule a tasting, some caterers may have a store front. You want to be sure that the same kitchen that will be making the food for your wedding is the one you are sampling.
- Ask about what ingredients they use. Are they fresh?
- When you leave the caterer, you should have a clear idea of menu options and the cost per head. Although cost is important, remember there are places you can skimp on. With food, guests should feel and taste the excellence in quality and quantity.
- Last but not least, ask lots of questions. A comprehensive list of questions for catering vendors is listed in the Perfect Muslim Wedding Planning Kit.
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