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Your first appointment with a potential wedding caterer is very much like a first date: You and your spouse-to-be need to be prepared to share things about yourselves and also be ready to listen.

Be able to articulate how you want your big day to look and feel, and find out about the cooking style and experiences of the caterer. Discuss things you have liked and disliked about weddings and other large events you have attended in the past, and describe your favorite foods, flavors and restaurants. 

Once you have selected a caterer, you need to establish a realistic budget and make basic decisions as to whether this will be a seated multicourse meal, a cocktail party-style meal of hors d’oeuvres or a buffet.

Regardless of the style of meal, I always advocate food options that are as in-season and local as possible. While you might love prime rib and butternut squash soup, they aren’t the most appropriate choices for an August event.  

Many caterers will prepare a tasting menu for their clients to enjoy during the process of developing the final menu. This not only allows their clients to experience a variety of options and how things may complement one another, but also allows for recipes to be refined to suit the palate of the client.

Once the menu is finalized, contracts signed and deposits made, the wedding party can (mostly) forget about this aspect of their wedding and leave it in the capable hands of the professionals.

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