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A Beginner’s Guide To Hiring A Wedding Caterer

February 23, 2024   /   Stamford's Admin


A Beginner's Guide To Hiring A Wedding Caterer

Your wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime event, with all your beloved family and friends gathered together to celebrate the love between you and your partner. Naturally, you would want it to be an unforgettable day – for you and your guests! 

However, planning a wedding can be equal parts exciting and stressful, especially when it comes to deciding the food for the reception. As a result, many couples in Singapore are turning to wedding caterers to help them plan out the menu for their big day. 

But given the numerous options available in Singapore, how do you choose the right caterer and catering menu for your wedding? Fret not! Check out our helpful guide to ensure you make an informed decision and get your wedding catering menu sorted.


2.1. Why You Should Hire A Wedding Caterer

Infographic of top 5 reasons to hire a Wedding Caterer


Between scoping out the venue, organising the guest lists, and trying out the wedding outfits, there is plenty to get right when planning your special day. The last thing you want is to pile additional tasks onto an already brimming plate by deciding on the menu yourself. That is why wedding caterers are becoming increasingly popular among couples seeking a stress-free wedding reception. This choice makes perfect sense for the following reasons.

Reason #1: Consistently fantastic food quality

Trust us! If the food at your wedding reception is terrible, it will be the first thing your guests talk about. Likewise, if the food is excellent, and you would rather it be the latter, wouldn’t you?

When you hire a caterer, you are engaging the help of specialised, full-time chefs with a comprehensive repertoire of menus they know customers will enjoy. In fact, caterers with years of experience in the industry would have honed their culinary skills to a tee, delighting guests’ tastebuds with a wide selection of well-crafted dishes.

Reason #2: Keep within budget

Couples working with a leaner budget usually find catering more affordable than traditional banquet feasts. You can discuss your budget with the caterer, and they will clarify what can be provided for that price.

A trustworthy service provider will also ensure no hidden costs are included in the quotation, so you won’t end up with an unpleasant surprise when you receive the bill. With that said, you still need to do plenty of research and taste-testing to identify your ideal caterer for your big day. 

Reason #3: Minimise stress

Your wedding is a time for celebration. That calls for joy, not stress. An experienced wedding caterer will not only take care of the finer details of the menu for you. They will also have contingency plans in place if anything goes wrong with the catering during your big day, ensuring the most important day of your life is as stress-free as possible.

Reason #4: Reduce food wastage

Traditional Chinese wedding banquets often serve up a feast consisting of eight courses and one dessert. However, by the time the final few dishes are presented, most guests are too full to continue eating, resulting in tons of food wastage.

In fact, a study has shown that food wastage at a Chinese wedding banquet usually amounts to an average of 3.8 kilograms per table. So, you are looking at approximately 76 kilograms of food waste for a 20-table banquet. That amount is staggering!

Conversely, when you opt for buffet catering, the portions are accounted for, thus minimising potential food wastage. Guests can also help themselves with the food instead of being served standardised plated dinners. No more worrying about being the one to take the ‘paiseh piece’.

Reason #5: Your caterer can create the menu for you

You may know what food you like and dislike, but do you know your guests’ dietary preferences? Some attendees may be vegetarians, while others might be Muslims. Unfortunately, conventional plated dinners usually feature the same dishes across all tables. As such, you will have to cater additional food for guests with special diet restrictions.

When you work with a wedding caterer, you can let them know about any dietary requirements, and they can provide you with options to deliver the perfect menu that satisfies every palate. We recommend working with a Halal catering service to ensure your Muslim guests do not miss out on the food.

2.2. How To Pick Your Ideal Wedding Catering Menu

Once you’ve decided to hireg a wedding caterer, you must determine your ideal menu. Now, this is one detail you don’t want to rush through, as it is a vital part of your reception. However, if you are struggling to make a decision, let us provide assistance! We have several top tips to help you get started.

Tip #1: Plan early

Image of a woman holding a pencil and a notebook and planning something

The best thing you can do is give yourself plenty of time to pick your ideal menu. After all, you don’t want to put this on the back burner and end up making a hasty decision that ruins your big day! 

Discuss your vision for the wedding menu early on with your spouse. Don’t hesitate to seek the input of friends and family members who know both of you well. During this process, you will also need to consider and evaluate the caterer you wish to hire.

Tip #2: Ensure you stick to your budget

Asian couples are calculating their expenses

It can be tempting to splurge on the food to leave guests with an indelible impression of your wedding. However, narrowing your choices can be challenging when you have abundant options and few restrictions.

One of the easiest ways to reduce the number of possibilities you have to contemplate is to set a budget. So, consider how much you are willing to spend on average per guest and share this information with your caterer. Subsequently, you will get a list of options that fall within this respective price range.

Remember to inquire about additional costs, if any. We recommend getting a written quote outlining everything included in the package. Always strive for complete transparency, and if you aren’t getting it, consider changing your service provider.

Tip #3: Decide on a serving style

Plates of food to serve guests at a wedding

Your desired serving style will influence how you pick your wedding menu. Do you prefer a buffet where your guests can make their own choices and try an array of dishes? Or perhaps you want to make an impression by having a live station at the venue? 

There is no right or wrong choice here. So, think of what you and your partner prefer. Other considerations include the venue, wedding theme, and types of guests you are inviting. These factors can help determine the style of culinary service best suited to the occasion.

Tip #4: Think about your guests

A Guest getting some food from the Catering

While you and your spouse are undoubtedly the stars, and the wedding menu should suit your preference, you should also consider your guests’ dietary needs. They don’t have to decide on the entire menu, but it is still a nice touch to include them. 

In multicultural Singapore, it is always an excellent idea to hire a Halal wedding catering service since some of your guests are likely to be Muslim. Also, remember to enquire about dietary requirements and allergies early so that you can provide your caterer with this information as soon as possible. 

Learn More: How To Plan Your Food Catering Around Dietary Restrictions

Tip #5: Diversify your food options

Image of dishes in the Catering

Trying to please everyone is a futile effort. Nevertheless, you still want to provide the majority of your guests with a hearty meal and ensure they leave the party satisfied. So, it will be great to diversify your food options and include several delightful appetisers, entrees, and desserts for attendees to indulge in. Check with your caterer for recommendations if you are unsure what dishes will be popular with guests.

Tip #6: Ask for a taste test

Image of a woman holding a spoon in her mouth

Some wedding caterers include tastings as part of their package. Meanwhile, others might charge extra. Regardless, we recommend planning a taste-testing session before committing to a decision. After all, you want everything to be perfect on your special day, including the food.

2.3. Top Questions To Ask Your Wedding Caterer

Infographic of top 5 Questions to ask your Wedding Caterer

While the ability to craft the perfect wedding menu that tantalises the taste buds is an essential criterion when selecting a caterer, you should still ensure they tick a few critical boxes before you book their services. Rest assured that with these few simple questions, you and your spouse will soon say yes to your ideal wedding caterer!

Question #1: Are you available on my wedding day?

Get ready to pop this question when you meet your wedding caterer. After all, there is no point in proceeding further if the service provider is unavailable on your big day. We recommend consulting your preferred candidates early, especially during peak season, to avoid disappointment.

Question #2: What are your catering experiences?

As with any wedding vendor, it is best to work with someone who knows what they are doing and can deliver on their promises. So, don’t hesitate to enquire about the service provider’s past catering experiences and the types of weddings they have worked on.

Ideally, your service provider should have experience catering events at your chosen wedding venue so that they will be familiar with the layout. Although, this is not a deal-breaker. Also, remember to request photos of their menus to ensure the dishes and plating meet your expectations.

Question #3: Can you accommodate special dietary requirements?

You want your family and friends to bask in the joyous occasion of your special day, right? So, ensure your preferred caterer can accommodate various diet allergies and requirements so that no guest feels left out. 

Fortunately, most catering services in Singapore are happy to assist with special requests, provided you inform them of your need early so that they can prepare the necessary ingredients ahead of time. 

Lastly, remember to enquire if these alterations cost extra. If the answer is yes, you will have to factor these expenses into your overall budget.

Question #4: How will the food be prepared on the wedding day?

Depending on your caterer, the food might be prepared off-site and brought in, or the chef may cook every dish on-site before serving. If it is the former, ensure the food catering service provides chafing dishes and setup services to keep the food piping hot when it is time to serve the guests. Likewise, check if the caterer offers clean-up services after the reception ends.

Question #5: What is included in the catering package?

Transparency is an essential factor when booking any wedding catering service. The last thing you want is any additional charge or hidden fee to affect your budget and throw a spanner in the works of your special day. 

For this reason, you must be crystal clear on what you are getting as part of the catering package. If there are extra charges beyond what is stated in the agreement, your caterer should be upfront about the costs. Consider moving on to another option if you feel you are not getting a direct answer from your current service provider.

2.4. A Timeline For Finding Your Wedding Caterer

Image of a young Asian couple using a laptop

Now that you have a clear idea of how to select your ideal caterer and wedding menu, it is time to set a timeline for planning your wedding catering. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the entire process.

6 to 11 months before the wedding

Shortlist and reach out to your preferred candidates – we recommend keeping it to five or six catering services, tops. Casting a wider net will only divide your attention further and cause you to waste precious time.

During this initial contact, don’t worry about all the details. You just need to convey the basics, such as the wedding date, the venue, and the number of guests. Keep our list of questions in mind, and don’t hesitate to broach these queries when speaking to each caterer. The caterer will likely have questions for you too. 

Remember to take notes during the call and write up the responses as you go since this can help refine your search. Afterwards, review and update your list, eliminating any caterer that does not fit your criteria. You can consider sending a polite e-mail to inform them that you have decided to go in a different direction.

4 to 9 months before the wedding

Here is where things get serious. Set up appointments with the remaining caterers to share your ideas and budget with them and explore the logistics and costs of the wedding catering. Also, let them know if you or your guests have any dietary requirements. With this information, the caterer can present you with an initial proposal and cost estimate.

If the quotation falls within or close to your budget and you feel the caterer is worth considering, a taste test is the next step. At this point, you should limit your choices to no more than three catering services.

3 to 8 months before the wedding

The taste-testing session is the perfect opportunity to discuss the wedding menu and structure. If specific dishes are not to your liking, speak with the caterer and see if they can present you with a revised menu.

Subsequently, the catering service will submit a revised proposal post-tasting, detailing what is and is not included in the package. Don’t hesitate to ask any outstanding questions you may have since this is your last chance to do so before making your final decision.

2 to 7 months before the wedding

Once you have come to a conclusion, it is time to seal the deal with your ideal wedding caterer. You may find yourself breathing a sigh of relief after signing on the dotted line and settling on a monumental aspect of your wedding. Now, you can relax and look forward to a memorable feast on your big day!


3.1. Your Most Pressing Questions Answered

We hope our comprehensive guide has addressed your most pressing concerns about hiring a wedding caterer. However, we understand that some might still have several lingering questions left unanswered. As such, we have compiled a list of questions we frequently receive from our customers about our wedding catering service and our responses to these queries.

Question #1: Is alcohol included as part of the catering package?

As a Halal wedding catering service, we do not serve alcoholic beverages.

Question #2: Can you still cater my wedding if the venue does not have a kitchen to prepare the food?

Yes, we can! We can create a special menu where the food is brought in precooked without compromising the quality of the food. Chafing dishes will be set up to heat the food and ensure it is piping hot when it is time to serve the guests.

Question #3: How many servers do I need for the wedding?

Naturally, the more servers you hire, the better and faster service your guests can enjoy. With that said, we recommend 1 server per 25 guests for buffet catering and 1 server per 20 guests for a plated dinner to maintain efficient service without breaking the bank.

Question #4: How much space do I require for the buffet spread?

Our buffet table measures 3 feet by 3 feet (square table). The number of tables allocated is dependent on the number of pax ordered. Generally, we will assign around 4 to 5 tables per buffet spread, comprising 15 feet by 3 feet.

We recommend advising on the space availability when placing your order, and our sales consultants will try to accommodate your request as best as we can. If you have 100 pax or more, we can split the buffet spread into two separate lines to minimise waiting time.


So there you have it! Our beginner’s guide to catering your wedding. With careful planning and preparation, and by keeping what we shared in mind, we can guarantee your wedding feast will be truly memorable, leaving your guests waxing lyrical about the food presented during your wedding reception.

If you seek a reliable wedding caterer, look no further than Stamford Catering! We are a leading Halal wedding catering service with over 20 years of experience in the industry. Our comprehensive and innovative menus cater to a variety of weddings and are competitively priced. Contact us to enquire about our wedding catering packages today!