Getting married soon? When looking for information on how to hire a cater, it dawned on me that I should ask one of the best caterers in the Hudson Valley for some tips. Having attended many events that were done by this company, I felt comfortable reaching out to Michael Polasek (owner and head chef) at Simply Gourmet Catering in Poughkeepsie for tips in what to look for or ask a caterer when getting ready for the big day, be it wedding, bridal or baby shower, birthday party or corporate event.

Here is what Michael wanted to share to help make your day or event amazing:

Here are my top 5 tips when hiring a Caterer:

  • 1. Prepare a (reasonable) budget – You don’t need to prepare a budget down to the exact penny. But is a good idea to have a general idea of what you are comfortable spending. Beware of information online regarding budgeting. A wedding from Memphis,Tennessee will have very different costs then one in the Hudson Valley and New York. Also, when preparing your budget keep in mind that there are other costs to factor in like rental items that could be needed based on what your venue has available, ie if your venue doesn't have chairs or tables and you need to rent them for your event. It is important to let your Caterer know your budget. Many clients think that by offering this information, the Caterer may try to increase prices or offer unnecessary services to use your entire budget. Though it may happen in some instances, the majority of Caterers use this information to put together realistic options for you that are within your means.
  • 2. Get multiple proposals – And make sure you are able to compare them apples to apples. Don’t be afraid to as the Caterer to break out the proposed costs if you are unsure. Make sure that you provide an accurate estimate of your guest count so the Caterer can give you a proposal that be the closest to what you can expect the final invoice to be. Make sure you know all the required fees and know what services are included. Most full-service Caterers will assist in coordination of the rental needs, from set up to breakdown.
  • 3. Meet in person (if possible) – Not only is it a good way to make sure that you are clear on a Caterer’s services, style and policies, but it gives you the chance to get a feel about the business and the Coordinator that you will be working with. You will also get a chance to see the space where everything is prepared.
  • 4. Ask your Venues for references – Your wedding venue Coordinators have had front row seat to numerous events, of every type. They have seen many Caterers in action and know which provide the best quality, best service and are the most organized. Many of the venue websites also have a preferred list of people that they have worked with and had success with, which could help you narrow down your choices as to who will cater your event.
  • 5. Insurance & Permits – Many venues have specific requirements for Caterers in regard to insurance requirements. Make sure that your Caterer meets those requirements. Also familiarize yourself with local or state alcohol laws. Most events have some style of bar service. In New York every event is required to have a temporary liquor permit. Only a properly licensed Caterer can provide a full bar service with spirits (liquor). Without those permits or license they will only be able to provide beer and wine.

Thanks to Michael for this great information and best of luck on your big day. Do your research ahead of time and it should help to make sure your day goes as smoothly as possible. If you are looking to hire a caterer, you can contact Michael and his team at Simply Gourmet Events & Catering, 10 IBM Road, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601, 845-214-0300 or simplygourmetevents.com.

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