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Paying for a Tasting...

Needless to say, I've not planned many parties that required a caterer. Is it the norm to pay over $200 for a tasting before you decide on a caterer? Oh, and I was in talks with a caterer and he totally disappered when I asked for references...Should I leave that alone. I really think the caterer will be the most difficult part of planning. Everything else was cake...

Re: Paying for a Tasting...

  • I've heard of paying for tastings before.  It's kind of like paying for a hair or makeup trial--they don't want people taking advantage for free services.  Usually though, I've heard of venues having specified dates for tastings and they invite all interested brides and grooms to do it at the same time, so there is an economies of scale to keep the prices reasonable, like $40 per person to do the tasting.  Is $200 for a private tasting?

    Definitely leave the one without the references alone--catering is one of the biggest elements of your wedding!
  • chibiyuichibiyui The Boring Part of MD member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    We paid for a tasting for the cake, but that was then part of the deposit once we signed the contract. And it wasn't 200. 
    Definitely don't bother with the one without references.

  • It's a private tasting...as far as I know this doesn't offer a tasting any other way...$200+ for 2 people...That's nuts and I was really interested in this caterer but now I'm kind of pumping the breaks and I wanna look some more.
  • I can see why someone would charge for a tasting. It weeds out those who aren't serious or who can't afford the service. Especially if the caterer is not part of a hotel or restaurant. Time is money and I'm sure it's a lot of work for a private company to make the food. I would pay for it only if you're sure you want to go with them but aren't sure about your final selections. If you're certain you want filet and salmon, then it's prob not worth it.


  • Jells, 
      She was a front runner. My FI and I both love her proposal...but how do you know she can do what she says if you don't see/taste before you commit. Or...what if her food is awful...then I'm out $250...I'm not apprehensive b/c I'm not serious, I'm apprehensive b/c that's a lot of money to spend on something that may not work out...I think I'm gonna continue to take quotes from other caters for the rest of the week and go from there
  • Very true! I know when I got married the first time, I just trusted the food without a tasting. It definitely turned out well. I just went on reputation.


  • I guess the thing with going on rep is that my FI and I are getting pretty custom...He's caribbean I'm not so we want to serve food thats inspired by caribbean flavors...and a lot of the reviews are about standard food ya know...anyway thanks for you're advice :)
  • I would ask if she can credit the tasting fee towards your total catering fee if you book with her.  Then if you do book no loss to you and it's a drop in the bucket to her vis a vis your total catering fee.  If you don't book you're out $200+ but at least you'll know you dodged a bullet.
  • tammym1001tammym1001 Akron, Ohio member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    I've paid for cake tastings and they all credit the amount for the tasting towards your final total. Does she do that? I don't have to pay for a food tasting, but we booked our venue without it because we have eaten there before. We are doing a tasting to decide what we want though and there is no charge for it. That may be because they already have our contract though. 

    If you really like her and she's definitely a final contender then I would probably go ahead and pay the $200 and just make a nice night out of it. I'm assuming you'll be getting a full meal out of it and you guys can have fun with it.
  • It's a private tasting...as far as I know this doesn't offer a tasting any other way...$200+ for 2 people...That's nuts and I was really interested in this caterer but now I'm kind of pumping the breaks and I wanna look some more.
    I would tell the caterer the bolded. Verbatim. Let them know that they're your front runner but this seems really high. Tell them what you'd be willing to pay and ask if it can be applied toward your bill if you hire them.

  • Idk about making it a nice night for the both of us, the FI lives in WA state so a lot of this stuff I'm doing with his help from a distance. The caterer doesn't apply this amount to the balance if we decide to book. I think I'll definitely keep her as an option assuming I have a little time to consider my options and we'll go from there. Just got a quote from another caterer and there is no charge for the tasting. I think this might turn out to be th most frusrating part of planning.

  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    Odd... We booked a restaurant we'd eaten at before anyway. A tasting to decide on our selections is included, but we don't even need to do that until a couple months before the wedding.
    I'd seen recommended-vendor lists from a few venues, and some were exclusively catering companies and others were proper restaurants that also do catering.  
    My suggestion to anyone in this boat is to lean towards proper restaurants that cater, so you can have a date night and try the food at reasonable prices first. 

  • 16maybeless16maybeless member
    100 Comments 100 Love Its First Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited September 2013
    Yes, we have to pay to do a private tasting. It's $225. The caterer offers public cocktail-event-style tastings in which guests can sample some passed apps and entrees, but not all of them. We can't make any of those scheduled events, and I really wanted to try the specific menu options we're choosing, so we're just gonna fork over the $225. It's for four of us, so it's like having a moderately nice-ish dinner out anyhow! And the caterer's space is very pretty, and then we can pick out linens and such right there.
  • Our tasting is built into our contract. We booked based of reputation, dining at other weddings and business connections. We don't taste until a couple months out from the wedding though. It seems like it would be standard to charge if you haven't booked yet...but it's weird they won't credit at least part of the fee back if you book.
  • we paid $50 for a private tasting, which was then deducted from our contract when we booked.  It was basically like having a personal chef make us dinner - there were left-overs, and we brought them home and ate them for the rest of the week.  It was awesome.
  • $200 seems kind of steep to me, unless they allow you to deduct it from the cost of your bill if you book with them.  Is it just for 2 people?  It it's a full dinner for four that seems more reasonable. 

    photo a9462148-4aa2-44d9-90ce-7f8b4d94b393_zps20ae9070.jpg
  • $200 is not unheard of. If you have the chance go to a wedding expo or show. Cateres will usually have samples.
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