Wedding Etiquette Forum

XP- Which comes first, tasting or catering contract?

I posted this on Food, but I like this board better, plus it's much more active...

I've signed a venue and am working through picking a caterer.  I have two that I am working with to set menu ideas and get a price before I make a decision.  I had the opportunity to try some of their food at an event in my venue, but not all of my choices and just me, not my parents or fiance.  Anyways: Which comes first?  Do I make a decision on one caterer then get a tasting, or do I taste both then sign a contract?

Re: XP- Which comes first, tasting or catering contract?

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    It wasn't specifically a tasting event, it was just an open house party that had a whole bunch of different vendors there.  I think there was also a conflict with my fiance's work.  
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    I would make sure I like the product before I sign a contract.
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    We signed first. And my venue didn't do tastings. Their logic is that anyone can make an awesome dish for two people to taste but it really doesn't mean you can do that ofr 200 people. Which did kind of make sense to me. So I backed off. We had a few people who had used the venue give good reviews so we didn't push it. Turned out the food was fantastic.

    Glad that worked out for you! I'm always weary about venues or caterers that won't let you at least sample some of their sig dishes before signing the contract, because it would make me question whether they are as good as they claim. Also, sometimes my tastes differ from others, and everyone might like a particular style, and I may come to realize I hate it. Ex: I can't STAND sour cream, but a lot of people love it! Those people may like one particular caterer's cooking but what if I learn that it's because he uses sour cream in EVERYTHING? I wouldn't go with that caterer. I know this is an extreme example, but that's why I can only rely on my tastebuds and my fiance's
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    We did tastings first. We actually were between two venues (most of the ones in my area are inclusive so venue=catering as well) and one said they didn't do tastings before. FI told them that there was no way we'd book with them without trying the food first and they caved. Thank goodness because the food was AWFUL. My mom and I couldn't even choke it down. FI ended up just trying to eat a bunch of it so we didn't look rude. I would have been absolutely horrified if we'd booked there already and then found out what their food was like.

    My experience may not be the norm, but I still wouldn't put down a deposit without trying the product first.
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    I refused to book without a tasting first.  Sure, it's much easier to make samples for a couple people that are amazing than it is to make food for 50+ wedding guests.  However, if they couldn't even get over this hurdle, I wasn't interested.
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    We signed first, but we are having our reception in the private dining space of a restaurant we've eaten at before, so we already knew we liked the food.  Probably not very helpful, sorry!
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    CALEOCALEO member
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    I've had my caterer at other events and it is generally known as the best caterer in town so I threw down my deposit as fast as I could to reserve the date.

    The tasting - done after we set our menu - was done later.

    I could see wanting to try food (maybe not your specific) menu first if they were a complete unknown.
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    We signed first because our venue had an exclusive caterer. Then about 6 weeks before our wedding, we had the tasting and made final selections on everything.
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    When wer first looked, I notice that venues with exclusive caterers didn't allow you to taste before you signed.  Caterers seemed to offer tastings if they weren't the exclusive caterer.  We never seriously looked at any venue without an exclusive caterer- couldn't find many actually.  We just did our tasting and it was amazing.  Yes, we kind of put all of our eggs in one basket, but it all worked out perfectly. 

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     Unfortunately, a lot of places won't let you do a tasting until you does really stink when they do that
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    I only found one venue in my area that allowed you to attend a tasting without signing a contract 1st.  It seems what these venues are doing is banking on the "Wow" factor of their sites; thinking that couples will just love the look so much they will sign a contract w/o tasting the food.

    I think this is garbage.  I have had plenty of horrible, catered food at weddings.

    While our chosen venue doesn't do tastings per se, we visited a few times and had dinner and appetizers to make sure we liked the food.

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."

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    I know a lot of places will not do tasting first because people would lie about wanting to book to get a free meal.  Sad, but very true.     

    I'm not sure about where he works now, but in the past DH would charge you for a tasting if you had not booked yet.  If you book, the amount of the tasting is credited back to you bill.  Charging seemed to weed out the free meal only people. I do know DH has done a lot of already-booked event tastings at the new place.  They all seem to be firming up the menus.  I'm not really sure if they had a tasting prior to booking or not.

    In our case we booked first.  Our cater was a 5 star restuarant with 30 years of experience.  We also had family/friends who had eaten there and gave rave reviews.    After we booked we had the tasting just to firm up the meal.

    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
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    Our caterer offered us a tasting for our first meeting. She was awesome and really impressed me. I called a few other places and wasn't impressed over the phone, so I signed with her.


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