Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you understand exactly what this means for your big day food and alcohol.
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Choosing your wedding venue is an exciting, and once you sign on the dotted line, you've officially crossed a major item of your pre-nuptial to-do list. But make sure you discuss all of the important details with your prospective wedding venue before you sign a contract, including what your options for catering are. While some venues allow you to bring outside food to serve at the party, others insist you sign an exclusive catering contract to use either their in-house staff or an outside vendor they prefer. While there's often nothing wrong with this—the venue has selected a caterer or a small number of caterers that they know and trust to deliver great food and service—there are a few things to consider about the arrangement.

Make Sure You Like the Food

Before signing a contract with a wedding venue that requires you to use their exclusive caterer, you'll want to be sure you really like the food. After all, food is one of the largest wedding-day expenses, and ending up with a sub-par reception meal is something no couple wants. Ask what your options for a food tasting are; at the very least, you should be able to arrange for a menu tasting before the big day, but some will let you sample dishes before you officially book your wedding date.

Ask About Alcohol Options

Most venues that require you to use an exclusive caterer will also require you to purchase your alcohol through that vendor. If you're looking to save money on alcohol, this might not be the right direction to go, as there are often minimums associated and you won't be able to return unopened bottles after the party.


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