I found it interesting to discover that having a tasting appointment with your caterer or wedding cake maker is not common in all areas of the country. I live in Indianapolis, the 14th largest city in the country, and it’s almost a given that a bride will have a sampling appointment. Yet in my hometown, just an hour away, when I called various businesses to find out their sampling policy, I was met with multiple responses of “our WHAT policy? You want to taste our food for FREE?”
So I guess the first thing you should find out is does your caterer/caker even DO samplings?
If they do, you need to ask their policy. Is it free? Is there a charge? If there is a charge, does it apply to the order if you book with them? If it’s free, how many people can you bring? Are the extra people free or is there a charge for them?
By the way, a sampling is not a free food party, so lose the idea of bringing your entire wedding party to the bakery to for a taste-testing dessert party. I know one bride who got the door slammed in her face when she showed up at the baker’s with 10 people in tow. It doesn’t take a baseball team to decide if you like white or carrot cake.
I’ve seen catering websites that advertise a free consultation … but if you want to taste the food, there is a $75 fee. Evidently there is a difference between “consultation” and “sampling” appointments. Be sure to clarify when you make the call.
It is not uncommon for a business to charge for a sampling. Unfortunately, this has resulted because of what we mention above ….. wedding couples who decide to have an after dinner dessert party at the baker’s expense, or worse …. those who pretend to be getting married just so they can make the rounds and get free food and cake. (yeah … we know you’re out there, and we know how to spot you. You’re not fooling anyone.) So to weed out the tire kickers, a fee is being charged.
Bottom line: Some folks charge and some don’t (Cater It Simple does not charge for samplings). Some apply it to the booked order, some don’t. Some will permit only the bride and groom to attend the sampling, some will permit one or two other persons for a fee.
A sampling is a real and sometimes costly service that the food vendor provides for their potential clients. Respect the investment they are making for you. Ask good questions when calling and making appointments so you understand what’s involved and what’s expected on both sides.