What to Know about RSVP Catering


It's no secret that catering is a major expense for any event. Even though great food is definitely worth the price, mistakes usually aren't. Unfortunately, lots of people end up paying more for catering than they would otherwise have to because they don't understand their caterer's policies. If the event is dependent on RSVPs, things can get tricky because, all too often, people think changing their minds isn't a big deal.

Be Ready for Legwork

The first thing to consider when contracting out an RSVP-dependent catered event is how early the invitations are going out. Talk to the caterer and find out by what date they need a head count. If it is sooner than the "RSVP by" date, it is best to rely on the good ol' cell phone. In order to work with a caterer, it is imperative that there be an accurate head count. In the event that the head count isn't accurate, someone will pay, usually the event's host. So, do everyone a favor and send invitations out early or be willing to contact everyone on the guest list personally.

Staff Are People Too

The next thing to remember is that there are likely to be people other than guests at the event. Consider DJs, photographers, audio-visual staff, and event planners. All of these people need to eat, so be sure to consider each one of them an RSVP and include them in the head count.

Ask for Specifics

Anytime an RSVP has been requested, be sure to ask for the exact count of people who are coming on that invitation. Always leave a blank box for the recipient to write in the number of guests who are coming. If children are likely to be part of the count, it may be a good idea to have a box for the number of adults as well as one for the number of children since many caterers offer discounted meals for children.

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