When working with a private caterer or a catering manager at a venue where you will be hosting your event, be sure to uncover all hidden charges in the early planning stages so you can incorporate them into your budget accordingly. I use the term "hidden" loosely; it is not the intention of the caterer or venue to hide these fees from you per se, but they aren't often factored into your initial menu or contract. Be aware of the following fees (if applicable) that are commonly overlooked by planners and catering managers alike, but can have a large impact on your overall spending.
Attendant Fees: Does your heavy hors d' ouevres reception have a stir fry station? Ask if they fee applies.
Taxes and Service Charges: It is safe to say that most hotels will incur these charges to your final bill. Keep in mind that these excess charges aren't included in the raw catering minimums listed on menus.
Food & Beverage Minimums: You have contracted with a hotel to rent their entire grand ballroom for an evening. With this waived rental likely comes a minimum Food & Beverage requirement and an attrition clause should this number not be met.
Bartender Fees: You’ve decided on a 2 hour top-shelf open bar at $28 per person at XYZ hotel. Does that include the bartender? Probably not.
Cake-Cutting Fees: Your catering manager has recommended a few bakeries in the area that make a mean wedding cake, and the hotel will be serving it. Is there a charge for that?
Labor Charges: You want to order 200 chair covers from a linen rental company and have them delivered to your venue a day prior to your event. Can the hotel put the covers on, and how much do they charge in labor to make this possible?