Now I know why a lot of people just suck it up and pay the per person head count for the venue they choose. I just found out how painful it can be to source an external caterer.
One place I am looking at has a “preferred external caterer” list. If you do not use one of these preferred vendors, you will be charged an extra $1,000 AUD just for them to be vetted to ensure that they have their food license and follow proper sanitation and food guidelines.
Some of these caterers do not offer alcohol. Some offer just beer and wine. What does that mean — I have to source my own alcohol? Oh, and then some don’t offer dessert table spreads and just do plated desserts (of course, this usually costs more). And if you choose external catering, the actual venue just charges you an insanely high “venue hire” fee, and all they will do is literally give you the space, tables, and cutlery (and the paper towels in the bathroom… yes, it’s that explicit and noted in the “what’s included?” section of the form. They won’t cut your cake. They certainly won’t serve it. And they will charge you a per-hour fee for added security. I guess hiring an external caterer increases the chance of crime?!