Wedding catering – frequently asked questions

As wedding caterers, we get asked lots of questions – here are some answers that might help you: From planning to payment, it’s all here.

Ellie serving canapes ⓒ+Ania+Shrimpton-32
salads ⓒ+Ania+Shrimpton-59
Tartlets and cheeses ⓒ+Ania+Shrimpton-64
duck wrap canapes ⓒ+Ania+Shrimpton-40

How far in advance should I contact a wedding caterer?

As you can imagine, there are periods of the year that are extremely busy for weddings, and most good caterers will be busy all year round with events, so our advice is to get in touch with a caterer as soon as you have a date for your wedding.  The more notice, the better, as then you’ll be sure to get the caterer you really want.

Which comes first in the chain of events?

It depends how big your wedding is going to be and how formal / traditional you want to make it. If it’s a church wedding, you’ll need to get in touch with the vicar / priest as soon as is possible to book a date – some churches book up a long time in advance.  Many churches now will book in Friday weddings (and possibly other days too). Registry offices will also need plenty of notice, as will licensed venues. Many couples will have let their parents and close family / friends know the good news before well before a date is announced. If you’d like to get some venue inspiration in Bristol and the South West , have a look here.

What about wedding photographers, florists etc

A great photographer or florist will again be popular, so as soon as you know your date, book one in.  Many have websites for you to get a taste of their work, or you may want to meet up to discuss how they might work to make sure you like what they do and will get on well (this is quite important as they play a big part in your wedding run up and on the day!).  If you’d like recommendations, we’d be happy to give you a few.

Let’s talk wedding food – how does this work?

Many traditional venues (hotels etc) will do the food for you.  If you’re looking for an independent wedding venue, such as church halls, galleries e.g the Royal Academy of the West of England, Clifton Observatory, music halls e.g St. George’s or are lucky enough to have or know someone with a big enough house or garden, then you can choose your own caterer.  Some may have recommended caterers who are used to working at the venue, which is often an advantage as you don’t want any hiccups on the big day.

How do we book Papadeli? 

Usually, couples email us to start with to check the date is ok.  Then we ask for a brief outline of the sort of food they’re looking for.  We specialise in generous, sharing feasts, full of flavour and colour and creative, beautiful canapés – and many of those who contact us have already tasted our food at other weddings or events, or have had a look through the pictures and menus on our website.

If the couple want to book us as their caterer, we ask for a deposit of £100 + VAT, just so that we can book the date for you so you can be sure we will be available. This deposit covers a tasting for the couple so that we can get a good idea of their preferences and help them make appropriate choices.

What about the details – timings, hiring furniture etc?

We like to meet up to go through the exact choices and pricing, and to run through the timings of the day, whether plates, cutlery, glasses, tables, chairs etc need to be hired, depending on the venue, and what sort of drinks are needed and when (e.g. cocktail or glass of fizz on arrival with canapés, wine with the meal, champagne for the toasts, tea, coffee, soft drinks, etc).  Any theme will be discussed – we like to keep things seasonal, and can often incorporate flowers or special ingredients to fit in with your chosen theme.

If we haven’t been to the venue before (it might be your home, for example), then we will arrange a site visit, just to make sure we know what cooking facilities there are and how the flow of guests will work.

And what about payment?,

You will have had a good idea of costs from looking at our menus and from our emails and meeting. We offer an all inclusive package which will include…

  • All the food, obviously!
  • Chef’s equipment, table cloths, table ware, canapes trays, dishes for the Papadeli feast.

    Not included, but we are very happy to order in for cost, are items such as: glassware, linen napkins, tables, chairs, refrigeration (if needed), coat rails. We order from a partner company and pass on the cost to you.

  • The staff for an 8 hour period on site. If the venue is not in Bristol we will charge for travel time for the staff to get to and from the venue plus a petrol cost

Other charges:

  • We charge a £250 + VAT admin fee to cover all admin communication prior to the event/wedding, menu planning and advice plus a site visit.  This can take up quite a lot of Lou, our wedding coordinator’s time, as you can imagine.  We think it’s important that you can discuss the finer details with her and take your time over it.
  • The only other consideration is we charge a £150 deposit for the equipment. If everything is returned then this will be refunded to you straightaway.

When are payments due?

We are pretty flexible and always make sure there are no hidden costs.


25% after the tasting has taken place and you have decided to book us in for your chosen date

50% 28 days before the big day

The remaining 25% 7 days before your big day.

Why choose Papadeli as your wedding caterer?

Excellent. Papadeli did our wedding feast in Cannington and we couldn’t have asked for more – it was not only delicious food and loved by everyone, but Lou and Alexis were just wonderfully thoughtful, professional, and really lovely people: from planning to execution we felt very looked after, and in very good hands, they made sure everything fell into place on the day – we were so grateful and had a such a special day – we can’t thank them enough for being a part of making that happen. 

  • You have one constant contact who will work with you from beginning to end – Lou is hugely experienced and brilliantly organised and is a very lovely person.  She helps with decisions, calm nerves, answers questions calmly and takes all the worry away from you.
  • The food.  We always get amazing feedback.
  • The chefs – amongst the best.  Our chefs are brilliant at creating delicious food as well as making it look absolutely beautiful, using sustainably sourced ingredients.
  • Prices are all inclusive of staff, platters etc.  This means there are no nasty shocks.  Often you may think a menu looks cheap, but it’s always worth asking if it includes all the add-ons.
  • The ingredients – we have a deli full of the most amazing foods and our chefs have access to these.  We work with wonderful local suppliers and only buy from ethical and sustainable sources. We do all that we can to reduce our carbon footprint.
  • We have been doing this for a while (17 years!) and so are well experienced in ensuring weddings go swimmingly. We also make your wedding food unique and individual, so that guests will rave about it for years to come.

Anything else?

I think we’ve covered it all – do email us: if you have any other questions.

We look forward to helping you with planning your big day.

Oh, and did I mention we do these lovely wedding cheese towers.

Cheese for weddings