5 Tips for Hiring a Maui Catering Company for a Destination Wedding

5 Tips for Hiring a Maui Catering Company for a Destination Wedding

A large wedding with family photo in West Maui.One of the biggest hurdles Maui wedding couples face is figuring out how to hire a caterer. If you were hiring a wedding reception caterer at home, you would probably request a tasting or already be familiar with the chef and their catering company. Unless you are making a trip to Hawaii before your wedding or are familiar with the many chefs, restaurants and catering options you won’t be able to indulge in the usual wedding tasting menu session before hiring the caterer for a Maui wedding reception. Choosing a caterer for a destination wedding requires a little different approach than hiring a local chef or a catering company in your home town.

Though we still don’t have a way to let you taste food through your phone or browser, the Internet makes it easy and possible to overcome obstacles planning a catered wedding reception on Maui. In addition to being able to easily find caterers and other wedding service providers, many pictures of culinary creations, wedding locations and chef interviews are readily available to get an initial sense of options. Then, personally interviewing a few catering service providers and asking the right questions will facilitate your opportunity to develop rapport and eventually a relationship with the chef preparing your catered wedding reception menus. Scan through the following 5 tips to help find, interview and hire a Maui caterer for your wedding and then leave a comment with questions or to request advice:

  1. Use the Internet to find and review Maui catering services. Any reputable catering company on Maui has a website loaded with images from past and recent weddings. In addition to the caterer’s own website, utilize Yelp, Trip Advisor, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and other popular sites to see more images and videos from the caterer’s clients. Yelp and other review sites will help you find out what others are saying about the Maui catering services and food served at their wedding.A wedding ceremony on the Honua Kai lawn.
  2. Hire a professional caterer or chef you like working with! Because food is one of the most important and memorable aspects of any wedding, it is important to choose a caterer whose style and personality works well with your own. Not only will the food style need to match what you want to serve your guests, you should also do your best to select a chef or catering manager with a personality compatible with your own. You may prefer a casual planning style while others expect a highly organized detail oriented business manner. Remember the first time you met your spouse or your first date? Remember getting to know the person? West Maui wedding location in Lahaina.You probably asked a lot of questions and shared information about yourself to find out if your personalities were compatible enough to take the relationship further. Arguably, finding a chef to cater your Maui wedding is certainly easier than finding a spouse to share the rest of your life with! Still, finding a caterer for a destination wedding far from home includes similarities to finding a spouse. A few things to think about to help you find a caterer you like:
    • Like the first date with your spouse, you’ll want to build the relationship from the first meeting or discussions with potential caterers.  Because you’ll be spending a bit of time customizing a wedding reception menu or working through wedding reception details and possibly planning events with catering for other wedding related functions, the first thing you need to find out is if you can work with the person you are considering!White chair and lighting at Olowalu catered wedding reception.
    • Does their style match yours? Does the chef volunteer information and answer your questions promptly? Depending on the your own personality, you may prefer a take charge caterer who takes care of all the details and simply states the best option while others may prefer a more Do it Yourself wedding planning style where multiple options are presented to select from. Does the caterer follow-up as quickly as you expect and are they able to communicate using email, phone, text or other ways you prefer and are your preferences followed when requested? Are they able to use Skype or Google Hangout for live face to face conversation? Find out by asking questions and verifying your expectations will be met. Like all successful relationship beginnings, ask questions to get answers to what is important to you and share things about yourself to find out if the chef’s style matches what you are looking for and will make you happy on your wedding day.
    • Share your ideas about the type of food you like. Describe the type and style of restaurants you both enjoy. Provide details about what you serve when you entertain friends and family. Share what you cook for each other. Sometimes it is helpful to describe your nightly dinner routine and what you enjoy for celebrations or special occasions. If you have attended other recent weddings, explain details about what you liked and didn’t like. Ask the caterer A wedding reception in West Maui.or chef to describe other wedding receptions they prepared for recent couples. Request sample menus or catering contracts to get a ideas of what is possible for your own wedding reception. Ask specific questions about the wedding reception menus on the caterers website and ask if customization if possible. Verify any dietary needs for you and wedding guests will be met.
    • Depending on your style and the style of caterer you are seeking, you may want a caterer who will take charge and make decisions, including informing when you may be making a mistake or asking for something that is not practical for a Maui wedding. Since many couples are visiting Maui the first time or have only visited limited times, it will be critical to find a caterer and other wedding service providers who know the island and you can trust.
  3. Discuss wedding budget and cost considerations. So your caterer can give you advice and ideas about what is available within your price constraints or overall wedding budget, you’ll want to share your budget as early in the process as possible. Even a per head estimate or overall wedding budget range help establish the options and possibilities. Most wedding planners and caterers on Maui are able to offer creative suggestions for affordable weddings and to stay within budget. From guest accommodations with an onsite wedding venue to recommending menu items to serve at the wedding reception, getting a budget in place early provides the most flexibility with the greatest opportunity for savings. If you don’t know your budget, ask for help establishing a wedding budget or how to calculate a budget for a cateredA buffet table at a wedding reception with Maui catering services. wedding reception. Before hiring a wedding caterer,  ask for a written contract or quote and be sure you understand how each catering company computes costs or fees. Ask for details about what is included. Get clarification about anything you are not certain or clear about. There are wide variations in how wedding and catering quotes are provided. Some caterers charge on a per person cost basis and include everything while others charge for the food service menu items and then add separate additional fees for staff, linens, tables, chairs and other wedding equipment rentals. Wedding venue fees can also add to the cost of a wedding. For the most affordable weddings on Maui, find out why selecting a Maui wedding location should be the first decision for getting married on Maui!
  4. Decide the type of catering services are you looking for. A seated wedding reception with wait staff, a self-service buffet, themed food stations or passed pupus (Hawaiian hors d’oeuvres). Once the style and type of food service is decided, a menu will be customized to your preferences. At this point, the chef will be asking you about the type of food you want to serve and how you want it served. The wedding budget will be a factor in deciding on menu options and services. A catered wedding reception beginning with a caviar appetizer with champagneBar service with champagne pouring at a catered Maui wedding reception at the Olowalu plantation house. service followed by a live Kona lobster paired with a prepared to order fillet served to seated guests by professional wait staff will certainly cost more than themed taco stations or self service beach bbq reception.
  5. Select the type of wedding cocktails and bar services. Decide if you are going to offer a hosted or no host cocktail or bar service for your Maui wedding. Ask the caterer if they permit you to supply your own alcoholic beverages. Anyone you are considering to provide Maui catering services should be aware of Maui county alcohol rules and offering advice to ensure your event is compliant as well as making helpful suggestions to save money on your Maui wedding.

There are a few other details you’ll want to find out before making the final decision to hire Maui wedding caterer. Though Maui is relatively small, some caterers charge more dependent on which specific wedding location or how far away the wedding reception location is from the catering kitchen. Ask the caterer if delivery fees are included or will be extra. If you are planning a DIY wedding, ask if you can pick up the catering or if food only drop off options are available without other catering services. Find out if the caterer will supply tables, linens and chafing dishes for the most affordable do-it-yourself wedding catering on Maui! Consider using these 5 Questions to Ask a Maui Caterer. Now that you know what to ask and how to go about interviewing caterers, get the help you need by requesting a personal catering quote:


If you found this information useful or know of a bride who needs catering tips, head back to the top and share on your favorite social network. Mahalo!

Maui Catering Makes A Maui Wedding Day Dream Come True

What better way to make dreams of a Maui wedding day reality than a beautiful beachfront wedding on Maui!

We'll help you every step of the way, from finding a Maui wedding venue or event location and matching event and wedding service providers to preparing and serving our catered dishes at your Maui event or Maui wedding reception.

For Full Service Maui Catering with FREE event Planning, RESERVE YOUR MAUI CATERED EVENT NOW!

Or call (808)419-0889 for personal wedding planning advice from Maui Chef Christian Jorgensen.

CJ’s Kaanapali Diner Review

My daughter and I visited Maui a couple of weeks ago and came to your restaurant 3 times. I just wanted to thank you for your willingness to meet our gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free requirements. We loved being able to eat out safely and wish we had a CJ’s at home! I just wrote you a stellar review on Trip Advisor. Hope you have a wonderful rest of the summer!

Kelley MacCabe
CJ’s Maui Restaurant Review

Wonderful for a Sunday Brunch since you can order breakfast until 11:00am! Had a ‘custom’ 3 ingredient omelette (I chose mushrooms, feta and spinach) with nicely crunchy on the outside and soft inside home potatoes, yummy. Hubby had the pancakes with fresh fruit! These are light fluffy slightly sweet batter pancakes, not those heavy bland ones (OK I admit it, I had to have a few bites of his breakfast…) Service was fast and friendly :0). The menu is EXTENSIVE, we live here and love it!

Kathy, Lahaina, Maui
CJ’s Deli and Diner Maui Restaurant Review

Fact: CJ’s Maui onion soup will melt your face off it’s so good. Best I’ve ever had. It gets 20 stars.
Alas, it’s not on the menu every day… But when my fiancee and I went this past summer and were lucky to meet Chef CJ in person and mentioned that we had been thinking about the onion soup since the last time we visited two years earlier, he was kind enough to put it on the next day’s menu. We went back the following day and ordered it, and it was amazing, just as we had remembered. Another fact: the onion soup at CJ’s is better than the onion soup at Mama’s Fish House (and at like 1/4th of the price). Really. It’s that good. Part of me wants to reverse engineer CJ’s onion soup recipe, quit my job, and make millions selling onion soup to the mainland masses! (or: CJ, wanna make a deal?)
I think that the loco moco gravy is made from the same goodness. So that’s great too. The potato salad is tasty as well.
The to-go lunch plate is respectable.

Jonny S, San Diego, CA
Maui Chef CJ Prepares Mushroom Soup for Kaanapali Restaurant Guest

On a previous visit to Maui, I had the most delicious mushroom soup at CJ’s Deli and Diner in Kaanapali. When I arrived in Maui this week, I emailed the restaurant and asked what day they might have the soup. The owner and chef, Christian Jorgensen (CJ), promptly replied even though he was on vacation in Vegas. He gave me a number to call to check on the soup of the day. Then when he returned to Maui on Friday, he emailed me to let me know he would have the soup for me on Saturday. When I got there, he was so friendly and the soup was even more scrumptious than I had remembered. I really appreciated how valued he made me feel as a customer.

Linda D.
CJs Maui Restaurant Customer

Good Morning, My wife and I spent last week in Maui. Your early bird special was the best. After we found you, we ate breakfast there every morning. You had two regular coffees that we just loved.

James T Wilson Jr
Maui Restaurant Customer

The best burger I ever had! Great Service! Fantastic Food!! Simply Awesome.

Pat Janostin, Champlin MN
Kaanapali Restaurant Customer Comment

Thanks for all the Good Food. Best we have ad since we hit the island 5 days ago!

Jeff and Myra V., Ontario, Ohio

CJ’s Maui Restaurant Customer Comments on CJ’s Private Luau in her Blog

Aloha, Just wanted to let you know that this post was up last Friday and it will be included (linked) with all of our Hawaii properties. Thank you both for excellent service. You made our trip to Maui very memorable! Feel free to comment on the post. It’s always good to have additional information and your input.


Nancy Solomon, Travel Writer
CJ’s Maui Restaurant Customer Comment

Aloha, We were in to see you many times during our stay last month in Ka’anapali, couple of things for you:
Need to order some more of your CJ’s roasted Kona Coffee. I see it’s not yet on your website, only the Maui Coffee Co. stuff. We ran out last weekend and are having withdrawls, please help!! Need 2 bags urgently!!
Secondly, your claim about having the best corned beef hash on the island. I think you’ve understated this because it’s the best I’ve had any where in the world! And that covers a lot of ground as I’ve been to every continent multiple times. Just the best anywhere, period!! Don’t suppose you would have that for delivery to Indiana would you? Maybe by the pound(s)?
Great people and even better food, Mahalo CJ’s. Seriously though, please let me know about that coffee. How do we get some ordered and shipped to Indiana?

Bill Clark, Valparaiso, In.
CJ’s Maui Restaurant Customer Comment

​CJ’s Deli & Diner Rocks! Been here several times while visiting Maui – each time we tried different meals and each time we LOVED the food, service and atmosphere. Only suggestion would be to provide regular dinner napkins along with this paper type – because we’re messy!

Aloha and Mahalo from Detroit