How Much Does Wedding Catering Cost?
Written by Sayan Banik
7 min Read
All that you need to know about Wedding Catering
For any wedding to be a blockbuster, food has to be an integral contributing factor. And for that to happen, the wedding catering needs to be spot on! Booking caterers for a wedding means you have to put aside a considerable amount of money from your budget, which accounts for a four-figure value.
According to research, in the United States, the average catering prices per person for a buffet varies between $25 to $30. For a plated meal service, the average amount rises to around $40 per person. But this range can fluctuate based on multiple service factors.
If you want your wedding guests to be happy and cheerful, make sure your catering satisfies their tummies!
What’s inclusive of the wedding catering package?
Sometimes when you book a banquet hall or a club, they provide you with in-house catering and in-house vendors. In that case, all the catering activities are being handled by them. But if you hire a catering service from outside, then you must know these categories:
- Food – Food is mainly what wedding catering is all about. You want to make sure that the food quality and service are top-notch. Try and calculate how much food you require to feed all the guests so that they don’t leave the wedding place unsatisfied.
- Drinks – Be it cold drinks or alcohol, the catering service needs to serve more than 2-3 types of drinks at the wedding.
- Staff – Well for a wedding event to be conducted smoothly, you need the event manager, decorators, chefs, waiters, and bartenders to operate in harmony. Make sure you handle your personnel wisely.
- Rentals – In some cases, you might come across catering service agencies who also rent tables, chairs, and other furniture accessories for a wedding. It will only ease things up for you since you don’t have to look elsewhere for a rental company.
- Extra Charges – Your wedding catering bill may also include some other charges which you were unheard of, like cake cutting fees, corkage fees, service charges, and so on. Always consult about this with the catering service providers before settling in on a decision.
Types of wedding catering meal services
Now that you know what elements you have at your wedding catering bill, it’s time for you to decide the type of meal service you want to put up for the wedding. We have put together the variety of options available:
- Plated Meal Service – In this type of meal service, seating arrangements will be allotted to all the guests, and food will be served to them by the waiters. You have the choice to serve the guests with one entrée menu option or several entrée catering menus based on your package deal with the company.
- Buffet – In buffets, most of it is about self-service. Freshly cooked dishes are put up at display by the chefs, for the guests to indulge in delectable delicacies! With years passing by, couples are favoring buffets over the plated meal services.
- Family Style – Ever come across those huge reception tables shown in some of the TV shows? Family Style Serving ensures that everybody is on the same table with large food platters, involved in every bit of conversation carried out.
- Cocktail Style – Want something modern, with a short guest list in hand? Then a cocktail style meal service would be the best option for you. It’s really fun and besides, you don’t have to worry about the arrangements much.
Types of Wedding Bar options available
Now here we are, talking about some booze! Planning a wedding in the United States, without arranging a bar, is rather unheard of.
According to research, couples in the United States spend around $2,000 to $2,500 in their wedding reception. We have come up with some of the bar options that the wedding catering offers:
- Open Bar – Much like clubs and pubs, guests can enjoy any type of alcohol, be it wine, beer, or vodka without worrying about the money as the wedding hosts cover-up for the entire expense.
- Limited Open Bar – This is the same as the full open bar, except for the fact that there’s only a limited amount of alcohol being offered to the guests. It is a more reasonable idea than a fully open bar.
- Cash Bar – It’s all black and white here! The catering company arranges for a bar counter, but the guests have to pay on their own, to enjoy alcohol.
Now you need to assess your budget and decide how much you want to spend on alcohol for the wedding.
Some useful Recommendations
We are fond of you. And so, we want you to rent a wedding catering company without stretching your budget. These are some of the suggestions you would like to have a look at:
- Try and opt for buffet service instead of plated service, if you have a tight budget. This way you will have to pay less for the staffing and rentals, as the guests will be serving themselves. Now, you can order more dishes without affecting your budget.
- Keep staff to serve the expensive dishes to the guests, so that they can only take limited portions of those dishes.
- Book for a limited open bar. You may keep a variety of alcohol available for the guests, but ensure that the bartenders serve limited portions to every individual. You want them to be sober!
- In cocktail-hours, ask the staff to serve the more expensive foods like tuna, wagyu as appetizers and fill up the entree section with the less-expensive foods. This is the usual tactic when booking catering for any wedding.
- Best way to determine the entrée menu? Why not ask the guests themselves? Mention the entrée menu options on their RSVP card and let them choose.
- If you want to try something new and exciting, plan your wedding reception in the day time and book for brunch options. Brunch menus are often cheaper and underrated compared to dinner menus.
- Keep a guest list ready to show the wedding caterers, and try to strike off unnecessary heads. This way, you will end up saving a lot on your budget.
- It is always advisable to book the catering company along with the wedding venue. 4-6 months before the wedding reception, is the ideal time to contact the wedding catering.
Things you should ask your wedding caterers
We have mentioned common questions that you should ask your wedding catering service before finalizing on any decision:
- Whether they are available for booking on the wedding day, or not?
- Can they provide services at the chosen venue location, or not?
- Do they provide free sample catering menus?
- Do they serve the dinner only, or do they have other meal options?
- What styles do they offer?
- Do they have a liquor license to serve alcohol?
- Whether they provide rentals, or not?
- Whether you need to pay any charges for tasting?
- How many staff members do they have?
- Do they provide an event manager for the wedding reception?
Congratulations! Now you know everything about booking a wedding catering service. We wish you the best of luck from our side. Bon appetit!