Wedding plannings may be one of life’s most exciting but stressful times. To avoid stress on wedding days, wedding planners may be employed. However, budgeting may quickly become daunting in many aspects, mainly catering.
The cost of wedding catering can vary widely and is one of the most expensive parts of the budget. To help you plan, we compiled a comprehensive guide on what to expect when budgeting for wedding catering.
Catering is generally one of the most expensive aspects of a wedding budget; therefore, getting it right is critical. You want your guests to enjoy a fantastic lunch that matches your style and budget. This guide has you covered.
We provide all the necessary resources to make informed decisions regarding wedding catering. This may include selecting a catering style, establishing a guest count, and setting a budget.
We’ll also review how to interact with your caterer, create a menu that fits your tastes and budget, and deal with any dietary restrictions or allergies among your guests.
With tips on saving money on wedding catering without sacrificing your quality or taste. You’re on track to creating an ideal wedding menu that represents your style while being within the budget.
Tips for Budgeting for a Wedding Catering
Hosting guests at a wedding reception is crucial to the wedding budget. Therefore, the cost of wedding catering must be considered at the early stage of planning, and it must include the wedding cake, bar services, food options to consider, whether you are using a cost-per-person style or not, and the kind of drinks.
First, you will want to decide the type of wedding catering service. There are three common types of catering you can explore for your wedding, namely.
- A full-service
- A drop-off catering, and
- Organizing a buffet.
Each of these catering types has advantages and disadvantages depending on the size of the event and budget. Therefore, we take a closer look at each of the following:
Full-service catering offers the highest levels of convenience and luxury. The caterer handles everything from setup to serving to clean up. This scenario is great for more significant events where you want all the work done, so you can focus on enjoying your big day.
However, this type of service usually has a premium price tag. However, the planner can provide a catalog of wedding prices to determine the average catering costs. The average price can also pick the wedding-catering package that you choose.
Know What You Want
The first step in planning anything is to know what is desired. On this bed, every other item on your list rests. However, it will help determine how much you need to spend and give you a better idea of the kind of food you would like to have at your wedding.
Research different foods and cuisines that will be perfect for your big day. Moreover, research helps determine which catering package is best for you. Note that the size of a determines whether it can work. It will also help limit additional expenses that could increase the overall cost of wedding catering.
Get Quotes from Caterers
The second step is to obtain quotes from different wedding caterers. This quote will give you an idea of the average wedding catering costs, inform you of the food you can get from it, and help you decide what you want at your wedding.
Obtaining at least three quotes is essential to achieving better bargaining power. When receiving quotes, ask about their packages, what is included, and if there are any hidden costs. This detail will help you to know exactly how much you need to spend.
Consider Your Guest List
The guest list is an essential variable to consider when planning a wedding. Of course, you want to ensure tour guests are pleased and well cared for, but you must remember that would require higher spending. However, there are ways to reduce costs and still be able to maintain a reasonable budget.
For example, serving brunch rather than dinner or appetizers in buffet-style services rather than on-plated dinners with different courses. This undoubtedly increases the budget. The smaller the guest list, the better the budget.
The Type of Wedding You Want to Have
The type of wedding you want also influences your budget. Recently, people have had simple weddings with just them and a few of their friends and relatives. This type of wedding would cost less than if someone wanted to have a traditional religious wedding.
The type of wedding you want determines how much you need to spend on catering. For example, spending too much on food makes sense if one wants a small, intimate affair.
Have As Many Cuisine Options As Possible
Many cuisine options allow you to choose what you love from various options within your budget. For example, one can choose chicken, beef, or seafood if one loves Chinese food. With this variety, you can find a perfect meal for everyone in attendance while adhering to your budget.
It further helps you relax your food restrictions, go for local recipes, and serve the menu at any time of the day without adding extra cost. Cuisine wedding options have become more common in recent years as couples try to add a personal touch to their big days. However, whatever choice you choose or extras you add, remember that it will likely increase wedding food costs.
Choose a Wedding Venue
The choice of venue for your wedding reception can also affect how much you spend on catering. For example, if you choose a venue with in-house catering, you may only need a little time.
However, if you want to use an outside caterer, you need to factor in the cost of renting a space for the event. Some venues also charge a service fee, so ask about it when getting quotes.
Consider the Location and Time of Your Wedding
The zip code and the time of your wedding influence catering costs. This timing may also be necessary depending on the location of the guests. This may also be because caterers charge more in places with greater demand. Additionally, despite food availability in most American cities, the seasonality of some fruits and items can affect prices.
In addition, caterers typically charge the couple “processing fees” and the catering fee if they have to place orders for specific recipes and preserve them until a big day. This process makes it crucial to plan when choosing your food, your wedding date, and the location you want to say “I do.”
Create A Budget
After researching and obtaining different quotes, the next step was to create a budget. This budget helps you know exactly how much money you must work with and enables you to stick to your spending limits. When creating a budget, consider all the other expenses associated with wedding planning. For example, this budget often contains the cost of a dress, tuxedo, flowers, decorations, and more.
Make Room for Contingency
You should also factor in a contingency fund to cover any unexpected costs such as extra staff, urgent fees, extra food, and emergency medical services that might arise. This additional contingency plan is vital because weddings can be unpredictable, and it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Review Your Contract
The last step is to review your contract with the chosen vendors. Ensure everything is in order and all payment terms are laid out before signing off and saying “I do.” Ensure that the vendor understands your vision and can provide the promised services.
Finally, examine the budget to ensure that it all adds up. Once you are satisfied with everything, you can relax and enjoy your special day. Congratulations! You have done it – you have planned a perfect wedding without breaking the bank.
Now that all the planning is done, a good rule of thumb is to set aside 5–10% of your budget for unforeseen expenses. This provision will give you some wiggle room when anything arises.
Types of Wedding Catering
There are many types of catering; your choice depends on your budget, the number of guests, and the kind of wedding you want. For example, some couples prefer a buffet style, whereas others prefer a sit-down meal. Some of the most popular types of catering are as follows:
Buffet catering, is a popular style of serving food at weddings. Guests can choose their meals to prevent food and resource waste. Buffet meals often include a variety of dishes, so there is something for everyone. For example, a typical buffet may consist of salads, main courses, and desserts.
Sit-down catering is a more expensive and formal option in which guests serve their meals at their tables. This style involves using catering and servers as staff.
The main advantage of this type of catering is that it allows for more flexible customization of menu choices. However, it also requires more coordination and planning by catering companies.
As a result, sit-down catering typically costs more than buffet-style catering. For example, a sit-down dinner for 100 guests can cost between $3,000 to $5,000.
Family-style catering involves giant bowls in which attendees serve themselves and pass them along to the next person at the table. This type of catering works well in a less formal event because things become messy and rough quickly, and it does not fit a fancy wedding or event.
For example, a wedding with 100 guests and a menu that includes chicken, fish, and beef costs approximately $3,000 for family-style catering.
Food Station Catering
Food Station catering is a new service approach that allows guests access to different food stands within the reception hall. The guest is free to choose from the many options available in this system. The most popular stations were pasta, carving, sushi, and desserts.
Each station has a chef or cooks responsible for preparing and plating the food. Food station catering is becoming increasingly popular because it allows guests to customize their meals and try new things. The price per guest for Food Station catering is typically $15–$25.
Plated meals are traditional and formal catering standards for affluent events or weddings. Guests on the list make meal reservations once they RSVP or place an order at the event once they are seated at their table.
Plated meal catering is a decent and well-organized service. It removes the stress of lining up food and exchanging bowls of meals. It is expensive, but worth upright and comfortable. Plated meals typically cost between $45 to $100 per person.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The average cost of catering a wedding is $3,000 to $5,000. However, the final price depends on the number of guests, types of food served, and level of service provided.
Plated meals are the most formal option, in which guests are served at their tables. In addition, family-style catering involves giant bowls in which attendees serve themselves and pass them along to the next person at the table. Finally, buffet catering is a more casual option, where guests can choose their food from various options.
What Is the Average Number of Meals a Caterer Should Provide for a Wedding?
The average number of courses a caterer should provide for a wedding is 3-4. However, the final number will depend on the wedding size and preferences of the couple.
If you had a budget of $3,000, you would likely need to invite fewer than 100 guests. For example, a sit-down dinner for 100 guests can cost between $3,000 and $10,000.
Regarding wedding catering, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Instead, the amount you will need to spend depends on several factors, including the size of your wedding, the type of food you serve, and the level of service required.
A few general guidelines can help you budget for your big day. First, consider the number of people you will invite. Then, decide what kind of food you would like to serve. Recall that more formal weddings require more elaborate menus. Finally, we consider the level of service that is needed.
If you plan a DIY reception, your catering costs will be lower than when hiring a full-service caterer. Considering all these factors, one can better understand how much to spend catering to one’s wedding.