buffet cost per person- does this include alcohol or not?

posted 2 years ago in Food
Post # 2
Member
2895 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

 

Sara1923:  Once you are in a city, that is very reasonable when you include beer/wine/spirits.   Is there anyway you could provide your own alcohol?   If you could get out to small town OH, you could probably find cheaper venders, but it really is location, location, location.    There is a premium for being in a city. 

Post # 3
Member
8593 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

Are you wanting $33 per person for all food and alcohol?  That seems too cheap to me, but it depends on your venue I suppose.  I am in a midwestern city and I paid around $30 pp for food (outside caterer) and then additinoal $30 pp for 6 hr open bar through my venue.  Plus a service charge on top of the food.  Mine was a buffet, included two meats (they weren’t basic main dishes but wasn’t ultra fancy/foodie either), a nice salad, side, plus 3 or 4 appetizers and included the cake cutting.  The food alone sounds a little high for a quote (for how you’re describing it- basic food or upgraded?, and it’s an outsider caterer?), but as far as overall it sounds like it might be reasonable.  Friday nights weren’t any cheaper as far as I could see, so I don’t think that would make a difference.

Post # 4
Member
1110 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

I think it’s reasonable but my venue costs $125 pp which includes food and open bar.  I can’t imagine you’ll find food and alcohol for $33 pp.  I’d imagine it’s cheaper in Ohio than on the east coast where I am but $33 still seems drastically low for food and drink. 

Post # 6
Member
458 posts
Helper bee

that’s a little less than the price of my venue for catering and all services (except alcohol), and we’re having 150 people there.  But it is in the city, which as other bees have said, would add more to the expense.

Overall, though, spending that much for a wedding reception is a pretty good deal as long as you like what you’re getting.

Post # 7
Member
1131 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

And entrée, appetizer, and a couple drinks at a midrange restaurant would likely cost you over $33, so I think you’re being unreasonable. That said, I have no idea what a reasonable per person price for a plated catered dinner would be In Ohio. So if I were you I would shop around, get quotes, and I would consider bargaining as well. Some places will give you a discount if you pay in cash or pay in advance.

Post # 8
Member
3693 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I don’t think you can really cut any of the food – bread, salad, veggie, starch, and two meat options is pretty standard.

Unfortunately, weddings are expensive. With a catering company, it’s hard enough to do $33 a person for food, forget adding alcohol to that. You could always look into alternative options if you were willing to change your venue or convince them to use another caterer. – I know some brides her have done gourmet pizza, or pasta, or ordered out Mexican food which might reduce your per person cost. 

Post # 9
Member
2895 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

 

Sara1923:  Just consider yourself lucky you aren’t on the coast!  $66 per person would not even be close to happening.  If you read a lot of posts on here, you will find a lot of costal, very large city brides paying over $100 per plate which may or may not include alcohol. 

The only advice I have is that if you want to move your wedding out of Cinncinati for rural Ohio, it might be less pricy.  I had my wedding in a city of 10K compared to my cousin who had her wedding in a city of 100K and she paid about twice as much as I did, and this is just Iowa. 

Post # 10
Member
345 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I got married on a Sunday in downtown Cleveland, and we paid about $75/person when all was said and done. It was $53.90/person for food (plated), champagne toast with dinner, all other alcohol (limited beer menu, house wine, and 1 step above call liquor) for 5 hours, and our cake. Our meals included a starch of our choice, a vegetable, and dessert, which was our cake with a scoop of ice cream.

When all was said and done, it ended up closer to $75 when you added in service charge (20%), tax (7.5%), seats for the ceremony ($2/person), and 3 plates of passed hors d’ourves (100 pcs each) during the cocktail hour.

We chose a place that was known for their great food, so it certainly didn’t taste “the same” to most people. Not that food is the most important thing or anything, but I definitely wanted to provide something better than what people have come to think of as “wedding food.” That was me personally though. To be honest, most people I have talked to who have been married in the greater Cleveland/Columbus area (I got married in Cleveland but live in Columbus) thought that $54/person before all the additional stuff was great. And most places I looked were much more expensive. I could have cut out alcohol or the hors d’ourves, but that’s not something I wanted to do. Unfortunately, it’s just expensive.

I would advise away from cutting out sides or anything, because you’re leaving your guests with little choice aside from a main dish. Most guests will want some sort of starch or veggie with their meat or pasta, and if they’re hungry and want to go for seconds, there may not be any left if you cut servings, or they’re eating more of the same if you cut sides.

I think you’re going to have to look outside of Cincy if you want lower prices, but I don’t think you’re going to find much lower than $50 or so a person unless you cut alcohol. Unfortunately.

Post # 11
Member
8593 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

Sara1923:  I think we had the right amount of food.  I still would have rather gone to Vegas and saved a bunch of $$ (done just family and close friends with us) but DH didn’t want to.  lol…so in that case I would have rather saved money by doing something completely different.  I could have done a cheaper venue (one that let me bring in my own alcohol) and saved a few thousand probably.  I thought my catering price was pretty fair, but I could have saved on my $30 pp alcohol cost by finding a venue that let me bring in my own.

Post # 12
Member
8593 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

Sara1923:  Ok I went back and looked and I spent $37.45 pp on food: two meats (one was some type of sliced beef with sauce and a stuffed chicken type of thing), side (potatoes I think), nice salad (blue cheese, pecans, etc), bread, water, apps (bruschetta bar, and a few others) coffee, cake cutting, service fees, servers, and tips. buffet style, 2 sides. I thought it was pretty fair price for the food.

In addition to that I spent $4k on my “per person” venue charge.  It’s a little different.  I paid $1500 flat to rent the entire place for my ceremony and reception.  The  per person charge included 6 hour open bar for those over 21, all linens, tables, chairs, setup, cleanup, and all staff (bartenders, etc).  So while some of that included alcohol, it did include other items. That’s where most of my expenses went.  So you can see why perhaps another venue would have saved more money.

My cake was separate.

Post # 13
Member
1131 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

So my FI and I recently changed venues so that we could more easily afford the things we wanted. We are paying $19 pp for a 4 hour premium open bar and then $16 a head for a buffet selection of 4 meats and 4 sides. We are also planning on brining meat and cheese platters from Costco and sheet cakes. Our food will be cheap because it’s a BBQ joint but it’s one of the most famous BBQ places in our city so we think our guests will be pleased, even though it’s not a fancy dinner. You might look into a place that allows you to bring in your own caterer. 

Post # 14
Member
6034 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

A target of $2000 for food and drink for 60 people is an unreasonable target for a smaller city like Cincy.  While it is unfortunate that you must work off of the venue’s approved caterer list and don’t have as much power to shop around, please consider cutting back in other areas (flowers, decor, DJ, photography, honeymoon, limo/car rental, etc) instead of trying to cut corners by cutting out side items or cutting portion sizes; your guests see the food you put in front of them and nothing says “I don’t value you” like a skimpy meal— especially if you are hiring a fancy getaway car or doing expensive floral arrangements.  Even supplying only one server is a risky way to save money because some guests will be waiting ages for food or drink.

Post # 15
Member
2756 posts
Sugar bee

Are you paying a rental fee for the venue? Because if not then keep in mind that the “plate” cost is really covering space, furniture, linens, china, glassware, servers, cooks, dishwashers, and everything else. I’m getting married in Boston this weekend and the food and bar alone cost about $65/person. That’s for an appetizer/cocktail reception (no plated dinner and doesn’t include the cake) and does not include the cost of the venue rental, furniture/linen rental, dishes and glassware rental, and all the staff to pull it off. If your venue is including the entire package for $66/head I think that’s a solid deal. 

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