Caterer issues…charging for actual vs estimated number of guests

posted 3 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
2546 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

Wait, just to clarify, I’m not clear.

The issue is that he wants to charge you for 75 guests because that’s what you estimated first, and now that you confirmed 60 he wants to charge you for 75?

Post # 5
42101 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@First-times-a-charm:  As stated in your other post, it depends on what your contract says. If the contract was based on 75 guests, you pay for 75 x whatever the per plate price was quoted.

Some caterers upgrade your selections when you are short guests.

Post # 6
594 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@First-times-a-charm:  A lot of venues charge you for a fixed number. Our venue charged us for 100 guests regardless of whether we had 85 or 100, however if we went over 100 they would add on the extra charges. It’s a normal practice, at least in NY.

Post # 7
442 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

The only thing I can think of is that he had a minimum number in order to take the job, and perhaps you are going under that? 


My caterer is a family friend who does very large-scale events (White House inaugurations, balls, etc) and he told me I would need at least 200 guests to make it worth it for him (and he is giving us a steep discount, and he’s a great guy). We have over 250 invited, so I’m not super worried at this point. He could easily take another job that weekend and make five tiems what he is making on our wedding, so I completely understand.

It’s possible that your caterer only caters large events, for example, and doesn’t find it to be worth his while to cater for less than 75? If that’s the case, he should have told you that up front. 

Post # 8
2136 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

Is there not a contract that you can look at? I don’t understand…you signed a contract, right?

Post # 9
1040 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

This should be covered in your contract. I know that with my venue they will allow us a 10% leeway with the guest count, after it drops below 90% then I will still have to pay for 90% of the estimated guest list I gave them. However they did say that if I pay for example 100 guests and only 80 show up, then they will still supply the extra food, wine, snacks etc so everyone who is there gets a little more. 

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