Post # 1
My FI and I are getting married in 08/11, about 10 mins outside of downton Baltimore. We have set a pretty strict budget for catering which does not include alcohol b/c our venue lets us provide it separately. Our venue also has a list of about 14 caterers we can work with. I’m freaking out b/c we sent emails to everyone and listed our budget and almost EVERYONE is coming back with no’s!! It’s really shocking, I KNOW catering is super expensive but our budget isn’t really that tiny and all of these no’s are scaring me! What if we end up with crappy food?? And we’ll have still paid a hefty amount for it. Ugh…I guess I don’t really need any specific advice just soothing words that it will all be alright :/
Post # 3
where are you getting married? and have you checked out simply elegant catering? we ended up going with a venue in downtown baltimore that doesn’t allow for outside caterers, but otherwise i definitely would have booked them, their prices were by far the best i saw (and their food is excellent).
Post # 4
Instead of sending them your budget, can you just request them to provide their options/pricing guide? If you can actually look at options and prices, you may def be able to create something in your budget.
When they send over their pricing quotes, keep an open mind too about options. For instance, we ended up serving 4 small courses (appetizer sized basically), which was cheaper than your traditional 2 entrees and sides. It wasn’t an option the caterer had ever done before, but everyone loved the way it turned out! Good luck!
Post # 5
How set are you on that venue? I felt that the food was more important than the venue, so I picked a caterer first and then found a venue that would allow me to use his services. I think I ended up getting a better value than if I had picked a venue and then used one of their “preferred” caterers.
Post # 6
whatever your budget is caterers should be able to work with you. You can always downsize the amount of food and way it’s served. You can not have plated and have buffet. Or smaller portions of plated courses. You could have buffet but have less selections or cheaper meats or no meat (more bread!). You could just have heavy hors deorves or just light appetizers and cake.
If possible find a caterer with no corking costs (important if you’re supplying it yourself) and ideally no cake cutting costs. These add up! Keep asking and you’ll be able to find something that works for you!
Post # 7
Ugh, I’m having the same issue right now. Catering proposals are rolling in and the prices are INSANE around here.
Have you asked your venue if it’s possible to get a new caterer onto the list? That is, if you find one that you like, if the venue can get them through the approval process so you can use them?
Post # 8
Slightly different issue, but we booked our venue (with inhouse caterer) it is substantially more than I would like to pay but the least expensive we found.. now Im freaking out that if everyone we invite says yes goodbye budget! Sigh… good luck youre not alone and food costs are astronomical.. unfortunately its the one thing besides you and your FH that people will remember!
Post # 9
I think you would be surprised to learn that some of those caterers might be in your budget maybe its that you both aren’t clear on what exactly you’re hoping to receive within said budget and what exactly they’re offering within said budget.
Example – does your budget include apps/dinner only? Does it include, all plates, glasses, silverware, linens plus food? If you haven’t already, get an exact cost break down from these said caterers and then do an exact cost breakdown for your own budget.
Post # 10
i did a lot of research in the DC/NOVA area regarding caterers, what is your budget and which caterers did you guys speak with?
if you want to pm me, i can tell you the price my caterer gave me for 150ppl, buffet, 2 proteins, 2 sides and 5 passed appetizers. we are also providing our own alcohol, but they are providing all the non alcoholic drinks, mixers and garnishes. i dunno if it was just a special at the time, but we also got upgraded linens(pintuck)
Post # 11
- Wedding: May 2011 - Bartram's Garden
It’s really unprofessional of them to give you a flat out “no” answer. You’d think that nobody would be turning down business in this economy.
Did you give them a flat budget (i.e. $xxxxx total), or did you say that you could afford $xx per head? Would you consider an hors d’oeuvres only reception?
I spoke to three of my venue’s preferred caterers. I told them how much we were willing to pay per person. Two of them told me that our budget was very low but they’d work with it for a proposal (uh… thanks a lot). They each came back with pretty bare-bones menus (one entree choice – chicken – and no hors d’oeuvres) but at least it was SOMETHING.
The third caterer came back with a full proposal: butlered and stationery hors d’oeuvres and three entree choices for the SAME price as those other caterers. So keep trying!
Post # 12
Thanks so much for all of your replies/advice. We are in love with our venue (the Cloisters Castle) so that’s not going to change so we have to make do with one of the 14 caterers we’ve been offered. Unfortunately, they aren’t open to adding new caterers to their list as they’ve just added three in the last year.
I do think that maybe stating my budget, which I stated overall not a per head amount, might have turned off some people but I really wanted be honest and upfront from the get go. Like many of you said, I figured they could work something out with any budget. Since I wrote this, I got two replies from people who said they could work with it, so yay! that is great news and I hope to get more yes replies in the near future. I will definitely keep my mind open about different styles for the reception and I’ll post an update soon. I heart the hive 🙂
Post # 13
I’m planning my wedding too and haven’t gotten yet to the catering part of it, but what are the standard prices in this area. I’m curious to find out what you pay per person without drinks so i won’t get sticker shock
Post # 14
@MissMargie: Dont they have sample menus that you can tweak to fit your budget. I am shocked that some are flat out saying no.. I dont think i would want them as my caterer anyways!
Post # 15
couple ideas to save money from catering budget:
1) stationary apps only (a nice cheese/fruit display would suffice)…sometimes the appetizers get a little crazy and you don’t need to serve people that much before a full meal
2) see if buffet or plated is cheaper- different caterers will tell you different things! also, if you have a buffet, there’s no need for a “salad” course since you can have the salad in the buffet
3) consider alternative dessert options- you can cut a small cake for just the two of you, and have smaller finger food type desserts for everyone
4) limited bar- you can serve beer, wine, and a signature drink or two instead of a “full bar”