Post # 1
I am getting married on Halloween next year and I have already booked my venue and my photographer, so I have now turned my eye toward catering. I have gotten in touch with a few caterers in the area with a $3600 budget. The last caterer I spoke to emailed me back and said that that was a “tough budget to work with” for 130 guests. To me, that is a lot of money for food! So tell me, is my budget too low?
Post # 2
MissComicBook: It depends on where you live and what you normally get for that amount of money where you live. That is less than $30 per person.
Have you tried contacting restaurants to see what they can do for you rather than just traditional caterers?
Post # 3
julies1949: I live in Ohio so I figured it wouldn’t be too bad, but apparently I was wrong. I haven’t yet, but the venue we picked requires insurance for catering if they are not on the venue’s prefered list and I don’t know if resteraunts would have that.
Post # 4
It really depends where you live. I lucked out with my small town and got my food for 13pp. However driving just 30 minutes places start around 25pp. It is not uncommon to have food about 50 pp just an hour from me.
Keep in mind you’re getting married on a holiday so that will probably be more expensive.
Post # 5
MissComicBook: I believe all resteraunts would need to have insurance in case a customer got sick.
Post # 6
MissComicBook: I’m in cincinnati and got told $2135 for 60 guests. the breakdown included- buffet with disposable serverware, servers and bartenders, steak, chicken, pasta, veggie, rolls, salad, coffee station, soda and bar mixers and the taxes/fees. I am limited to the venues preferred list but this was the best rate out of the four companies I contacted. One company said $55 per person for buffet and other proposals ranged from $2500 to $3700. I skipped horduerves for now because my parents insisted on inviting distant aunts/uncles so we are actually inviting 117 and I would rather add things on later when I know they are definitely not showing up. Another thing you may want to see is if you can get a discount by paying with cash or check. I got 5% off with that. also, some places will offer consumption only charges for the beverages.
Post # 7
I think it depends on the company you’re going through but that does sound pretty low. Ours was $9,000 for a plated meal for 125 people in Austin, TX and that was the cheapest option my wedding planner gave us, but I’m a foodie so it’s all organic, local, and seasonal.
There are a lot of hidden fees that I didn’t think about at first. Typically there’s a service charge and fees for non-alcoholic beverages. You’ll also have to add a tip on top if they don’t include it on the bill. State tax will also be tacked on the top. For our $9,000 bill, the “per-plate” entree charge is ~$40 per person, and the rest is water, bread, salads, service fees, state tax, and gratuity. So… it adds up quickly.
That said, don’t give up hope. We’re also providing BBQ for the rehearsal dinner for all of our guests and it’s more along the line of what you had quoted – $24 per person including soft drinks/water. Even that doesn’t include tax and/or tip though, which will push it up to the $30 mark.
You might have to start getting a little creative. Try having a well-known restaurant cater, or a store like Whole Foods. You might be able to simplify your options (i.e., no salad, just one entree choice) to keeps costs low. If you’re planning a casual wedding, try taco bars or BBQ. There are ways to keep the budget down, but getting it under $3,600 will definitely take some creativity.
Post # 8
MissComicBook: We are in Southern Illinois area and it is about 2500 for 250 people 🙂 We are going with a restaurant that is coming to our hall.
Post # 9
MissComicBook: I was quoted $90/person (not including tax/gratuity), and I’m located in San Francisco. However, the price includes rentals (tableware and linens), which are not included with my venue.