paying the caterer… estimated guest count vs actual count

posted 3 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
42101 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@First-times-a-charm:  It depends on the language in your contract.Many caterers have a minimum- whether that is a minimum # of guests at so much a plate, or a minimum $ amount.

If it is a minimum $ amount and you have less guests, you can usually upgrade the menu.


Post # 4
1025 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Most of the caterers I talked to had a date specified in the contract that they needed the final head count by.  It was usually about two weeks before the event and once they have that number you have to pay for that many.

Post # 5
1648 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2000

The caterer should give you a date (a week or so) before to get the final count. Doesn’t matter if it’s a buffet, they charge per person.

Post # 7
931 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

It could be because the prices he gave you were based upon a certain minimum.  Because regardless of how much food he makes for you, there will be some costs that don’t change, like the time of staff to cook the food, cooking 15 pounds of mashed potatoes takes about the same amount of time to cook 20.  In my former life I coordinated events as part of the work, and most of my caterer prices were based upon that, a garaunteed minimum.  So they would say $25 for 50 people, and if I went under 50 people it would cost $30 a person to ensure that they make enough money to make it worth their time.

Edit:   Usually if it is based upon a minimum, it is in the contract.  Perhaps there was miscommunication somewhere

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