Wedding Catering – What's a reasonable price per person?

posted 3 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
Member
409 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

I’m not sure if there really is a reasonable cost or typical price range because there are so many factors.

For example a place like NYC will have much more expensive catering than when I live in Colorado. Different ingredients will have different price points (i.e. the difference between different cuts of beef can easily be a difference of $10) so the menu items you choose can determine the price. There is also a difference in cost between buffet and sit down meals. In buffet the cost of food prepration is usually cheaper because they do not have to plate everything individually, but you might pay more in food because the portion sizes are not regulated so you will need extra.

The best thing you can do is contact a bunch of caterers that you are interested in and see if they have some sample menus that show average prices. Then you will be able to determine if a caterer is average, above or below the typical price point for your area and desired serving style.

Post # 5
Member
38 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: March 2014

Like PP said, pricing varies enormously – my FI’s sister spent ~$10 per head for food at her reception, while my Matron of Honor spent, I think, $150 per head for her food.

If you are only having 35 people, you might consider talking to your (and your FI’s) favorite restaurant about renting space there for the reception.  Most will work with you to put together what’s called Prix Fixe menu, which will feature a set number of options from their normal menu that your guests can pick from. Since you and your FI will be able to pick what goes on the Prix Fixe menu, you can control the price range and there’s no chance of someone ordering the most expensive dish the restaurant offers.

They can even work in having a house salad or soup as an appetizer, generally for very little, if any, additional cost.  Be aware that most will charge a small fee to cut, plate and serve the cake.

This options works out well because restaurants are used to doing food quickly for large numbers of people for dinner rushes, so they should be able to easily handle your group of 35. Plus, their servers will all be experienced – highly unlikely that you might have a temp randomly hired by the catering company to boost the personnel numbers just for your event.

Also, going this route will likely be cheaper than a caterer, and you can also ask about working out a deal for drinks – either picking one or two drinks off the restaurant’s drink menu or paying a flat price for either white or red wine and/or beer for guests.

 

Post # 6
Member
1626 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

@princesscharming:  The average price where I live (which is in the DC/Metropolitan area) and where we’re getting married (which is wushy cushy Annapolis – I know, you’re from Canada, so you have no idea where I’m talking about, lol), it’s literally average $60-100 per person. Even for hors d’ouevres. Not including booze.

I got extremely lucky with my caterer and went with a small, locally owned and operated restaurant. FI and I went there to try it out (we had dinner) before we even considered them for catering, and the food was surprisingly good.

After reviewing their catering menu and realizing that HEY! Prices don’t change between “office parties” and “weddings” (which happens a lot – tell your caterers you’re planning a “small gathering” and that should help…prices of crap triple here when you say ‘wedding’), we chose to pick everyone’s dish for them (instead of having multiple options and having people tell us on their response card). My caterer advised that having people pick their own food is often a poor idea because most of them won’t remember what they picked, often get someone else’s food, or decide hey! I want to try ALL of those options, which significantly screws up the number of portions they make.

So we got chicken and two sauces (Marsala and Lemon Caper – which will be on the side and they can choose which sauce thye want), roasted potatoes, grilled veggies, salad and rolls, for 60 people, for ~$15/person.

I think the two things that helped us were that our caterer is not located IN Annapolis like the rest of them were (we had to pick from an approved catering list the venue supplied – check with your venue to see if they’ve got one),  and that we went with a local, Mom & Pop small-town type place that the “locals know and love” but anyone not in the area wouldn’t really know about. Despite that, they are extremely competent and put forward delicious food. And my catering manager is an absolute peach!

Also if you’re planning booze, Idk how it works in Canada, but FI and I actually got our own 1 day liquor license and knocked out all of that extra cost..$55 later, and we can serve beer, wine and hard alcohol. Anything brought to the event that day is covered under our license, and we got to buy the booze ourselves. 🙂 No markup.

Good luck!!

 

Post # 7
Member
2047 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

well in calgary I looked at hotels and golf courses etc…and for the standard 3 course  salad, chicken breast/potatos, and dessert it was basically anywhere from 25-35 a person…for an average place. Fancier places of course higher prices…. thats also no appies no drinks included. So it really depends on your venue.

Unless your going to be renting a community hall and bring in ALL your own catering I wouldnt guess less then 20 a head for sure!

Our is gonna be about 100 a person for food lol…. so again depends what your going for.

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