Post # 1
I am getting hitched in Manhattan in September, and everything has been relatively smooth until now. Our caterer is a restaurant that does off-site full service catering (we are having our wedding at an open loft space). We have been working with them for a few months, and they have been very clear that they could work within our budget. Well, they sent us their first initial estimate this week, and it is more than TWICE the budget we gave them! We have been going through the estimate piece by piece, but when we tried to negotiate with them, they were only coming down about 10%. Still waay too much for us.
So, I think we need to start looking for a new caterer in the NY metro area. We need someone who does full-service off-site catering, and who can handle food, liquor, setting up rentals and staffing servers and bartenders. We were originally trying to do traditional family-style Italian food, but I am willing to consider anything at this point. Here’s the kicker: we have a small budget of $100 pp or less for food, booze, and service (not including rentals or cake). I know the budget is pretty measly for this region, but does anyone have any ideas?
Your help is so appreciated… I’m trying my best not to have a panic attack!
Post # 3
Hey, before you give up on your original caterer, from my experience most caterers go way above the original price range when creating sample menues. We had to reiterate to my caterer like 5 times what budget (incl taxes and dishware rental fees) that we HAD to fit into. Don’t negotiate – give them your budget and tell them they told you they could work with it – now they have to live up to their promises. Sometimes they just have to hear it like 10 times for it to sink in.
Even in NYC $100 per person is not unreasonable at all for italian food. Have you though about calling some places in Little Italy, I know they seem touristy but the food is actually really good quality. I would contact La Mela and see if they would do catering – I have friends who are originally from Italy and still appreciate the quality of their food.
I live in Hoboken which is chock-full wonderful authentic Italian food and we love http://www.vitosdeli.com/. Their prices are really reasonable as well. Check out Giorgio’s for the best cannoli we had ever had.
Post # 4
Definitely try to work with your original caterer – do you have a contract with prices? If that doesn’t work, I am using a caterer for a Brooklyn wedding and they are based out of the Hudson Valley (they have a reception site there but do off site weddings). They have been fabulous to work with and could definitely work with your budget (I am paying just under $100 and that is food, servers. gratuity, liquor and cake). Check them out and ask for Pter: FEAST http://www.feastcaterers.com.
Post # 5
Thanks, girls! We will meet with our original caterers soon, and try our best to make the budget work. I’m pretty frustrated at this point, though… we have been doing a ton of research into costs for each item, and found tons of places where they have added on about 150% "padding" to the costs. When we tell them we found prices for less than half what they are charging, they say, "that’s impossible." Impossible? Really? I’m smelling scammers…
Anyway, we will see what happens. I will just have to reiterate a million times what our budget is. We have a contract, but no prices, and no deposit has been put down. If they can’t meet our budget, I will contact the places that you recommended. Thanks again!