Post # 1
We’re having our wedding at a venue that doesn’t lock you into any vendors. We’re hoping to have a buffet catered by one of our favorite restaurants (BBQ!) for our wedding, and are incurring a lot of unexpected costs. We’re not sure if these are normal, so I thought who better to ask than the hive.
We’re having max 125 guests, and the caterer thinks that it’s necessary to have 2 buffet lines, each manned by 3 people, as well as a head coordinator and a runner. That seems excessive to me. She said that we need to that many people on each line so that they can exercise portion control, but at this point it’d be cheaper to have fewer people and lots of extra food.
How many people did your caterer think was necessary for your size of wedding?
Post # 3
We are still planning our wedding (and in fact, we have not even booked our caterer, but we have talked to lots), so take this for what it’s worth (maybe nothing?):
I had one caterer tell us that for a buffet for 300, we’d need (at least) two tables with two servers at each, but the reason was not for portion control, it was to keep the line moving as quickly as possible.
Another caterer indicated that we wouldn’t have any "servers" at the buffet, but there would be people watching to replace things as they became low ("runners" I am guessing).
My gut reaction is that the amount of service they’re advising for only 125 people seems excessive… but I don’t know for sure! It’s just my feeling.
Post # 4
Hi Leaver! I’d say that from everyone I’ve spoken to, one server per fifty people has been the standard that I’ve heard. Three per table on two tables seems excessive to me. Have you tried telling the caterer that you’re not as concerned with portion control as you are with staying in your budget?
Personally, I think "portion control" sounds like one of those BS justifications that vendors use to try to force you to spend more money. Kind of like a sketchy bridal salon claiming that the designer requires that their labels be removed so that you don’t know who made a particular dress or what it should cost. Total bull!
I’d be wary and ask to speak with former clients that this caterer has worked for. Ask them about the number of servers they had for their guest counts, and find out whether they thought it was necessary or excessive.