Let me apologize for this novel….!
Regarding your venue, I know of many venues that have "preferred" vendors but if they DO allow outside caterers, the only persuading you would need to do is have the vendor provide sufficient and current liability insurance, timelines, and all that other good stuff. That usually does the trick.
IMO, $15K including ALL the rentals (set up and breakdown) as well as food, labor, and execution for 120 people, final price out the door is a good price. I know it’s major sticker shock, but considering everything that you are getting, it’s very inclusive at a reasonable rate.
I actually got a steal from Alex’s Catering with our event, but that was because they had never done our venue before and had no idea what they were getting into until after the fact when they asked other caterers what they would have charged.
We had 175 people and the cost was only for food, labor, fire permits/fire watch, and execution of the reception. (So, this does not include rentals, lighting, additional kitchen equipment…My venue required Alex’s to cook outside in a tent which meant more rentals. Yikes!)
Our invoice ncluded a beverage meet and greet of sparkling water and cucumber spritzers before the ceremony for an hour; an hour and a half cocktail reception where they served all the alcohol we bought ourselves without a corkage fee with 6 hors d’oeuvres, butler passed; room turnover from ceremony to reception (same space); setting up all the tables, chairs, linens, flatware, china, etc.; a soup, a salad, and 4 entrees for guests to choose from (prime rib, filet of halibut, a pasta selection which was vegetarian, or a child’s meal); service of our wedding cake without cake cutting fees, and a dessert buffet for everyone which included about 25 desserts. Of course, this also included labor, which was about 1/3 of the entire invoice I believe. We had a high ratio of their service staff to guests because of the venue. The entire bill for just this part was about $33K? I can’t remember the exact number.
Anyway, our guests are STILL raving at how good the food was. The portions were large and it was tasty. Everyone commented on how they broke the mass production of food stereotype; they said it was amazing! Factor in that the kitchen was a walk that is equivalent to a good city block away..I’m blown away. The service was excellent; the staff was very attentive to everyone’s needs and my guests noted this as well.
They closed the entire shop that day to do our event and didn’t take on any other client like they usually would so I expected good service to begin with…But not to that caliber! In the end, their prices were very reasonable for what we got, especially compared to other caterers. We’re really happy with the decision, and Rolando was nice to work with. No regrets whatsoever and I would recommend them in a heartbeat.
Let me know if you want details on rentals.