(Closed) Catering questions? Help!!

posted 6 years ago in Food
Post # 2
Member
1552 posts
Bumble bee

If your mom wants you to have a caterer so bad, she can pay for it.

Post # 3
Member
9520 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

Bbq and food trucks are trendy and inexpensive.

Post # 4
Member
1303 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: Hawksnest Cove Beach St John USVI

There are a lot of restaurants that you can order to go from that are cheaper. Also, don’t be afraid to negotiate with your caterers. Most will come down in price especially if you’re willing to live without some of their options. You can always say Id love to go with you but your prices just don’t make sense. My friend got their caterer to go from 75 dollars a plate to 50 dollars a plate without dropping a single menu item!

Post # 5
Member
584 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

Do you have complete control over who you bring in for catering? We do, and some of the places we’ve looked at have had buffet service for as low as $12/pp for the basics (salads, choice of two entrees, and three sides). Fiance and I want to offer a bit more with a cocktail hour and a midnight snack, but we’re still going to be able to do it for about $20/pp, I think. What area are you in?

Post # 6
Member
7552 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

Unless your wedding is very very casual, pizza is a poor fit. It’s everyday food and while some will think it’s just fine, others will feel like you cheaped out on the meal. Plus there is the logistics problem: how to keep it hot till everyone is served and how to keep it from being messy.

pasta bar has similar challenges in how to keep it hot. For 150 guests you’ll need multiple stations if you want to avoid lengthy waits. But, it is more do-able than pizza And certainly can be done more elegantly than pizza.

the big challenge in a DIY dinner will be who is in charge of tending the food. For 150 people you can’t just plop a bunch of ziti down on a buffet table and let guests sort it out themselves. If you can find a solution to the “who will serve or mind the buffet” then you’ll open up a lot of possibilities including “drop catering” from a local restaurant (where they basically drop the food off in big foil trays). Check local temp agencies and culinary schools. Also factor equipment rentals in, such as China (dining ware); also chafing dishes if you plan a buffet.

Post # 7
Member
11517 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2014

I wouldn’t try and DIY the food, that’s stress you don’t need.  I’d call around, you can probably find a caterer who can work with your budget, especially if you’re willing to have a pared down fixed menu.  We also found that a plated dinner was cheaper than buffet – the caterer knows exactly how much of everything they need and there’s less waste.

What’s your reception venue?

Post # 8
Member
7892 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

Agree with food trucks. Some supermarkets also cater and deliver. Some restaurants even cater (even Chipotle!).

Catered BBQ can also be inexpensive. If you’re having a lunch reception, you could have a picnic theme. You could even have gourmet box lunches!

Post # 9
Member
3470 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2012 - The Gables Inn, Santa Rosa, CA

I think the pizza or pasta potions are great, pasta is super easy to DIY too! 

We did the food for our wedding of about 100 people.  We had BBQ chicken and tri-tip for mains and served green salad, potato salad, 2 types of baked beans (one vegetarian one not), watermelon, and petit loaves of bread.  We also served lemonade and beer and wine, also DIY.  For dessert, since neither of us liked cake, we did blackberry cobbler and gateau basque (a cultural dish for my family). 

Our theme was up-scale backyard BBQ in the Sonoma Wine Country. 

Post # 10
Member
7 posts
Newbee

We had a pasta bar catered through our local grocery store. We fancied up with some appetizers and beverages but I think the base price was like eight dollars a person. We also pay just a little bit extra have people there to serve I think it was worth it- not a lot of extra money but a lot of peace of mind. There weren’t any problems keeping it hot either

Post # 11
Member
3031 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015 - Walnut Hill Bed & Breakfast

Look at some caterers that don’t necessarily specialize in weddings. Ask for cheap things like BBQ or pasta (lasagna?). You can usually get caterers (around me) for non-wedding events for $8-12/person. We do this a lot for club picnics. 

Post # 12
Member
1117 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Those ideas sound delicious to me! But if you do want to go with a caterer, try looking for small companies or people who are beginning to cater their prices are often MUCH cheaper but their food is just as good as the more expensive, larger companies!  I know a few caterers who have very small businesses and only spread their information through word of mouth, and theirs is the most fantastic food I’ve ever eaten! With a big of searching I’m sure you can find an amazing caterer with reasonable prices. 

Post # 15
Member
7892 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

View original reply
kayelive:  I know Arkansas. The cost of a lot of things is low in AR, but you might have to be a little creative to feed 150 people with $500. Pizza could work, and you could probably get a discount from a local pizza place for buying so many pizzas. As for pasta, it might be easier and cheaper to pull off if you limit to spaghetti with salad and breadsticks. Maybe you could even have a pancake dinner or a potluck. Good luck! 

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