Post # 1
Hi everyone! I’m hoping to get some advice from as many girls as possible!
Me: A bride now living in Scotland, but planning a wedding in upstate NY.
The plan: a wedding for 120 guests in parents’ backyard and garden center
The challenge: trying to find a caterer
The caterer I am currently considering has quoted a price of $16,000. This includes food which comes in at about $60 per person, but no alcoholic beverages: a total of $6960. This caterer is super nice but requires that we rent all the tables/chairs/linens/china from him. The price that surprised me most is $4,900 for rentals! (The rest is for staff, gratutity etc).
Although I really like this caterer, I feel like the charges are a bit high. I’m not so concerned about the food, although we are going for a BBQ/picnic feel and are having platters of grilled veggies, potato salad, stuff like that.
Can anyone tell me whether these prices are pretty normal for a caterer and rentals? My low-key backyard wedding is quickly spiralling out of control! We had wanted to go for a $15,000 budget, but now we’re thinking $20,000. Let me know how you did it! Thanks!
Post # 3
Oh I forgot to mention what type of reception we are going for. We’re hoping to have long tables, everything served family style (no appetizers). Hors d’oeuvres like deviled eggs and pigs in a blanket at cocktail hour. So theorhetically, we should be able to cut down on the wait staff…right?
Post # 4
i am in the southeast so I can’t vouch for Northeast prices. Prices where I am are in range of about $22 pp and up. our rentals are a lot lower too…..nearly $5k seems high end unless your getting those fancy chairs and luxury overlays.
it also seems for the picnic BBQ that you want….$60 pp rings kinda high. unless….perhaps its the cuts of meat you are serving? or are you having seafood? whats your menu? i think that would help people give you better answers.
Post # 5
That seems like WAY too much for the kind of food you’re having. $60 a person? I’m having a similar feel, pulled pork and potato salad, etc in middle TN, and I believe our charges are around $12-16 a person. That includes a nicely-arranged set-up, non-alcoholic beverages, and plasticware. I would say that you should keep looking and getting quotes from other caterers.
Post # 6
I’m from Atlanta, which is quite a bit cheaper than NY, but $16,000 seems a little expensive to me for only the catering- especially since you are having a casual menu. I am also having a garden wedding where we are getting all the rentals- tables, chairs, tents, etc. and the food and alcohol from my caterer. We have about 140 people with beer/wine, and a similar type menu, and our entire catering bill is around $8,000.
Maybe you could get quotes from a few different caterers in the area to see how they compare. Also, you may be able to find a caterer who allows you to rent from an outside vendor. Also, some caterers will let you provide your own alcohol, and just pay for a bartender- which saves major $$.
Post # 7
Actually, that sounds about right for a NY caterer. $40/person for rentals is probably a LITTLE higher than normal. They are charging foro the tables/chairs, probably silverware and plates, and the transporting of all of that.
You can try out http://www.localcatering.com and type in your venue address. Basically, you tell them what your budget is, what type of cuisine you are looking for, etc. Caterers will then contact you and they will accommodate to what you need/want. I found this website to be extremely helpful! That way, you can compare prices, menus, etc. between caterers…and make your decision. Hope that helps!
Post # 8
Thanks for all the input! I’ve actually contacted many many caterers and they all seem to quote for about $9000-16000, not including rentals! I know they’ve been at the higher end-I’ve been kind of picky about food (I prefer SlowFood organisation and local farms) but the menu is pretty simple. At the moment it consists of chicken, fish and beef skewers, potato salad, pasta salad, corn bread, dessert buffet and loads of hors d’oeuvres! I know we’re getting loads of food and I will be cutting back on all of it, but I’m just not sure whether I can cut it back significantly so that the quote is closer to $10,000.
Post # 9
I am in Los Angeles and having a garden party in our backyard as well. We are having 40 guests. We got quotes from 2 different caterers, both are about $4,000-$4,500, including tax, service charges, and tips for all the staff that will be preparing and serving at the wedding.
With that price we are getting hibiscus lemonade, 3-4 passed appetizer, a buffet style with salad, filet mignon, 40 lobster tails, roasted potatoes, forbidden rice and jasmine rice, grilled seasonal vegetables, coffee and tea, fruit display with 2 kinds of dips for dessert in addition to our wedding cake.
The party manager will come as soon as I book with them to determine what rentals I need. The rental company will be my choice but they would help me deal with them with no additional charge.
Oh, drink will be soft bar with 2 signature cocktail, beer, wine, and soft drinks. They said that approximate per person will be $10 charged based on consumption. But I can also buy all the drinks myself and they provide the bartender.
These 2 caterers are highly recommended in my area by friends and all of my vendors just rave about them.
I would say keep on looking.
Good Luck! Hope this helps.
Post # 10
I too, live in upstate NY and held the SAME type of event for my wedding that you are describing—my cost was NO WAY NEAR the cost that you are being quoted. I would definately shop around and call some local party rental places where you can get quotes on renting talbles/chairs/glassware/etc. I had to rent tables/chairs/linen/china/etc. and only had $1,500 in rentals. NO WAY should your rentals be $4,900 unless you are getting a whole tent, dancefloor, etc. Buffalo Party Rental is a great start and the staff is awesome, please contact me regarding caterers as well, having gone through everything last summer, I can guide you in the right direction!
Post # 11
The caterer I am using is a popular one in the South Seattle area. I am paying about $5,500 and it includes:
China, Glasses, Flatware, Napkins, Buffet, Cake Cutting Service, Beverage Service (tea, coffee, water, punch), and bartending service (all mixers, ice, stirrers, garnishes – we provide the alcohol).
Our buffet is consisting of: Chicken skewers, potato salad, gourmet mac n cheese, watermelon wedges, three kinds of sausages (german/polish), and 10 condiments (sauerkraut, relish, cheese, etc).
All of this is for 150 people. It will be an additional $16.95 for each additional person. I think its a great price. The chairs and tables come with the venue rental, so the only thing not included is linens.
Post # 12
although i probably won’t use a caterer (the venue we chose will an in-house caterer) the estimates i’ve received in the bay area (read: very $$$$) its not uncommon to see mid-level catering for $15K if you include the rentals (which the caterer will provide) of the china, tables+chairs, barware, etc and the service, which around here min. 20%.
Post # 13
I’m planning a backyard wedding in NW CT and have vetted prices for the tent and such. I have not spoken with caterers yet but have helped with other wedding sin the Philly area.
I would say your rentals are only a little high but your food is really high. Unless you BBQ is going to consist of Filet and Lots of Seafood your prices for food is high. If this included Alcohal I would say it is ok. Renting a tent for 120 people, dance floor, tables, linens, chairs & china they all add up. If you are concerned about prices have them break everythign down by item. (chairs cost $ each, tables cost $..etc) You can find sites online that will list the cost. Check out partypop.com for rental companies. You can either e-mail them for prices or many have them listed online.
You didn’t mention how upstate you are in New York. thsi could play a factor. If by upstate you mean Westchester thaen your prices are probably right on target but if you mean Duchess or farthure north them they are high for food. Since the pary is at your home can you purchase the alcohal yourselves and jsut have them bring the mixers? Just add extra insurance to you home owners for a few day. You should have thsi anyway, just incase someone trips and falls or causes a fire with stray candle.