(Closed) Dinner vs Heavy Hors D'oeuvres: Cutting Costs

posted 4 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
345 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

At our venue, a plated meal ended up being less expensive than passed hors d’oeuvres. Per piece, the hors d’oeuvres were about $3.50, counting on 15 per person = $52.50 per person. Plus, I would have wanted several stations (caviar, smoked salmon, etc) – $105 each. Plus a dessert table – $200 – 300. 

Plated lunches were around $40 per person, dinners around $70. 

Our venue includes staffing, linens, everything in that price so that didn’t factor in  the decision. We want something very formal and we are not having dancing, so an hors d’oeuvres reception didn’t make much sense for us. I felt too much pressure to provide “entertainment” to make up for the lack of structure. 

At another venue, hors d’oeuvres would have been more expensive than a lunch, slightly less expensive than a dinner. It varies place to place. You will have to decide what kind of reception you want. I wanted something very formal and elegant, with white glove service and structure. If you want your reception to feel like a wonderful cocktail party, you will probably be happy with hors d’oeuvres only. 

Also, you can serve a late lunch. 

Post # 4
8701 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

In my area a buffet dinner is the cheapest. A plated dinner costs more and so does an all  hors d’oeuvres option.

Post # 5
4664 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I originally wanted heavy apps instead of a meal, for a cocktail party atmosphere, but it ended up being considerably more expensive than the station buffet option that was my second choice.

Post # 6
543 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

What about the snacks as the starter and then have a sit down main meal (one course) then dessert-cake!

Post # 7
1781 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

From my experience I got a 3K quote for heavy hor deurves and a 8K quote for a sit down dinner. I’m having a 6pm wedding bc my FH and I want a sunset wedding; we went with heavy hor deurves and are telling everyone to eat dinner before coming. I don’t have 8K in my budget for a meal!

Post # 8
3402 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

It depends heavenily on the company or venue that you choose to cater. Our venue doesn’t have a catering or beverage service, so we had to hire outside. My best advice is that, if at all possible, try to get your event catered from a restaurant or amazing friend who cooks; actually catering companies can often charge up the wazoo, and the dinner will most certainly be more expessive than apps in that case.  But, if you actually find somebody really reasonably priced, it will cost pretty close to the same for heavy apps and a buffet dinner. We dealt with this same situation, and got our entire 100 person reception catered at 8pm for $1,000 (tax included). We ordered off the lunch menu from a fantastic restaurant and plan to serve turkey and ham kaiser sandwiches, homemade soup (choice of cream of potato or white chicken chili), a romaine tossed salad w/ choice of homemade dressing, and red velvet sheet cake.

Total for our all food and cocktails (open bar) we are looking at about $1,700-$1,900. You have to be willing to shop around, because we had been quoted as much as $6,000!

Post # 9
127 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

For us, it’s way cheaper to do hors d’oeuvres. We’re having ours at our local American Legion, and we have to go through them for food; it’s either hors d’oeuvres or a plated dinner, which is super expensive in comparison.

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