Post # 1
I think I had my first wedding-related heart attack today!! I have been aggressively trying to gather quotes for catering my summer wedding in the bay area of california. I’m looking to feed 125 people buffet style, nothing too fancy schmancy. Our facility provides table and chairs, but we need to rent plates, flatware, linens and glasses. I’ve had two quotes now come in around $7500!!! I am SHOCKED… What’s surprising is that it’s not the food that is expensive, it’s the service, the labor, the tax, the gratuity. Yikes. So now of course we’re scrambling to figure out how we’re going to do this. First thing, though difficult, but is necessary, is to trim the guestlist to 100 or even 75. Does anybody have any suggestions for how to make your food costs drop way way down? I am considering family helping out with food (making, serving) but our venue is a challenge as it’s all outdoor, and I kind of want my family to be able to enjoy the wedding.. not have to lug dishes around and worry if the potato salad is low! Ok.. end rant here!!!
Post # 3
I hate to tell you… but considering what I’ve seen that quote is actually pretty reasonable. Everything wedding related is pretty ridiculous. Sorry 🙁
Post # 4
yes, unfortunately those are pretty on par. We paid almost $3000 for nice (but not super fancy) catering (buffet) + bar + service for our 60 guest wedding.
Post # 5
Yep, it’s the service that gets you!!! Is there a way to get the food that you want and provide your own servers? I was able to do this and paid 3 recent college grads $75 each (for a total of $225). They were thrilled to make some extra cash and they did an excellent job!!!
Post # 6
I really don’t like the idea of asking your family help out with serving-fallflowers has a great suggestion.
Post # 7
Yeah, I second the suggestion of possibly hiring college students as servers. I don’t think it would be a good idea to have any family members working at your wedding.
Post # 8
Unfortunately I have to agree with the pp’s. I don’t think $50 a head is unreasonable for food, dishes, and service.
I’m not sure what the $7500 quote includes, but are they just doing dinner? Or are you paying for appetizers and dessert/cake cutting service too? I think you only really need the caterers for dinner. If you have family and friends who can help, appetizers and cake are totally doable on your own. Just make the appetizers finger food so you don’t need plates (buy or make them). And I don’t think anyone will care if you use plastic/paper plates to serve the cake.
Post # 9
Maybe I was a little more shocked because my wedding is on a Sunday in Gainesville (pop 150,000) but I got the SAME quote for 125 people! Like yours, my venue has tables and chairs but its the service that is killing me. They’re charging us $50/per server/bartender an hour! I know there is an overhead but I didn’t think it was $50 a person overhead!
Some of the changes that I looked at/made were:
– Seeing if we can provide our own napkins. Our vendor was charging 20 cents a napkin so we figured we can buy those for cheaper
– We cut the reception back by an hour which saved about $350 (and will sve money on liquor (that we are providing) as that will be a few less drinks per peson)
– I straight up told my vendor that it was out of our budget but that I LOVE her services and asked her if we could “get creative” – since our wedding is a Sunday wedding I think she was definitely open to working with us on fitting the budget.
hope this helps! Please tell me what you ended up doing!
Post # 10
If you go with buying your own paper goods – I found napkins, plates, cups, etc at BJ’s and I was suprised with how nice they were.
Post # 11
I agree on trying to think outside the box. We got several quotes from caterers for 130 guests buffet style that ranged from $5800 to $9000. EEK! Way over our budget. These quotes included the food, the plates, linens and napkins and utensils (all plastic), the tables and chairs, plastic cups, plus the service and gratuity charges and coordination fees. Did not even include the tax! So we got creative.
I called a local rental company and rented china and real silverware, plus wine and champagne glasses, linens, cloth napkins, tables and chairs. This came in at $800 total (WAY less than the catering companies were charging us). Then we went to our local gourmet grocery store and asked them if they do catering… THEY DID!! Our total bill for a buffet and tons of appetizers plus 2 servers and one manager was only $1900!! With all the service charges, gratuities and taxes included.
Please exhaust all your creative juices before slashing the guest list! There are deals out there to be had if you are thinking outside the wedding-racket box. Good luck, I know exactly how you feel with the sticker shock. I cried. I admit it, I cried!
Post # 12
We went the grocery store route for our catering also! Amazing what you can get. We did cocktail style appetizers and it was a mingling reception. We paid $900 and got enough food for 120 people. The trays we had were
- Veggie & dip
- Fruit & dip
- Cheese tray w/ crackers
- Southwestern Dip & tortilla chips (my hubby is mexican american & family is from texas)
- Steamed shrimp
- Pita sandwhiches
I got all paper goods from BJ’s as well as coffee, creamer, etc.
Worked out well for us! Because we did all finger foods we didn’t need utensils except for forks for the cake.
Post # 13
Hiring servers is a good idea. I know in my neck of the woods it’s often a younger siblings friends who serve food. Or maybe some buddies from college. They usually do it for free, because they have to serve food for an hour tops, then they are free to eat and drink the rest of the night!
Post # 14
I don’t really have much to add catering-wise, but just WAIT til you get to the flowers. I was nearly brought to tears when I got my first florist proposal. Just prepare yourself for continued sticker shock. Good luck!
Post # 15
That actually seems pretty reasonable. We spent approx. $5000 on our caterer for 75 ppl. in Iowa. The dishes were included in the quote. What about if you used “fakewear” or something instead of silverware and plates? I’m assuming other costs would be more expensive out there than it was here.
Post # 16
Are you guys serious?!?! I can not believe how much that costs! The venue in which we have our reception is going to cater for us (no choice, you have to cater with them because there is no fee for having the reception there) and for service, clean up and food for a 100 people its going to cost us under 2000.00 dollars! More like 1600.00
I must be getting a screaming deal!