(Closed) Estimated catering cost for finger foods and desserts? Est. 160-180 guests

posted 6 years ago in Food
Post # 2
Member
2683 posts
Sugar bee

You won’t know what’s possible until you start asking caterers.  Be upfront with your budget and they’ll let you know what your best options might be.  That being said, you’re looking at around $5-$6pp with your budget, which I think could be difficult to pull off with a traditional wedding caterer. For comparison, our caterer charged us $4pp for every different appetizer we served and we considered that a good deal (we are in NC).

If caterers aren’t able to work with your budget, restaurants can often do catering orders for better prices. A friend of mine had a local BBQ restaurant cater their wedding and the entire thing was under $15pp for a full dinner buffet and cocktail hour.  Another good option to consider for finger foods would be ordering party trays from a grocery store, Sam’s, or Costco and bringing them to the venue.

Post # 3
Member
3031 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015 - Walnut Hill Bed & Breakfast

My caterer charges about $1.50-2 per person for things like meat/cheese/cracker trays or fruit/veggie trays. Cupcakes are generally $1.50-$3 each. 

So a meat/cheese/cracker tray, veggies/dip tray, & fruit/dip tray + cupcakes would likely be about $6-8/person. 

That said, my caterer can also do a picnic-style meal for $10/person. 

Look at doing things cheap… like pasta, salad, bread. 

Are you willing to DIY it?

  • This reply was modified 6 years, 3 months ago by amberback.
Post # 4
Member
3679 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

That’s going to be tough to pull off. You couldn’t even get McDonalds for that many guests at that price. My venue is in a fairly cheap area in the country as far as wedding prices go, and appetizers were $3-4 per person per appetizer, with enough served for each guest to have like two of each. 

Post # 6
Member
7199 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2015

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waitingtobeemrsS:  Prices vary wildly, but generally appietizers & desserts doesn’t actually save you money because they take a lot of work and therefore cost more than, say, a buffet lunch. 

For instance, my caterer has many filling, tasty options for buffet lunch that start at $9.99 per person. Their hors d’oeuvres START at $1.50 per item. That’s $1.50 per tiny toast with bruscetta. If you do their least expensive hors d’oeuvres menu you get a fruit display, chips & salsa, artichoke dip w/bread cubes, petite quiche, and cocktail meatballs for $8.99 per person (100 person minimum). 

<br />Their least expensive desserts (brownies, cookies or mini cupcakes) are $1.50 per item and their least expensive dessert menu with a few different things is $3.00 per person. 

So yeah… if I was doing that I’d be getting far less food for $2.00 more per person. But, if that’s the “feel” you’re going for go for it! I really like that sort of thing for a mid-afternoon wedding, I’m just an ultra budget bride so it’s not worth it for me. 

  • This reply was modified 6 years, 3 months ago by MexiPino.
Post # 7
Member
7199 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2015

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waitingtobeemrsS:  Oh wait. You’re looking to self-cater and have staff do the set-up/service/breakdown? That’s an entirely different question. For my caterer they’ll do set up/ break down at a cost of $40 per hour for one person, $75 for two and $100 for three. What you’re looking for is “event staffing” and it might be less expensive to search for that sort of company than to ask a catering company to do it. Hope that helps. 

Post # 8
Member
3234 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

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waitingtobeemrsS:  Are you looking to include the cost of staff/set up/break down in your $1000 budget? Honestly I just don’t see it happening for 180 guests – that’s quite a large wedding. I would start pricing out your options at grocery stores, Kroger does subs or cheese platters that you could set up yourself and you wouldn’t need staff to serve it or anything.

Post # 9
Member
3679 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

What time of day are you having the reception and how long are you planning for the reception to last?

Post # 11
Member
1098 posts
Bumble bee

i’m having a somewhat similar reception. we’re calling it afternoon tea and just serving tea (duh lol), scones and all that comes with, tea sandwhiches, i think one hot food appeitizer item mini desserts cake and champagne. our f&b minimum is 1500 and the place holds 65 for a cocktail reception so that’s what… still almost 25 pp min. but that includes the space itself service etc etc blah blah.

 

tbh you may be able to get away with doing this yourself. with that many guests there’s bound to be a lot of family that could help set up. sounds like you want a casual kind of service so you could buy all those things and ask a few ppl to get things set up for you between the ceremony and reception? is that possible?

Post # 12
Member
603 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

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waitingtobeemrsS:  Two things, that seems a bit early for a dessert reception (or too late in the day?) IMO. If your ceremony is at 6:30, people will have to eat VERY early to be there in time and I imagine you will have folks who show up w/o having eaten.

That aside,

The second thing is buffet style apps may not be cheaper because in talking w/ multiple caterers, people will take more food if it’s in a large tray in front of them that if it’s passed on a tray by a server. You may pay a bit to have passed apps but sometimes you save on food costs too. Just something to think about!

Post # 13
Member
3723 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

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waitingtobeemrsS:  Have you thought of just a cake and champagne reception earlier in the day?

Post # 14
Member
7579 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

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waitingtobeemrsS:  IMO, a 6:30pm wedding is a really inconvenient time for your guests if you aren’t feeding them dinner. As a guest, I’d be pretty irritated. Most people plan to be arriving at least 30 minutes prior – so 6pm. You have to assume most people will travel at least 30 minutes – 1 hour depending on where they live. So now you’re looking at them having to be ready by 5-5:30pm….and that doesn’t include the time it takes to get ready. I don’t know anyone who is going to eat dinner at 4pm or earlier. 

You either need to have your wedding earlier in the day, or feed them real food. There is nothing wrong with a dessert reception if you plan accordingly. But an evening wedding isn’t it.

I once had to attend a wedding w/ an ice cream reception. I’ll be really honest – it sucked. I was making the drive from 2.5 hrs away, and the cermeony was at like 4:30 or 5 pm? I’m not even kidding when I say there was a massive line of cars leaving the reception and we all us guests were in line with each other at the Burger King drive through down the road because we were STARVING.

Post # 15
Member
603 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

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starfish0116:  
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waitingtobeemrsS:  I agree w/ starfish but would say it WOULD be appropriate if you were serving heavy apps. With $1000 as a total budget for that many people, I’m not sure that’s do-able.

We’ve done events around dinner time at my job and served “heavy appetizers” (more than just a bite or two per person) and it’s fun to try lots of things given there is enough food for people to eat to feel full enough.

OP did say she was planning to serve apps AND dessert. I’d rather have more apps than dessert at a wedding like this, so consider that while talking to caterers.

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