(Closed) Freaking out about catering costs!

posted 8 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
1184 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

where are you getting married? and have you checked out simply elegant catering? we ended up going with a venue in downtown baltimore that doesn’t allow for outside caterers, but otherwise i definitely would have booked them, their prices were by far the best i saw (and their food is excellent).

Post # 4
2090 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

Instead of sending them your budget, can you just request them to provide their options/pricing guide? If you can actually look at options and prices, you may def be able to create something in your budget.

When they send over their pricing quotes, keep an open mind too about options. For instance, we ended up serving 4 small courses (appetizer sized basically), which was cheaper than your traditional 2 entrees and sides. It wasn’t an option the caterer had ever done before, but everyone loved the way it turned out! Good luck!

Post # 5
103 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

How set are you on that venue?  I felt that the food was more important than the venue, so I picked a caterer first and then found a venue that would allow me to use his services.  I think I ended up getting a better value than if I had picked a venue and then used one of their “preferred” caterers.

Post # 6
1995 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

whatever your budget is caterers should be able to work with you.  You can always downsize the amount of food and way it’s served.  You can not have plated and have buffet.  Or smaller portions of plated courses.  You could have buffet but have less selections or cheaper meats or no meat (more bread!).  You could just have heavy hors deorves or just light appetizers and cake.

If possible find a caterer with no corking costs (important if you’re supplying it yourself) and ideally no cake cutting costs.  These add up!  Keep asking and you’ll be able to find something that works for you!

Post # 7
548 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

Ugh, I’m having the same issue right now. Catering proposals are rolling in and the prices are INSANE around here.

Have you asked your venue if it’s possible to get a new caterer onto the list? That is, if you find one that you like, if the venue can get them through the approval process so you can use them?



Post # 8
484 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

Slightly different issue, but we booked our venue (with inhouse caterer) it is substantially more than I would like to pay but the least expensive we found.. now Im freaking out that if everyone we invite says yes goodbye budget! Sigh… good luck youre not alone and food costs are astronomical.. unfortunately its the one thing besides you and your FH that people will remember!

Post # 9
2058 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

I think you would be surprised to learn that some of those caterers might be in your budget maybe its that you both aren’t clear on what exactly you’re hoping to receive within said budget and what exactly they’re offering within said budget.

Example – does your budget include apps/dinner only?  Does it include, all plates, glasses, silverware, linens plus food?  If you haven’t already, get an exact cost break down from these said caterers and then do an exact cost breakdown for your own budget.

Post # 10
542 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

i did a lot of research in the DC/NOVA area regarding caterers, what is your budget and which caterers did you guys speak with?

if you want to pm me, i can tell you the price my caterer gave me for 150ppl, buffet, 2 proteins, 2 sides and 5 passed appetizers.  we are also providing our own alcohol, but they are providing all the non alcoholic drinks, mixers and garnishes.  i dunno if it was just a special at the time, but we also got upgraded linens(pintuck)

Post # 11
2858 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2011 - Bartram's Garden

It’s really unprofessional of them to give you a flat out “no” answer. You’d think that nobody would be turning down business in this economy.

Did you give them a flat budget (i.e. $xxxxx total), or did you say that you could afford $xx per head? Would you consider an hors d’oeuvres only reception?

I spoke to three of my venue’s preferred caterers. I told them how much we were willing to pay per person. Two of them told me that our budget was very low but they’d work with it for a proposal (uh… thanks a lot). They each came back with pretty bare-bones menus (one entree choice – chicken – and no hors d’oeuvres) but at least it was SOMETHING.

The third caterer came back with a full proposal: butlered and stationery hors d’oeuvres and three entree choices for the SAME price as those other caterers. So keep trying!


Post # 13
69 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I’m planning my wedding too and haven’t gotten yet to the catering part of it, but what are the standard prices in this area.  I’m curious to find out what you pay per person without drinks so i won’t get sticker shock

Post # 14
102 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@MissMargie:  Dont they have sample menus that you can tweak to fit your budget. I am shocked that some are flat out saying no.. I dont think i would want them as my caterer anyways!

Post # 15
5889 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2012

couple ideas to save money from catering budget:

1) stationary apps only (a nice cheese/fruit display would suffice)…sometimes the appetizers get a little crazy and you don’t need to serve people that much before a full meal

2) see if buffet or plated is cheaper- different caterers will tell you different things!  also, if you have a buffet, there’s no need for a “salad” course since you can have the salad in the buffet

3) consider alternative dessert options- you can cut a small cake for just the two of you, and have smaller finger food type desserts for everyone

4) limited bar- you can serve beer, wine, and a signature drink or two instead of a “full bar”

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