(Closed) Need advice/help hiring a full service caterer

posted 7 years ago in Food
Post # 3
5890 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2012

1) do they do plated vs. buffet

2) are all the extras (linens, utensils) included in the per person cost

3) is everything china and glass, or is there paper and plastic

4) do they clean up after (ie bus tables)

5) is bartender included- if not, do they offer this service as extra?

6) what equipment do they need that they can’t bring themselves (sink, oven, etc)

Post # 5
5890 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2012

im looking at doing this too and it is terrifying.  i added up the cost of rentals for everything and it is 2k.  i can’t budge on the paper plate thing, though.  it just isn’t in me.

Post # 7
5762 posts
Bee Keeper

Our caterer also arranged for the rentals we needed, liquor to be delivered, waitstaff and bartenders. However…our venue only provided the use of the kitchen,tables and chairs, so everything else they needed had to be rented. That included all serving utensils,trays,warmers,coffee makers,heat lamps…it was mind boggling,actually.

They were also supposed to do all table setup and clean up, but that’s another story in itself. There was no cake cutting fee or corking fee, but all the little extras do add up. I thought caterers would provide the things they used all the time, and maybe some do. Make sure you get an itemized list of what they actually DO provide, and all rentals needed.

I have the list of the rentals we got and the costs, but I’m sure they’ll vary by region.

Post # 9
5762 posts
Bee Keeper

We had a liquor list provided by a liquor store they used regularly, and the choice of what we wanted. Our bar bill was $1500., and if any bottles remained unopened they would buy them back. That didn’t happen. 🙂 The caterer got no cut of the price,tho we paid for the liquor through them.

Our rentals were also $1509. and that was for china,glassware, flatware, heat lamps, 50 chairs for outside, fill & chill tables (for cold buffet items),sailboat (for seafood), and various utensils for serving.

Price for food was $70.pp for an hor d’ouerve/station reception for 5 hours. We had 85 guests, and I bought or rented all the linens in addition.

This caterer offered 3 plans…buffet ($30.pp), plated dinner ($50.pp) and the cocktail reception that we got @ $70.pp

I tried to c&p the itemized contract, but I can’t seem to do it. Sorry.

Give me a minute and I’ll handwrite it and send it to you!

Post # 10
5762 posts
Bee Keeper

Here’s a quick list. Hope it helps!

2 chill&fill tables with skirt clips $40.ea

sailboat buffet 5′  $60.

2 heat lamps with carving station lamps  $29.ea

300 all purpose glasses

160 wine

160 champagne

100 martini

80 coffee cups

flatware-dinner fork,salad,knife,teaspoon 90 of each

china—triangle, square, luncheon plates    80 of each

150 salad/dessert plates

90 bread & butter plates

50 wooden folding chairs/ceremony $1.90 ea.

120″ pintuck linens $14.ea (rented)

132″ ivory pintuck linens I bought (15 of them)

12 90×156 ivory banquet sized tablecloths (bought)

150 ivory napkins (bought)

100 ivory chair covers (bought)

table runners and candle holders (bought)


What we served is #22 in this old post.

Post # 11
426 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I am doing this and the biggest difficulty so far is that our reception venue does not have a kitchen.  I decided to work with a caterer who has significant experience at my venue.  She actually pointed me in the right direction and explained everything that I would need for the space.  I will go through her for everything (tables, chairs, linens, even valet parking).  My caterer would allow me to do each of these separately, but then I would have to organize everything myself on my wedding day…I don’t think so! 

Post # 12
105 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

I hated the idea that our caterer wasnt using real china and i sure didnt want to fork out a ton of money for each plate so we are getting our plates from http://www.smartyhadaparty.com. very cute and not cheap looking yet they can be bought in bulk and tossed away after!

Post # 13
1166 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

Good advice from the PPs; I have  few more to add:

– Do they set up/break down the rentals?

– What do they/don’t they set up for you? (i.e., guest book table, escort cards/place cards, table numbers, etc)

– Do they clean up (thouroughly)?

– What do they do with the leftovers? (We wanted ours and the caterer was happy to box them up for us.)

Post # 15
699 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

Glad to see this thread–we’re going the same route and so far the two quotes I’ve received (both including rentals) have varied so much that I’m dying to get more quotes so I can figure out which is the crazy one.  Since we’re planning long-distance, I really do want to use someone full-service who can also organize the rentals, etc. for us.

Post # 16
646 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I have a borderline INSANE spreadsheet that I got from a friend of a friend… She compares EVERYTHING in it (she was on sabbatical when she started planning her weddding!) If you want it, PM me your email and I’ll send it to you!

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