(Closed) Was anyone able to negotiate food pricing?

posted 11 years ago in Money
Post # 3
72 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: April 2009

We were very up front about us being on a very tight budget and they would have to work with us in order for us to book with them.  I wasn’t able to get anything off the "top", but they agreed to include a dessert at no extra cost to use (we aren’t big on cake).  That may not seem like much at first but their desserts run anywhere from 2.95-4.95 so that was a savings of $354-594.  I *think* the one we decided on is typically $3.95 a serving.  I’m glad won’t have to bring a cake or deal with something else.

Honestly, just ask.  It won’t hurt and they worst thing they can say is no.

Post # 4
123 posts
Blushing bee

The lady we spoke to at our favorite venue ( we haven’t finalized yet) offered about 10% off for Saturdays during the long weekend and any Sunday as well as lower people minimum ( 80 ppl instead of 90). It makes about 5k difference, which helps since we are getting married in NYC which is out of control as far as prices go.

Post # 5
1423 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

You can also ask about substitutions.  Rice vs. Potatoes?  Asparagus vs. Green Beans?  Salad vs. Salad and Appetizer?  Is there a dessert you don’t need (because you are also serving wedding cake)? 

Does your catering also include alcohol?  If you’re paying a per-person per-hour price, you can always mention that people drink less at the end of the evening than at the beginning.  Or be flexible with the liquors you serve.  Or go with a couple of barrels of beer rather than bottles…..   Or go from open bar to consumption bar and put a cap on it. 

Catering is often the BEST place to negotiate, if you’re flexible!

Post # 6
773 posts
Busy bee

Do keep in mind that a lot of these places have a food and beverage minimum.  We have to spend at least $8000- we ended up adding things on to meet the minimum.


Depending on how nice your venue is, $10,000 might be reasonable.  We booked a GORGEOUS space that is already fully decorated and just beautiful, we are paying $15,000 for about 150 ppl, but the way we look at it, we are saving tons of money because it needs almost nothing other than centerpieces for the tables.  Just something to consider.

Post # 7
21 posts
  • Wedding: August 2009

I am a second time bride.  In 2007 his daughter got married and 2008 my daughter was married.  We have paid over $100 per person for each of their weddings. We were able to knock off $30 per person by

1. Booking a Friday night wedding 

2. Skipping dessert, just the wedding cake.  

3.  We have to provide Cake, table centerpieces and flowers.[which was included in our daughter’s weddings]

4. We are getting appetizers at the cocktail hour, buffet with  3 entrees, salad, rolls, veggies, and a 5 hour open bar.  This venue is fully decorated, set up for the ceremony, then the reception, linens and wait staff and tip and all gratuties are included for $60 a person.  We are getting married 1/2 an hour outside of Phildelphia, PA.  We stood firm and told them we couldn’t afford it.  The owner gave us 3 prices before we agreed.  It was almost like buying a car, but this is the wedding we can afford and invite over 200 guests.  NEGOTIATE!!!

Post # 8
183 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

We definitely made some changes to the menu to get the price that we wanted.  For us, it was worth it – we’re still getting great food, but not some of the things we found to be over-priced.

Post # 9
2204 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

You definitely can negotiate…and even when it seems difficult and awkward, the end result is worth it!  I negotiated for a cheaper chocolate fountain.  Before negotiating with our caterer, I did a ton of research on the cost and it looks like the cost ranges anywhere for $300-$1000 depending on your location, the size of the fountain, the level of service and the amount of dippin’s.

We are paying $700 for a mid-size fountain with the following dippin’s for 150 people: pound cake bites, pretzels, wafers (choc, vanilla, and straw.), strawberries, bananas and pineapple.  I still have to convince my caterer to do brownie bites, but I might have to pay extra for that.  The fountain will run for the whole night after dinner is served and cleaned up (4 hours!)

It was a little difficult to bring it up and ask for a discount…it can be awkward!  But I did my best to be persuasive (and not pushy)…and did my research: facts speak volumes!  And now I have an affordable chocolate fountain!

Post # 10
174 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: February 2020

We have been up front with our vendors with how much we want to spend from the get go. I’m working with caterers now, and I’ve told them all from our first discussion how much we want to spend, and they’re putting together quotes to match those specifications. I plan to negotiate a few things once we receive the quotes, but telling them up front has saved us from at least *some* of the awkward haggling.

Good luck!

Post # 11
119 posts
Blushing bee

We just told them up front what our food budget was and they are working to come up with options that will fit that. If you’re honest and inflexible, they will work to meet you. (Provided, of course, that you’re willing to be flexible about what’s on the menu).

Post # 12
601 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2020

there was a little bit of wiggle room with our caterer.  A plus for us was we signed up with them when they were between menus- the new menu was about 10-15% more, and they honored the "old" menu prices.

Post # 13
10 posts
  • Wedding: September 2009

 You can SO negotiate! I was able to get $45 off per plate on a Sat. night Labor Day weekend. They are also throwing in a lot of "extras" for doing same day business. I’m in high end sales in NYC and we do the same thing so I used it as a tactic with them and it worked like a charm!!! It can feel uncomfortable but, be upfront tell them if you sign today you want X, Y, and Z thrown in…the worst they can say is no. Trust me they want your BIZ!!! I was able to get the following at no extra charge….(I’m sure SOME of this they would of done anyway but, not all I’m sure of it. We are having a large cocktail hour followed by a sit down dinner,vienetician hour and cake cutting. To begin with they "threw in"  champange and berries to greet the guests. Lets start with COCKTAIL HOUR: sushi and seafood station at cost (not huge but ok I’ll take it!! ) 5 EXTRA passed horsd’oerves which include bacon wrapped scallop, coconut shrimp, mini crab cakes, stuffed mushrooms, and seared tuna…no charge! Also, they are including an extra pata station at no charge.(normally  $675 ) For dinner selection the filet mignon was a $4 upcharge I said I felt that I was being a little "nickle and dimed" when your spending so much per plate so they waved that charged.Then during the Vienetician hour they are throwing in the chocolate fountain (which by the way scares me LOL heard horror stories more on that later… but it would of cost $750)  And last but not least they are giving us the cordial coffee bar for Baileys, Kahlua ect….It also makes lattes, espresso, things like that  all at NO CHARGE! Now as I said before I know this is part of their closing technique as well but, I felt I got great value and thats what is important. They didn’t feel desperate by any means it was a bit of a struggle in the sense where I said I’m either going with you or with so and so if you can do this and that I’ll give you my deposit TODAY! Thats the word they are looking for TRUST me. So when you are in the position to put down your money down it speaks and speaks…LOUDLY!!!! Good luck and go get em!

Post # 14
1145 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2000

I told the caterer our budget will work at $30 a head because we our invite list  just went up.

PER HEAD:  I started with a 36$ lunch and  offered to take off a lot of the small things (we don’t want anyway on the buffet menu) to drop it to  $30.  They agreed.  Now  we  have a custom menu at a price we can afford. (Even something small like: we only want decaf coffee can equal a dollar off the  menu possibly?)

SUBSTITUTIONS:  We  then replaced some more items with other comparable items we liked better from their other menus. I hope they approve the second round of changes.  I  put out 1 or 2 suggestions and  because they were agreeable, I put out more.

 Best negotiating tactic: be very nice and direct …it’s about them, not you.


Post # 15
213 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2009

Our food was buffet-style and were able to customize our menu and negotiate prices. It came out to much lower than the $30 average that I read/hear about.

For some of my vendors, I gave them my budget and asked what they could do. If they were willing to work something out, we kept talking.

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