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What Does Catering Cost for a Wedding?

Planning a wedding is an exciting but also daunting experience. One of the key elements that can significantly impact the overall budget is catering. Many factors can affect the cost of catering, including the number of guests, menu selection, and service requirements. For those wondering, “What does catering cost for a wedding?”, this topic will explore various factors that influence the cost of catering and provide some estimates to help couples plan their wedding budget accordingly.

Factors That Affect Catering Costs

Catering is one of the most significant expenses of any wedding, accounting for 40-50% of the total budget. The cost of catering depends on several factors, including:

The Number of Guests

The more guests you have, the more food and drinks you’ll need to serve. As a result, the cost of catering will increase.

The Type of Catering

There are different types of catering, including plated dinners, buffet-style meals, food stations, and cocktail receptions. Each type of catering has a different cost per person.

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The Venue

Some venues require you to use their in-house catering services, while others allow you to bring in an external caterer. In-house catering services are usually more expensive than external caterers.

The Menu

The menu you select will also affect the cost of catering. Some dishes are more expensive than others, and the cost per person will vary accordingly.

The Time of Day

The time of day you have your wedding will also affect the cost of catering. Evening weddings are usually more expensive than daytime weddings.

Average Cost of Catering for a Wedding

The cost of catering for a wedding varies depending on the factors mentioned above. However, as a general rule, you can expect to pay between $70 and $150 per person for catering. This includes food, drinks, and service charges.

Key takeaway: The cost of catering for a wedding depends on several factors, including the number of guests, type of catering, venue, menu, and time of day. On average, catering costs range from $70 to $150 per person, but there are ways to save money, such as choosing a buffet-style meal, limiting bar options, and sticking to a set budget.

Tips to Save on Catering Costs

If you’re looking to save on catering costs, here are some tips:

Choose a Buffet-Style Meal

Buffet-style meals are usually less expensive than plated dinners because they require fewer servers.

Consider a Cocktail Reception

Cocktail receptions are a great way to save on catering costs. Instead of serving a full meal, you can serve hors d’oeuvres and drinks.

Choose Seasonal Ingredients

Seasonal ingredients are usually less expensive than out-of-season ingredients. Make sure to ask your caterer about seasonal options.

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Limit Your Bar Options

Offering a full bar can be expensive. Consider limiting your bar options to beer, wine, and a signature cocktail.

Don’t Overdo It

It’s easy to get carried away with the menu and end up spending more than you planned. Make sure to set a budget and stick to it.

FAQs for What Does Catering Cost for a Wedding

What factors affect the cost of wedding catering?

There are many factors that can affect the cost of wedding catering. These include the number of guests, the type of food and beverages you want to serve, the length of the reception, the style of service you desire, and the location of your wedding. Additionally, the experience and reputation of the catering company can also impact the cost.

How much does wedding catering usually cost?

The cost of wedding catering can vary greatly depending on the factors mentioned above. On average, you can expect to spend anywhere from $15 to $150 per person. This means that a wedding with 100 guests could cost between $1,500 and $15,000 for catering alone. Keep in mind that this does not include additional costs such as rentals, linens, and service fees, which can add up quickly.

What are some tips for managing wedding catering costs?

To help manage your wedding catering costs, consider choosing less expensive food and beverage options such as a buffet instead of a sit-down dinner, or offering only beer and wine instead of a full bar. Additionally, consider having your wedding during off-peak months when catering prices may be lower. Another option is to negotiate with your caterer on certain items that are included in your package.

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Are there any hidden costs in wedding catering?

Yes, there may be hidden costs in wedding catering. Be sure to clarify with your caterer what is included in your package and what may be extra. Some common hidden costs could include service charges, delivery fees, and equipment rentals. Ask for a detailed proposal from your caterer and review it thoroughly to ensure that you have a complete understanding of all costs.

How far in advance should I book my wedding caterer?

It is recommended that you book your wedding caterer as soon as possible, ideally 6 to 12 months in advance. Popular catering companies may book up quickly, especially during peak wedding season. Booking early ensures that you will have a better chance of getting your desired caterer and menu options. Additionally, booking early may also give you the opportunity to negotiate better pricing.