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What Does Wedding Catering Cost?

Wedding catering cost is an important factor to consider when planning your special day. It can vary greatly depending on a number of factors such as the number of guests, the type of cuisine, the style of service, and the location of the wedding. In this discussion, we will explore the average cost of wedding catering and factors that affect pricing to help you better navigate the planning process.

Understanding Wedding Catering

Wedding catering is an essential part of any wedding. It involves arranging food and beverages for guests during the reception. Wedding caterers are professional chefs who specialize in providing food and drink services for weddings. They help couples plan and execute their wedding menu, taking into consideration the number of guests, dietary restrictions, and budget.

The Importance of Wedding Catering

Catering is an essential part of the wedding planning process. It is essential to ensure that guests are well fed and have a great time at the reception. A good caterer will create a menu that reflects the couple’s tastes and preferences while considering the dietary needs of guests. The goal of wedding catering is to provide guests with an unforgettable dining experience that they will talk about for years to come.

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Types of Wedding Catering

There are various types of wedding catering services available. Couples can choose from buffet-style, family-style, plated meals, or food stations. Each type of catering has its advantages and disadvantages, and couples should choose the one that best suits their preferences and budget.

Factors That Affect Wedding Catering Costs

Wedding catering costs vary depending on several factors. The following are some of the factors that affect the cost of wedding catering.

One key takeaway from this text is that wedding catering is an important aspect of wedding planning that requires careful consideration of factors such as the number of guests, type of catering, menu selection, location, season, and budget. By choosing a less expensive type of catering, limiting menu options, choosing in-season and locally sourced foods, and considering a cash bar instead of an open bar, couples can save money on wedding catering.

Number of Guests

The number of guests affects the cost of wedding catering. The more guests, the higher the cost of catering. Couples should have a rough estimate of the number of guests they intend to invite before discussing catering options with their caterer.

Type of Catering

As mentioned earlier, there are different types of catering services. Buffet-style catering is less expensive than plated meals. Couples should choose the type of catering that suits their preferences and budget.

Menu Selection

The menu selection is another factor that affects the cost of wedding catering. Some foods are more expensive than others, and couples should consider this when choosing their menu. Additionally, dietary restrictions can increase the cost of catering as the caterer may need to prepare special meals.


The location of the wedding also affects the cost of catering. Caterers may charge more for weddings held in remote or difficult-to-access locations.

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The season in which the wedding is held can also affect the cost of catering. Some foods are more expensive during certain times of the year, and caterers may charge more during peak wedding season.

Average Cost of Wedding Catering

The average cost of wedding catering varies depending on the factors mentioned above. On average, couples can expect to spend between $25 and $150 per person on wedding catering. This cost includes the food, beverages, and service staff.

How to Save Money on Wedding Catering

Couples can save money on wedding catering by doing the following:

  • Choose a less expensive type of catering, such as buffet-style or family-style
  • Limit the number of menu options
  • Choose foods that are in season and locally sourced
  • Consider having a cash bar instead of an open bar

FAQs – What Does Wedding Catering Cost?

What factors affect the cost of wedding catering?

The cost of wedding catering can vary depending on a number of factors. Some of the main factors that affect how much you’ll pay include the size of your guest list, the type of meal you want served, the style of service you choose, and the location of your wedding. Additional factors that can impact the cost include the level of service you require (such as waitstaff or bartenders), specialty menu items or dietary restrictions, and the rental fees for dishes, glasses, linens, tables, and chairs.

How much should I expect to pay per person for wedding catering?

The average cost per person for wedding catering can range from $20 to $150 or more, depending on the number of guests you have and the type of meal you choose. For simple finger foods or a buffet-style meal, you might expect to pay around $20 to $30 per person. For a sit-down dinner with multiple courses and higher-end ingredients, you could expect to pay upwards of $100 per person or more. Additionally, the level of service, rental fees, and any additional menu items will also impact the per-person cost.

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Is it possible to save money on wedding catering costs?

Yes, there are several ways to save money on wedding catering costs. One option is to choose a simpler or more casual meal style, such as a buffet or family-style meal, versus a plated or multi-course dinner. Another option is to limit the menu options or choose more budget-friendly ingredients. Additionally, choosing a venue that provides in-house catering can often be less expensive than hiring an outside catering company. Finally, consider working with a catering company that specializes in weddings, as they may offer package deals or discounts for larger events.

What additional costs should I be aware of?

When budgeting for wedding catering costs, be sure to consider additional fees beyond just the per-person meal cost. These may include service charges (usually around 15-20% of the total cost), taxes, gratuities, and rental fees for any necessary items like tables, chairs, linens, dishes, and glassware. Additionally, some venues may charge a fee for outside caterers to use their kitchen facilities.

Should I hire a wedding planner to help with catering costs?

While not necessary, hiring a wedding planner can be helpful in many ways, including navigating the ins and outs of catering costs. Planners can often negotiate deals with catering companies on your behalf, recommend cost-saving measures, and help ensure that your budget is being used efficiently. However, if you’re on a tight budget, hiring a planner may not be feasible. In that case, working directly with the caterer and doing your own research on cost-saving measures can still help you keep costs under control.