The Cost Difference Between Buffet Food Stations Or Seated Served
Depending on the way you would like your dinner to be served, will add or subtract to your overall catering cost. There are two major factors that contribute the most to any wedding catering dinner and those are
Generally buffets need less staff and are more laid back then, lets say, a seated meal menu which require a full staff of servers, bussers and chefs. Yet this does not mean that buffets are generally less expensive. Why? Because of the second point. For example, if you would like to for us to serve Prime Rib, chicken cordon bleu and a vegetarian mushroom Alfredo pasta buffet, this will dramatically change the cost per person. One more reason you should not be surprise at a buffet cost is that this type of serving style requires the caterer to prep and and serve more food.
Cost Reducing Tip: If you are thinking of having your wedding dinner be served as a buffet style and you find yourself over budgeting, you could ask your caterer if they can limit the amount of times a guest can come up for food. This should reduce food costs for the caterer and that savings should be transferred over to you.
Here is the way it generally goes with the style of serving. The list below goes from typically least costly to the highest cost.
- Food/appetizer stations:
- Family style:
- Plated Meals:
Factors That Impact Wedding Catering Costs
First, its crucial to understand that catering costs vary dramatically. Not only does the number of guests play a role. But so does the kind of dining option the couple wants.
Typically, a sit-down dinner is the most expensive approach. It involves both cooking the food and plating each meal, at a minimum. If the caterer is also providing waitstaff to serve the dishes, then the cost goes up. Similarly, if there are multiple courses, the price is higher than if there are fewer.
Buffets are typically lower-priced than restaurant-style dining, even if the food you choose is comparable. The caterer doesnt have to worry about plating or waiting on tables. Instead, they can cook the foods en masse, serve them on large platters or in chafing dishes, and allow diners to serve themselves.
When it comes to an hors doeurvre-only affair, it may be more or less expensive than a buffet. Again, it depends on the exact nibbles the couple wants, as some hors douervres involve high-priced ingredients and take a substantial amount of skill to create. Additionally, the price is higher if waitstaff carries the small bites around the reception than if they were displayed on a table.
What Do I Need To Ask My Wedding Caterer
Every couple and their requirements are different, but starting with the questions below will really help:
- Are you free on my wedding date and do you have any other commitments that day?
- Is your menu set or do you offer a bespoke service?
- Can we see a sample menu?
- What are your most popular dishes?
- Do you charge a bulk fee or cost per head?
- Do you have pictures of the food?
- Have you worked at my venue before?
- Do you offer a complimentary food tasting? Can I bring along more people at an additional cost?
- When will you need final numbers?
- When will you need a final decision on the menu?
- What desserts do you offer?
- Do you offer drinks packages?
- Will you provide bar staff?
- How many serving staff will you have on the day?
- What is your staff dress code?
- Do you make wedding cakes?
- Do you offer a wedding cake cutting service?
- How do you cater for dietary requirements and allergies?
- Do you offer halal and kosher options?
- Do you offer a childrens menu?
- Will you provide plates, cutlery and table linen?
- Do you need access to a power source ?
- How much do I need to pay to secure my booking and when is the final balance due?
- What is your cancellation policy?
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What About Wedding Insurance
Wedding insurance can add hundreds of dollars to the overall bill for a wedding. The cost of wedding insurance depends on the amount of protections the newlyweds to-be want to add.
Wedding insurance refers to two different types of coverage: one version guards against deposits and wedding-day property, like special clothes and jewelry. The other is a type of liability coverage.
The in-person restrictions and uncertainty that COVID-19 caused in the wedding insurance industry resulted in consumers being unable to purchase coverage from some of the most well-known providers. As 2021 shapes up to be more normal than 2020, it’s safe to assume that wedding insurance companies will see more couples purchasing coverage. However, rates could be more expensive as companies look to make up their lost revenue.
Substitute Less Expensive Flowers
Choose flowers that are in season, and pick locally grown flowers rather than blooms that need to be flown in from afar to reduce costs. For example, if you exchange Black Magic roses for more reasonably priced, deeply colored dahlias in all your bouquets and table arrangements, you’ll save about $4 a stem. If you were planning on having five roses per bouquet and 10 per centerpiece, and have a wedding party of five ladies and a guest list of 150 people, you could save $700.
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How Much Does Catering A Wedding Cost
Wedding catering will often cost more than other types of parties. The average costs are $70 per person for food and $85 per person for food and drinks, for sit down service. If your wedding is 100 guests, then it will cost you $7,000 in total, and $1,500 more with drinks. You can save up to $5,000 with different service styles.
It will cost $20-$35 per person if you have food trucks cater your wedding. If you have a cocktail style reception the average costs are $24-$60 per person. And buffet, stations, and family style will usually come out to $25-$65 per person.
Learn more about How to Get Great Wedding Catering .
Buy Your Diy Catering Supplies In Bulk
The wedding industry has inflated prices, so renting your reception supplies usually isnt the most cost-effective option. Instead of renting items specifically targeted and marketed for weddings, purchase wholesale catering supplies. Ownership saves you the hassle of returns after your wedding. Keep mementos from your celebration, reuse them for your next big occasion, or sell your supplies to a bride-to-be and recoup some of your investment. You can find the chinaware, flatware, and glassware you need from a restaurant wholesaler.
Buying in bulk is key for staying within your wedding budget. Most likely, you will require larger quantities of ingredients than youre used to working with. When purchased from a grocery store, items like spices and sauces add up fast. Disposables and dinnerware are key to serving your meal, but they can devour your budget if you dont look for the best deal. Review your carefully planned menu and purchase the ingredients and supplies you need in bulk to secure the best price.
Buying bulk supplies lowers your presentation costs as well. Enhance the appearance of your tables with wholesale candles, tabletop displays, and linens and table covers. Purchasing reception decor from a wholesale retailer can save you a lot of money, freeing you to use the venue of your dreams or purchase the perfect dress.
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Consider The Type Of Food And Service
Your costs are going to depend greatly on the clients choice of menu and service. An hors d’oeuvres buffet usually comes with the lowest price tag, though adding stations to this buffet can up the price quickly.
A dinner wont cost much more than appetizers only in terms of food prices but glassware, servers and china plates will definitely add to the total fee. For clients looking to save money, advise them to feed guests outside of regular mealtimes so they wont have to provide as much food.
Also consult with the client about special requests and additional items. Do they want sustainable seafood? Are there any dietary restrictions? Review potential menus with the client and get them to approve all the ingredients, advises the Houston Chronicle.
Ways To Save Money On Wedding Food And Drinks
Now that you know the average catering cost for weddings, the rest is easy. Give yourself enough time to find a great caterer, keep a spreadsheet with all your guests names to keep track of your rentals, check out all wedding caterer prices, staff needs, and menu details, and be very conscious about your bar offerings.
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What Drives Your Wedding Catering Budget
Some factors need to be considered so you can estimate your overall catering costs. Primarily, the number of guests you decide to have will drive your expenses up or down. Another significant factor is how swanky or laidback your menu, type of food service, and venue will be and the alcohol you will pair your feast with. Remember that the swankier your meal courses are, the pricier it will cost per guest. So think about where you want to make some adjustments, whether it will be on the headcount or the kind of food to be served. All these factors affect how much does wedding catering cost.
What Are The Different Ways To Serve Wedding Reception Food
When determining your wedding food cost, a big factor will be how youre planning on serving the meal. There are a few serving style options for weddings:
- Plated: Otherwise known as a sit-down meal, your guests will be served their meal at their table by a member of the wait staff. There may be a single entrée option served or several entrée options, which your guests can either order in advance or at the event. This is the most formal and traditional of wedding serving styles.
- Buffet: For a more casual serving style, guests serve themselves from a buffet station. Fifty percent of couples choose a buffet-style reception.
- Family-Style: Servers provide large platters of food to reception tables, and guests pass the trays around and serve themselves.
- Cocktail-Style: A more modern service style, food is served via passed hors doeuvres and at stations. This allows guests to walk around, and mix and mingle during the reception instead of sitting at their tables.
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How Much Will My Wedding Catering Cost
This totally depends on guest numbers and the type of food youre planning on having. If youre serving up steaks for all you can expect it to be a lot more than chicken, for example, and if youd like to serve up multiple options on the day, you can expect to be charged a little more by your caterer.
Casual dining options such as street food vans should come out cheaper than three-course meals, so if youre looking to save, wed go relaxed with your dining. Remember, the more self-service your catering is, the less caterers will need to charge for staff. You can also skip cutlery and table linen hire and cleaning costs when you opt for finger food and buffets.
Now you know what you need to do when youre planning your wedding food, why not check out these delicious wedding canapé ideas for more inspiration?
How Do You Calculate Food Cost Per Person
First, cost out how much your ingredients are going to be and find out how many guests are attending. Divide the total ingredient costs by the number of guests.
Its easier to price this out if youre doing a plated dinner, as youll typically be serving four to six ounces of meat, two side dishes, an appetizer and dessert per person. Remember, children will only eat half as much as adults.
Here are some ballpark numbers for a buffet or other type of service:
- Appetizers: Six to eight pieces per person per hour
- Main dishes: 6 to 8 ounces per person
- Side dishes : 4 to 6 ounces
- Salad: 1 cup per person
- Bread and rolls: 1 to 2 per guest
- Fruit: 1 cup per person
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Not Determining Who’s Paying For What
Yes, it’s awkward, but the conversation has to happen. Talk with your families about who will pay for what: Some brides’ families still pick up the entire tab , but it’s more and more common for grooms’ families to participate too. How do you bring up the conversation? For many couples, talking to each family separately is the best way to have truly open discussions. When you do talk, here are strategies for determining your initial budget.
Ask both of your folks if they’re planning to contribute to the cost of the wedding. If so, have them commit to a specific dollar amount, and then add up all the contributions to create your budget. Alternatively, it may be easier to ask each set of parents to finance a particular aspect of the wedding instead of just committing to a dollar amount. Decide how much you two can contribute between now and the wedding. Below are some of the top considerations that can influence who pays for what.