Finding a caterer for your wedding can be stressful. It doesn’t help that everyone that you call gives you a different price. There are too many factors to give you an exact number, but this article should arm you with what you need to cut cost where you can and narrow that decision down.
First let’s discuss some of the factors that effect the price.
Location: Where you’re getting married has a huge factor in cost. For instance weddings in Mobile Alabama where I am, will cost far less than weddings in New Orleans, arguably, for the same quality of food. The best way to check the going rate in your city is to get multiple quotes and average them out.
Quality: Another factor is the caliber of your menu. If you just go around asking for quotes with out a set menu in mind your numbers will be all over the place simple because caterers are giving you different qualities of their menus. One caterer might be offering you their lowest tier menus, while another is offering you their cream of the crop. If you compare some ones best to another’s cheapest chances are you’ll miss the best caterer for you and just settle on the cheapest. The best way to prevent this, go in with a set menu in mind! Even if you don’t know everything you want, if you know one or two must haves it gives them a better idea of what you’re going for, and you’ll get more accurate quotes.
Travel: Another simple factor that is usually factored in, is travel fees. For instance if I have a wedding that is 45 mins or more from my kitchen, they get charged a little for travel. Those fees aren’t just for gas like you may think, but if your venue is far away from their kitchen those fees help cover more supplies or equipment they may need. For instance If you have fried foods at a distance you might inquire a fee to transport a portable fryer. The best way to avoid travel charges? Book a venue with a full kitchen! It makes the caterers job a lot easier, and the food will be fresh and higher quality. If that’s not a option, talk to you caterers. Ask if any travel fees apply, and ask if any foods travel better than others. They will be more likely to plan a travel friendly menu, vs up charging you for items that aren’t make or break.
Wedding Theme: How much you should pay, varies completely on the theme of your wedding. If you are getting married on a beautiful farm, in a repurposed barn you don’t need to spend 30-35 dollars per person on catering. A high quality entree style menu doesn’t fit with your theme. On the other side, if you are getting married in a beautiful chandelier filled ballroom, expecting to pay 15 dollars per person is a insult. The best way to look it, try and keep a balance between your venue and your catering. High quality venue, high quality catering. Casual venue, casual menu.
To give you a simple answer, if you are getting a buffet style caterer and not plated you can look to pay between 14 and 30 per person. Anything cheaper than 14 you are going to start sacrificing things. The caterer might come under staffed or just drop off food and go. They might use canned or overly processed ingredients to cut cost. Ect. It’s up to you to find out these things and determine if they matter to you. Anything over 30 dollars with out a high quality steak or fresh seafood is more than likely over kill, and charging you for things you won’t notice. Example; They May have charged you for one of the things listed above, or They may be over staffed and you are paying servers to stand around. So do your due diligence, ask questions, and read the fine print.