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How Much Does a Wedding Caterer Cost?

Last Updated: February 02, 2022

A wedding can really zap the energy out of you. After the ceremony everybody needs a good meal to recharge before dancing and fun. It's not going to be cheap. You know this. However, it can be great and you can have a wonderful time. If you're going to spend money on this big party then at least you want the food to be delicious. You want the drinks to be cold and well made. You want people to be buzzing about how good the food is and enjoying themselves.

Wedding Catering Prices #

You can use $50 to $100 per person as a general guide for the cost of food. This is the cost for the main course, only.

Hors d' oeuvres cost $25 to $50 per person prior to sitting down at your table.

Of course, the cost depends mainly on what is being served. What's on the menu? Is lobster and scallops on the menu? Is filet mignon on the menu? Or is chicken or pork on the menu? Obviously, more expensive fair will cause the cost of the reception to go up.

Get three free quotes from professional wedding catering services in your local area. Compare menus, prices, and get the best catering services for you! Start now!

How much does open bar cost at a wedding? #

The cost can vary greatly for open bar because caterers and venues package their bar prices differently. Some places combine hors d' oeuvres and drinks together in packages. Some don't. Some charge for beer and wine separately than they do for hard alcohol.

For open bar alone, it will cost $6 to $10 per person per hour. For instance, a five hour reception could cost you $25 to $60 per person. The average cost for open bar is $8 per person per hour. It does matter whether you are serving just wine and beer or whether you are serving hard alcohol, too. Also, will you have top shelf alcohol or middle and lower shelf?

Geographic location is a big determinant in cost, believe it or not. The cost to cater a wedding in New York City or San Francisco is going to be much pricier than in a rural town outside Dallas, Texas or Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Everything is more expensive in the city. Having a wedding in the high season from a busy caterer will cause the price to be higher than a wedding in the off season when the caterers might not be as busy. April through October is the high season for weddings. If you get married in January through March you may get a break in the price.

Questions to ask you wedding company #

  • How many weddings have you done in the past?
  • How many weddings do you handle in a season?
  • How many people do you have working in your operation?
  • Will you be catering any other events on the day of my wedding?
  • Will you be my “got to” contact for everything throughout the wedding?
  • Can I view a standard copy of your contract?
  • Do you provide linens, glasses, plates, silverware, etc?
  • Are gratuities included in the price per person?
  • What is the cost of a wedding buffet vs. the cost of a site down dinner? Do you offer both?
  • Do you handle the alcohol, provide bartenders, etc?

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