The United States experiences millions of weddings per year. Each of those weddings, on average, costs nearly $25,000.
If that number seems like a lot to you, we appreciate your astonishment. There’s no doubt that weddings have become prohibitively expensive over the decades.
Among the many factors that contribute to high wedding costs is wedding catering. Catering is necessary for weddings as few people will have the tolerance to attend a ceremony without being able to eat at some point during it.
How much you’ll need to pay out for your wedding caterer can be a point of confusion for engaged couples and is something we aim to clear up in this post. Keep reading to learn more about catering averages and the factors that drive price.
Costs Will Vary
While we wish we could give you a flat figure on what you should expect to spend when investing in catering, doing so would be impossible as numbers vary substantially from wedding to wedding.
Average couples will spend anywhere from ~$2000 – $7000 to get their guests fed. If you’d like to fall on the higher or lower end of that range, consider the following:
The fewer guests you have to feed, the cheaper your wedding catering will be. Caterers usually sell guest packages that go up in quantities of 20 or so. That means you’ll either need to buy into a 20 person package, a 40 person package, etc. without room for in-between guest numbers.
Having pasta as the featured dish at your wedding is going to be cheaper than having lobster. Therefore, if your catering budget is a concern, think carefully before choosing your primary entree.
Your caterer should have an itemized price list that’ll go over which foods are best suited to budget weddings.
Wedding caterers tend to offer different styles of catering that can substantially affect the price. On the expensive end, you have per-plate catering which treats your wedding like a restaurant where guests pick food from a menu and it’s brought out to them. On the low-end, you have a buffet style where guests serve themselves via a buffet line.
Finally, a chief contributor to cost when having catering done is alcohol inclusion. Alcohol is seldom included in the catering price your wedding caterer or venue gives you on food. It is usually offered as an add-on that can tack a substantial figure onto your overall food/drink costs.
Some people try to circumvent high alcohol costs by bringing their own but be aware that a handful of venues disallow that to force you into buying theirs. Unless you have a substantial catering budget, alcohol complicated venues are best avoided.
Wedding Catering Costs Are Well Within Your Power
While wedding catering can get expensive, we’re heartened by the fact that keeping costs in check is largely within your control.
Lean on the tips we’ve shared and make decisions that get your wedding’s food to strike the right value. And if you need more tips on how best to hire a wedding caterer, don’t hesitate to check out some of the newest wedding-related content on our blog.