One of the most important parts of your wedding celebration is food. Choosing what to serve, choosing a serving style, and creating a satisfying presentation all take tons of labor , and wedding planning is already an enormous job. It’s common for couples to trust the majority of the task to a caterer, but do the advantages outweigh the possible hefty price tag? Let’s learn more about the advantages of hiring a wedding catering service for your special day.
Types of wedding caterers to think about
As you start to consider the likelihood of getting a wedding catering service, you’ll find several service options available. Everyone provides a unique combination of amenities and includes a cost appropriate to the scope of the services:
- Full service provides not only a full spread of food but also a bartender, alcohol, coffee, lighting, tables, chairs, and place settings. A cake or a dessert menu could also be offered, and many include setup and cleanup services.
- Traditional caterers prepare, setup and serve food. They might or might not handle tables and place settings, and other services are likely to cost extra.
- Restaurants could also be amenable to hosting wedding receptions, serving food already on their menus and providing a bartender and waitstaff.
- Food trucks are a brand new trend in wedding catering service, making it easier to supply a range of options to guests without fear about food preferences or the necessity for onsite kitchen facilities. However, no seating, table settings, drinks or desserts are included if you select this feature.
- In-house caterers are included as a part of the package deals offered by wedding venues. Although these caterers are often cheaper than hiring third-party professionals, you’ll be limited in kinds of food you’re ready to offer to your guests.
- Preferred caterers expand options beyond one in-house service but still limit you to the vendors with whom a venue works. The venue may charge an additional fee if your plan to hire someone who isn’t on the list.
To Splurge or to not Splurge?
Think about all the time and energy involved in food preparation only for a vacation party or your annual neighborhood barbecue. Imagine the amount of work that would be involved if you tried to do the same thing for your entire wedding. Even a basic catering service will takecare of a variety of designing , organizational and presentation tasks, leaving you available and free to focus on other aspects of the marriage. Some couples consider the value related to catering and choose DIY food may be a better option because it appears to be cheaper. However, when it involves catering, it’s not all about counting the value. DIY could also be less costly by the numbers, but you’ve got to think about the trade-offs when deciding whether or not the savings are well worth the added work and potential complications.
The Challenges of DIY Food
When considering the DIY route, you must remember that not all venues allow you to handle your own food preparation and setup. Those with in-house or preferred catering options are unlikely to be amenable to outside food and drink and might not rent you the space if doing so is your intention. This might be a challenge if you’ve got your heart set on a specific venue but also are unsure you would like to utilize an expert and professional caterer. If your venue is amenable to DIY food, you’ve got to settle on whether to self-cater or recruit people within the wedding for a potluck. In self-catering, everything is up to you, including:
- Tables, seating and place settings
- Making the food
- Transporting finished dishes
- Setup, dismantle and cleanup
- Drinks and bar staff
Attending to all the details requires a minimum of one person to act as coordinator or “head chef” and a team of friends and members of the family willing and ready to prepare the specified dishes. Choosing a potluck distributes the duties quite a bit more evenly, but both options still require you to figure out the way to keep food hot or cold before and through the reception and to work out how to package up any leftovers. Going DIY together with your wedding catering also means planning and executing a meticulous timeline for preparation, delivery, setup and serving. The larger your guest list, the harder the task becomes. If you’re not good at delegating, you’ll quickly end up overwhelmed by the details.
Biggest Catering Benefits
The price of catering seems more reasonable in light of all the behind-the-scenes work involved in pulling off the right spread for your wedding. Less stress for you, your groom and your wedding is simply one among the advantages you get once you let a caterer handle the food. Consider these additional perks:
- High-quality food prepared by experienced chefs
- A wide selection of cuisines and dishes to decide on
- Multiple options for meal and serving styles
- Beautiful presentation
- Professional waitstaff
- Help with menu planning and meal selection
- Choice of whether or to not offer alcohol
- Someone else to handle setup and cleanup
- Easier to feed large crowds
- No worries over whether enough food are going to be available
- Assurance of food safety and cleanliness of facilities
- Savings in the kind of service packages
When weighing these benefits against the potential cost savings of DIY catering, remember wedding food is more than just something for guests to nibble on while mingling. It’s a part of the entire experience of the wedding event and will be thought of as a component of the theme. Bad food, an untidy setup or an absence of professionalism from wait staff can leave your guests with a poor impression of the celebration rather than giving everyone a memorable day.
Budgeting for Your Caterer
Catering is usually one of the most important expenses involved in a marriage . Expect to spend about 25 percent of your total budget on food and related services, and remember to budget more for the cake if the caterer doesn’t include one. according to CostHelper, the breakdown for a typical wedding catering service budget averages out to be:
- $30 to $70 per person for a buffet setup with no cocktail hour and a limited bar
- $125 to $350 or more per person for a cocktail hour and a sit-down meal
- $12,790 for an entire catering package, including the cake, to serve 150 people
When figuring out how much to set aside, remember most caterers add a gratuity of 15 to 25 percent. This will differ between catering companies, so confirm this to your caterer beforehand, what to expect in order that you don’t get surprised when the bill comes. The entire cost depends on the kind of dinner or food you select , the services the caterer includes, whether you’ve got to handle the seating and table settings and if the cake or desserts must be purchased separately. Some caterers also charge an extra fee for tastings.
Have you decided yet?
Knowing exactly what you would like beforehand and discussing the likelihood of package deals together with your caterer can make sure you get your preferred menu and setup without spending an excessive amount of money. Don’t come away from your big day regretting not splurging on a top-quality caterer. Your day is supposed to be enjoyed, not rushed through in a frenzy as you are trying to ensure all the guests get the proper dinners or the buffet never runs out. Letting a caterer see to the details takes the pressure off you, the groom and the wedding event, allowing everyone to relax and make the kind of memories you’ll treasure forever.