Sarah
Just Said Yes November 2018

Typical catering budget?

Sarah, on March 15, 2017 at 2:15 PM Posted in Planning 0 43
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Hi, everyone! My fiancé and I are in the process of planning our fall 2018 wedding and were just asked by a potential caterer what our catering budget is. Honestly, we have no clue... at all. We're trying to keep it as affordable as possible so as not to burden ourselves or our parents too much, but we don't want to cheap out. We're looking at 100-120 guests and we live somewhat close to Philadelphia, which might impact the cost. Has anyone had (or is anyone having) a wedding of similar size who could help us get an idea of a typical catering budget? I know it'll likely be a wide range, but anything will help!

43 Comments

Latest activity by Tiara, on October 31, 2018 at 4:40 PM
  • OctoberBrideeee
    Super October 2017
    OctoberBrideeee ·
    • Flag

    We are having 150 guests and it's going to cost us $4,400.00

    • Reply
  • KW
    Expert August 2017
    KW ·
    • Flag

    I'm just outside Philadelphia. I'm having my wedding at a ballroom that provides not just catering but a lot of other things as well. My total cost is looking to be right around $10,000 for 90 guests. This includes, among a few other small things, the appetizers, full plated dinner, top shelf open bar, all linens, & cake.

    • Reply
  • J
    Savvy September 2017
    Jessica ·
    • Flag

    I'm in Central-Mo so my price points are different but I'll do the best I can to help! To me it was super expensive to be $24 a person. I'm in mid range and paying $17 a person but I have a friend whose catering her backyard wedding for $12. Hope that helps!

    • Reply
  • P
    Just Said Yes May 2017
    Patricia ·
    • Flag

    You can search up Corporate caterers, food is great and it has fabulous prices..

    • Reply
  • Nicole
    Dedicated April 2017
    Nicole ·
    • Flag

    My wedding is about an hour away from Philly, but in New Jersey. Our venue for food/alcohol/cake is 17k for 110 people.

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  • Nonna T
    Master April 2014
    Nonna T ·
    • Flag

    Surely you have some idea how much you like/have on hand/will save up to spend?

    • Reply
  • Celia Milton
    Celia Milton ·
    • Flag

    There is nothing typical about budgets. They are highly dependent on location, style, quality, and of course, menu choices. I'm in north NJ, and I'd say in November, which is off season in most places, you're looking at 100-200+, with an additional 28ish percent in tax and service.

    Hearing numbers from all over the country is counterproductive and somewhat depressing because our area leads not only in pricing but in sophistication of food and service.

    The best way to control costs is to control guest lists.

    • Reply
  • Nicole2017
    Master August 2017
    Nicole2017 ·
    • Flag

    This is going to vary so much by head count and type of venue you have.

    Mine is an all inclusive - so for $130 per person, it includes cocktail hour, dinner, cake, dessert, coffee, linens, and open bar all night.

    ETA - I'm in NY, so my pricing might seem insanely high to people here, but it's pretty standard where I am.

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  • Lakers
    Devoted August 2017
    Lakers ·
    • Flag

    I'm in Newport RI

    70 people running about 10,000 that's with open bar as well!

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  • YouCanCallMeDot
    VIP January 2017
    YouCanCallMeDot ·
    • Flag

    OP - do you have a budget? Catering/venue typically runs about 50-60% of your budget.

    • Reply
  • Meghan
    Devoted March 2018
    Meghan ·
    • Flag

    When its all said and done we plan on spending around 8,000 for 100 people. That includes drinks, appetizers, plated meal, and late night snack. We are getting married in east peoria, illinois.

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  • VC
    Master May 2017
    VC ·
    • Flag

    All dependent on location, venue and quality.

    For our 100 person wedding, we are looking at about $17,000 for food and drinks.

    • Reply
  • JRae
    Expert September 2017
    JRae ·
    • Flag

    I am located in NE Indiana. We are getting married and having our reception at the same venue. That, food, and full open bar is running us 19K for 150 guests.

    • Reply
  • D
    Just Said Yes October 2017
    Danielle ·
    • Flag

    I'm having a wedding of 150 guest and for a prime rib carving station, and 3 other entrees it's costing us about $4600 for food alone. However, due to the fact that our venue does not have a catering staff we have a bunch more added fees such as staff, table linens, china etc. The $4600 is the cheapest we could find for the food. Hope this helps ! Best wishes

    • Reply
  • Kelsey
    VIP September 2017
    Kelsey ·
    • Flag

    Wedding is in Maine. $1200 for 110 people BBQ buffet style, includes plates and silverware. Multiple main dishes, salads, pastas and an app.

    • Reply
  • Celia Milton
    Celia Milton ·
    • Flag

    I think that many people approach this backwards. You can't make a guest count until you have a reasonable idea of what catering will cost you in the style that you want. You make some calls, you get some prices and THEN you make a guest list. Not based on finding the cheapest food you can find, but based on the amount of people you can feed graciously for the money you have.

    • Reply
  • Rayla
    Super May 2017
    Rayla ·
    • Flag

    What Celia said.

    • Reply
  • brieliz
    VIP January 2017
    brieliz ·
    • Flag

    I'm in Central New Jersey and paid about 138 per person including tax, tip and service charge. That included a 5 hour cocktail/reception with open bar and my cake. It was about 14-15k for about 100 people.

    But you are doing this backwards, which is why you were confused when they asked you the question. You should first figure out how much you have to spend on the wedding, then divide up your budget. Venue/food/drink should be about 50-60%. So if you have $20000 for a wedding total, then 10-12k should be on food/alcohol/venue. The rest of the money is for your dress, flowers, dj, etc. So with this example, say you spend 12k on guests and you are expecting 100-120 people, you have about $100-120 pp to spend including tip and tax.

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  • Lynnie
    WeddingWire Administrator October 2016
    Lynnie ·
    • Flag

    Philly is definitely up there as one of the most expensive areas to get married!! Catering will be a huge bulk of your wedding budget (between 30-50%), and it's easiest to think of it in terms of dollars per person. I'd estimate at least $100 per person for a very rough guide!

    • Reply
  • FutureMrsComo
    Super October 2018
    FutureMrsComo ·
    • Flag

    I think you need to choose a different direction to start. First figure out your full budget. How much you have saved plus how much you 100% know you can save by the wedding date. This is your budget. Go from there. Pick a venue. Some will suggest certain caterers, some will require their caterer. Try and ballpark budget your other expenses: Travel, gifts, rings, dresses, invitations, hair and makeup, Dj, bar, band, decor, all that jazz. What you have left would be your catering budget: THIS is where you will get your guest count. A lot of caterers do a per person charge, so at this point if they say it's $80pp++ .. go ahead and add their tax and service fees. Divide your remaining budget by this number, then you have your guest count.

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