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Everything you need to know about hiring a wedding caterer

Am I the only one that thinks about food on an hourly basis? Well, today I'm going to channel that energy into a topic that’s helpful to you as you’re planning your wedding! That’s right; we’re going to talk about WEDDING FOOD!!

Let’s be real, catering can be a huge chunk of the budget which makes a difficult task even more difficult! As you’re prioritizing what is and is (less) important, I think we can all agree that FOOD AND DRINK are absolute must-haves.

Catering can be easily be the biggest expense when it comes to you budget and also one of the biggest things that you guests will care about on your wedding date. However there are several ways to accomplish this without sacrificing other priorities in your budget or breaking the bank. Here are your options…

Food Service:

BUFFET: Oh the classic buffet – this is the most popular way to ‘serve’ food at a wedding and is typically the cheapest. Food items are set up in a self-serve situation so that guests can help themselves.

PLATED: Also common in the wedding world, plated dinners are served by banquet/catering staff and meals are typically selected prior to the wedding. These are served course by course and typically take a little bit longer to get through an entire meal and usually cost more than a buffet. Getting food selections with your RSVP’s is SUPER important if you’re doing a plated meal because you don’t want extra people showing up that you’re not prepared for!

FOOD STATIONS: This trending option is one of my favorites because it’s a really great middle ground between buffet and plated. With food stations, guests get to try a variety of food options set up at different stations at the venue and it feels more like a casual experience without your guests having to stand one big line. Pricing tends to average somewhere between the cost of a buffet and a plated meal.

FAMILY STYLE: For this service, dinner is served in large dishes at each table for guests to help themselves. Plated meals and ‘Family-Style’ meals are very similar except guests are able to help themselves meaning portion sizes tend to be larger (which typically means more expensive).

Now that you know your options on food, it’s time to talk about my second favorite part, the drinks! Alcohol is a staple at A LOT of weddings that I’ve planned or attended and as I’m sure you know, it can add up QUICK. Here are a couple of options…

Beverage Service:

CASH BAR: This is the cheapest option for you because it passes the expense (and the responsibility) to your guests and they are responsible to pay for their own drinks.

BEER/WINE: Just like it sounds, the host (you) will cover the costs for beer and wine but anything from a larger menu is the responsibility of the guest and is offered as a cash bar.

LIMITED HOSTED BAR: This is a great middle-ground if you don’t have the budget for an open bar but don’t want your guests to pay for all their drinks! With a limited hosted bar, you decide which alcohol will be provided to guests complimentary and others are offered as a cash bar. You might opt to include custom cocktails or set a dollar limit with the bartender before it becomes a cash bar.

OPEN BAR: This means you will be covering the cost of all drinks available to your guests! Cheers!

Now that you have the basics, you are ready to continue your wedding planning journey with the info you need to make the budget-conscious choices that fit your preferred style of serving. Now you're ready for a call to your caterer!

Happy Planning, Lovers,

Eventfully, Jacqueline

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