While every couple wants to host the wedding of their dreams, surrounded by loved ones, the reality is that cost is always a key consideration. Fortunately, there are many tools available to assist with financial issues. The Knot wedding budget calculator and many other resources are useful in helping you manage your expectations and avoid sticker shock.
However, as valuable as these tools may be, most do not dig deep into certain expenditures, such as the cost of wedding catering. Getting a ballpark figure for the entire affair may lead to many additional questions about how much you can spend on individual components. Fortunately, you’re not alone if you find yourself asking: “How much does it cost to cater a wedding?” New York wedding catering services can provide you with a specific quote, but you should at least understand some of the factors that go into the calculation.
Your Vision For The Event
Determining the overall cost of wedding catering starts with conceptual considerations, such as the guest list and venue. If you’re planning on hosting a large number of invitees in a spacious setting, the event will be very different from an intimate wedding at a cozy spot. Regardless, it’s useful to review the highs, lows, and everything in-between for New York wedding catering cost:
- Stationary Platters for Self-Service: Starting at around $6 per person for vegetable and fruit trays, a serve-yourself arrangement is an economical option. You can easily add on a few heartier dishes to ensure your guests don’t leave hungry. A gourmet finger sandwich platter offers variety at approximately $11 each, or you could go for something more exotic with an Asian assortment of appetizers at $22 per person.
- Beverages Only: Does your brother-in-law smoke a mean brisket? Is your cousin a food truck owner? You may get food service offers from well-meaning loved ones who want to contribute, in which case you may only need a tendered bar. On the low end, your cost could be around $5 per person, per hour for juices, soft drinks, and other non-alcoholic drinks. Allow around $22 per guest for the first hour, and half that for each additional hour, for premium bar service.
- Brunch Wedding Reception: If you’ve always dreamed of getting married at dawn on the beach, you might consider brunch to feed your guests after you tie the knot. The advantage is that your liquor costs may be lower since many people won’t go too heavy on alcohol in the morning. You could also reduce your catering expenses for a brunch event, with breakfast and lunch dishes ringing in at around $30 per person.
- Food Service Stations: To offer your guests a more interactive experience, you might consider an array of food stations throughout the venue. Your invitees will also enjoy more variety since even picky eaters can find something to nosh on. The cost will depend on the type and number of stations, but your wedding caterer will provide details in advance.
- Theme Buffet Stations: This arrangement combines the casual nature of food stations with the convenience of self-service – alongside the ability to blend the theme with your wedding vision. These benefits come with a price tag, however, as catered theme buffet stations tend to cost more than other options. Of course, the final bill depends upon the number of stations, the type of food you’re offering, and your total guests.
Other Factors That Affect Cost
If you’ve done the math for wedding catering costs based on the figures mentioned above, you could be ready to move forward with a decision for your reception. However, there are a few additional expenses you’ll need to work into your budget:
- Staff to handle food service, including captains, executive chefs, assistant chefs, and event managers; and,
- Bartenders and servers, for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
These professionals work at a rate of ranging from $40-$50 per hour, and there’s usually a minimum number of hours. In addition, you might include a tip for your wedding caterer, which is a common courtesy for professional services.
Consult With New York Wedding Caterers About Your Budget
As you can see, there are multiple considerations and decisions that affect how much it costs to cater a wedding. At Thomas Oliver’s Gourmet Catering & Events, we work with clients that have a wide range of budgets, so we’re prepared to advise you on how to get the best bang for your buck. Please contact our Manhattan office to set up a consultation today. We can offer more information on New York wedding catering costs and assist with all your planning needs.