What can I expect to pay for outsourced event catering near me?
Regardless of the type of wedding you choose to have on your big day, food and drinks will most probably account for more than fifty percent of the total cost of your wedding party. Under ordinary circumstances, the total amount spent on food and drink accounts for 45 to 50 percent of the total amount budgeted for your party –and that is if you are strictly following your budget.
If you do not give any regard to limits and are all for exploring the edges of the upper limits, last minute additions and extras will blow your budget out proportion until you cannot afford it or possibly even ruin it all together. As such, it is imperative that you choose carefully the kind of meal style you would like at your reception and the guest count to keep these costs as low as possible without compromising on your happiness and entertainment of your guests.
What styles of reception do I have available from event catering companies near me?
Before you call a catering company near you, you might want to have some idea of what style party you would like to have. Let us look into the most common types of reception meal styles that are seen in modern weddings below:
In a food stations reception, your food is normally spread out among different stations at different locations within the same reception space. The food is served in smaller rations –usually just a few bites at each station. You can have as many stations as there are categories of food on your menu ranging from carving, raw bar, and tapas and so on and so forth. This style is more similar to a buffet reception than a custom plate menu reception. It has the downside of being space consuming and thus may not be suitable if your reception venue is not adequately spacious. The upside is, of course, the interactive nature of the reception, and it is also a crowd thriller.
This is more similar to a custom plate sit down dinner but instead of each person being served on their plate, large portions of dinner offerings are served to tables, and the guest can help themselves to as much food as they like and even get more after. In short, it is just like having dinner with your family at home. This way, you are able to save meal time but not the cost of the food. On the bright side, guests are able to enjoy your wedding as they should. This method leaves quite some good amount of leftovers and will thus definitely cost you more in food expenditure.
Buffet style wedding reception meal
For a buffet style reception, food is set on stations lined up in long tables where guests walk along and serve themselves. Alternatively, you can have servers behind the tables so that they help speed up the serving of each dish. It is one of the most casual ways to host your guests at your reception. It has the advantage of need few catering staff because many servers may not be needed and thus cost effective. The disadvantages of choosing the buffet style include time consumption since each guest will take time at every station.
Over the recent past, modern weddings have taken a turn or the cocktail style of reception in which features hors d’oeuvres (small bites offered all evening before a sit-down meal). These bites can be offered as just a single bite or two bites and also a choice of hot and cold could be provided for. The key advantage of this reception is that the invited guests are able to interact properly ahead of the meal. This reception requires way less space than most and is ideal if you want a casual reception in a smaller location.
Plated dinner wedding reception
The plated dinner sit down reception style is one of the most formal ways of having your guests enjoy your reception meal. As the name suggests guest sit down and are served a plated meal with variants that they choose ahead of time. Normally, the guest will enjoy three courses, and sometimes even a fourth is added. The main course is offered in about three choices, and guests make their pick beforehand. The key advantage with this style of reception is that there are not much food leftovers because the caterers can determine exactly how much food is needed. The downside, however, is that you need to pay for more staff so that all guests get their food at the same time. Also, the order of seating becomes critical.
Custom plate menus vs. buffet event catering comparison
Below is a quick comparison of the buffet style and custom plate menus when it comes to choosing one style for your wedding reception.
- Advantages of buffet over custom plate catering
- The guest gets to interact more as the get served or serve them.
- The buffet is more casual way of entertaining family and friends
- Overall, the meal time is much more jovial for the guests
- Guests have more control over what ends up on their plate
- Will require fewer staff members thus cut down on costs.
- More cost effective with a variety of choices
- Advantages of custom menus over buffets.
- Takes shorter times since the guests are served simultaneously thus saving time spent on the meal.
- I case your caterer does not provide linens, chafing dishes, and other serving dishes if your caterer does not offer them.
- These are more formal and elegant as guests do not have to serve themselves or queue for food which is not that classy.
- Fewer quantities of food are required than in a buffet, and thus you get to save big on actual food expenses
So, which of these two styles is the best one for your upcoming wedding reception? The answer depends on your situation. The next time you ask yourself, “which is the best event catering near me?”, Factors include your budgetary allocation for catering, the size and type of venue, your guest count and social rank, etc. the only thing that is constant is the need to make the right choice to fit your needs. Whether you decide to go with the buffet or custom plate, there are pros and cons. The ball is in your court.