Cut the Wedding Catering Crap

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When we walk into a meeting with a vendor, we have done our research.  We’ve called several related vendors, received verbal price quotes, and researched all the wedding resources that we can, but we can’t know where the excess is with every vendor. Brian and I have established a good cop/bad cop routine, if you will, for these situations. I ask all the questions about timelines, wants, requirements, and how to make the word full of more polka dots and Brian is in charge of the “what can we do to make this less expensive” shtick.

With having to use one of four caterers, we knew that we were going to go with the cheapest option, but still thought it was high priced.  When it came time to get down to the nitty gritty overpricedness with our caterer, we were a bit surprised at how well it turned out, especially given the experiences we had with them via e-mail.

A few things our catering rep helped us with:

OVERFEEDING

Like going to your grandma’s house, caterers are going to sashay more appetizers around the room than your wedding guests will ever possibly eat in 1 hour.  Our package included 2 table displays (veggies, fruits, cheeses) and 5 passed appetizers in addition to our dinner, cake or pie or both for dessert, and food favors.  During our internet investigation stage, we saw the app displays from previous weddings at our venue and we got to taste test the passed apps at our caterer meeting.  We were able to cut 2 of the passed appetizers at $3 per person from the list and feel confident that our guests will be well fed.

MEAT-CENTRIC WOE

Our package called for two entrée options which left us at the higher end of the budget by thinking beef and fish.  After asking our caterer about options for vegetarian friends, who to be quite honest may not even be vegetarians now, we were able to add on a third option which was significantly cheaper (almost $20 a plate).  Now, when we budgeted out the cost of our total bill, we went based off the most expensive option so we have no future price shocks.  Whether or not anyone orders the vegetable napoleon is to be seen, but our budget may see a credit if they do.

MINIMALIST CHIC TABLE SPREAD

The full table of glistening dishes wasn’t part of our vision.  We got ruthless here.  We cut appetizer plates and bar glasses trading for plastic which the caterer is providing.  Instead of having a bread plate and butter knife, we’re having our croustade served on the salad plate.  Our knife does double duty as a steak knife and dinner knife.  We swapped dessert china plates for eco-friendly paper plates that we’re stamping to match our wooden forks.  We ousted the spoons, tea cups, and saucers for polka dot stirrer and insulated cups and fun creams for the coffee and tea service.  We’re spending under $75 to provide our items, which means we were saving almost $750 plus the tax and delivery fees that would be added on top from the rental company.

In the end, all Brian and I can say from our experiences is: don’t be afraid to ask how you can work with the vendor to help minimize costs on your end!

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15 thoughts on “Cut the Wedding Catering Crap

  1. Michelle

    Wedding catering was the main thing I really disliked dealing with when it came to our wedding. We came across so many rude vendors! Luckily the one we chose ended up being perfect. Good job on finding ways to save money.

    Reply
    1. femmefrugality

      Katie is really up on it. We only had one choice at our wedding, and we just cut appetizers all together. No one complained, but I bet her guests will be a lot happier! Definitely one of the biggest costs, and headaches.

      Reply
      1. Katie Jakub Post author

        Haha. We know that our grandparents can’t wait until 7:30 to eat so we’re trying to keep them in mind!

        Catering is our hugest chunk. Luckily, we’re able to BYOB so we cut TONS of money there!

        Reply
  2. Petrish @ Debt Free Martini

    When I got married back in the day (that was a big mistake) the menu stressed me out. If I had to do it all over again, I would opt to have a more intimate setting and give a few people a great meal vice the village. It was so over priced and I know my mom could have done a better job.

    I do realize that weddings are personal and there are no do overs. My advice is its ok to splurge a little to make the day special for you and your future hubby. Good luck.

    Reply
      1. Katie Jakub Post author

        We definitely cut the list a lot from our original got check ’em all list! We’re starting to get our RSVPs now so we’ll see if we get any savings. Either way, we know we’ve got everyone we want to be there with us.

        Reply
  3. kay ~ lifestylevoices.com

    Wow, I have no experience with this. Our wedding (marriage license AND redneck backyard reception) was under $100. It would have been even cheaper if we’d just eloped like we wanted to. I’m not sure I could do what you’re doing. I have a low stress threshold. I love all of the ways you’re saving money, Ms. Femme, without sacrificing quality. 🙂

    Did I miss it? When’s the wedding date? 🙂

    Reply
    1. femmefrugality

      Well, this is actually Katie’s wedding. She’s contributing some wedding posts before her big day on March 14! The husband and I will be celebrating one year in a few months.

      Reply
        1. Katie Jakub Post author

          Hi! 🙂

          I met Femme doing some work for another side venture and wanted to get back into writing so I asked if I could do some guest posts since I was in the thick of wedding planning!

          Reply
  4. Vickie

    Although we didn’t have a reception my daughter did. Like you I was amazed at the things we had to decide. While she had a beautiful display at the reception the food was not as good as it tasted at the caterers.
    I love it that you saved $750 on utensils what a deal! It’s great that both of you are involved and know your roles ahead of time.

    Reply
      1. Katie Jakub Post author

        Thank you! 🙂 I’ve gotta say Brian has been a champ! He’s done more arts and crafts than I ever imagined.

        Reply
    1. Katie Jakub Post author

      Ah! That’s perfect! We’re always at big family gatherings where someone else is doing the cooking for us, guess it’s time for us to have someone cook for them!

      Reply

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