How Much Does a Caterer Cost for a Wedding?


How much does a caterer cost for a wedding? This is definitely one of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to planning a wedding. From the wedding gown to the event set-up to the photo and video coverage, everything seems costly. It is important to divide your wedding budget wisely. So how much should you allocate for the food on your guests’ plate? 

It’s All in the Plate: Budget for Wedding Catering

Average Cost

We have to admit: catering services can really take a lion’s share on your wedding day expenditures. The problem is, there’s really no definite answer to this question "how much does a caterer cost for wedding" because the cost per plate can vary depending on several factors. On an average, the cost could range from $51 to $73, especially if you are not after anything too fancy. Hence, it’s just right to say that most brides and grooms-to-be spend about $60 on a single plate. Multiply the cost on the number of persons in your celebration, and the total would be approximate amount you’d need to spend for catering services.

Plating Options

How much does a caterer cost for a wedding? Aside from the overall set-up, prices can also vary depending on the plating type you choose. So think carefully what you would like to serve at your wedding.

  • Plated: Perfect for formal weddings because it is less chaotic in nature, a plated catering option means waiters will be serving your guests with the food they ordered from the card. This means they don’t need to line up for a sumptuous meal, and that’s one pro that makes this styling option attractive to newly-weds. However, there is a disadvantage to this approach too. Yes, you guessed it right! Plated meals are more expensive because aside from the cost per plate, you have to hire more waiting staff too—and let’s not forget the tips you need to hand over by the end of the party. The good news is, you can always save from this option by instructing waiters to control the proportion they serve per guest.

  • Buffet: Buffets are popular in many less formal weddings. The great thing about buffet styles is that you get to save up from waiting staff and table presentations. The only downside is, your guests can take as much food as they can, which means there is a chance you’ll exceed food serving. But yeah, buffet style is still the number one choice of couples who want to save extra cash. Entailing long lines of guests waiting for their turn, couples need to really be careful on where they decide to set up the buffet table so guests wouldn’t get too confused.

  • Family Style: Similar to the plated dinner, guests are also served with food on a round table. But in contrary to plated dinner, family style dinner is similar to sit-down meals you typically have at home, meaning you wouldn’t have to pay for waiting service, making it a lot cheaper than plated meals. And passing around food would offer the guests a great opportunity to start talking, which helps to create a warm atmosphere.

​Set a Realistic Budget

Now, we have answered the question "how much does a caterer cost for a wedding". Let's deal with another important question: how do you set a budget? Most times, brides and grooms-to-be jump into the mistake of breaking the bank just to pull off a luxurious wedding, and this isn’t practical at all. Setting a realistic budget is crucial when planning a wedding, especially since it will highly determine the services that you can afford to avail. Always remember, spend only what you can. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in debts after your big day.

While other couples might be tempted to set a precise amount, this is more difficult to do since it’s challenging to find services that can equate to your exact budget. To get started, research and ask information on the caterers around your town. This way, you’ll be able to get an idea on how much you would have to spend for your catering services. Set a price range that you are willing to spend per plate.

Don’t forget to ask what you’re going to get from an estimated price range. Some caterers provide you a very low price, but the question is, what are you getting from your agreed amount? So always be cautious and don’t be afraid to ask questions. This way, you won’t get disappointed from your service groups.

How much does a caterer cost for a wedding? Clearly, the plating option you choose may affect how much you’ll have to spend for your wedding. Just remember, stick with your budget so you won’t have problems in the long run.