Catering is typically the biggest wedding expense after the venue. It makes sense - you are serving dinner (usually) to 100+ of your closest friends and family. Even if you took them all to Chick-fil-a, you would have a big bill!
Let's talk about the different options for catering.
After the ceremony, you, your new spouse and family are wrapped up in pictures. This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the number of pictures, how large your family is (and how well everyone follows directions!) Your guests are mingling at this time, waiting for dinner and sometimes wondering what they are supposed to be doing.
The bar usually opens up at this time, so it's a great time to offer them so food also. It can be as simple as cheese and crackers or an elaborately curated appetizer. Whatever you choose, it's a good idea to have something to keep your guests happy until dinner time.
Photo Hellen Oliveira Photography
We are focusing on a dinner timing but we've had brunch weddings, heavy appetizers, etc. Choose what works best for you as a couple.
Catering menus can range from 1 meat and 1 side to LOTS more options. Your guests will have a variety of food preferences and, even, restrictions. Offering a few options helps everyone fill their plate. Most of our couples offer a menu with two entrees, two - three sides, and bread.
Check with your caterer to see if they offer a kids option or if they let you provide separate food for kids. Most 4 - 9 year olds won't eat a plate full (unless it's a plate full of macaroni and cheese and a roll - yep, seen that). A simpler option may save money and keep any young guests happy.
Photo Andy Calvert Photography
Late Night Snacks
Some trends are totally worth it - like late night snacks! After your guests have been dancing and drinking for a while, loading them up on some snacks before you send them off is a great idea! We've seen fried apple pies, cookies, donuts, bbq sliders - so many options. Your caterer is a valuable resource with this as they can estimate how many guests may still be there at the end and want a late night snack - you don't usually need to plan for your full guest count on this one.
Catering is more than just the menu options. You want a caterer that has done weddings before so they understand the flow. They should have all the equipment and staff needed to get the food there and keep it hot, keep buffet filled or serve plated meals, clean tables and more.
When you are comparing costs, make sure you understand if tax and service fee is included in the initial price. If not, that adds 20% - 30%. Most of our preferred caterers fall in the $30 - $55/person price range. That includes non-alcoholic drinks, tax and service fee. It adds up quickly when you have 100 - 200 guests, but it matches up with what you would pay at a good restaurant. And you want good food for your wedding!
Check out our Vendors page for some of our preferred caterers!
2/17/2022 03:56:48 am
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3/6/2022 07:11:13 am
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9/14/2022 12:37:00 am
I appreciate that you explained that one of the most expensive costs for your wedding event is catering. My cousin informed me the other day that she was planning to hire an event catering service that could provide cultural and entertainment capabilities for their wedding, and she asked if I had any idea what would be the best option to do. I appreciate this instructive article, I'll tell her that it will be much better if we consult a trusted premier catering service as they can provide different varieties of menus.
9/28/2022 02:33:20 pm
I loved what you said about hiring a caterer who has done weddings before and knows the flow. My daughter is getting married in seven months and she's having a really hard time choosing a caterer. I'm hoping to go to some tastings with her this week to hopefully find the right one.
I like that you suggested having late-night snacks so that the guests would have something to eat and drink after dancing. I would definitely get that included when my partner and I find an event catering service to hire for our wedding day. We will definitely have a part of our program where guests can just enjoy for about an hour or two.
12/13/2022 04:14:03 pm
I loved how you said to consider guests' dietary restrictions. My sister and her fiancé are getting married in the spring of next year, and they talked about how they want to start searching for a catering company ahead of time. I'll pass this information along to them so they can know how to hire the right one for their wedding!
12/20/2022 08:02:26 pm
Having bbq sliders catered sounds amazing. My sister is getting married in July and needs a caterer. She'll have to decide first what kind of food she wants.
1/24/2023 02:14:45 pm
You made an interesting point when you mentioned that you are usually serving dinner to at least a hundred people during a wedding. Hiring a catering company in this situation makes a lot of sense because most companies would have enough people to handle a high number of guests. Hiring a caterer seems like a good way to make sure that all of your guests are going to be fed.
2/4/2023 11:04:14 am
I appreciate that you explained that you should consider knowing the best meal option by having a food test. My cousin told me the other night that she was planning to hire an event catering supply that could provide full sit-down meals for her wedding day. She asked if I had thoughts on the best option for delicious menus. I love this instructive article, I'll tell her it will be much better if we consult a trusted event catering service as they can provide different menus.
Becky - Pleasant Union Farm
4/24/2023 01:12:07 pm
I'm so glad it was helpful! Congratulations to your cousin - I hope she enjoys the wedding planning and has a beautiful day!
4/5/2023 03:19:45 am
This might be a resource that anyone may use to learn. I value your efforts. Thank you for sharing more about wedding catering.
Becky - Pleasant Union Farm
4/24/2023 01:10:40 pm
I'm so glad it was helpful!
4/20/2023 08:38:13 am
In this piece, the author takes a lighthearted view of wedding catering, sharing hilarious anecdotes and useful planning advice. Those interested in the lighter side of wedding preparation will find this piece entertaining, even if it isn't as educational or useful as some of the other posts on this list. This post is unique due to the author's wit and humor.
4/24/2023 12:59:59 pm
We got engaged a few weeks ago, and we think we're ready to plan our spring wedding. That's why we're glad you elaborated on looking for a catering company with past experience in weddings, so we'll definitely look into that soon. We appreciate your advice on comparing costs and additional fees before hiring a wedding caterer.
Becky - Pleasant Union Farm
4/24/2023 01:10:02 pm
Congratulations! Enjoy the wedding planning process and best of luck on your wedding. Spring weddings are some of my favorites!
4/25/2023 06:21:56 am
In a unique perspective, this article delves into the wedding catering sector to provide some little-known yet fascinating nuggets of information. The effects of the pandemic on wedding caterers, the difficulties of serving at outdoor weddings, and other related subjects are discussed. Although this post isn't as immediately useful as the previous two, it's still a great read for those curious about wedding catering.
5/23/2023 05:33:45 am
There are many facets to wedding catering, and the article "Wedding Catering: Everything You Never Needed to Know" provides a thorough overview of these topics. The author dives into issues including menu planning, special diets, catering fads, and how to choose a caterer for a wedding. They offer in-depth descriptions of the many wedding catering alternatives, such as buffet, plated, and family style meals.
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Pleasant Union Farm is a family owned wedding venue in North Georgia, about an hour north of Atlanta.