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!
Pleasant Union Farm is a family owned wedding venue in North Georgia, about an hour north of Atlanta.