Catering Series: Breakdown of Options

Do you know where to start when it comes to choosing a caterer? Does your venue have any restrictions or recommendations?

A few steps to keep in mind while choosing a caterer – –

Step One: Know Your Caterers 

An in-house caterer: If your venue has one, you can count on a reliable pricing structure that includes everything — staffing, rentals, booze, and cake. (Expect to pay about $125 per person.) Bonus: Since the caterer has worked on site before, there will be fewer surprises, and the day should run smoothly.

A preferred caterer: Many venues without a kitchen staff (museums, historic buildings) have a list of preferred caterers, and using an off-list pick may carry a penalty of around $500. Upscale locations tend to prefer pricier vendors, but you can often negotiate.

Step Two: Decide How You Want the Food Served

Sit-down meal: Pros — a plated meal brings structure to the reception and makes it easy to curate a menu. Con — you’ll need a server for every 10 guests, which can get costly.

Buffet: Pros — self-service cuts your waitstaff in half compared with a seated meal, and there’s less lag time on the dance floor. Cons — if some dishes are more popular than others, you’ll end up with wasted food. Also, people don’t love standing in line for dinner.

Cocktail party: Pros — small plates and stations lets you serve inventive dishes you love, and skipping the seating chart makes your reception all about the dancing. Cons — a party longer than two hours can cost more than a sit-down dinner since the serves — you’ll need one per 25 guests — will be working for the whole party. Plus, you’ll pay for every passed tray. (You’ll want 12 to 14 hors d’oeuvres per guest.)

photographs by: Emily Elizabeth Studios


From wedding planning | styling to florals, C & A Event Planning is detail oriented wedding boutique located in Central New York. We will guide you through every step of your wedding day, whether you have been dreaming about this day since you were four years old or don’t know where to begin – we will be right there beside you. We are all about the details (the decor, the florals, the itinerary, etc), specializing in Full Service Planning to Day of Coordination as well as custom styling and design to gorgeous florals we will ensure your special day goes as smoothly as possible.


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