Wedding Catering Recommednations for Couple on a Budget
My man recently proposed and we really would like to get married this fall, but without breaking the bank.
I'm looking for decent eats at a maximum of $50 per plate. I called a place yesterday and the banquet manager said "that's gonna be plenty if you plan on starving your guests."
Congrats! You're getting way better advice than I did three years ago when I posted (we threw a wedding for 120 with $10,000, and I was nearly laughed off this board for my attempt). I totally agree about renting a venue that allows you to do your own thing, and I second the motion about throwing a cocktail party. I rented the Dumbo Arts Center. At the time, it was $2,000, but I think their prices have increased a bit. I think the Dumbo loft, in the same neighborhood, still goes for a lower price point. We had our ceremony for $25 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, and having our reception area nearby enabled us to have a rain plan. Cobblestone Foods worked with us to have a really nice buffet of hors d'ouerves, though if I had to do it again, I'd probably do platters from Fairway or something similar because it didn't really feel like we had enough food. I think we did great with booze and cake though. We got our beer from a wholesaler on Court Street, and our wine from Trader Joe's. We got a huge sheetcake from a baker on Court Street, and a small tiered cake from One Girl Cookie in Park Slope, which was beautiful (and delicious). Good luck!!
We just did our wedding. We looked into Flushing Town Hall & the Poppenhusen Institute in College Point (may sure whatever venue you end up with is handi-capped accessible if you will be having seniors and also ask heaven forbid if their space suffers a flood or fire, what is their contingency plan for you to hold your party). Both of these spaces were unique, but when realized how much we would have to be responsible for on our wedding day, i.e.chasing down the catering making sure the kitchen & rooms were set up correctly, where are the flowers, etc. we decided to use a catering hall, which came in less expensive than some resturants. We had a wedding with 100 people at a large name place in Carle Place and only paid $55 a head, which included open bar/cocktail hour/full reception & the works & we did not have to worry about anything-that was what they were getting paid for & they earned it. Part of the reason that we got such a reasonable price was, flexiblity on date - we had a Sunday afternoon and we negotiated. You are the buyer so ask for some reasonable things to be thrown in...they can only say no.
You are celebrating a party for yourselves and having your friends/family join in the celebration....don't put yourself into debt for this. The most important thing to remember is that this is YOUR PARTY/CELEBRATION and have it be what you can afford and will enjoy. As many others have suggested - think out of the box. We just wanted to have a party where everyone enjoyed themselves and they did as we got phone calls the next day telling us so. What we discovered is that the guests only remembered the food & the music. I suggest that is where you put most of your budget.
Have fun in your planning and starting on your road to "Happy Ever After".
Now Mrs. Strudel:)
Did my wedding for super cheap and super awesome this way:
Rent out a museum (we used the New York Aquarium). Try smaller museums and the like- the Brooklyn musueum want 10 grand which is ridiculous, but you can get the Peking in the Seaport for pretty cheap, and call every bizarre museum you can think of to see if they have space for rent.
Do a buffet, and treat the whole party like a giant cocktail party. Face it, that's pretty much the best part of any fussy wedding anyway. We had White Castle provide us with a few crave crates as a centerpiece (we ate them a lot when we were dating), and had Clemente's on Avenue T supply us with finger sandwiches, buffalo chicken fingers, etc. We decided to go the American comfort food route, as we thought it would give the wedding more of a party atmosphere. You can call any restaurant you like and ask them if they're willing to do off site catering for you. We fed 200 people for $1000.
Don't tell your DJ that he's playing a wedding. You'll save about $4000.
Try to get friends to videotape it and do the photography. If you have any money at all in your budget, spend it on the photography. The wedding only lasts one day, but the pictures are forever.
Get your invitations on EBay and print them yourself. Try orientaltrading.com for paper goods and whimsical favors (we did rubber duckies). Go to bridaldiscounters.com for designer dresses at wholesale.
My husband and I had a great experience last May with a restaurant in Park Slope, Sette on 7th Ave. We spent a little more than $50 per person, but this included drinks, tax, tip. Also, our wedding was small (65 people) and was a brunch reception on a Sunday. The food was excellent, the staff was wonderful and everyone had a great time. We felt so fortunate to have found this place, because we were on a budget too and had had a frustrating time while looking for a place that could suit all of our needs.
YOU CAN TRY TO RENT A CATERING HALL (VFW, PARTY ROOMS, ETC) AND CATER WITH A BUFFET (NO LIQUOR) FOR A REASONABLE PRICE - IN NASSAU LONG ISLAND WE HAVE A GREAT PLACE HERE CALLED VALLEY CATERERS IN FRANKLIN SQUARE. WE HAD A PARTY FOR 40 PEOPLE AND THEY SET UP EVERYTHING (EXCEPT DRINKS) INCLUDING NAPKINS, COFFEE AND CAME AND TOOK ALL THEIR TRAYS THE NEXT MORNING!!!
GOOD LUCK = IT'S ALL OUT THERE, JUST DIG!!!
we just got married a couple of months ago and also were on a budget. my advice: do not go with a catering company!! especially off-site. for your budget, it's best to stick with a restaurant. and for your budget, a restaurant's deal will still be better food than a catering company. we had ours at a wonderful restaurant in brooklyn heights and it was the most spectacular event (food and otherwise, and i'm not just saying that because i was the bride!!) since you didn't tell us where you are, i have no specific ideas to give you. but try your favorite places first...
Chinese restaurants are experts at feeding large parties, and may allow to to BYOB (with a lump sum flat corkage fee, or maybe no corkage fee). Ask for the Chinese (not American-ized) prix-fixe banquet menu and enlist a friend to translate, if required.
The banquet menus range from $250 - $800 per table of TEN guests, served family-style, plus additional fees if you want more festive red tablecloth service (instead of white), karaoke, or other frills. There are several threads on Chinatown banquets - traditionally these are TEN-course meals that include lobster or fish, chicken, scallops, really good stuff.
I got married in Brooklyn (at Brooklyn Loft, which, sadly, no longer exists), and had it catered by Night Kitchen. The food was great, and it was definitely within your budget. They also got all the wine for us.
You can contact them at:
We're getting married this coming June and after lots of looking around for caterers, we decided to go with Monica at The Liberty Heights Tap Room. We're actually booking the whole space and having our wedding reception there, but I know she does off-site catering as well. She could definitely do something for you in this price range, but my guess is that it would just be a buffet and not a sit down dinner.
Contact me off-list if you want more details about this or other places we looked at...
We're going through this now too! Two general sets of advice:
1. Get a restaurant and do a private room. Works if your party is small enough. But might be hard to do and keep your cap of $50/head.
2. Rent a location w/no mandatory caterer. Then you could bring in whomever you like or hire people to serve. This is what my fiancee and I are doing - we got a place (will cost $1200), are hiring workers for the night (should be about $900 w/tips), and will buy food @ Whole Foods/Fairway (my brother did this last year and spent about $2k on 70 people), and wine at a wholesaler. Our total should come out to $6000 for 110 people. If you go this route, look outside the city. In the city, space rentals seem to start at several thousand and usually much higher.
3. Just had another idea. Kind of risky as you'd be at the mercy of the weather. Get a permit to hold an event in the park -- think that is $25. Risk is that (a) you've got no bad weather back-up, (b) not as much privacy, and (c) have public restrooms.
If you really want to go super-duper cheap and do self-catering, some suggestions: Women's Club of Ridgewood, Women's Club of Englewood, Morris County parks system, and the Kellogg Club in Morristown (all of these are in NJ). All of those allow self-catering.
I'd have loved to do it in Bklyn but the prices dictated that we look further afield. :(
I just proposed to my girl a month ago, and we're going through the same dilemma.
One thing we thought about was a clambake. You can have a very elaborate clambake, with all the bells and whistles, for about $60/head. Granted, it's not as elegant or nice as filet, but hey it's fun, especially if you can find an outdoor place to do it.
You might also want to check out The Douglaston Manor (www.thedouglastonmanor.com). They have an interesting "all-inclusive" package. If you're willing to go upstate, out to Long Island, or into Jersey, you can probably do a lot better.
Drop me an e-mail if you hear of any other good ideas!
If you're willing to be creative and your guests are adventurous, you might be able to save a lot of money by using an ethnic restaurant, such as Indian. Another option is to do a brunch wedding or just heavy appetizers or cake and dessert.
We're also on a budget planning our wedding, and were shocked at how much things cost! Our caterer, F.E.A.S.T. in Washingtonville (they do NYC events, though) is among the most reasonable we've found. You might want to check them out. I've linked below.
I got married at Round Hill House, FEAST's site and it was wonderful. If going out of the city is an option for you, I highly recommend them and their food.
I went to a great wedding at Prospect Park picnic house and they used a West Indian caterer from Flatbush. The food was awsome, and the wedding was wonderful, and definately in your budget.
re: King of Northern Blvd.
nonsense!! Little money doesn't equal bad food. Think of all the meals you've eaten that were great for under $50!! Think asian or better yet (IMO) think B-B-QUE. Friends of mine recently rented out the Brooklyn Brewery (includes all the beer you can drink) and they hired... I don't remember which BBQ joint to cater. It was very low budget and they received nothing but rave reviews for the food. It was awesome. Don't pay a caterer for something you wouldn't go out and buy if it was just two of you. Pretend you're throwing a dinner party.