Catering Advice for Wedding - Fairfield County!
We are getting married next August 2012 in Fairfield County, and our venue allows outside caterers with no extra charges.
I wanted to ask if you have any suggestions for delicious, yet reasonably priced caterers in the area. Most vendors we've talked to so far are quoting around $70 per person including cocktail hour and a 3-course sit down dinner. Ideally, we would like to keep the cost to $50 per person total. It should also already include labor costs and bartending outside alcohol we will buy from a retail store.
Looking forward to your suggestions and any other advice. Thanks!
As a wedding planner in Fairfield county, I will agree with everyone else. The costs associated with catering an event are high and any caterer that will quote you $50 a person will not provide you with a wedding quality meal.
There are caterers that will certainly provide you with a meal and service for that price, but to give you that price you will have to compromise on either the type of food or have a buffet that will reduce your service costs.
I spend a good portion of my time explaining to brides the real costs of having a wedding in a location that requires outside catering. Rentals, service, etc add up very quickly and will increase a wedding budget instantly.
bagelman01 is absolutely correct.
IMHO, as someone in the catering business, these days its impossible to do a quality traditional reception with labor, food, rentals and alcohol for anything less than $90 per person. Also a GOOD buffet won't be much cheaper, you still need to feed everyone and make sure you don't run out of food.
Personally I don't think I'd trust one of the most important days of my life to a caterer that quotes you $50 per person. The the same ingredients for an event all cost us the about the same amount of money, the labor costs us similar amounts of money, the rentals cost us the same amount of money and we all need to make a profit to stay in business.
As an example we pay our event staff between $15-25 per hour, events go 8 hours . If your event is for 100 persons we would have 5 wait staff, 3 cooks and 2 dishwashers.
$1900 in labor that works out to $19 per person just for labor.
So where are the costs cut?
In your food quality and portions? In your labor or rentals? In the profit? It will be in your quality and portions more than likely.
My suggestion would be to think about something not so formal, an alternative reception like a Pig roast , a picnic or a BBQ. Something you can afford without braking the bank. The worst thing you can do is to start your life together by going into debt for your wedding. If these options don't suite you, I hate to suggest it but maybe a wedding hall might fit your needs better.
I think you are being totally unrealistic about costs. If MOST caterers are quoted $70, and that probably doesn't include the service charge or state sales tax (figure another $20-25pp) you are not likely to find anyone who can provide a delicious, appropriate wedding experience for $50pp inclusive.
It has been years since I was in the caterering business in southern Connecticut, but it is a rule of thumb that bringing a caterer in costs far more than using a resident caterer at a facility.
There are huge costs to transporting food, equipment and staff to an off premise location which can add more than 3 hours labor per staff member to the cost.
There is a reason why 'wedding palaces' cost less than choose your own venue and caterer. The kitchen may be cooking/prepping for more than one affair that day. Pots, pans, dishes, glassware and flatware can be washed and reused for another affair in house, but if off premise you are paying for tying it up the entire day.
Unfortunately, the $50pp inclusive number in Fairfield county may have been the norm in the late 1970s or early 1980s, but in the era of $4/gallon gas, and $8.25/hr minimum wage your expectation is unrealistic.
That said, you may be able to cut a small amount of the cost by considering a buffet as opposed to a sit down dinner.