Affordable but good catering

thejinxchanthejinxchan member
Ninth Anniversary 10 Comments Name Dropper 5 Love Its
edited November 2013 in Arizona-Phoenix
This is probably a longshot, but I need to really save money on my catering so I can afford my venue!

I've searched high and low on this forum and have found very little info on what I need. Here's the deets:

Venue: Commemorative Air Force Museum in Mesa, AZ (I want to book this place, but it's $5000 and only includes rectangular tables, linens and chairs, and the price includes a lighting package)
Guest count: 125
Meal style: dinner buffet
Budget: $3000 (this would have to include dinnerware/glassware, service staff, tax) so more like $20ish per person.

I have contacted a few of their preferred vendors, with Special Moments being closest to my budget (but still $500 over budget before tax), and was highly recommended by other brides on this forum.

Another I found through the forums is Browns Brothers Catering, but starting at $5/pp I'm definitely questioning the quality, and I couldn't find any reviews on yelp.

I think I am in over my head trying to make this venue work (my date isn't until April 2015 but I live abroad and want to secure a venue, but can't till I figure out if I can make it all work in my budget, which is ideally $12,000-$13,000 with a max of $15,000). I really just don't want to spend all that money. 

I know some people suggest using a restaurant, however, like I said I would need all dishware and staff and I think it would be easier to go with a caterer that provides it all in one package. II don't really like the idea of using plastic dishware (not just because I'm uppity, but because it's not very green) I'm not including bar package in this.

Any ideas?

Edit: I forgot to mention that I have emailed many caterers around the valley, got some responses (too expensive) waiting on a few more, and have searched yelp and other sites, but it's becoming overwhelming.

Re: Affordable but good catering

  • Will the museum allow you to use other caterers? Lots won't, especially if they list them as preferred vendors. This often has to do with insurance/liability issues.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • I am using Park Avenue catering.. I thought they are super reasonable and she provided fantastic food at the tasting... She is very customizable and willing to work with any budget! here is her website

  • zizibet - Yes they allow caterers other than their preferred list, but I know it would be easiest to use them, considering it's such a unique venue. I don't know about the insurance liability, I failed to ask when I was there, and the event coordinator is horrible at returning calls and emails (I called once before I left the US and sent an email 2 days ago.. still nothing).

    lilbreezy - I will look into it. Thanks!
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