Wedding 911

Very High Reception Catering Cost

My wedding budget is $15,500 and my guest count is about 175-200. My ideal reception location is somewhere with large doors or  windows and a nice view of the ocean or a lake. So I have been looking at hotels by the beach and golf/country clubs.  I have looked at about 5 places so far and the lowest cost per person I've seen is $95. If I have $95 for my 200 guest cost.....that's my entire budget and more JUST for the reception venue food and the few things that has been included in the catering packages (e.g white linen and seat covers, 2-4 open bar, the cake....) Now I do plan to negotiate with my venues as much as possible but that's a long way to get to about $40 max which is what I want to pay. I'm willing to do a lunch menu so it's a little cheaper so PLEASE


1) List any reception venues that fit my ideal look and has lower catering cost (Preferred locations close to South Florida: Ft Lauderdale, Pompano, Plantation, Davie....) 

2) List any reception venues that fit my ideal look and allows outside catering (Preferred locations close to South Florida: Ft Lauderdale, Pompano, Plantation, Davie....) 

2) Let me know do most of these places list the prices this high but do work with you to meet your budget


Thank you so much!!!!! I'm trying for this process not stressful so your help is greatly appreciated.

Re: Very High Reception Catering Cost

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    You need to post this on your local board.
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    Thank you. I did. I also wanted to know in general are reception cost usually this high and how much can you actually negotiate it to be lower?  
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    Reception costs vary from state to state. In NY, $95 is cheap. It all depends where you go. 
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    I agree with Climbing. To me, $95 is cheap. I think you need to start branching out on the kinds of venues you are considering or cut your guest list.

    BabyFruit Ticker
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    No- it's not like buying a car. They typically have their price and that's their price. You may be able to get a few extras thrown in but they aren't going to cut even $10 pp off because someone else will come along and pay full price. Remember there is also 20-26% added on for service fees, taxes, and gratuities so when they tell you $95 pp it's really $118 pp. I'm sorry that I don't know your area so I cannot recommend any but I'm sure ladies on the FL board can be of assistance. Also, depending how close you are with people, definitely consider scaling back your guest list. I could never afford my venue if I had 200 people but I can afford it with my 60 person guest list.



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    I would definitely try to find a cheaper venue in your area, first. Next, if that price is all you are getting, you will need to think about possibly cutting the quest list down, if at all possible. Have the wedding you and your FI can afford (including ALL wedding costs). Run it by him and let him know what you are both looking at. 

    A wedding can be done for that price, you both just have to be willing to sacrifice certain things you/FI may want. I will tell you though, do NOT sacrifice things that will properly host your guests (Open bar/enough food/tables & chairs) because you want something for yourselves. If that makes any sense?
    Wedding Countdown Ticker

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    OP, you can negotiate with your venue, I did with mine and got a substantial savings but the savings was only about 17%. Asking a venue to cut 50% is likely not going to happen. 

    You can save money a few ways:

    1. Move to an off season and off day (Weekday or Lunch time)
    2. Host an Heavy Hors d'Ouevres only reception with a limited bar
    3. Cut your guest list. (this saves you not only on food, but rentals, flowers etc.)

    I know the last one is hard, but I had to do the same thing. We originally wanted to invite 100 people, but I started to realize for the venue that we wanted and the type of hosting we wanted to do it was just not manageable. I ended up cutting my guest list to 70, it was hard, but in the end I am happy with the decision. 

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    We are saving a TON by having our wedding a) on a Friday and b) in the winter.  Literally in the cost to rent the hall itself, the minimum food expenditure went from 20k to 12k, and nearly all the vendors are cheaper off season too (and greater availability to choose from). Fine by us!  I didn't realize at the time but this also means the bridal shower and rehearsal dinner ended up being less expensive too- the places we chose happened to have off-season packages.


    Wedding Countdown Ticker
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    Depending on what you are getting, it may or may not be a bad price. What is the menu you picked out & what type of booze are you serving? Does that price include linens, centerprieces or your cake?

    Also depending on the date you want to get married if it's a prime wedding season like June or early fall versus a less diserable date over the winter


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    $95 a person is cheap in NJ, sorry I can't be more sympathetic.   It can be like buying a car, but you will likely not get a brand new BMW for $20,000 no matter how good your negotiating skills are.    Move your wedding date to a less expensive time of year and day of the week.   And try trimming your guest list.  
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    kitty8403kitty8403 member
    First Comment 5 Love Its First Answer Name Dropper
    edited March 2014
    In my area, this would be considered pricey but still not unheard of if it's a high-end facility. $40/plate is more "normal" to me.
    I hesitate to say this. But it sounds like you need to scale back your expectations a little. If the full monte with a big crowd at a country club by the beach in peak season is out of your budget, then I'm sorry, but you need to start by accepting that you can't afford your ideal. That's part of growing up and often part of married life!

    A few suggestions that might help:
    1. Try serving a classy brunch instead of dinner, or see if you can do an afternoon wedding with champagne and trays of elegant desserts instead of a full meal.

    2. Get creative with your venue. What about a museum? Gallery? Historic site? Large park? Botanical garden?

    3. Host wedding and reception at same location to avoid duplicate fees and costs.

    4. Scale back other parts of your budget (decor, etc.)

    5. You could try to earn extra money. But I would suggest NOT trying to push your budget too much. You set it for a reason, and you don't want to start off your new married life with lots of unnecessary financial worries.

    6. Venue hunts can be discouraging. But this is your wedding. It's supposed to be fun! Let the small stuff go and try to enjoy the process. Good luck!
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    missesnoelmissesnoel member
    First Comment
    edited June 2014
    Thank you all you responses and suggestions. I booked my reception venue!!! I was blessed and was able to find an older country club called Boca Dunes for about $50 per person including photo, video, dj, centerpieces, and cake. The only thing is I have a select option of vendors I can work with so I'm still seeing how that's going to work out. So it is possible for a reasonable price catering for wedding reception. Yayyy. It was just a lot of work to look for it. Hope I can help a future bride.
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    Glad you found a place that will work for you!  Thanks for the update!  Congrats.  :)

    Wedding Countdown Ticker

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    MegEn1MegEn1 member
    First Anniversary First Comment 5 Love Its First Answer
    edited July 2014

    Achievement Unlocked: Survived Your Wedding! 
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