Reasonably priced Caterer...please help :(

Ok so I know this is a Detroit board but I do not know what other city board to post this under. 

I have been to over 20 venues and the one that I love is the River Gallery in Chelsea. They will let you bring in any caterer and your own alcohol but now I have no clue how to find something reasonably priced. The River Gallery does not provide chair/tables so I know I will have to pay for that but how much should a cater cost. For 80 people so far I have gotten quotes ranging from $5,500 to $8,300. I know that they are providing a lot but what is a reasonable price and do you wonderful ladies have any caterer suggestion?


Re: Reasonably priced Caterer...please help :(

  • You could always find a restaurant that caters, usually those are less expensive.

  • Sue-n-KevinSue-n-Kevin member
    Seventh Anniversary 5000 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited January 2013
    You don't say what those catering quotes include, so not sure what you are expecting to get for those quotes.

    For our venue we could bring in our own food & alcohol, tables and chairs were already onsite. I found during my search that the best prices for outside caterers were gourmet stores that also cater. For example, Holiday Market in Royal Oak and Joe's Produce in Livonia. Both were familiar with our venue in Livonia (Greenmead Village), and both were comparably priced, and both were less than the figures you have above. These types of vendors tend to be less, because they don't make all their money from catering, they are also gourmet food markets. We went with Holiday Market, but that was simply a personal preference. Both tastings were amazing for what we wanted. However, here is what I got from the caterers:


    serving items, ie chafing dishes, etc

    personnel: chef onsite, servers/clearers & people to replenish. This can often be about 1/3 of the cost, because people are expensive.

    Linens, glassware, utensils, plates

    We purchased our own alcohol, and our DJ happened to also provide bartenders for a reasonable price. Got the beer & wine at Champane's Wine Cellars in Warren, very reasonable and excellent wine.

    I looked into obtaining linen rentals and plates/glasses/utensils on my own, but in the end used my caterer because the difference in price was minimal, and it was simply easier to have them arrange for the linens and set them up, and take them with them than to arrange yet another vendor. I have a feeling having the caterer obtain your tables & chairs will also be the easiest thing for you to do. I made massive spreadsheets of rental prices for every reasonable rental firm, and having the caterer do it always made sense.

    Again, without knowing what it is you are expecting to provide for the price range quotes you mentioned above, it's impossible for me to know whether the prices I obtained were better.

    Also, because I was securing so many varied vendors, and the venue was not "all inclusive", I also hired a DOC (day of coordinator), to make sure everything was done right on our wedding day. There are many brides who have used them, and the prices range from $350-$700, depending on how much service you require. If you are a really organized bride, you can probably get someone who emails with you, meets you once at the venue before the wedding, and goes over your timeline with you for a reaonable price. It was the BEST decision I made about our wedding, other than the caterer we hired, who was amazing.

    You can send me a private message (see Private Message link below), if you want more info. I'll respond to you. You can send me your email address, or we can correspond via private messages. 

    There are several caterers here with reviews.

    Make sure when you are looking at the reviews, the reviews are fairly recent..... many caterers go out of business, it's a tough business to stay in.  

    Also, the vendors I mentioned considered Livonia to be in their service area. I'm sure they'd still travel to Chelsea, but it might have a travel cost.
  • I think part of the mistake I made in the quotes was having the caterer provide me a bartender/alcohol. We are allowed to bring in whoever we want. That would save me a lot of money to just get someone as a bartender. Thanks for the help Sue. 
  • have you tried Angel Food Catering in Ypsilanti? I've heard great things about them in terms of quality and affordability.
  • Two that I know of are:

    Gary's Catering out of Wixom. We probably would use them if we weren't having our catering paid for by FI's father.


    We are using Enzo's Catering, while they aren't costing us anything, they're prices are pretty affordable, I think. We are having about the same size wedding, but it all depends on if you want all the bells and whistles, too. We are having a pretty laid back wedding, so we're doing buffet style, comfort type food.


    Also, look into BBQ type food, generally much cheaper than plated fancy foods. Good Luck!
  • Thanks everyone for the suggestion I really appreciate it. 
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