Catering budget - help!

Hi ladies,

I have no experience with caterers and was wondering what is the average price per person for a buffet reception? I was hoping to find the food, staffing, and beer/wine bar for about $100 per person. Does that sound reasonable? Which CT caterers in your experience are budget-friendly? My wedding will be outside under a tent with about 50 guests in the New Haven area.


Re: Catering budget - help!

  • I definitely think $100pp is reasonable.  we were hoping for $100pp including the venue rental, so we needed the caterers to be around $80-$85 for that to work. They were able to do it by cutting back to beer/wine only and offering less expensive cuts of meat for the beef options.  We ended up not going that route, but got quotes from a few places. Michael's catering was the one we were going to go with before we decided on a country club instead.
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  • I agree with PP that $100/pp is a reasonable price. You might have to do some negotiating and speak with more than one vendor, but you can find a caterer for that price (and maybe a bit cheaper depending upon your date). Good luck! 
  • edited April 2012
    I think that's definitely reasonable.  We interviewed about 6 or 7 caterers and decided on going with Ciao! Catering out of Danbury.  They were by far the most reasonably priced with the best food.  I really can't speak highly enough of them.  Tom Devine is in charge.  He's one of the owners.  He basically ran our reception too.  We were well under your budget numbers with a filet mignon carving station, mahi mahi, pasta dish, chicken dish, a bunch of sides, 10 passed apps, plated salads, homemade breads, champage & strawberry toast, tea & coffee, etc.    They also did our rehearsal dinner at their restaurant.  Tom pretty much demands that you taste the food before signing a contract with him, which wasn't at all like many of the caterers we talked to.  Quite a few of them wanted us to sign a contract first before we could do a tasting, and some even wanted us to pay $100pp for the tasting.  The waitstaff fee and taxes were also included in their per person price.  I think there's a fee for under 75 people, but even with that, they came in $3000-$5000 less than the other quotes we got for similar menus.
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  • We had interviewed several companies and also choose to go with Two Steps in Danbury, we ended up not using them because we booked a venue with food. BUT we LOVED working with Tom for the short period that we did.
  • Thank you so much for all your responses, keep them coming! I am contacting Two Steps now and will look into Michael's Catering as well.

  • I would check the catering reviews on Weddingwire and The Knot, too. Often you can get a general idea of price range via the vendor's profile (or website) and then you can contact them for additional information. FI and I initially contacted quite a few caterers to compare pricing and we were really surprised by how vastly many of them differed. We ended up going with a venue with an in-house caterer, but I would definitely recommend shopping around. You could also check with restaurants that offer a catering service, as you might find some that offer fantastic food at reasonable a price.
  • We're paying $62.00 per person and this includes the cocktail hour, open bar for cocktail hour and reception, cake, flowers for centerpieces (with the vase and everything). Keep checking around until you find something that fits in your budget.
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  • LinD25, wow, that is definitely a great price! Can you share who your caterer is?
  • In Response to <a href=" Wedding BoardsForum:65Discussion:67c742e8-9601-4460-b9a7-d7780286d745Post:e7d7aaf3-69ad-4953-a4e1-393841971b14">Re: Catering budget - help!</a>:
    [QUOTE]LinD25, wow, that is definitely a great price! Can you share who your caterer is?
    Posted by ls224[/QUOTE]
    I'm wondering if that's an all inclusive venue that they booked.  I didn't meet any caterers that also provided centerpieces, but maybe it's because I didn't ask about them. lol.

    FWIW, Ciao Catering (Two Steps) did our wedding for $64pp.  That's for all the passed apps, plated salad, dinner buffet, linen & glass rentals, cut strawberries in the glasses for the champagne toast, tea & coffee, and set up, service and clean up of the venue.  We brought in liquor that they served as a top shelf open bar the whole night for cocktail hour through the end of the reception.  That came to about $6pp.  We also had another vendor do our cake and had Ben & Jerry's come in and do an ice cream sundae station. Cake was $4pp, sundaes were $5pp.  All in for the reception (minus the venue rental) was approx $80.

    If you want to see our quote, PM me your email address.
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  • Akulaji, I contacted Tom, but unfortunately he is booked on our date. But it would be great if you could send that quote just for reference. I'll PM you now - thanks! :)
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