Wedding Catering Options
You have a multitude of options for feeding guests at your
wedding reception. For a large crowd, you may choose to hold
the event in a hotel or banquet hall and use its in-house
catering service. For smaller receptions, it may be possible
to have the party at a relative's house and enlist family
members to cook up the feast. Here are some typical catering
options - prices will vary depending on where and when you
hold your reception.
Brunch: A lovely option
for couples with modest wedding reception budgets, a wedding
brunch allows you to serve your guests a full, delicious meal
without paying a premium for prime time.
Hors d'oeuvres Only:
If you hold your reception at during the mid-afternoon, serving
hors d'oeuvres only is a viable option, as most of your guests
won't be expecting a full dinner that early in the day.
Usually the most cost-effective dinner catering option, a
buffet requires less labor costs as your guests will serve
themselves. This creates a less formal atmosphere than a sit-down
Buffet with Carving Stations:
This is a little more expensive than a traditional pre-prepared
buffet. Feel free to be creative and either supplement or
replace traditional ham, turkey and prime rib stations with
made-to-order savory crepes or Mongolian barbecue.
Traditional Seated Dinner:
Most catering companies allow you to customize your menu -
you can stick with a simple salad course and main entrée
with wedding cake for dessert,
or splurge on a five-course Italian feast. For an additional
per guest fee, many caterers will offer passed appetizers
to occupy your guests for the 45 minutes to an hour that they
wait for the bridal party after the ceremony and before the
Non-Alcoholic Beverages Only:
If neither of you are big drinkers, or you simply don't feel
comfortable paying a large sum of money so that you guests
can inebriate themselves, there's no reason why you should
serve alcohol at your reception. Another option is to only
offer non-alcoholic beverages until it's time for the champagne
Champagne and/or Wine:
A classy and potentially economical choice is to serve only
wine and/or champagne with your wedding reception dinner.
This may be provided by the caterer, hotel or restaurant,
or you can bring your own wine. Keep in mind, however, that
many locations charge a hefty corkage fee for outside bottles,
so it may make sense to simply go with the house wine.
Open Bar: This can get
very expensive; people have a tendency to drink more when
someone else is footing the bill. Some locations let you pay
for an open bar for only part of the evening, thereby cutting
down on the cost. You may also be able to purchase an open
bar for the entire event for a fixed per-guest price, or as
part of a wedding reception package. It's also possible to
find a location that allows you to bring in outside liquor
and simply hire a bartender to serve it, which can save you
a great deal of money.