Planning for the big day? There’s no better place to start than by coming up with your wedding catering budget. Considering the average costs, here are the items that will place at the top: venue (30%), catering (including alcohol 30%), photography/video (14%). Once you have these three lined up, every other aspect of your wedding planning comes into place more easily.
Since wedding catering is not only a key element but our speciality, let us help you estimate the cost for catering a wedding in the Austin area.
Try out our wedding catering calculator to estimate the cost of catering with Royal Fig.
WHAT CHOICES IMPACT YOUR WEDDING CATERING BUDGET THE MOST
When planning for your wedding it’s important to know that factors such as venue, season, number of guests, day of the week and time of day will determine the overall costs of the celebration.
How does this translate into your Austin wedding plans? Well, just as for any other place in the country, expect to pay more for Saturday evening events. But, as opposed to other states where the high wedding season goes uninterrupted from late May into early October, for Texas the season goes from March to May and from September to November, skipping the scorchingly hot summer months and demanding higher budgets for milder weather ones.
And what about a wedding catering budget specifically? In addition to the factors mentioned above you have to consider 2 extra key drivers: the menu choices and the style of service.
WEDDING CATERING BUDGET BREAKDOWN
Selecting the perfect wedding caterer is a big step, one that cannot be taken lightly (find our tips for doing this here).
Below are the main considerations that will play a crucial role when determining catering costs for your Austin wedding:
When choosing a venue, consider not only how it reflects your vision but also the implications on your budget and whether it is appropriate for the size of your event. Some venues are very spread out and where one venue would require 8 servers, another one might require twice as many for the same guest count to guarantee flawless service. Yup! you guessed it: that will be reflected on your catering bill. Other fees directly related to the size and configuration of the venue are set up and tear down charges: the more labor required to move furniture around to perfectly set up your event (and later pack up when it’s over), the higher the cost. Just as in any other service industry segment, labor costs are a big component of the quote you receive.
Catering prices are quoted in terms of price per person, so the bigger the guest list, the higher the bill. But don’t despair! Although the cost will go higher in absolute terms, it is also true that the relative cost per guest tends to be less for bigger events. Also remember that often wedding caterers will require a minimum budget, especially if the event is taking place during the high season. Being flexible with the guest list size is key to finding the perfect balance between your vision and your budget.
Style of service
Do you want your event to be a formal affair or a more laid back type of gathering? A good caterer will offer different style of service options to help you achieve this; the traditional options are family style, buffet, stations and plated dinner. Each option requires different resources from staff headcount to the type of special rentals required (tables, linens, china, glassware) just to name a few, and those differences are reflected on the pricing. Find the option that better suits your vision for the event and your wedding budget.
What the package includes might vary from vendor to vendor. A standard offering usually includes cocktail hour appetizers, the main meal and dessert. Some include the wedding cake, some don’t. If your budget allows, go the extra mile and add upgraded meal options like late-night snacks or an extra speciality station for the cocktail hour. Most caterers include the cost of food, non alcoholic beverages, staff, rentals and tax in the quote they provide, but that might not always be the case so make sure there’s a clear understanding of what is included or not before you make a decision.
Your caterer will offer different bar packages and the cost will vary according to the selection of alcohol in terms of quantity (the number of choices available) and quality (premium alcohol vs not). Some caterers also offer signature drinks created for the event for which they charge extra.
Other costs/fees to consider
In addition to the main components of the catering packages, you need to provision for other charges. Costs such as gratuities, corkage fees (if you provide the alcohol), slicing fees (if the caterer is serving a cake from a different vendor) and delivery and set up fees (when you are not using an in-house caterer at the venue) are not always included on the basic quote but need to be accounted for.
As you can see, the cost for catering a wedding is dictated by a combination of multiple factors. The myriad of choices can sometimes become overwhelming, that’s why we created the tool above to help you estimate the costs and make this process a breeze! Ready to chat with one of our coordinators? Just click here.