All you need to know about wedding catering in one article!

For many couples, food is one of the most important parts of wedding planning. I guess we all have a little soft spot for having an amazing meal, so when it comes to choosing the perfect catering for your wedding, many questions come to mind. How much should I spend? What’s included in the cost? What kind of catering should I get? How can I save money on this matter? So in order to help you answer all your questions, we gathered information from real couples and experts to bring you all you need to know about wedding catering in one article!

Photo courtesy of Chloe May Photographer / See Real Wedding.

How much should I spend on catering?

The average cost of wedding catering in Australia in 2019 is $9,666 (6% more than 2018) and if we calculate by the average number of guests which is 97, that comes to $99.64 per guest. But if you would like to see this number more detailed, this is the average cost per state:

NSW: $8,783

ACT: $6,650

VIC: $11,947

TAS: $7,125

SA: $6,204


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WA: $10,809

Food is becoming increasingly important for couples around Australia as they work to create more of a memorable dining experience for their guests.

What’s included in wedding catering?

These are some of the items included in a catering package.

Food: Wedding food cost and price depending on your catering style.

Beverages: Most likely, your caterer will be in charge of providing beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, depending on the package. You can choose to BYOB and pay a corkage fee, hire a different supplier or mobile bar for cocktails.

Staffing: From cooks to servers and bartenders. This is also related to the catering style that you choose (with a buffet option you might not require servers for example).

Rentals: Chairs, tables, dishes or glassware can be provided by your caterer. Some couples choose to hire these rentals with a different supplier in order to match their wedding style, or some venues can provide them too.

Extras: Some suppliers may charge additional fees and costs like corkage fees or cake cutting.

We strongly recommend you to have a chat with the catering company that you choose and review your contract to be completely clear and happy with what you are getting.

What kind of catering should I get?

While DIY couples are the target market for catering services, additional catering options such as food trucks or dessert wagons are becoming increasingly popular, with a rise in cocktail-style receptions and alternative weddings. 37% of couples are getting rid of the seating plan in order to let their guests sit wherever they choose.

These are some of the catering styles to consider:

Sit down: Also known as plated, is the most popular catering style, with 52% of couples choosing to have a coursed sitting meal for their friends and family.

Buffet: This casual catering style where guests serve themselves is currently on the rise, with 29% of couples going buffet style.

Finger food: This catering style means that the food is served in such form and style that it can be eaten with the fingers. This is the option chosen by 15% of the Australian couples.

Other (ie food trucks): Foos trucks, family-style platters, picnic and others, are the go-to option by 4% of Aussie couples. Interactive food stations are also on the rise across 2019.

Should I get a wedding bar?

As we mentioned before, interactive food stations are on the rise, and a wedding bar could be a great addition to your big day. Depending on your style and budget you can choose between these options:

Open bar: This means that the wedding hosts pay for everything, so until the bar runs out of booze, all drinks are on you!

Limited open bar: This means that a limited or a selection of beverages and drinks are for free or that the bar will serve free drinks for a specified time limit by the host. The rest can be purchased by the guest.

Cash bar: This means that guests pay for their own drinks.

How can I save money on catering?

  • Get your guest count right: An accurate guest number count will reduce your expenses and food waste. Push your guests to confirm attendance in advance so you can be on top of your numbers.
  • Be alcohol smart: For sure one of the biggest expenses in your catering bill could be the alcohol, so choose wisely. Either chat with your caterer to bring your own spirits and wines for corkage fee or just limit the bar options to beer and wine rather than having a full bar.
  • No passed appetisers: Cut prep and staff expenses by avoiding appetisers that are passed around. Most of the guests prefer helping themselves instead of waiting for a server to do it.
  • Cut the fancy: There are lots of menu items that can increase the catering bill such as truffles, steak, lobster and many others. Try to find options that suit your budget and wedding style.
  • Use in-season local ingredients: Talk to your caterer to use in-season local ingredients, remember that off-season ingredients increase their prices and using locally grown can translate to better prices.
  • Consider a day-time wedding: It’s no secret that a day time wedding can reduce expenses in many ways, and catering is no exception. Brunch food could be less expensive than dinner.
  • Plan in advance: This is just a collection of all the previous points, but get your numbers right, choose a good caterer, plan ahead and you could save money!

Questions to ask your wedding caterer:

  • Can we customise our menus?
  • Can you cater to different dietary requirements?
  • What is and isn’t included in the menu packages?
  • Are tastings available and what is involved?
  • Where is your food sourced from?
  • What beverage options are available?
  • How many waitstaff will be working on the day?

Finally, if you are hiring a catering service, check out some reviews to make sure that the service that you are hiring will comply with your standards and will make your wedding the unforgettable amazing experience that you are dreaming of.

Find your dream catering here! 

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