Wedding Catering: What Couples Love (and Don’t Love)

Updated on: December 15, 2023

What’s a celebration without some delicious eats, right? Right on the heels of venue hunting comes the quest for top-notch wedding catering.

When it comes to wedding catering, we surveyed 4,200 couples to learn what satisfies, and what leaves them hungry for more. Here’s a peek…

Wedding catering by Creative Catering
Wedding catering by Creative Catering

The average cost of wedding catering in Australia

Given the tough economic climate, the wedding industry is not exempt from the current cost of living impacts, the 2024 Australian Wedding Industry Report found. As a result, catering is one of the categories feeling the pinch.

The average cost of wedding catering in Australia for 2024 is $5,416, holding steady from last year’s $5,429. Seems like couples have found their sweet spot in pricing, allowing for more wiggle room in other wedding must-haves.

Where Caterers Shine

Let’s start with what couples adore about their wedding caterers:

  • Menu options for all budgets —because who doesn’t love choices that suit their wallet?
  • Dietary requirement choices that are exciting
  • On-point presentation, with caterers wowing with Insta-worthy dishes
  • Hosting menu-tasting events. Who can resist sampling the menu beforehand?
  • Sending guests home with containers of leftover buffet or grazing menu goodies
  • Syncing tableware and serving platters with the wedding theme earns major brownie points for seamless style integration
Wedding catering by Pasta Face
Wedding catering by Pasta Face

Room for Improvement

Here are a few areas that caterers could work on improving, according to our couples:

  • Some caterers forgot to cut and serve the wedding cake, which was part of the package
  • Communication channels with caterers were a bit sluggish, impacting the planning pace
  • Clearer timelines for final decisions would have made the planning dance less of a guessing game
  • Not sticking to the agreed run sheet added moments of unease
  • Undertrained wait staff disrupted the smooth flow of the day

4 Catering Trends to Watch

Here’s what’s in for catering in 2024:

  1. Tradition Wins: Classic alternate-drop meals take the crown, making up 44% of catering styles preferred by Aussie couples.
  2. Feasting Fun: Sharing and feasting styles are gaining traction, capturing 23% of couples’ hearts.
  3.  Easy Breezy Choices: Buffets, roaming cocktail food, grazing tables, and food trucks make up 33% of catering preferences, embracing casual yet cool vibes.
  4. Menu Diversity Rules: Nearly half of all couples (47%) want caterers to handle multiple dietary needs. From veggie and vegan to gluten-free and religious options, inclusivity is in.

Pro Tips for Wedding Caterers

Meeting demands of emerging food and beverage trends while adding a sprinkle of timeless charm is the recipe for culinary success.

Catering is at the early stage of the Wedding Buying Cycle. The chart below shares where couples typically begin their planning journey,  with the cycle generally spread across 12-16 months. Establishing great relationships with businesses in categories near yours on the Wedding Buying Cycle, like venues, planners and celebrants, will help you get recommendations.

Cheers to the caterers who make wedding dreams taste as good as they look!

Wedding Buying Cycle 1

For the full scoop on all things weddings, click the below button to download the latest Australian Wedding Industry Report.

Download the 2024 Wedding Industry Report

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Categories: Wedding Industry