A Comprehensive Guide to Wedding Catering: Costs, Packages, Styles, and Tips

weddings catering costs, packages and styles for events Los Angeles

A Comprehensive Guide to Wedding Catering: Costs, Packages, Styles, and Tips


Planning a wedding involves many decisions, and one of the most crucial is selecting the right catering service. From choosing a menu to deciding on bar options, there’s a lot to consider. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about wedding catering, including prices, costs, packages, styles, types, average cost per person, average cost for alcohol, bar options, how to save money, and questions to ask your caterer.

Understanding Wedding Catering Costs


  1. Average Cost per Person:

    • The cost per person for wedding catering can vary widely based on factors like location, guest count, and menu choices. On average, expect to spend between $40 and $150 per guest.
  2. Factors Influencing Cost:

    • Guest count, menu complexity, service style, and location all impact your catering costs. A plated meal with multiple courses will be more expensive than a buffet.
  3. Additional Costs:

    • In addition to the per-person cost, don’t forget to factor in taxes, service charges, and gratuities, which can add 20-30% to the total.
weddings catering costs, packages and styles for events Los Angeles

Wedding Catering Styles and Types


  1. Buffet Style:

    • Guests serve themselves from a variety of dishes. Buffets offer a wide selection and are often cost-effective.
  2. Plated Service:

    • Elegant and formal, each guest is served a pre-selected meal. It’s more labor-intensive, and costs can be higher.
  3. Family-Style:

    • Similar to a plated meal, large platters of food are brought to each table for guests to share.
  4. Food Stations:

    • Interactive and fun, food stations offer various cuisines or types of food, like a sushi bar or a taco station.

Alcohol and Bar Options


  1. Average Cost for Alcohol:

    • The average cost for alcohol can range from $15 to $60 per person. It depends on the types of drinks offered and whether you choose an open bar, cash bar, or a combination.
    • Mixers, cups, water, and soda range from $10 to $25 per person.
  2. Bar Options:

    • Choose from options like an open bar (all drinks included), a cash bar (guests pay for their drinks), or a limited bar (select drinks included).
    • Bar Tenders cost an average of $250-$500 per each.
wedding bar costs

Saving Money on Wedding Catering


  1. Limit Alcohol Choices:

    • Offering a signature cocktail or a limited drink menu can save on alcohol costs.
    • Buying the alcohol and mixers yourself will save you money.
  2. Choose In-Season Ingredients:

    • Opting for seasonal foods can be more budget-friendly.
    • opting in for a Buffet-Style meal will lower your costs.
  3. Simplify the Menu:

    • Reducing the number of courses or choices can help lower costs.
  4. Consider Non-Traditional Catering:

    • Food trucks, potluck-style gatherings, or brunch receptions can be unique and cost-effective options.

Questions to Ask Your Caterer

weddings catering costs, packages and styles for events Los Angeles


  1. Availability:

    • Confirm the caterer’s availability on your wedding date.
  2. Experience:

    • Ask about their experience with weddings and for references from past clients.
  3. Menu Options:

    • Discuss menu options, including dietary restrictions and customization.
  4. Tasting:

    • Inquire about menu tastings to ensure you’re happy with the food.
  5. Staffing:

    • Determine the number of staff and their roles during the event.
  6. Logistics:

    • Discuss delivery, setup, and breakdown logistics.
  7. Catering Equipment:

    • Ensure the caterer has the necessary equipment for your venue.

A Comprehensive Guide to Wedding Catering: Costs, Packages, Styles, and Tips


Wedding catering is a crucial aspect of your big day, and understanding the costs, styles, and options is essential for making informed decisions. Whether you’re planning an intimate gathering or a grand celebration, a well-thought-out catering plan will ensure your guests have a memorable dining experience. Don’t forget to ask the right questions and explore cost-saving options to make your wedding catering both delightful and budget-friendly.

Also, for more info about wedding planning check out our Top Wedding Venues in Los Angeles, How to plan the perfect wedding, How To Choose Wedding Dress, Flower Ideas For Weddings, average cost of wedding venue, and top 10 wedding songs 2023.

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A Comprehensive Guide to Wedding Catering: Costs, Packages, Styles, and Tips

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