Charcuterie Board with Cheeses

Planning Tips: Mistakes to Avoid When Creating Your Wedding Catering Budget

A delectable wedding menu is a special part of your wedding, one that will touch every guest in attendance. To dine on the delicious foods you’ve dreamed of, you’ll need to carefully plan your wedding budget. Accidentally overlooking important details can result in unexpected hiccups and costs. Avoid these money mistakes when setting your budget for wedding catering.

Mistake 1: Setting A Catering Budget Before A Master Budget

Before you book or buy anything, discuss overall numbers with your partner and family members who have pledged financial support for your big day. Once you have a good idea of the total you have to work with, you’ll be able to better allocate your spending based on your priorities. Bonus Tip! Your guest count will have the biggest impact on your budget. While you may want to invite 200 people to your wedding,  your budget may not stretch to feed that many guests. Tier your guest list into A, B & C groups to help you make cuts.

Mistake 2: Making Payments Before Setting Priorities

It’s always a good idea to determine what is most important to you and make spending decisions accordingly. What are your top three non-negotiables as a couple? If you must have a live band, an amazing feast, and opulent flowers then you know where most of your budget should go, so don’t blow it on invitation stationery! Bonus Tip! Get your catering quotes as early as possible. This will not only help you get a better idea of your budget; it will begin the conversation with your caterer and keep you on track to secure your preferred team on your wedding date.

Mistake 3: Choosing a Buffet to Save Money

While a buffet or a heavy hors-d’oeuvres style menus may sound less expensive, it’s not always the cheaper option. Buffets may offer more options to guests with dietary restrictions, but these additional menu choices sometimes come at a higher price for food and staffing fees. If budget is your biggest concern, follow the guidance of your caterer to determine the style of menu and service that will fit best.

Mistake 4: Forgetting to Budget for Service Fees

When looking at catering menus prices be sure to budget for additional service fees and taxes. Service fees generally add 20% to your base menu price and taxes another 9.25% sales tax for Tennessee weddings. Bonus Tip! Trust the pros when it comes to the number of servers, bartenders and on-site staff your event will need. While this may seem like an easy way to shave costs, it’s much better to be fully staffed than to keep your guests waiting in line for a drink or a meal.

Mistake 5: Staying Set on a Custom Menu

There are plenty of ways to incorporate your favorites foods or heritage into your wedding celebration. If having a custom menu is close to your heart, but the budget is not working out for it, keep an open mind. Choosing from packaged catering menus with items that have been perfected by the staff can reduce your costs. While it may mean a compromise in what you envisioned, it will  still mean a delicious menu for your guests at a price that works for your budget.

Choosing the right caterer for your event doesn’t have to be difficult! Pick our brains at  – we’d be more than happy to answer any questions you have about your big day.