Choosing the caterer for your Las Vegas wedding is one of the most fun, yet stressful parts of the planning process. And, when you have a restricted budget the choices get even more difficult. Here are a few things to consider when you are choosing your wedding caterer.
First and foremost, you need to determine what your catering budget is before you can make any decisions. Also when setting this budget, decide whether or not your wedding cake will be included in the overall catering budget or if it’s going to be treated as a separate expense.
Depending on your reception location, catering budgets can range anywhere from $35 – $135 per person. So, if you have 100 guests and your catering cost is $85 per person, then you just quickly got an $8,500 bill and that may not even include the cake or beverages!
To save a little money, keep your menus simple, offer some type of snack before dinner such as cheese and crackers or a veggie platter to keep your guests from getting too hungry, add limitations to open bars, and try to refrain from the traditional sit-down dinner (which is generally the most expensive option). Another big money saver is to have your wedding on an alternate day other than Saturday.
Types of Catering
After you determine your catering budget, you then need to decide what kind of menu you would like to offer. If your Las Vegas wedding venue offers catering as a part of your package, you may be limited to the more traditional buffet-style or sit-down dinner. If you have more freedom with your catering, you can offer different types of food stations around the venue, passed tapas-sized selections, a food truck, or even bring in your own food and beverages.
For my wedding reception we wanted a more interactive and fun atmosphere, so we selected a combination of passed appetizers and food stations offering tapas-sized bites so our guests could enjoy a variety of food and eat at their leisure. This option also helped reduce the budget from $100 per person for a buffet or sit-down dinner to $80 per person.
Once you select the type of catering, then determine if you want any particular theme or type of food. If you’re having a more upscale wedding on a golf course, you may want to provide more traditional options such as chicken, steak or fish and green beans, mashed potatoes, etc. If you want to celebrate your culture, then perhaps you can choose a cuisine that reflects your heritage. Or, if you’re going to have a more relaxed wedding, try using a food truck or a picnic-styled meal.
Whichever type of menu you select, be sure to do a tasting before signing your contract and inform your caterer if any of your guests have dietary restrictions such as allergies, vegetarian, gluten free, etc.
Dessert and Cocktails
In addition to traditional wedding cakes, you can try exploring various dessert options including a cupcake station, dessert shooters, cake pops, pie, pastries, ice cream, etc. Just keep in mind the type of menu you’re going to offer and choose a dessert option that coincides accordingly. Using these kinds of alternatives can also save you quite a bit!
If you’re offering signature cocktails, think about how they will pair with your food offerings as well as your theme. For example, piña coladas may not go well with a southern inspired menu, just as an apple martini may be too formal for a summer food truck wedding.
Above all, stick with your favorites and a menu style that reflects you and your fiancé! Your wedding is unique and special to you, so don’t order foods that you hate just because you think your guests will enjoy it. If sushi is one of your favorites, then consider serving it as an appetizer rather than the main course. This way you can get what you enjoy, but you’re also taking into consideration that others may not share your same culinary enthusiasm.
Remember, it’s your day. Simply relax, have fun and enjoy planning one of the best times of your life!
For more wedding planning tips and information, be sure to visit http://www.bridalspectacular.com. And, make sure to save-the-date to attend our Autumn Bridal Show August 16 and 17 at Cashman Center!