How much do catering services cost

How much do catering services cost?

As fun as they are, throwing parties and hosting events such as birthdays and weddings can put quite a dent in your savings.  While there are many factors that influence the cost of an event, catering is one particular service that accounts for a large portion of total expenses.

To make sure you stay within your budget, we’ve prepared a guide detailing the basic cost of catering.  In addition, we’ve also included resources pertaining to wedding venues, event photographers, catering companies, and other related services.

Breaking Down Catering Costs

Breaking Down Catering Costs

Wedding Catering

Wedding catering is often extremely formal with most services consisting of set meals and plated dishes.  The food served with this form of catering is reminiscent of what you would receive at a fancy restaurant complete with an appetizer, a main dish, and dessert.

More often than not the price range for wedding catering resides between $50 to $150 per person depending on your specific service.  Naturally, services that use more expensive ingredients such as seafood and prime beef will reside on the higher end of the spectrum

While the actual price of wedding catering may vary, we’ve found the average price per person to be somewhere around $85.  This price usually includes a full course meal and a beverage service.

Events Catering

Since it may not be as formal as a wedding, catering for events often carries a significantly more affordable price.  From our research, meal services for most parties or household events will cost around $30 to $60 per person.

Events catering is significantly more affordable as it doesn’t require extensive preparation and trained staff.  More often than not, event catering involves pre-cooked dishes that are delivered to a venue at an appointed time.

The responsibility of serving and portioning these dishes is left entirely to the client.  This practice provides more flexibility in personal venues which can be great for get-togethers involving family and friends


As extravagant as they are, buffets are quite excessive in that they require a significant amount of time for both setup and service.  Beyond this, the large amount of food served during buffet-style catering often leads to a considerable amount of leftovers.

Because of the excessive nature of buffets and the effort required to maintain them standard costs usually reach $60 to $80 per person.  While the number of servers required is equivalent to the number of dishes prepared, clean-up can still be quite time-consuming.

Cutting Costs

Cutting costs doesn’t necessarily mean lowering the overall quality of your chosen catering service.  In this case, cost-cutting can be achieved by opting for more affordable dishes and avoiding costly ingredients such as seafood.

Purchasing your own liquor from a separate wholesale retailer can also help reduce catering costs.  This is because many catering companies often mark up their liquor considerably to cover other expenses.

Now that we’ve covered the basic costs associated with catering services, we sincerely hope you’ll find it easier to prepare a proper budget and find a reasonable quote.