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When planning your big day, you want to create a memorable experience for your friends and family. That includes providing a delicious meal that will allow guests to relax and enjoy the celebration. However, the costs associated with catering can quickly add up. It is important to understand what goes into the overall cost of wedding catering, so you can make informed decisions and find budget-friendly options that are still delicious and impressive.

The number of guests you invite, venue restrictions, and the type of food service you select will all impact the average price per person for your event. Plated meals are a popular choice, with guests being served their dinner in courses by wait staff at their tables. This style of wedding catering typically comes in at about $100-$200 per guest, depending on the exact menu and quantity of food served.

Another common option is a buffet. This allows guests to help themselves to a selection of foods from a buffet station or on individual plates that are brought to the table by servers. Oftentimes, buffet wedding catering can be less expensive than plated meals because there is less food waste.

Lastly, couples are leaning into catering trends that involve serving more inclusive menus that can accommodate various diets and dietary restrictions. This can include everything from vegan options to gluten-free desserts. As a result, this has added to the national average price of wedding catering.

While many of these factors are beyond a couple’s control, there are ways to reduce the overall wedding catering costs that are. Some of these tactics include:

1. Donate your leftover food. This is a great way to get rid of your unwanted food while also helping a local cause. Just be sure to coordinate with your caterer and the charity you are donating to ensure that they can properly record the amount of food donated. You may be able to claim this as a charitable donation on your taxes.

2. Ask your wedding caterer if they offer add-on services. Many caterers will charge extra for things like champagne toasts, cake cutting and more. Be sure to discuss these with your caterer and make sure they are clearly outlined in your contract before committing.

3. Discuss all the included services with your wedding caterer. It is easy to forget about some of the smaller details associated with your catering, such as trash removal, water refills and table clearing. Be sure to discuss these with your caterer so that they are accounted for in the overall price of your wedding.

When it comes to your wedding, remember that quality is more important than the quantity. It is better to spend a bit more on your food and drinks than to cut corners and serve mediocre or bland fare. By doing a little research and working with an experienced wedding caterer, you can be confident that your guests will leave feeling full and happy.