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Why is Wedding Catering So Expensive? 8 Reasons, Explained

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Published: June 5, 2022

Read Time: Approximately 10 Minutes

Your wedding is one of the most special days of your life. You’re surrounded by family, friends, a beautiful atmosphere, and memories that will last a lifetime. But planning a wedding comes with a lot of questions and a lot of costs, one of the most common being “Why is wedding catering so expensive?”. Well, there’s more to it than you may think! Let’s take a look at what makes wedding catering so expensive. By the end of this article you’ll understand all of the costs involved with wedding catering and why your expensive wedding is actually worth the price.

*Please note that the information below are only examples and may not represent the full cost of wedding catering. If you’re interested in receiving a quote for your wedding catering, please contact us.


In This Article

#1 — Cost of Labour and Staff For Your Wedding
#2 — Wedding Catering: Menu Choices & Types of Service
#3 — Quality of Service For Wedding Catering
#4 — Event Coordination For Your Wedding
#5 — Optional Add-Ons For Your Wedding Catering
#6 — Cost of Rentals For Your Wedding
#7 — Venue Fees For Wedding Catering
#8 — Special Requests & Accommodations for Wedding Catering

“Catering is more than just the food and drinks, especially for a large-scale event like a wedding.”

#1 — Cost of Labour and Staff for Your Wedding

When people think of catering, they immediately think of food and drinks. But catering is more than just the food and drinks, especially for a large-scale event like a wedding. Staff are necessary to help make sure your wedding catering is executed flawlessly, and the labour costs are a big contributor to the cost of your wedding. The staff needed to help cater your wedding could include waitstaff, bartenders, chefs, and an on-site supervisor. To learn more about staffing costs, check out our article How Expensive is Catering? A Full List Of Catering Prices (2022)

#2 — Wedding Catering: Menu Choices & Type of Service

One of the biggest factors of expensive wedding catering is choosing a high-end menu and serving style. For example, a three course plated dinner with premium beef, chicken, and fish options will be among the most expensive types of wedding catering, costing upwards of $100+ per person. But your wedding catering doesn’t necessarily need to be that expensive. You can speak with your wedding caterer about budget friendly menu choices served family-style or as a buffet. Most caterers will have different packages you can choose from at varying price points, or will put together a custom wedding catering menu package specifically for you and your budget. You can take a look at some of our sample Menu Packages to get started.

#3 — Quality of Service for Wedding Catering

Part of the reason why wedding catering can be so expensive is because of the high quality of service. You’re not just paying for the food and staff, but you’re also paying for the professionalism, expertise, and experience that the caterer brings to the table (no pun intended!). The food served at a wedding is one of the aspects your guests will remember most, and you don’t want to cut corners when it comes to the quality of service provided. A premium wedding caterer will ensure your wedding catering is executed seamlessly, and once the big day is over, you’ll thank yourself for choosing a caterer that provided the highest quality service.

#4 — Event Coordination for Your Wedding

One of the reasons wedding catering can be so expensive is because of the amount of coordination involved for the event. Does the wedding venue have an onsite kitchen for the caterer to use, or will the caterer need to bring their own equipment? What is the floorpan and layout of the event? Who is responsible for the liquor licenses? There are a lot of logistics involved; the caterer takes responsibility for many of these things, or will coordinate with the other vendors and wedding planner so that everything runs smoothly. This attention to detail is absolutely necessary to make sure there are no hiccups or setbacks on your big day. Top wedding caterers will put in the time and effort needed to properly coordinate your wedding catering, and the premium service you receive will help justify the costs involved.

“It’s important to be mindful of all of the choices available to make sure what you choose fits within your desired budget.”

#5 — Optional Add-Ons for Your Wedding Catering

It’s no secret that wedding catering can be expensive, but the invoice from your caterer can be higher than expected if you choose a ton of optional add-ons. For example, you may get excited about the premium menu choices that the caterer offers, or choose to upgrade to a premium bar package for your guests to enjoy. Late night food stations are always popular, but they too can add extra costs to the final invoice. Many people prefer to include these add-ons to provide the ultimate experience for their guests, but none of these add-ons are mandatory. It’s important to be mindful of all of the choices available to make sure what you choose fits within your desired budget.

#6 — Cost of Rentals for Your Wedding

Rentals are something that need to be considered when thinking about the price of wedding catering. Rentals can be food related items like cooking equipment and chaffing dishes, or non-food items like decor or extra furniture. Your wedding caterer will often take responsibility for all of these rentals, working with third-party rental companies if needed, to source items and coordinate logistics. Having the caterer take responsibility for this helps make sure the delivery, setup, execution, and cleanup of the event goes smoothly, while also reducing stress on your end since you only need to deal with one point of contact. The cost of rentals will largely depend on the size of your wedding, the complexity of your menu, and what is already available at your chosen venue.

#7 — Venue Fees for Wedding Catering

Depending where you choose to have your wedding, you may see a “Venue Fee” or “Landmark Fee”. This is a fee that the venue charges to the caterer to operate out of their space, and the caterer passes this on to the customer. It’s important to note that this fee is not a direct charge of the caterer! Venue fees can range between 5%-20%. To help keep costs lower for your wedding catering, you can host your wedding at a private property so there is no venue fee. To learn more, take a look at our article “Landmark Fees Explained | Costs When Booking a Venue”.

#8 — Special Requests & Accommodations for Wedding Catering

As special as the wedding is going to be for the bride and groom, it’s also important that all of the guests are accommodated for any special requests or dietary restrictions. Not only does it promote inclusivity for all of the guests, but it helps them feel welcomed and cared for when attending your wedding. Wedding caterers will happily provide choices to accommodate vegan options, gluten free diets, nut allergies, and more. Your wedding caterer will work with you and will go the extra mile to make sure both you and your guests are completely satisfied. However it’s important to keep in mind that substitutions and customizations may have an additional charge.

“You may think the price of wedding catering is expensive, but the cost is necessary if you want the best quality and service for your wedding.”

As you can see, there are many factors that influence the cost of wedding catering. You may think the price of wedding catering is expensive, but the cost is necessary if you want the best quality and service for your wedding. Remember that when it comes to wedding catering, you’re paying for a full-service experience, not just the food and drinks. It’s fine dining restaurant-style service for a large-scale event. But when it comes to something as special and memorable as your wedding, the cost of your wedding catering will be worth every penny!

Want to learn more about our wedding catering? Check out our Wedding Catering page, our Menu Packages, or Contact Us today for a custom menu and proposal.

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