Wedding Prices: Catering

All the pricings for your first meal as newlyweds! table set up with the wedding breakfast
By Pippa Mackenzie

Wedding breakfast can be slightly complicated when you approach it for the first time, but don’t worry, as Bridebook are here to clarify the pricing and all the little details!

Bridebook’s Ballpark Figure:


This can get you:

A starter, a main course and desert for 100 guests at a manor house hotel, along with complimentary accommodation for the bride and groom and discounted rooms for guests.

How does the pricing work?

The first thing you need to know is that catering can be done in-house or you can hire caterers to come to your venue separately. Venues that include catering are usually priced per head, meaning there will be a set price for every guest, which will include food (a buffet or sit-down meal), the venue rental and sometimes ½ bottle of wine per person for the meal and some bubbly for the toasts. If a venue is priced at a lump sum, it usually means that catering is not included and what you are paying goes towards securing the venue. cheeseboard set up for wedding breakfast
By Pippa Mackenzie

What affects the price of catering?

Number of Guests

You will want each of your guests to have an awesome time, delicious food and drink, which means that the more guests you have, the higher the overall price of catering, as you pay for each plate consumed. So if you are inviting 100 guests and your meal is priced at £40 per head, your food will cost you £4,000 (although, if you are inviting lil’ ones, their plates will usually cost less than adult ones!)

Style of service

There are two ways of serving your wedding breakfast, a buffet or a sit-down meal, both of which have pros and cons when it comes to your budget. For example, for a sit-down meal, you would have to factor in the wages of the waiters, as you would need one server per 11 guests and the waiters can earn up to £18 per hour. Alternatively, you can serve your guests a yummy buffet, which won’t need servers, but might require more food than a sit-down meal! So really, it is a question of what you and your beloved prefer and the quotes that you receive from your vendors! A little tip from us, if you really want the official feel of a sit-down meal but are limited by your budget, have guests carve up and serve their own food!

If your wedding venue is offering in-house catering and the exclusive use of the premises, the price is guaranteed to be higher than that of a hotel that will have other customers staying, as you can see from the example below. Similarly, if you are hiring outside caterers and they need to travel to your venue, they might charge you for their transport! Before settling for one of the options, have a chat with your sweetheart and discuss what is really important to you, whether it is the exclusivity of the venue, the delicious food or the amazing location and go from there.

London HotelCountry House(catering and venue hire)Country House (just catering, venue hire is £6,950 for a Saturday in summer)
Price per head– £139 or £149 for dinner, drinks and champagne for the toasts for 100 guests.Price per head– £225 for champagne upon arrival, canapés, four course dinner, drinks and champagne for the toast.Price per head– from £38 for a three course meal.
Buffet price per head-£139 or £149 for dinner, drinks and champagne for the toasts for 100 guests.Buffet price per head– £119 for starter, main and dessert. No drinks included.Price per head– from £28 for a selection of dishes.

The Venue

Another factor that can affect the price of your wedding breakfast is your venue. If you are hiring outside caterers to come to a country house, which has a huge kitchen and all the facilities available, that can sometimes be cheaper than hiring a marquee which will need portable kitchen equipment. For example, renting a convection oven would cost £80, a microwave would be £30 and a water boiler would be £10, which can quickly add up, especially if there are lots of people to feed. wedding venue and tables decorated for the reception with candles
By Miki Photography

The Food

The kind of food that you serve at your wedding can also affect price. For example, locally sourced produce and seasonal food will cost less than food that would have to be flown in (for example, those oysters that you love can add an extra £5 per person). Similarly, the more menu choices you have available, the higher the price that you would be required to pay. This is why most RSVP cards give guests a choice between a meat, fish and a vegetarian option!

The Alcohol

Alcohol is probably the biggest factor that will affect the price of your wedding breakfast. When choosing your alcohol you need to keep two things in mind: corkage fees and the types of alcohol that you want to serve. Corkage fees are either £5-11 per each bottle served, or the price of one of the house wines that your venue serves, but ask your venue what their policy is just in case!

The next pricing factor when it comes to alcohol depends on the kind of alcohol you serve. A bottle of spirits will cost more than a bottle of wine, but it will also serve more drinks, so cater to your audience when deciding what to get! To find out more about different measurements, read Introduction: The Secrets of Wedding Alcohol.

For some tips on how to save on wedding breakfast read our Saving Tips: Wedding Breakfast and Saving Tips: Wedding Alcohol. dancing table name and flowers at wedding breakfast
By Chris Giles Photography

Happy Planning!

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