Prosecco & Petals

Wedding planning guide

- Venue - Suppliers -
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- Stationery - Final touches -

Wedding catering options compared

Delicious food is a staple of a fabulous wedding and, as couples should expect to be spending 25 - 30% of their total spend on wedding catering, it is wise to do your homework before selecting an option.


Scroll down for the pros and cons of the three main wedding catering options; wedding venue catering, external catering suppliers and bespoke food and drink vendors.

what type of wedding catering to pick

What to expect from wedding venue catering

In-house wedding catering provided directly by the wedding venue will give a reasonably seamless service. This option will cover food, beverages and associated set up, service and equipment. Couples will typically select canapés, wine, wedding breakfast menu and buffet from a pre-defined list of options. All-inclusive wedding venue packages will often coordinate the entire catering process to make it simple and stress-free.


Pros of wedding venue catering

In-house catering is suitable for couples who want a seamless, stress-free food option. Venue catering will generally provide a selection of tried and tested options that appeal to a range of tastes and budgets.


Cons of wedding venue catering

In-house catering can come at a higher price per head, and additional costs should be clearly stated to avoid a hefty reconciliation bill after your wedding. The quality of food and service can vary from venue to venue, and if this is your preferred option, it must be considered when choosing a venue initially.


Average wedding venue catering costs: £70 - £100 per head.


Related articles: Booking a wedding venue

what type of wedding catering to pick
What to expect from wedding catering suppliers

Specialist wedding catering suppliers will provide the same seamless service given by a wedding venue except for chairs and tables, which will often need to be sourced. This option will allow couples to select a caterer based on their preferences and budget. However, the venue will have no liability to ensure the catering on the day goes smoothly. Food and beverage options are generally picked from a pre-defined list. However, there is much more room for creativity and personalisation than venue catering.


Pros of wedding catering suppliers

External full-service catering allows couples to have a more tailored and personalised wedding menu and food. This option can allow couples to go for the right venue without compromising on food if there is no/limited in-house catering. This option can sometimes be more cost-effective options for those willing to spend more time researching and finding the right caterers.


Cons of wedding catering suppliers

External full-service catering will require more research to find the right provider. Where venues do not offer catering, it can be easier to get recommendations, but those venues that offer in-house services may be selective about vendors you can use and also apply corkage fees if you do not use their beverage services. Before embarking on this option, it is worth making comparing costs and looking at food reviews extensively.


Average wedding catering supplier costs: £40 - £60 per head.


Related article: Hiring a caterer

what type of wedding catering to pick
What to expect from independent food vendors

Food and beverage catering offers the most stripped back wedding catering service. As the name suggests; service, cutlery/crockery, chairs/tables and clean up are not generally included (unless explicitly stated). However, many food-only catering companies work closely with other suppliers and can be very budget-friendly. This option allows complete control over cuisine selection, within the allowances of the venue but couples will need to be more heavily involved in planning and logistics.


Pros of independent food vendors

Food and beverage catering usually works out to be the cheapest wedding catering option. Also, your food options can be as creative and daring as you want them to be. This option works well if a self -service wedding breakfast or BBQ is chosen.


Cons of independent food vendors

Food and beverage catering will require a lot of time to ensure that the right caterer is sourced and that complementary suppliers are all booked and organised. This rustic option will often put more pressure on a couple and their friends/family to set up and clear away.


Average independent food vendors costs: £30 – £40 per head.


Related article: Hiring a caterer

what type of wedding catering to pick
What to consider when deciding on your catering option:
  • What options your wedding venue will allow
  • The willingness of your venue to recommend external caterers
  • Restrictions and additional requirements for external catering (corkage fees, insurances, use of kitchen space, clean up charges etc.)
  • Compare the importance of your monetary budget vs time and effort you are willing to put in.
  • The overall importance of your wedding food to you as a couple.
  • Style of menu you want to have, for example; canapés, sit-down meal, buffet or self-service.
  • If opting for external catering, It is wise to check that your catering package will include a coordinator who will organise set up and be there on the day to make sure everything runs smoothly

Related articles: hiring a caterer - wedding cake designs and flavours - wedding cake makers