Prosecco and Petals

wedding guide

- Date and venue - wedding suppliers -
wedding dress - Bridesmaids and gifts
- Invites and stationery - Finishing touches -

Finding wedding photographers - Planning pictures - wedding catering options - Hiring a wedding caterer - wedding entertainment- Hiring a band - Hiring a DJ- wedding hairstylists - Bridal makeup styles - wedding makeup artists - wedding cake styles - Choosing a cake maker - Finding a wedding florist - Choosing bridal flowers

Choosing a wedding catering option

Delicious food is a staple of the fabulous wedding but finding a creative, professional caterer can be complicated. The below article is designed to give an overview of the three main catering options.

wedding caterer

wedding Catering Options

In-house wedding catering provided directly 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 canapes, 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.


External full-service catering company 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.


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


Related articles: hiring a caterer - wedding cake styles - wedding cake makers

wedding caterer

Benefits of each catering option

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.


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.


Food and Beverage catering usually works out to be the cheapest wedding catering option. However, the amount of organisation required and additional suppliers required should not be underestimated. This option works well if a self -service wedding breakfast is chosen. Within the restrictions and insurance needs of your venue, your food options can be as creative as you want them to be.


wedding caterer

Negatives of each catering option

In-house catering can come at a higher price per head, and additional costs should be clearly stated to avoid a heft 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.


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 that offer in-house services may require more requirements or corkage fees. Before embarking on this option, it is worth making cost comparison and looking avenue food reviews to make sure your extra effort is worth it.


Food and Beverage catering will require a lot of time to ensure that the right caterer is sourced and that complimentary 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.


wedding caterer
The average cost of catering options

Whether you are choosing in-house catering or an external caterer most companies will provide a price per head:


  • In-house catering option. £70 - £100
  • External full-service catering: £40 - £60
  • Food and Beverage catering only £30 – £40
  • While it can be tempting to go for the cheapest option, it is worth researching what is included In the pricing, customer reviews, caterer credentials and food options available. Whatever choice you choose, do expect that catering will be a significant proportion of your budget.

    wedding caterer
    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 significance of food in your day priorities.
  • Style of menu canapés, sit down, buffet, self-service, evening options
  • It is wise to check your package includes a catering 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 styles - wedding cake makers