Send me pricing for…
This is usually what many of the messages we are sent begin with, followed by their guest count. We wish we could so easily reply back with an exact answer, but before we can, we need to ask a few questions of our own:
- What type of event are you hosting?
- What date and time are the event?
- What type of food and beverage are you looking to provide?
- How many guests are you expecting?
- What is your budget?
This information helps our team give the best recommendations for your food and beverage needs. While guest count is a driving factor in overall event costs such as linen costs, being able to provide initial event pricing is mostly dictated by guest count and the food and beverage selection.
Catering packages are usually the more popular choice than al a carte options, and the option most of our clients choose for their events. To demonstrate the breakdown of how al a carte and package pricing differ, we have included the costs for two events that we cater most often: a wedding with cocktail hour and plated meal and a hors d’oeuvre party. Our examples below use the same menu and guest count, with both being based on a 4 hour event.
Party A is the example of a wedding with cocktail hour and a plated meal. We used Special Occasion Package 1 as the package basis for this example. Special Occasion Package 1 includes 4 hours of Vineyard Bar service, choice of 2 displayed hors d’oeuvres, choice of salad, choice of chicken entrée, choice of starch, choice of vegetable and a custom butter cream wedding cake made in the flavor and design of the client’s choice or choice of dessert.
Party B is the example of a hors d’oeuvre party. We used Hors d’oeuvres Party 4 as the package basis for this example. Hors d’oeuvres Party 4 includes an international cheese display, crudites of vegetables display, bruschetta display, hummus display, 2 hot hors d’oeuvres, 2 cold hors d’oeuvres, carving station, pasta station and assorted miniature pastries.
Packages tend to bring ‘the most bang for your buck’, so if there is ever an opportunity for a client to use a package, we are sure to bring it to their attention. Some may argue that catering packages are not as personalized as opting for al a carte choices, but that is only true if the package limits the selections. All of our packages are made from our complete menu. Clients have freedom to select any of the options based on the package’s included items. For example, a package may include the choice of 6 passed hors d’oeuvres and our client would be able to choose from any of the passed hors d’oeuvres that we offer. Some caterers do not allow this freedom and give their clients even more narrowed choices by forcing them to choose between preset menus. This is often seen with hors d’oeuvres parties most.
Cost is truly dependent on food and beverage selection as much as it is about guest count. As these examples have shown, a party for 150 guests can look very different depending on the package selected or the al a carte items chosen.