Well, BABs, we thought we had it all figured out. We found a venue that was cheap, and beautiful, and agreed to allow us to supply our own alcohol without adding corkage. We were pretty happy.
The venue had just contracted a local Italian restaurant to provide catering. We contacted the manager to set up a time to meet, and she was lovely. We told her our vision for our wedding and our budget. She told us what she could offer for that amount. She offered to send us a sample menu, with our agreed upon food budget, mentioning that there would be a slight add-on for the cost of staffing. I’m like, sure, a couple of servers and a bartender. A few extra dollars a head. No biggie. I went home to bed that with visions of arancini balls and pillowy ricotta gnocchi dancing in my head.
Then, when she sent us the sample menu, the cost of the catering was literally double our budget. After the initial shock and horror, we were able to look over the price breakdown and see where all the extra money had come from. Apparently, the cost of the food per person she had quoted us, at $70 a head, was literally the cost of the raw materials for the food. That quote hadn’t include the labour for prepping and cooking the food, in addition to serving it. She had also factored in the cost of paying everyone (servers, bartenders, chefs, etc.) for nine hours of work, despite dinner taking place over the course of a three hour period. We were feeling extremely ripped off, not to mention downright icky. So, we sent an email back, asking for some explanations about the pricing, and some suggestions on where we might like to cut costs: We would cut the amount of tapas in half and eliminate one of the salads. We eagerly awaited her response with a price adjustment.
It’s been two months and despite repeated emails and phone calls, we’ve heard nothing. To be honest, we’re okay with it. She obviously doesn’t want to work within our budget. Maybe the amount we are looking to spend isn’t worth her time. Fine. So, we’ve determined that it’s time for us to find a new caterer and we are going to be, unfortunately, scrambling — our wedding is on the Saturday of a long weekend. However, I wont get discouraged, BABs. I can’t. Instead, I’ll use this as an opportunity to be creative, to try something more unique. Maybe we will try a more low-key theme like real bride Rachel‘s Carnival themed wedding! We shall see … I’ll keep you all posted.
Have you had troubles staying within your food budget? Share below!
And other yummy treats!
I detailed our food plan a while back, and if you recall, I was missing a fairly important detail: the total cost. We worked with our caterer to come up with the perfect menu, and we had a general price range of $12-$15 per person. We never had a contract and we didn’t have to pay any sort of deposit. Kinda scary … but we knew we were dealing with really awesome and honest people, so we were okay with it. Basically they were just going to keep track of how much food we went through, and then add it up and we’d pay the total at the end of the evening. Easy peasy.
So how did it all turn out? Effing amazing! You guys … our food was so legit. It was delicious and fun and fantastic and about 65 other adjectives. Not only did Russel and I love it, but our guests did, too. People were commenting on it all night … and for days and weeks afterward. The final final menu ended up being shredded beef sandwiches, sausages with peppers and onions, corn dogs, french fries, funnel cakes, elephant ears and frozen chocolate-dipped cheesecake. We also had homemade baked beans and Napa cabbage salad, which were prepared by some super awesome and loving family members and friends.
The stands looked so amazing once the sun went down! Bonus!
Our friend Nolan with an elephant ear and cheesecake.
Funnel cake! Nom nom nom!
I wish I had more pictures of the deliciousness! Everything was so good.
So not only was the food the best ever, our caterers were the best, too. They set up the trailers on Thursday, which made for one less thing to worry about the day of the wedding. They also served food from the time dinner started (about 6 p.m.) until 9 p.m. For years I had planned to have late night pizza delivered because I know people get hungry after drinking and dancing for hours, but since they served so late, we didn’t have to. Again, less for us to worry about!
I’ll be totally honest, as the evening went on and we saw how much food everyone was eating — people were making trip after trip after trip — we were a little scared to settle up. I was prepared for the worst, but when Russel found me afterword and told me our total was a whopping $2,100, I was ecstatic! I can’t say for sure how many guests we ended up having (a few people who said they were coming didn’t show up), but including our vendors I think we fed around 160 people. A little over $13/person for amaaazing food? YES, PLEASE. Literally my only regret is that I didn’t eat more food. I had a sandwich and an order of fries … that’s it! I need a re-do so I can have six helpings of everything.
Broke-Asses: Have a carnival wedding! And have authentic carnival eats! Your guests, your taste buds and tummy, and your budget will all thank you!