Some parts of wedding planning are easier than others. You’ll know exactly how many bridesmaids’ bouquets you’ll need and the number of seats your guests will require at your ceremony. Your reception food is an entirely different experience. This guide explains how much food to serve at your wedding so establishing your menu doesn’t feel like a guessing game.
It’s always a good idea to plan your menu early. Think about what you’d enjoy eating after your ceremony and which desserts would feel most celebratory with your champagne toast. You’ll only be able to decide on the specific number of portion sizes and plates when your RSVP cards arrive in the mail. Finalise your guest list by collecting RSVPs and then coordinate with your caterers to narrow down how much food to serve at your wedding.
Caterers will portion meals and estimate the number of servings differently. It depends on what they make and their culinary skills. Brides spend an average of $200 per head for their catering for mid-sized weddings, so the cost will likely play a role in how much food you’ll serve and which caterer you’ll hire.
Five-star chefs may serve much smaller portion sizes, requiring brides to pay for more food and a larger bill. A family-owned restaurant in your town might plate more food and minimize how many plates you need per guest. Compare catering services and their fees to get a better idea of how much food you’ll have at your reception.
If your main course is soup, your guests may need two bowls each to feel satisfied. Laid-back reception meals that serve pizza will only require three slices per guest, allowing brides to minimize costs by feeding more people per pizza box. Deciding which foods you’ll serve will determine how much you’ll need to buy. Shrimp cocktails as an appetizer will cost more than breadstick baskets on each table. Figure out your preferred foods and make a list of alternatives if the initial catering estimates max out your budget.
Reflect on your guest list after receiving RSVPs. Will your wedding only include adults or will children attend too? You’ll know exactly how much food to serve at your wedding if you plan for what foods people will eat. Save some money by estimating portion sizes based on age. Adults can each eat a steak with a side of mac and cheese, while kids can grab budget-friendly hot dogs in place of more steaks.
Your serving method also makes it easier to determine portions at your reception. Buffets require an abundance of food because your guests could sample a bit of everything or prefer only a few of the available options. Plated meals are easier to keep within a budget because caterers can plan for the exact amount of food served to each guest.
Once you know how you’d like to serve your reception meal, your catering requirements will become much more straightforward. Think about your wedding theme and how formal you want your wedding to be before deciding between plated meals or a buffet-style reception.
Use these tips and work with your catering teams to decide exactly how much food to serve at your wedding. They’ll help you figure out details like serving sizes, types of food and how many plates you’ll need for everyone before ever requiring you to sign a contract.