The Average Cost of Wedding Catering


The average cost of catering a wedding reception can vary widely depending on the part of the country, the time of day, the type of reception and many other variables. Here's a rundown of what a wedding reception might cost to you.

Geography and Time

  • Receptions held in major cities will cost more than those in smaller suburbs and catering on the coast of California and the east coast will cost significantly more than those in Alabama or Iowa. The summer is going to cost more and Saturday evenings are going to cost more than a Friday night, Saturday morning or even Saturday afternoon.

Do It Yourself

  • One of the cheapest ways of catering a reception is to just rent out a private room at a favorite local restaurant. This can cost less than $50 per person. Another cheap alternative is to have it at a private home or church hall with home-made hors d'oevres. This can bring the cost down to mere dollars per person.

Hors d'oeuvres

  • A catered buffet or snack reception is going to cost much less than a sit-down dinner. An average hors d'oeuvres reception can cost between $30 and $70 per person. This can include hot hors d'oeuvres, as well as several food stations and a wine bar.

Sit-Down Dinner

  • A sit down meal at a country club, hotel or fancy restaurant can cost between $125 and $350 per person. They usually include hors d'oeuvres, a multi-course meal and a wine, beer or open bar.


  • When preparing for your reception, be sure to consider all types, not just sit-down dinners. Look at several different caterers in your area, and don't be afraid to try a new business. Also, ask the other vendors for your wedding. The photographer, musicians or baker might know of a great caterer that doesn't charge as much.

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