bride and groom chairs at wedding reception

Should You Cater Your Own Wedding?

Jul 6, 2018
By Wedding Spot

Unfortunately, there’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to catering a wedding reception. Each and every couple has their own individual needs. However, most couples ask themselves this important question early in the planning process: Should we bring in our own wedding caterer for the reception, or should we spring for an all-inclusive venue’s catering package? Considering that food takes up a large portion of most couples’ wedding budgets, this isn’t always an easy decision to make.

Want to cater your own wedding? Here’s everything you should consider:

How much will a wedding caterer cost?

It might seem like selecting a cheap wedding caterer would be cheaper than going all-inclusive, but this isn’t always the case. For example, you may save money bringing in your own caterer if you would prefer a cheaper, more casual menu featuring finger foods when your venue only offers higher-end menu options. However, if you wanted to bring in an outside caterer to make to-die-for steak and lobster, then the all-inclusive would definitely be cheaper. This is only one of the many factors to consider when comparing catering costs. Take the time to price out the costs of going with your venue’s catering package versus other caterers you have considered working with.

Are you prepared to work with a suite of vendors?

If you decide to cater your own wedding, some venues may need you to take care of other aspects of planning and assembling the reception area. This includes items like tables, barware, linens, and more. If this is the case, then you may need to coordinate with vendors that specialize in these areas. This involves additional work on your part, as well as additional funds.

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How much do you want to personalize your menu?

All-inclusive venue catering options are easy picks, but they can also seem “cookie cutter” to some couples. If you’re searching for something unique, then you may want to consider bringing in your own caterer. This will allow you to hand select the kind of foods and ingredients you want included on your menu, rather than selecting a standard venue catering package.

How much effort do you want to put in?

One of the most appealing aspects of all-inclusive venues is that they’re one-stop shops. Once you book them, you don’t need to worry about the reception. There’s no more research to do, no more coordinating, no more contract negotiating. Everything is taken care of and off your plate. When you decide to bring in your own caterer, you’re potentially signing up for a lot more work. This is what makes booking an all-inclusive venue so popular. Before making your decision, be realistic about how much more work you can take on during the wedding planning process.

UP NEXT: The ultimate list of questions to ask your wedding caterer.

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Wedding Spot

The Wedding Spot blog is designed to help couples navigate every step of the wedding planning journey. From before the engagement to after you say “I do,” our goal is to give you the tips, ideas, and inspiration to prepare for your big day — and all that comes with it.