A wedding is a magical ceremony celebrating the union of people and families.
One of the key elements of any wedding has got to be the food served, capable of bringing together people of all backgrounds to sit down and chat over some delicious grub.
At the same time, wedding catering can be a significant expense.
But while you may have a budget in mind for your catering, the last thing you’ll want to do is compromise the quality of your food.
So here are some strategies that can help you get affordable wedding catering in Pittsburgh.
The Different Serving-Style Options
For wedding catering services, there are 5 common types of service styles. Each has its unique characteristics.
- Plated: Guests stay seated while individually plated meals are served to them.
- Family-style: Guests serve themselves from large central platters on their tables brought by waitstaff.
- Buffet: Guests go to a table with serving platters and serve themselves.
- Stations: Guests serve themselves from a series of buffet stations, each specializing in different types of foods or parts of the same meal.
- Cocktail-style: Guests are served bite-sized hors d’oeuvres by the waitstaff instead of having a sit-down dinner.
Cocktail-style receptions are often the most affordable option.
But while this is great for extended mingling, it’s often not as formal as other forms of catering.
The next most affordable options are buffets, stations, and family-style meals.
These are a good fit for a more traditional wedding service, but for the most formal services, you’ll want to go with a plated service, which is one of the most expensive options.
The Ways to Make Your Catering More Affordable
The three aspects of catering that end up adding the most to your bill are kitchen infrastructure, staffing, and food quantities. Here are strategies to lower the costs of each.
1. Ensure the Kitchen Infrastructure is more Accessible
One of the most significant costs for any form of service style is kitchen infrastructure.
If you’re planning to have a wedding in a location that is a little less traditional, such as an open field, a beach, or an art gallery, while location costs might not be as pricey, it can end up affecting your catering budget.
This is because it’s incredibly expensive to bring in temporary commercial-grade facilities, like three-compartment sinks, to cook dinner on-site.
Your best bet for affordable wedding catering in Pittsburgh, therefore, is to have the ceremony in the location you prefer and to move your guests to a more formal reception hall where kitchen facilities are easily available and accessible.
2. Reduce the Number of Staff Necessary
Labor is a huge cost for any caterer, which means that additional staff on your special day is going to affect pricing.
Depending on the service style you choose, you may require servers to bring and take away plates and platters, cook at certain stations, serve at the buffet, or pass around hors d’oeuvres.
You also need to consider the amount of time and labor that will be required to wash all the dirty dishes your guests have used at the end of the evening.
For buffet-style catering, you can potentially opt for unmanned stations, with a few servers to help collect used plates and clean up.
Individually plated meals would require more servers to carry around plates of food.
For cocktail-style dinners, however, you can opt to make it a self-serve grazing table set up in various sections of the hall.
So to ensure you’re getting the most affordable wedding catering in Pittsburgh, talk to your caterer about the options available to you to reduce staffing costs.
3. Control the Food Quantity Accurately
Food quantity is also a factor that adds to the overall cost.
Having a self-serve option will often add to your cost, as guests are more likely to overfill their plates, taking a little bit of everything and coming back for seconds or thirds.
This means your caterer needs to buy and prepare a lot more food than they would have if it was a plated or family-style dinner, where portions are controlled.
With hors d’oeuvres, it’s the same situation, as more bites are required to fully satisfy your guests.
One of the best ways to ensure that you’re getting the right amount of food is to know exactly how many people will be attending. You should aim to get 1-1.5 portions for each guest if it’s self-serve catering you’re opting for.
Talk to your Caterer about Affordable Wedding Catering in Pittsburgh
No matter your budget, your caterer should be able to provide you with a package that can service your requirements.
Be sure to speak to several caterers and obtain a rough estimate of how much it will cost for each catering option so you can settle on the most affordable wedding catering in Pittsburgh.
The best affordable caterer will have ways in which they can help you get the best quality catering for your specific budget.