Comments for Cocktail Wedding Budget

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A few more suggestions

1. Hand passed hors d'oeuvres provide attractive imagery and pomp, yet they are a very inefficient way of delivering food to hungry guests. They require servers to go back and forth to the kitchen numerous times just to bring out one type of appetizer for 75 people.

Consider using attractively composed display platters containing different and exciting types of cuisines, Mediterranean, Tuscan, Moroccan, Thai, Caribbean, etc. For cold displays, the same amount of food can be brought out in one platter than can be brought by a server in 10 trips with hand-passed apps. Platters are generally cheaper than hand-passed and deliver more total food.

2. Instead of carving station go with sliced steak or roast or mini-entrees on a platter or chafing dish (for example, 1/2 chicken breast portion or one small lamb chop.

3. Consider cutting back on number of utensils. Do you need a salad fork AND regular one for a cocktail party? That one switch saves $60 (since utensils cost $/75 each.

4. Consider using cocktail tables without tablecloth, instead of rounds, and small centerpiece for each, paper instead of linen, one salad-size plate, one fork or tablespoon and one knife only, plus one all-purpose glass and coffee/tea cup. Some brides have even considered going with fewer chairs, which makes the party more "floating" and encourages mingling and dancing. The cost savings are huge too. If you go with 40 chairs and 10 small tables you save about $2 per person for chairs and tables alone and about $600-$800 or so in your floral budget, since you don't need large centerpieces

5. Most important! Tell the caterer you're going to buy your own liquor. They will still charge for bartenders (about $25/hr + 20% tip and tax) plus a management fee for handling the liquor plus insurance cost for serving liquor plus a small fee to serve alcohol at your venue, but the difference in the cost should be at least $5/pp and more like $10/pp.

6. Have a coffee urn at the buffet table (hot water + brewed coffee + decaf) instead of having servers do it.

7. For 75 people (if you adopt the above measures) you only need 1 uniformed server (about $25/hr + 20% tip and tax) to bring water, remove plates, and serve cake. The food can be brought out by a kitchen prep worker as in a hotel. This saves about $280 over having 3 servers.

Comment to Mother of the Bride
by: Anonymous

To Mother of the Bride,
Hummm, I would question your venue in that you are paying more for a cocktail reception vs a sit down dinner. Unless they are setting it up like a Cocktail Reception Buffet?? I have heard buffets can cost more than sit down dinners. They key with these vendors also is to REALLY negotiate...They know you can take your business elsewhere!! If they don't try to work with you then it is not worth it...(However, you may have already finalized at this point..., and I am sure it will be fine..)
Thanks for your input!

Costly Hor D'ouerves
by: Bride's mother

I am going to be paying more for my daughter's cocktail reception than a formal dinner. My daughter & her fiance feel that the fun casual atmosphere is more true to who they are. Unfortunately, it does look as if we were trying to save $. Hor d'ouerves are labor intensive and therefore pricie. Plus you need to have plenty.

Reception Wedding
by: Catering Manager

From the post above, depending on where your wedding location (NY is much higher than FL or TX), so that will play a huge factor. Aslo the venue you choose will come into consideration as well. What is the F&B minimum? What are the room rental charges, setup fees, cleaning fees, tear down fees, cake cutting fees, barteding fee, cake cutting fees, service charge/gratuity, etc.

I am in the industry and with everything that you want, you are actually quite in line with a $100 a person budget. In Houston, where I am located, I could actually do something for you for less than $100 a person, and pretty much include everything...which i call that the "DRIVE OUT PRICE".

Good luck with your endeavour....hope you find the right place in your budget

Response to LA, Ca cocktail Party
by: Anonymous

In regards to cost the key thing I found is finding a place that already has linens, tables chairs and their own caterning. It starts getting very expensive when you have to bring everything in! Remember people want your business, so they are willing to negotiate. Shop around so you can go back to the place and tell them where you can get elsewhere! Good luck!

I renegotiated my cocktail hour
by: Anonymous

Thank you for your feedback. I actually renegotiated my cocktail hour and got more from them. I got two carving stations and two stationary appetizers (instead of one of each). So I now feel much better about the setup. Yes, you are correct. This did not included tip and tax, but is still affordable in my budget!

RE: How much to serve at a cocktail reception?
by: Danielle & Stephen

Prices charged for a cocktail wedding reception can vary based on a few things including location (in a large city, etc.), the reception space and the menu items chosen to name a few.

The package you have listed sounds fair for the amount of food and the fact that it is a 4 hour open bar.

It is always a good idea to have a tasting (if you haven't already) to make sure you like all of the selections.

Another thing to consider and ask about is whether gratuity and tax is included in the $100/person quoted price. If not, your final price per person will be a little bit higher.

If you like the reception space and the food, go for it!

How much to serve at a cocktail reception?
by: Bergkirk

I was just wondering what to traditionally serve at a cocktail reception?
I was quoted the following for 75 people:



Wedding cake
COFFEE SERVICE to include regular, decaffeinated & tea
All Top Shelf Liquor


for $100 per person..Does this seem good?

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