- $4,632 is the average wedding cost for Venue, Catering & Rentals Event Food Service in United States
Roughly 77% - 87%
of couples purchase this
Note: Average Cost is based on the spending of couples recently married not wedding vendor prices.
This includes all types of weddings, event locations, purchases of both new and pre-owned items and purchases of services from professionals,
someone that simply provides the service, or a hired family member or friend.
Spending and prices can vary widely.
The best way to figure out how much you might spend for your wedding is to use the wedding cost estimator
Start your wedding budget with the Wedding Cost Estimator
Better than a wedding budget calculator, use the wedding cost estimator to create a budget starting point or a wedding budget checklist
Create a Wedding Cost Estimate
Sign In to view your current estimates or save new estimates
Register to save multiple wedding cost estimates
What's Typically Included in Venue, Catering & Rentals > Event Food Service
- Menu items by package for the cocktail party, reception and dessert hour. Packages will determine the number of food items at each event, the length of the cocktail party (it might be 1.5 hours if you specify, the number of courses you'd like for your dinner, and the number of menu items in each course.
- A wedding cake is often included at many venues, but that is not always the case
- Food servers
- Food stations and buffet setup
- Food station and buffet table linens
- Heating and cooling elements
- Tableware and serveware
Additional Cost Items to Look Out For
- Attendants at your cocktail party stations to keep food freshly-prepare, custom-prepare and arrange food so that it always looks great
- Indoor and outdoor cocktail party bars and passed hors d'oeuvres
- Additional stations
- Additional food items included in the menu
- Specialty and cultural foods
- Market pricing for seafood and meats
- In-season vegetables and fruits
- Late-night bites
- Food truck
- Dessert hour additions, such as additional dessert stations and extra-charge dessert items
- Signs for the dessert bar
- Caterer for at-home or unique venue locations
- Wait staff for at-home or unique venue locations
- Rentals for at-home and unique venue locations
- A catering tent for your caterer
- Time and travel to check out venues
- Time and travel to attend a food tasting with the chef
- Ingredients and supplies needed to self-cater your own parties
- Tips for the ma'tre d', chef and wait staff
Why Does It Cost This Much?
Good food costs a lot. Simple as that. You want the best quality meats and freshest seafood, a trained chef's talents in preparing all of your chosen menu items, and the venue needs to have enough food on hand for your guests to get plenty of variety and perhaps change any dinner entr'e choice they stated on their response cards. Some venues will offer guests a second dinner plate, so that they may have more of the filet mignon they loved, or so that they may try the other entr'e. Or one of the other entrees when you offer more than two entr'e options. Now, we're seeing three, four or five entr'e options to give guests a choice and provide for guests on specialty diets.
The venue needs to source a lot of food for your wedding, as they will only serve the best dishes, appetizers and hors d'oeuvres, and the venue also spends a lot of money finding and training top-notch staff, including excellent chefs putting their years of training to your service, creating the sumptuous menu that makes your wedding stand out.
A lot of expense also goes into dish garnishing, for the beauty of each plate, and when a venue does include a wedding cake and desserts, tremendous investment goes into the ingredients and mastery of your reception's closing hours.
The advent of late-night bites has created an additional expense similar in scope to a small cocktail hour, fulfilling guests at the ending hours of the party when dancing will go on for hours after the dessert bar has been devoured.
And then there's the food truck, a hit at weddings when guests discover fresh, hot late-night snacks waiting them upon departure. Food trucks may be pricier in nature, such as oyster trucks, or they might be on the lower end of cost such as pizza or tacos. Or it might be a cupcake bar. The range of food trucks available today is astounding and impressive.