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How Much Will I Spend On Food & Drinks At My Wedding?

Wedding Signs Muskoka

Here is a cute sign directing Muskoka camp wedding guests to the wedding meal Photo Credit: Holly Matrimony

In the photo you see here to the left, Muskoka wedding signs pointing to the ‘Wedding Feast’ tell guests where to go to partake in what we traditionally see as a three or four course wedding meal. That brings me to the question, how often do you host 100 or so of your closest friends and family? If you invite another couple over to your home for dinner you provide them with a glass of wine or two, some snacks while dinner cooks, dinner, and dessert. Some after dinner drinks perhaps, even just coffee/tea, you’re being a great host! On your wedding day you are responsible for continuing to be that great host and providing for your guests.

Your food and beverage is typically the largest portion of your wedding budget. You are hosting your wedding guests from the moment they walk in perhaps for the wedding ceremony until the reception ends. That means the bar is open, and food is being served for much of that time. Wedding Bells Magazine Readers Survey suggests that this could be an average of $76 per person for a wedding budget of $23,458 in 2013. This is just an average, and depending on where you get married, the caliber of wedding venue/caterer you use will affect this average. We typically see in Toronto and Muskoka weddings this being the FOOD estimate, before you add the beverages and the venue rental fees/rentals.

Think about it – pick your favourite chain restaurant. Mine is a popular mid-end steakhouse. Even if you could walk in with 100 of your closest friends without having to pay to have exclusive use of the space, offering them the menu, you know you will always have those friends who order the most expensive thing off the menu but using their pricing, they could have a starter/salad ($8.95-$12.95), a main with side dishes ($23.95-$43.95), dessert ($5.95-$7.95), Coffee/Tea ($3), and estimating 5 drinks for the evening ($12 per drink). We are at a whopping $127.85 per person PLUS taxes ($16.62) and gratuity ($23.01) for a grand total of $167.48 per person. You know that you could easily accomplish this menu going out with friends on a Friday night right? If you were to entertain 100 of your friends this way, your bill could be around $16,748.30. Clients time and time again are very surprised with their catering bills but you have to understand the scale of your event. People always say WEDDINGS are expensive… even without a WEDDDING, hosting such large numbers can really increase the cost.

When deciding on your wedding budget, it is important to look at how many people you can afford to host comfortably. It might mean that you can’t host 100 of your friends but you could host 20 of them really well and have a more intimate wedding. If this doesn’t appeal to you, consider saving for another year so that you can have the wedding you want. If this is something you’re only doing ‘once’ then why make sacrifices based on your budget? Delay it a year, save a little longer and have no regrets in the end. Make sense? Tell us about how you’re making out with your wedding budget so far. I can absolutely assist couples with their wedding plans and sticking to a budget. In the end the couple is the ultimate and final decision maker. I often see couples struggle with this aspect of their wedding budget but I’m there to help and offer ways to come to a solution.


Holly Matrimony


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