Food and drink will likely be one of the biggest spends on your wedding day, so it’s important to allocate budget and work out what you need and wants before you start window shopping, sampling and selecting.

Many venues will have their own in-house catering and bar, and may not allow you to bring in external catering suppliers, so make sure you check what they provide and what the restrictions are when booking your venue.

Here are the main wedding catering options you need to consider:


Breakfast with the wedding party and immediate family if you’re all staying in the same place

Reception drinks, canapés, and nibbles

Lunch meal or buffet if you’re having a morning wedding

Evening meal or buffet

Evening snack/food van/buffet

The Cake

Treats and snacks table or display e.g. candy cart, chocolate fountain, cake pops, and an ice cream bar.


Reception drinks


Drinks with the meal

Soft drinks

A bar for the evening party

A coffee or juice bar

You won’t need all of these, but for an all-day event, you can see where the costs add up. Prioritise what you need to provide for your guests, and decide whether you’re providing an open bar or if guests will be paying for their drinks in the evening.

A sit-down meal with table service will cost much more per-head than a buffet, but if you’re having a more formal wedding, sit-down may be the preferred option for the main meal.

Themed catering, sit-down table-service meals, and cocktail flaring are likely to be premium services, so establish your budget before approaching suppliers for quotes, and be realistic about what can be achieved with your budget.

When contacting suppliers, make sure you read reviews, testimonials, and seek recommendations. Catering will be a big part of the day, so you definitely don’t want it to be messed up by a less-than-perfect supplier.

Once you’ve shortlisted suppliers, have a detailed conversation with them about your requirements for the day, and sample their menus. Check that they can cater to any dietary requirements your guests may have (vegetarian, allergies, gluten-free, etc.), and establish what setup space they will need at the venue.

Once you’ve finalized your choice, get the deposit paid, and check the big catering challenge off your wedding to-do list!

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