How Expensive is a Reception for 100 People?

In an ideal world, all wedding budgets would be unlimited. They’d all be lavish events, and couples everywhere would have the big budget, extravagant wedding of their dreams.  Unfortunately, we’re not all Kim Kardashian, so more moderate budgets have to be respected. Most receptions for 100 people cost between $5,000 – $10,000, with $7,000 being the average cost. Here’s a general estimate of what you can expect to pay for food, service/staffing, alcohol, and rentals for a wedding of this size.

Food: $3,500 is a great starting point, as it will get you a few appetizers as well as enough food for a buffet. If you’d like to include some items that tend to be more expensive, such as beef or seafood, expect to pay closer to $4,000. Other factors that affect food costs include the quantity and selection of hors d’oeuvres, and the number of entrées, sides, and desserts.

Service/ Staffing: This cost can be anywhere from $0 to $2,500, depending on how you would like your food presented. A buffet style meal without any servers will obviously not cost you anything for staffing. However, it is always a better idea to have servers present in order to make sure your guests’ needs are being met, especially with a group as large as 100.

For a buffet, expect to pay between $1,000- $1,500 in order to employ 6 people. These staff members will include a senior floor manager, captain, three servers, and two bartenders. The senior floor manager acts as the liaison between the client and service staff and assists where needed, the captain executes the floor, and the servers and bartenders take care of your guests.

For plated meals, your cost for staffing will nearly double because you will need chefs on site and servers to wait on your guests. Anticipate paying a minimum of about $2,500.

Alcohol: The cost for supplying your own beverages will vary. Nevertheless, keep in mind that in addition to the cost of the alcohol itself, you will also have to pay fees to cover your caterer’s liability to pour any alcohol (around $100), and for the cost of your one day event ABC license, if needed (about $100). Therefore, in addition to the cost of the alcohol itself, expect to pay at least $200 in fees.

If you’d like your caterer to handle your beverage services, the prices are a bit more concrete. To serve beer and wine at your wedding, it will be around $1,500, and a full bar will set you back about $2,000.

 Rentals: Standard rentals include linens, dinner plates, bread plates, cocktail hour and cake plates, glassware, and flatware. This average rental cost is $600. Including tables and chairs will set you back an additional $700 – $800, minimum. However, different styles of these items will cost different amounts, so this cost can vary depending on your preferences.

Having a detailed breakdown and understanding of your catering costs will enable you to spend your money wisely and allocate money to the elements that matter most to you.  With this new awareness, you will have the memorable, unique wedding you’ve always envisioned…without spending a fortune.

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