01/09/2019 / Wedding Tips

How much does wedding catering cost in Italy?

How much does wedding catering cost?Caterers are by far one of the most important suppliers for a wedding. Italian weddings come with high expectations when it comes to food and you do not want your guests to be disappointed. Food and drink are a major part of the wedding experience, so it’s no surprise that you’ll spend a big amount of your total budget on your wedding catering.
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How much does wedding catering cost in Italy?

Caterers are by far one of the most important suppliers for a wedding and here you can find how much a wedding catering can costs in Italy.

What do you love about Italy? Food, right? Italian weddings come with high expectations when it comes to food and you do not want your guests to be disappointed! Food and drink are a major part of the wedding experience, so it’s no surprise that you’ll spend a big amount of your total budget on your wedding catering.

The average wedding catering cost in Italy is about €120 per person with most couples spending between € 90 to € 150.

Note that wedding catering prices do vary widely depending on your wedding’s location and many other factors, like guest count. But no matter where you’re getting married, delicious and plentiful food is essential to an amazing wedding reception experience in Italy!

The typical Italian wedding reception

The typical Italian wedding reception starts with an Aperitivo! Prosecco, spritz and soft drinks on arrival and a buffet of apetizer to entertain the guests for around one hour. The buffet selection is chosen by the couple but usually tends to be quite traditional and to include a selection of cheese and salumi, breads, bruschetta and fried vegetables. An Italian wedding Aperitivo should leave your guests feeling no further food is needed for a while! And this is just the beginning!

Very rarely is a starter offered once the guests sit down. The buffet would already have your guests’ feeling satisfied. Therefore, the seated meal typically starts with two first courses – usually you will have a choice between different pasta dishes, risotto or filled pasta – and this is followed by a second (or two) course with sides.

Wedding receptions are supposed to be fun and relaxing, right? Rather than keep your guests at the table for longer than necessary, desserts are usually served on a buffet together with coffees and amari.  This is usually after the cutting of the cake. Your guests can chat, relax, enjoy further drinks and dance. Everything while having access to a selection of desserts throughout the whole evening.

What is included in a wedding catering package?

Your wedding catering may be provided by your wedding venue, or you may want or need to hire an outside caterer. Reading a wedding catering contract can be a bit confusing. But in general, your wedding catering cost will be priced on a “per person” basis. A standard wedding catering package includes the following:

  • Food: The wedding food cost is the most obvious part of a wedding catering package. You’re paying for the actual food that your guests will eat during cocktail hour and the main meal. Whether it’s served plated or buffet style is up to you and your caterer.

  • Beverages: Your caterer will likely provide beverages, both alcoholic and not, for your big day.

  • Staffing: Event manager, chefs, servers, bartenders, and more, there are lots of staffers that will go into making your wedding day a success. It’s important to work with your caterer to make sure that you have enough people on hand to ensure a smooth reception.

  • Rentals: Your caterer may also provide rentals. Standing reception and seated meal tables and chairs, glassware, dishes and kitchen equipment should all be included in the quote provided by a caterer. Some caterers offer you a variety of tablecloths, chairs or china to choose from, while some only offer one standard kind. In this case, any upgrade would have an extra cost. Always make sure you understand what set up is included. If you have a specific theme in mind for your wedding reception, this may make a big difference on your final cost.

  • Additional fees: Caterers may charge additional costs and fees, including cake cutting fees, corkage fees, and more. Be sure to read your contract carefully—and ask questions—to make sure you understand your wedding catering cost.

What are the different ways to serve wedding reception food?

When determining your wedding food cost, a big factor will be how you’re planning on serving the meal. There are a few serving style options for weddings:

  • Plated: Otherwise known as a sit-down meal, your guests will be served their meal at their table by a member of the wait staff. This is the most formal and traditional of wedding serving styles in Italy.

  • Buffet: For a more casual serving style, guests serve themselves from a buffet station. Fifty percent of couples choose a buffet-style reception. In Italy the most common type of wedding reception in half buffet (for appetizer and dessert) and half plated (for main courses)

  • Family-Style: Servers provide large platters of food to reception tables, and guests pass the trays around and serve themselves. This is not very common. Sometimes this is the best choice for a low-key rehearsal dinner.

How much does a wedding catering cost in Italy per person?

The average wedding catering cost per person varies depending on your wedding’s service style. For a plated meal, the average cost of wedding catering in the central Italy is € 120 per person. For a buffet, the average is € 80 per person.

Is a wedding reception buffet always the cheaper option?

Most of the time, a wedding reception buffet is indeed less expensive than a plated dinner. While you’ll pay less in staffing and rentals for a buffet-style meal, you’ll need more food since guests are serving themselves. To keep your buffet budget-friendly, avoid serving costly foods (off season food or imported food) buffet-style or have a staffer on hand to serve your guests from the buffet to keep the portions under control.

What is the average cost of alcohol for a wedding?

Traditional Italian wedding have just wine at table. We aren’t fan of cocktails before dessert. And Italian wines are excellent and quite cheap. An average bottle of medium quality wine cost about € 15.

Other Alcohol options can comprise a major part of your total wedding catering cost. In general, the average starting price in Italy for bar service (after reception) at a wedding is € 12 per person.

What are the different wedding bar options?

Depending on your guests’ preferences and your budget. There are several different ways that you can serve alcohol at your wedding. In Italy is not common for guests to pay for the bar.

  • Full open bar: A full open bar provides a variety of wines, beer, hard alcohol, and non-alcoholic beverages. The wedding hosts pay for the entire bar. It’s possible to have drinks during the whole reception. (from aperitivo to dancing party)

  • Limited open bar: This bar provides wine and beer (and perhaps a single type of hard alcohol), as well as non-alcoholic beverages. Again, the wedding hosts incur the charges for this style of bar but since there isn’t a ton of hard alcohol (which is more expensive). And it will be cheaper than a full open bar.

  • Open bar just during dancing party: If you’re on a tighter budget, a limited bar may be a worthwhile option. Drinks are avaiable just during the dancing party right after dessert is served.

You can also find different options in terms of how you pay for your wedding bar. Either per drink or a flat fee. If you think your guests will be imbibing a lot of alcohol during your wedding, the flat fee is likely the best option. But on the other hand, if your guests aren’t big drinkers, a per drink fee might be a safer bet.

How can you save money on wedding food and drinks?

The average cost of catering a wedding can vary widely, and budgeting can be tricky. If you’re smart about working with your caterer, you can save money without sacrificing quality. Here are a few tips:

  • Be smart about aperitivo: Serve a good spinkle wine instead champagne or drinks. Choose seasonal food and ask to your caterer which food are better.

  • Limit the alcohol: If your guests aren’t big drinkers, consider offering just a good wine rather than a full bar.

  • Traditional food: traditional Italian food are the best and cheaper than more modern version. It’s a great way to keep the cost of a plated dinner down.

  • Buffet instead plated: Having a buffet reception can help you save money! Usually it cost 30% less!

  • Get an accurate guest count: Many couples overestimate their guest count, which can lead to a lot of wasted food. And of course a higher wedding catering cost!

When should I hire my wedding caterer?

Your wedding caterer should be one of the first vendors you hire, either alongside or immediately after you book your venue. Most couples book their wedding caterers about a year before their wedding!

What questions should I ask a wedding caterer before hiring?

To ensure a smooth experience with your wedding caterer, there are several questions you should ask before hiring!

  • How much flexibility do we have in terms of our menu options?

  • What service styles do you offer?

  • Can you handle allergies and dietary restrictions?

  • How many waiters will we have?

  • Do you provide rentals?

  • How do menu tastings work?

  • What is included in your price?

  • Can you provide vendor meals?

  • How many hours will you cover?

  • How much does childen’s menù cost?

  • Is the wedding cake included?

  • Keep in mind that tax espenses in Italy are 10% on food and beverage.

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