Wedding Caterer

Discussion in 'General Culinary School Discussions' started by sparky718, Jul 18, 2002.

  1. sparky718

    sparky718

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    Hi Everyone,

    Im getting marriend next March and am having the bash here in NYC. Unfortunately caterers are asking $150 to $200 per person for the reception, and, as I would like to invite more thatn 10 people, I am desperately looking for a cheaper way to do it.

    I thought about contacting the culinary schoold in New York and trying to see if there are student caterers who would do it for less. Ideally, we'd have 100 or so people there, and as people are coming from as far away as new zealand, I'd like it to be nice. I think I could handle the cocktail hour, but, I would love to find someone who could serve my guests a delicious meal without breaking my bank.

    What are people thoughts about hiring students? Will they be as reliable/professional as a, er, professional? What would you recommend me checking for and asking?

    Any aadvice would be appreciated. :)
     
  2. chiffonade

    chiffonade

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    Hey Sparky. Seeing the "718" in your name led me to believe you are from my old stomping grounds, NYC (Brooklyn to be precise).

    You have a couple of options. The French Culinary Institute on Broadway (near Canal Street) has its own restaurant so I wouldn't expect too much of a break in price there. The school I attended, the former Peter Kump's School on 23rd St. in NYC might be an option. But with the new owner, I don't know how shee-shee they are attempting to be.

    Check out some larger restaurants, if not a catering hall. Check out some of your favorite restaurants for starters, since your party is not huge. If you can consult a Zagat guide (mine is packed, we're moving), see if there is an index in the back that indicates if any of the restaurants do catering or have party space. Italian food is usually very reasonable (and Italians have a heart when it comes to mercy on pricing ;)). How about hotels? They usually have banquet rooms and possibly catering facilities on site.

    What kind of menu did you have in mind? Three different kinds of pasta at the cocktail hour will be overkill. If your money is tightly budgeted, spend wisely. You might consider limiting your main course items to beef and fish - and make certain that a decent vegetarian selection can be assembled from side dishes. A few well-made selections leave a much better impression than a mish mosh of food that doesn't go well together but is cheaply made and can appear plentiful.

    Good luck!
     
  3. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    Keep looking $150-200 is pretty steep.....students, beware...many just lack the experience to pull off a party for 100 and this is your wedding. Check independant caterers....maybe stick with wine/beer/champagne.
    3 course with apps...and cake of course. Good quality ingrediants...maybe not truffles but a great baby green salad with fresh fruit, nuts and a viniagrette or a simple soup....
    I generally charge less for buffets....but I think I'm abbynormal.
     
  4. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    Can I ask what one gets for $150? I'm thinking $150 would buy a nice dinner for two at any of the great restaurants in NY.

    Kuan
     
  5. shawtycat

    shawtycat

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    That is kinda steep. My mom's wedding is in August and she got a rate of 80 bux a person. Of course this is in another country but the quote was in US dollars and weddings in other countries I find are more expensive most of the time.
     
  6. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    Go the cheap route. Find a good Chinese restaurant, pick one of their "dinner for 10" menus for around $200. Make a reservation there for 150 people. Discount for you if you pay in cash :)

    Kuan
     
  7. tigerwoman

    tigerwoman

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    As many people have indicated here you should have a variety of choices. And in NYC you can spend and get the gambit from cheap and good to cheap and nasty on up to just plain expensive or amazing. The range of food is incredible.

    My first catering job ever was my own wedding done with my soon to be husband who was already a professional chef. We had a great time and had many interesting and delicious dishes. Would I do it again - in a heart beat - it has become my life stream - would I do it differently 19 years later - absolutely - learned lots of stuff since then. WOuld I recommend it for everyone, absolutely not. It's a lot of work, you need to have alot of refrigeration, knowledge of how to organize for a large diverse crowd and this is not the only thing you have going on that day/week/month/quarter.

    My husband is a workhorse and he had to be pulled out of the kitchen to walk down the aisle - and his brother - also a chef and his wife - a catering assistant - came in from England to help out. We did a wedding for about 125 guests for about $2,500 - but that was a long time ago and basically just food cost - we bought too much of course, but it was still the cheapest option - and very satisfying and personal for us - it represented who we were as a couple and people still talk about the classically poached and decorated whole salmons (he was trained in Europe)

    There are definitely large mass food places where you can get a cheaper deal here in NYC - for example a Russian nightclub - check out options in Brooklyn's Brighton Beach or Forest Hills or Rego Park - they give alot of food and vodka and it would be under $50 a head I think.

    There are also lots of caterers and personal chefs here in NYC who do great events with interesting food for more in the $40 -80 range for food. Then you need to figure staffing, rentals (if the space doesn't provide tables and chairs, linens etc) and bar. There are spaces outside of Manhattan that are lovely, assessible and much cheaper to rent if you want to cater (either with a caterer or by yourself)

    Also think about a family member who might have a large front back or side yard who might be willing to let you have your reception there (could be your wedding gift) You can then rent a tent or canape, tables, chairs, etc. -

    just some thoughts and suggestions, there are lots of good ideas out there. Just remember this is your special day and these are your guests - you want and need to be guest/host at the party not a worker - and you want it to be a wonderful day filled with good memories. As Shroomgrl said - keep it simple but make it nice - you won't regret it.
     
  8. suzanne

    suzanne

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    Actually, Tigerwoman's suggestion of a Russian nightclub is cool. When I've been, it was like a catering hall for the whole village, with people having wedding parties, and Sweet 16s, and bar mitzvahs. Tons and tons of food, some of it pretty good. If your guests would take it in the right spirit (the floor shows are kind of campy, but fun), it might work well.