Don't Spend Your Wedding Day Worrying About The Catering
Did you know that a whopping 62% of guests care more about the reception food than anything else at weddings? That means they care more about the reception food than the location, music, or even the decor!
At A La Carte Events & Catering, We Cater To Foodies. If you're looking for a menu that's going to wow your guests on your big day, let's talk.
Menus As Unique As You Are
You're not going to get mass-produced cuisine at A La Carte. We cook specifically for each catering event, so customizing your wedding menu doesn't cost extra.
Plus, your wedding reception menu should reflect you as a couple - maybe that means including cultural specialties or an heirloom recipe, or perhaps your favorite foods.
Local, Seasonal Flair
For example, we recently catered a wedding that included lots of out-of-town guests, so it was important to the couple that their guests got a taste of Houston during the reception.
To share that local flair and the diversity of the city, the mouth-watering menu featured:
- Rio Valley Ruby Red Grapefruit Salad with Avocado and Creamy Mimosa Dressing,
- Wild Mushroom Risotto Fritters with Romesco Dipping Sauce,
- Handmade Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce,
- Ode-to-Underbelly Spicy Lamb Dumplings, and
- Smoked Brisket Nachos because you've got to have some Tex-Mex, of course!
So no matter where you're originally from, adding a touch of heritage and a nod to your future together, through your wedding reception food, helps to bring your guests together.
Guests Bond Over Food
We'd love to hear your love story and talk about ways to share that love with your guests - and families - through your wedding food.
Let the enthusiastic, experienced planners at A La Carte Events & Catering help you create the wedding reception menu that represents YOU.
A La Carte, Your One-Stop Wedding Services Partner
Some catering companies handle only the food, leaving you to find servers, plates, linens and beverages. Not A La Carte, we're full-service!
All-Inclusive Catering + A La Carte Wedding Services
A La Carte Events & Catering has you covered. We handle all of the details for a complete all-inclusive reception, including:
- Your custom menu,
- Bar Service & Beverages,
- Ice & garnishes,
- All of your staff, including chefs, servers, and bartenders, plus
- Linens, etc.
Every detail is accounted for, right down to your cake cutting equipment and the lighters for your candles. You have enough on your plate without worrying about those things - let us handle them for you.
And if you want something we don't do internally, like wedding coordinators and DJs, we will happily match you to trusted, experienced vendors that we've worked with in the past.
A La Carte Catering also plays well with others. So if you already have some vendors selected, we'll work together with them hand-in-hand to make your big day epic!
Plan on having a Day-Of Wedding Planner/Coordinator. They're worth every penny, and they spend the entire week before your wedding focused specifically on YOU and your wedding details. They make sure everything runs smoothly from the wedding ceremony rehearsal to your grand send-off.
Pairing Your Wedding Vision With Your Reception Food
All of the food choices can be overwhelming, so let's break it down into the phases of your wedding reception:
- Cocktail Hour,
- Dinner, and
Your cocktail hour set the mood for your reception. While you're busy taking photos, your guests are going to be talking about how fabulous your ceremony was. They're going to be hungry and feeling festive. You can serve passed hors d' oeuvres or have a station set up for grazing.
Passed hors d' oeuvres are more elegant and can be less expensive since it's easy to control portions. By all means, splurge on more expensive food ingredients here!
Luxury One Bite At A Time
Guests will appreciate that your served them luxury ingredients like jumbo lump crab, beef tenderloin and caviar at your wedding reception, and you won't have to pay for entree-sized portions.
After your cocktail hour, it's time to think about dinner. At A La Carte Events & Catering, we recommend serving a pre-set salad. The additional cost of china and utensils is less than $1.50 per guest, and really enhances your guests' experience of the evening.
Here's where you really have options - the dinner service style.
- Seated meal,
- Family-style meal,
- Buffet meal, or
- Food stations.
A seated meal is classic and formal. Family-style is casual but is often more expensive than seated due to all of those platters and bowls and utensils.
Buffets are the most popular choice, partially due to their flexibility and price. Your guests can enjoy a wider variety of food on a buffet than during a seated meal, making it easier to satisfy all of your guests.
Looking For The Unexpected?
Finally, wedding stations are trendy and can offer your guests a truly interactive experience. They're an effective way to add excitement to your reception. Who doesn't want to try something new, like salmon or duck smoked right before their eyes?
Your creative catering planner will guide you through all of the catering options so that your reception is a perfect reflection of your big day vision.
Costs That Go Into A Wedding Reception
There are a ton of factors that go into reception catering pricing. Let's start with the wedding food. Here's what to consider:
- What do you want to serve? Are you looking for lobster and caviar, or something a little less decadent?
- How important is the food? You can find caterers that cut corners (instant mashed potatoes, anyone?) if the food quality isn't a big deal for you.
- Service style. Family-style is a laid-back option - but renting those platters adds up!
After wedding food, service is an important factor to determine costs. Here's a list of the staff you'll need, based on the number of guests you're having:
- One captain (this person oversees your reception and works closely with your planner to keep everything on schedule),
- One bartender for every 75 guests. You can get away with 1:100 if you're serving wine & beer (and maybe a batched specialty cocktail), but not with an open bar because it takes much longer to mix drinks than to pour wine or open a beer.
- One chef per 50 guests. This number has wiggle room, depending on the complexity of what's on your menu. The more complicated your menu, the more chefs you'll need.
- One server per 25 guests for passed hors d' oeuvres. One per 10 guests for seated service.
- Bussers, bar backs, etc. You'll want these if your wedding is over 125 guests.
If that seems like a lot of staff, keep in mind that your servers set your tables, clear your guests' meals, pass hors d' oeuvres during your cocktail hour, bring plated meals or serve at the buffet during dinner, plus refill beverages, cut and serve your wedding cake, and break down everything after your wedding reception.
Where to Skimp, Where to Splurge
Think back to the last time you had bad service at a restaurant. Please don't skimp on your wedding staffing.
OK, one more tip on wedding day staffing. If your guests can see or hear the reception area before your ceremony, the set-up of the reception area absolutely must be complete 30 before your ceremony. You don't want set-up to be a distraction during the most important part of your special day.
Finally, rentals. It's one more catering cost that can vary widely. A good caterer, whether that's A La Carte Events & Catering or not, will guide you through all of your options to help you get the most value for your budget.
For instance, if you're in love with a premium linen, use it strategically on high-visibility tables like your sweetheart, cake, and sign-in tables. Then you can use coordinating standard linens on the rest of the dining and cocktail tables and quickly save hundreds, and still get the look you want.
Here are a couple more things you should know: Chiavari chairs are beautiful, but garden chairs are more comfortable and cost less than 50%. And it costs about the same to rent real china than to buy high-end disposables.
Here It Is, Actual Wedding Pricing
Catering isn't cheap. And A La Carte Events & Catering is not the least expensive option. However, we offer our clients high value, which is why at least 50% of the events we cater each month are repeat clients (corporate and social).
It says a lot about how we do things when professionals choose us for their events again and again.
Here are ranges for each cost component you'll need, calculated per guest:
$30 - 60
Three-Course Meal includes hors d' oeuvres, soup or salad, and entrees.
$3.50 - 50
This varies widely depending on what you're serving. We do not charge extra for signature cocktails or champagne toasts. In fact, we'd love to create a special cocktail for each of you!
$6 - 15
Two-tier wedding cake with buttercream frosting. We also make tons of mini desserts.
$15 - 65
Includes tables, chairs, standard linens, china, silverware, glassware, all service & kitchen equipment, plus delivery/pick up.
$20 - 40
Includes set up, breakdown, and service throughout your wedding reception, including cake cutting and filling beverages for guests.
Production Fee, Tax, Gratuity
Tax is 8.25%. Gratuity for your event staff is at your discretion.
Need a Venue? We Help With That, Too
At A La Carte Events & Catering, we offer a complimentary service to help you find your perfect venue. Since we cater many different types of events, we know about locations all over the Houston area, not just traditional wedding venues.
We Know Houston
A La Carte isn't just a wedding caterer. Since about half of the events we do each year are for corporate and experiential marketing clients, we see dozens of unique venues that typical wedding caterers don't, including urban rooftops with superb downtown views, indoor/outdoor festival spaces, restored warehouses, private mansions and ranches, and secret art galleries.
There's a hidden gem just waiting for you.
And if you already have a specific venue in mind, we can arrange a site visit with you and the venue contact to ensure we understand what is required to work there, and we'll collaborate with them to make sure no detail of your wedding reception is missed.
It's a secret, but most venues will allow outside caterers - just have your caterer set the venue visit appointment for you.