After selecting our awesome venue, we had to figure out what we were going to feed our guests and where it was going to come from. We knew that usually wedding food is around $50 and up per person but that just seemed unreasonable to us. That's like taking all our friends and family to a four star restaurant! We were thinking more of an Applebee's price point so we kept that in mind in our hunt for affordable wedding catering. So our first thought was food trucks, which we patronize frequently in LA. Many trucks advertise their catering services, so we decided to try all our options. Let the eating begin!
Option #1: Food trucks!
We considered just about every food truck in the LA area (including the Grilled Cheese Truck, pictured above). Some of them are really cheap! Others, not so much. Also, most charge a travel fee; depending on the location of the event, this can be anywhere from $20-200!
Initially we had our heart set on In-N-Out as I had heard they have a truck for events. Unfortunately the truck only offers burgers, soda and chips, no milkshakes or fries! We didn't want to spend what they were charging just for burgers so we kept looking.
We loved the casual and fun feel a food truck could provide, but it was difficult to find a truck with the right balance of food for everyone and that could provide a complete evening meal. The trucks we considered had price points from $12-20 per person and we looked at all types of food from tacos to Indian. Most offer 2 hour service and charge tax as well as a service charge. Even with those added fees the cost of feeding our guests from a food truck was pretty cheap! Logistically it seemed a little difficult though. Do we send people to the truck in groups by table? How quickly would the food come out? These were things we had to consider if going with this option.
Option #2: BBQ!
Barbecue also lends a fun, picnic-style atmosphere to an event and can be reasonably priced, especially if you use catering from a chain restaurant like Famous Dave's. We tried the BBQ at two different restaurants close to our venue that offer catering, and both were tasty, although not amazing. Price wise, if we had offered our guests a complete BBQ meal buffet style it would have been around $1600 including delivery, setup, labor and service. The down side to this option was that they could offer very little in the way of vegetarian options, and we will have a few of those at our wedding. Plus, BBQ sauce all over peoples' nice clothes may not be so appealing to our guests.
Option #3: Crepes!
Crepes Bonaparte actually has a truck (which has won awards and such) that we tried and loved. After inquiring about their catering, we found that it would be less expensive to have chef stations than the actual truck at the wedding. They offered us two chef stations, where they would make unlimited fresh crepes for two hours; we selected 3 savory options and a mixed green salad and a fruit salad. For 100 guests, including their travel fee this cost us just $1,519! That's just $11.97 per guest and they can have as many crepes as they would like. I know what you're thinking: won't our guests be waiting forever for each crepe to cook? well the chefs can make 6-8 crepes in 1-2 minutes which means our guests really will not be waiting long and we will be able to send guests up by table so there won't be a huge line. Plus everyone likes crepes, right!
So here is our menu:
In Da Club- bacon, mozzarella, avocado and tomato
Baby Bleu- chicken, blue cheese and a raspberry vinaigrette
Veggie Pesto- mozzarella, spinach and pesto
Mixed green salad and fresh fruit salad
We may supplement with some appetizers/hor's d'ouvres purchased from Whole foods to enjoy with drinks before or after the ceremony, yaaay!
Were you as flabbergasted at the price of feeding wedding guests as I was? How did you get around it?
Editor's note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more resources for planning a pandemic wedding here.