You can blow your entire budget on an expensive catering package or you can get a little creative. Why not have your reception at a restaurant? Many smaller to mid-size restaurants will close down for a wedding, especially on a slower day like Sunday. We had our wedding, for a very reasonable price, at a magnificent Persian restaurant.
I went to another wedding at a beautifully decorated Chinese restaurant with great food. Come to think of it, a Chinese restaurant is perfect for an Asian-themed wedding. Chinese food is also comparatively less expensive than other cuisines, so you could probably get a great price.
If you have your wedding in a hotel, you generally have to go with an expensive catering package. I have been to tons of business trade shows and have sat down to many a hotel banquet meal. I can tell these sit-down lunches and dinners are never wonderful. The exception is having a banquet at a top hotel. I have been to a few unbelievable weddings at beautiful hotels, but I am sure that cost for each person was $200. I have two nightmare stories, which I admit are not typical:
Nightmare Number One
My co-workers and I sat down to a banquet dinner in a Las Vegas hotel. We’re all eating the food, and suddenly, my drama queen co-worker screeches “There’s glass in my salad.” I didn’t believe her because she is such a drama queen. Her favorite line is, “It’s such an ordeal.” But the same thing happened to my boss a second later, who is the most unnaturally calm person I’ve ever known. We sent the salads back and felt really nervous eating the rest of the meal. It brought to mind how the Viet Cong put glass shards in the prisoner’s food to kill them slowly.
Nightmare Number Two
I went to a big wedding at a hotel. I was unfortunate to be seated at the back of the room because, by the time it was our turn to go to the buffet, most of the food was gone. About 30% of the guests did not get a main dish.
Many rental halls allow you to bring your own food. Here again, the local restaurant can come in handy if you can pick up the food. You would have to rent food-warming trays and hire servers for your party. You could order main courses and bring bread from the bakery or grocery store and make your own salad.
Whatever you choose, ask to attend a wedding that is being catered in a hotel you are considering or being catered to see and taste the food yourself. They should allow you to do this. For one of these tours, wear a dress and have your fiancé put on some slacks and a decent shirt. Skip the jeans and t-shirts so you don’t show up looking like the bride’s hillbilly cousins.