Food "Glorious" Food
June 23, 2009 8:44 AM   Subscribe

Looking for cheap caterers (or alternatives to caterers) in New York City for a wedding!

Some of you may be familiar with my innumerable Askme wedding questions. We're starting to work all of that out, and we honing in on setting a date and getting things organized.

There's just one sticking point - food. Catering is so expensive! The caterers are asking for so much money! Even just asking for them to do cocktails and dessert costs a fortune. So my question breaks down thusly:

1.) Do you know of caterers in New York City who will do things like buffet or cocktails and dessert for a reasonable price?
2.) Have you had good experience using catering alternatives, like your friends and family? How has that worked for you?
3.) We have spoken to one company which offers "drop off service" for buffet style food and their prices are very reasonable, but we would have to hire help. Does this seem like a recipe for disaster?


-Wedding will likely be around 110 people.
-Our upper limit for food prices is $4k-$5k.

Feel free to ask me any questions. I'll follow up.
posted by orville sash to Grab Bag (8 answers total)
I don't have any NYC specific advice, but have been attempting to plan a wedding. I will say once the word "wedding" is introduced into any catering affair, the cost immediately goes up. It's akin to introducing yourself as Orville Trump. You can almost see the dollar signs in their eyes.
posted by jerseygirl at 9:05 AM on June 23, 2009

My wife and I had almost an entire wedding planned in NYC, but in the end canceled it all, and went and got married in Vegas. And I think the cheapest food options we saw were about $65 a head....but if you cut out drinks, then you can probably get closer to your $40-$45 a head price point. Also, there are places in NJ that you can find that would be cheaper, but I don't know if you'd be willing to look there.... Jersey City and such would have fantastic views of the NYC skyline.

Also, I would've gone for Orville Cash, myself. ;-)
posted by Grither at 9:13 AM on June 23, 2009

I've read about people in NYC renting out a restaurant, usually an interesting ethnic restaurant that's not in Manhattan, and saving a lot of money that way.
posted by betsybetsy at 9:16 AM on June 23, 2009

As jerseygirl mentioned, you could inquire about catering and omit the fact it's a wedding. I don't know how it is to buy wines in NYC, but in my neck of California, it was cheaper and easier to buy our own wine, hire someone to pour (not necessary if you don't fear drunken guests), and made sure our reception location was OK for serving alcohol.

Not on the catering side, but on the general food side: make sure you and your bride eat some of the food early, so you can dance, sing and be merry the rest of the time. Weddings aren't as much fun if you're hungry the whole time.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:39 AM on June 23, 2009

And from the TARP Wives FPP, renting out a restaurant (or simply reserving a section for the party, depending on the size of the wedding) may be more financially reasonable, thanks to the companies that usually threw giant parties being more conservative with their events.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:43 AM on June 23, 2009

Check out Boston Market catering. We had our wedding catered by them and the food was delicious, the price was right (less than $20 a person) and there was no sign that it was being catered by a chain restaurant. The price even included china plates and silverware as well as white coated servers in the buffet line.
posted by SheIsMighty at 9:44 AM on June 23, 2009

Yeah - talk to some restaurants you like, you'd be surprised how reasonable they can be.
posted by doorsfan at 10:11 AM on June 23, 2009

Our NYC wedding was catered by Kim Klopstock from The Lily and the Rose in Saratoga Springs. The food and service were fantastic, and the price included all the china and silverware (which is often not the case in the city). We took a day trip to Saratoga Springs to meet with the owner and choose the menu, but I think that she also has an office in the city and can meet you here. We had a full sit down dinner with an open bar and the price wasn't anywhere near the quotes we got in the city.

I was really frustrated with the ridiculous prices I was being quoted here, so I started calling caterers and florists from far outside the city and was surprised at how many of them would drive hours to cater our wedding.

Congratulations and good luck!

p.s. I also have a great recommendation for a florist in Long Island.
posted by defreckled at 2:26 PM on June 23, 2009

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