The JP Events Blog

The Latest Musings from Nashville's Premier Event Planning Company

Wedding catering costs: What you need to know, and what might surprise you when planning your Nashville wedding

By JP Events Staff

July 13, 2021

When you’re planning your Nashville wedding, the food is one of your first and most important considerations. You want your guests to walk away raving. At the same time, you also want to stay on budget for your big day — and it’s no secret that catering is high on the list of expenses when it comes to the cost of a wedding. 

The national average for wedding catering costs is $4,000. Most couples land in the $1,800-$7,000 dollar range, and those with bigger budgets can spend upwards of $13,000 on this one expense alone. While these numbers can be overwhelming, remember that the food and beverage choices you make will shape not only your reception but the experience and memories of your guests. 

Here, we’re breaking down what to consider as you choose your Nashville wedding caterer (with budgets in mind!) so you can create a celebration both you and your guests will adore. (Spoiler alert: You don’t have to sacrifice quality to give your guests a delicious and budget-friendly experience!)

Go with a custom-designed menu.

We live in a society where restaurants, events and experiences are inclusive to all eaters. From vegan to gluten-free to nut-free, thinking through your guests’ preferences and allergies when it comes to food is essential to making an informed decision on the menu for your nuptials. 

You may be surprised to learn that working with a wedding caterer on a custom menu is usually more cost-effective than choosing from the existing menu of options. It is also a surefire way to accommodate the needs of your guests. 

But customizing the menu is not only for the benefit of your friends and family; a custom menu is the perfect way to infuse your personality into the food served at your celebration. 

Pastries and dessert and the best way to let the individuality of you and your partner shine without breaking the bank. If you love chocolate but your partner prefers strawberry, you can often mix multiple cupcake flavors at no additional cost. Or, choose a tiered cake so that you can request layered flavors!

Explore your food service options.

Choosing the style of service you want to provide at your Nashville wedding is another way to personalize the experience. Most caterers love the opportunity to team up with couples (with a variety of budgets) and creatively explore service options for the meal. 

A traditional sit-down dinner is an elegant option, letting your guests choose their meal when they receive their invitation. But it’s certainly not the only way. Themed buffet stations are authentic and fun, allowing guests to fill their plates with a variety of options. And family style is perfect for intimate weddings, giving your guests an easy way to connect with each other throughout their meal. 

For a more budget-minded and unique option, consider a brunch celebration to help cut costs while appealing to your entire guest list. (Who doesn’t love brunch?) There is also an opportunity to save some cash on bar service. You can have an open bar that features 2 personalized cocktails, wine and beer. This is a cost-effective way to approach drinks without sacrificing the element of personal flare.

Don’t forget the additional details.

PRO TIP: Cutlery, dishes, glassware, linens and even waitstaff are not included at most venues!

Since most brides and grooms don’t know this, these details are often neglected from the wedding budget. Choosing a caterer that offers the option to provide these elements as a part of the total cost will always save you money in the long run. Another benefit is that these teams have often worked together and are able to facilitate the service smoothly so you can soak in every moment of the day without sweating the small stuff.

Another extra detail to consider is the late-night snack. If this is something you want to provide, be sure to consider the options with your caterer, as well. Food trucks, boxes of pizza and donuts to-go are all delicious nightcaps. And after a few drinks and hours of dancing, your guests will thank you!

The truth is, your guests will be talking about the food you serve at your celebration for years to come. The key to a unique and budget-friendly dining experience at your wedding is trust. When you trust your caterer, you will discover exciting and unusual flavor pairings that will wow your guests throughout the evening and beyond. 

As always, JP Events would be honored to create the menu for your big day. Let’s explore how to make the catering for your Nashville wedding unforgettable.

About JP Events

“Since 2008, JP Events has served Nashville and the surrounding metro county areas as the premier all-inclusive event planning and production company providing full-service catering, cake & pastry design, floral design & arrangements, event planning & coordination, event rentals, bar & beverage services, and more. Whether it’s a wedding, corporate event, or special occasion, we curate every detail to perfection to ensure a seamless, effortless experience that leaves every client, and their guests, smiling.”


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