How to Create a Holiday Catering Budget
It's time to start planning your holiday events. When planning for your holiday gathering, creating a special event budget first is always the best way to go! It’s easy to get scooped up with all the advertising for the latest decorations, place settings, and novelties so having an event budget and sticking to it will ensure you’ll have the best special event your dollars can buy.
How many people are being invited?
Once you’ve decided what you want to spend, divide that amount by the number of guests. If you have a $500 budget, and are planning on 50 guests to attend, then you’re working with a $10 per person budget which, depending on the time of day you’re hosting this event, may or may not be an adequate budget. For a holiday brunch catering, that budget may be suitable; for a festive dinner dance with plated meal service, probably not.
For planning purposes, forecast attendance to be about 80-85% of your invitation list. The closer to the actual holiday (Thanksgiving, Christmas New Years, etc.) the more likely that number might decrease, depending on how many other parties and special events your guests have been invited to attend. In other words, if you’ve invited 100 people, then probably 80-85 guests will attend and that’s probably a truer number to work with.
What will they do?
Whether a band, Disc Jockey or harpist, what’s spent on the entertainment should also be in ratio to the holiday menu. What good are a bunch of carolers, if you have only hot cocoa for your guest? Depending on the time of day and length of time you’re planning your gathering, have the appropriate entertainment for that day part. More than likely, you wouldn’t need a 5 piece band for dancing at a Holiday Brunch for 20 guests nor just a violinist at a catered dinner for 100 people. Since these talented people typically charge by the hour with a minimum of two-four hours, consult a professional event planner for some creative ideas to get just the right entertainment for the event you’re hosting.
How will it look?
There are thousands of ideas on decorating for the holidays. Our suggestion is, don’t spend all your money on show stopping décor, leaving nothing left for the actual food, beverages, professional wait staff and entertainment. This is a very common situation leaving the hosts creating a beautiful, sometimes awesome looking venue, with little to offer their guests to do or eat. The budget you pick for this category should not exceed what the cost of what’s on your menu. Too often, sadly, that is the case. Beautiful and amazing linens, placemats, chargers and glassware are all available for the “perfect party” and they can gobble up the budget quickly, so, be cautious when determining what is needed, what is nice and what is appropriate. If you budget $1,000 on all of that, had 70 guests, you’ve just planned on spending $14.28 per person, just for the look of the party! And, you still have to feed them.
What’s on the Menu?
This is really the focal point of a Holiday gathering whether it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner or and afternoon snack. When creating your ideal catering budget, start with the menu because that can really shape the overall theme of your party as well as all of the decisions on the above. When, where and how many guests you’re entertaining will steer you to what should or could be on the menu, sure to dazzle your attendees. A professional special event caterer can help you with all of this as well as coordinate and manage all the details, allowing you the chance to enjoy your party!