You do the math…100=126

No, really it does! When you think in terms of your catering budget, $100 per person truly equates to $126 per person.

One common mistake I see too often when I meet with Clients to discuss their budget, is the intuitive calculation that you base your headcount on how many people you think you can feed. Here's how it actually works.

If you have a budget of $50,000 and a venue charge of $100pp, that does not equate to the ability to feed 500 people or less…Many couples mistakenly divide their budget by the venue cost for the number of invites.


First you must realize that when budgeting, approximately 42% of the overall budget will go to catering cost. The remainder of the budget will be allocated across the various other Vendor expenses. That being the case, the true budget for food & beverage is only $21,000.

Now, you have to account for NJ tax (7%).

You must also deduct the service charge amount, which can range anywhere from 18-21%.

With a service charge of 19%, your cost per person cost is $126.

Dividing $21,000/126, you can comfortably afford to feed 167 guests.

So, unless your per person cost is all-inclusive, be sure to account for tax and service charge before you begin compiling your guest list. This way, you can avoid over-spending and the embarrassment of too many guests not enough cash to feed them all.

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