Wedding and Event Catering

Find a caterer near Noma, DC

Find a caterer near Noma, DC

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Top 10 Caterers near Noma, DC

Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

How do you find a good caterer?

Reviews, interviews and menu tastings will help you find the right catering choice for your big day. Start by screening possible wedding caterers based on past reviews. If a caterer you are interested in has a review that concerns you, ask them about it; how they respond will be very telling. Next, ask about their availability for your wedding date.

If the wedding caterer is available on your date, it’s time to talk about menus and prices. Be clear about what your maximum budget is find out what choices this will allow you. Caterers may custom-create a menu for your event, or they may have menu templates within different price ranges that can guide your decision. A clear budget gives the caterer clear parameters within which to work and offer creative suggestions. Schedule a menu tasting to confirm you love your wedding menu. Once you have a menu and date, and have paid a deposit to reserve the caterer’s services, confirm additional details including when the food will be delivered to the site, what kind of service will be provided, how many servers will be onsite and for how long, and who is responsible for setup and cleanup. The more specific your contract, the fewer worries you’ll have on your wedding day. Get more smart hiring tips here.

What should you look for in a caterer?

A delicious meal is a critical element of a successful wedding, with happy guests fondly remembering your fabulous wedding food. The right caterer for you will be:

  • Available: Even the best caterer is no good if they aren’t available on your wedding date. Ask early before you get your heart set on someone.
  • Affordable for you: Find a caterer that you can afford. Having a spending plan ahead of time will mean you won’t overspend on food.
  • A good personality fit: Wedding planning is stressful, so work with someone that you can get along with and communicate with easily.
  • Experienced and recommended: Ensure the company has a proven track record with events of your size and the references to back it up.
  • Transparent about money: Steer clear of shady pricing. Find a caterer who is very clear about costs and is happy to talk you through budgets and pricing options.
  • Transparent about food: Find someone who is clear about where they source their food from and where it is prepared.

How much does it cost to hire a caterer?

Catering prices depend mainly on how fancy you want the food and service to be and how many guests you’ll have. When you’re first looking to hire a caterer for your event, consider how many guests you’ll have and your total food and drink budget. The national average for event catering is $340, but catering prices can range into the thousands depending on your menu, guest count, and service.

Event catering is a broad term that covers everything from fully prepared, ready-to-eat food that the hosts plate and serve themselves to full-service, multicourse meals, including rental of linens, glassware and other items, with service staff organized by the catering company. Usually a caterer will determine cost based on the type of event you’re having, how many guests will attend, the level of service you desire, and what type of menu you’d like to have. For example, if you have a set catering budget, say $1,500, and you plan to have 50 people attend, that means you have $30 per person for food. If you have the same budget with 100 people, you have $15 per person for food. In this way, the number of people you want to attend your event and the level of food you want to serve them determines how much catering will cost.

How much should catering cost per person?

Catering prices can range from about $10 per guest on the low end to $150 or more per person on the high end. Catering costs represent the quality of food, presentation, variety, ingredients and service. But catering prices are more than the cost to cook the food that will be at your party; they also include the cost for the company to do business. Here is a simple breakdown of catering prices:

  • Menu: The food you serve your guests will directly affect the price per person. Organic ingredients, complex recipes, elaborate presentations, or high-ticket items like lobster or filet mignon all add to the cost.
  • Service: Buffet, family style, plated dinners — how you serve the food affects the cost per person. For example, a true plated meal can cost about twice the price of a staff-assisted buffet because of staffing costs. Hiring waiters, bartenders and cleanup crew will all be calculated into the per-person catering price.
  • Drinks: Providing beverages and alcoholic drinks for guests greatly increases your catering budget. Hosting an open bar can cost as much per person as the meal.
  • Rentals: Seating, plates, glassware, etc., will all have an effect on the cost per person for catering. For example, a plastic conference table that seats 10 costs about $6 to rent on average, while a wooden farmhouse table is about $80 to rent on average.
  • Business costs: Any catering cost will also include the cost for the company to do business such as insurance, employee wages, commercial kitchen space and more.

How much does wedding catering cost per person?

Wedding catering costs will always vary based on the number of guests you’re inviting, the menu you want to serve, and the way the food will be served to your guests. As you interview wedding catering companies, you’ll be presented with a cost per person for various menus. On the low end, wedding catering may cost approximately $15-$18 per person. This would include prepared food only, with no setup or service of any kind. The starting price for a simple buffet meal with minimal service typically averages $22 per person. Opting for the same menu with all organic ingredients could raise your costs to about $33 per person. A moderately upscale menu (finer ingredients, more elaborate presentation) could range from $24 to $34 per person. High-end wedding catering cost truly has no limit. Lobster, filet mignon, specialty seafood, organic ingredients — menu choices like these can boost your cost per person up to $150 and more.

How much should catering cost for a wedding?

The cost of wedding catering will reflect the level of service, the menu you choose, the luxury you desire and the number of guests you invite. Where you live also plays a major role in your wedding catering costs. The regional cost to do business and local cost of food will affect your catering bill. There is no set price for wedding catering, because each wedding and each menu is different. This is why many caterers provide a per-person price. This allows you to break down what it costs to feed each person based on the menu you want. Working with your caterer, you can adjust menu items, service level and more to accommodate your budget and guest count. Keep in mind that wedding catering costs are not just for the food. The bill reflects all the components that go into commercial food catering: a commercial kitchen, ingredients, staff, insurance, marketing and more. Here are some examples of average costs:

  • Three-course plated meal, moderately upscale, for 125 in Los Angeles: $14,000. Because of staffing costs, a true plated meal costs about twice as much as a staff-assisted buffet.
  • Buffet meal, standard menu, for 100 in Los Angeles: $5,000.
  • Per-person cost for hors d'oeuvres, dinner and nonalcoholic beverages: $24–$37, depending on menu selection, in Southern California.
  • Drop off prepared food for 50: $1,000 in North Carolina. Price does not include any service, setup or breakdown.

How do you serve food at a wedding?

Food service at your wedding will affect your catering costs and influence the atmosphere of the reception. Buffet style is more informal; plated meals are a bit fancier; family style encourages sharing. Read about the different food service styles to select your preferred wedding catering choice.

  • Buffet: Caterers can drop off prepared foods for a DIY and budget-friendly buffet option where you set everything up and food is entirely self-service. For a fuller-service buffet, the caterers set up food, oversee the buffet throughout the event, and clean up afterwards. For food only, prices per person might average $16-$18, while a service buffet may start around $20-$22 per person. Adding food stations can increase per-person costs by at least $3-$5.
  • Family style: Servers bring large platters of food to guest tables in courses. It’s less formal (and less expensive) than a plated meal, but more formal and higher-cost than a buffet. You’ll need large tables to accommodate the platters, so plan accordingly when renting furniture for the event.
  • Plated: A plated event is a formal dining experience; waitstaff serve your seated guests for each course, fill their drinks, and attend to them throughout the dinner. A plated dinner is typically the most expensive option for both food and service.
  • Food trucks: Similar to buffets, with food trucks your guests get their own food and bring it to their table. A food truck gives a relaxed and playful vibe to your reception.
  • Cocktail reception: If you don’t want a formal seated dinner, you can opt for a wide assortment of passed appetizers at an extended cocktail hour reception.

Do you tip a wedding caterer?

Tipping 15 percent to 20 percent on a $3,000 catering bill can feel daunting — especially in light of all the other costs of throwing a wedding — but tipping your wedding caterer is standard practice. Be sure to ask your caterer about their specific policies. Many catering companies include gratuity as a line item on their bill. If tipping is not automatically included in your total, a good approach is to tip all the people involved the day of the event rather than paying one lump sum to the catering company. For each server and bartender, you can tip $20-$50, depending on how long they were onsite and whether they did exceptional work. You can also tip the chef; experts suggest $50. It’s also a good idea to tip the catering manager, the point-of-contact person who keeps the catering service running smoothly the day of your wedding, ensures all the food looks beautiful and is plentiful, and resolves any mishaps. Industry pros recommend tipping the catering manager $100-$200. If gratuity is not included and you’re tipping individuals, set aside $200-$500 in cash to be safe.

Reviews for Noma caterers
Michelle C.
I debated between giving 2 and 3 stars for this caterer. 3 is being very generous, but 2 felt cruel although would have been warranted. I personally did not get to taste the food for our event, but unfortunately received many negative reviews from staff and attendees. Reviews mentioned that the caterer's food wasn't very pretty or tasty and that the shrimp was very poor quality, which I was surprised to hear since the pictures on the caterer's website were beautiful and reviews were positive. The fact that several attendees took the time to email me to let me know their opinions on the food made me feel like the overall performance was not very good. The caterer also arrived late after our event had begun, did not call to let us know that she was running late, or apologize for being late once she arrived. I'm not sure what the circumstances were for the late arrival, but planning for an event in DC on a Friday evening should ALWAYS factor in extra time. I'm hoping that our event was a learning experience for the caterer. It's unfortunate, given that our nonprofit's mission seemed to be in alignment with this caterer, but we will never use this caterer again.
Taste the DifferenceTaste the Difference
Lauren C.
Brendon and Liliahna Catering did a wonderful job catering our large corporate event. The food was flowing all evening, we heard from many attendees that it was delicious! A big thanks to him and his wonderful crew!! They even showed up with fresh flowers just to make things look even better.
Liliahna Luxury CateringLiliahna Luxury Catering
Rabiah H.
After not getting the menu I desired from some other caterers, I went on Thumbtack to look for one. There I found Made With Love! I can’t thank Jaclyn enough for making the process so easy and straightforward. The food got delivered with no issue and everyone asked me who catered the food. Thanks again for great quality and value!
Made with Love CateringMade with Love Catering
Melanie M.
Chef Niki catered my promotion dinner at my firehouse. I appreciated how I was able to view and sign the contract online and pay through a cash app. However, I was surprised to pay in full prior to delivery of service but I admit to being naive about the process of catering an event. Nikki was fair in price. The amount of food was very generous. The food was delish and the guys are still talking about how tasty it was. I only gave four and not five stars due to the late arrival of food. (40mins after agreed time.) Overall, I would recommend Chef Nikki to cater future events.
Chef Nikki S.Chef Nikki S.
Michelle T.
Top of the City Catering offers incredible food paired with first class service. Maribel, the owner and her most professional staff did an amazing job at a military retirement party where the guests are still raving about the food and service. She is our go to caterer for all our events going forward. St. Jane de Chantal in Bethesda would give her six stars if we could.
Top of the City CateringTop of the City Catering
Rabiah H.
It was a pleasure working with MJE Catering! Very responsive from the very start. We had a plenty of food which all the guests really did enjoy. Thank you again!
MJE CateringMJE Catering
Thumbtack Customer
We had a wonderful experience from the friendly, professional service to the delicious food. I would recommend them to cater any event and definitely plan to use them in the future!
Potomac Hospitality Group & CateringPotomac Hospitality Group & Catering
Paula C.
The entire experience was extremely professional. I was arranging a brunch in DC from my home in San Francisco, so it was important that the caterer was responsive and punctual. She was all of that, plus the food was absolutely delicious.
A Private AffairA Private Affair
Thumbtack Customer
Top of the City Catering did an amazing job catering my July wedding. They were punctual, friendly and had amazing food. As I walked around to greet guests, everyone continuously talked about how much they loved the food and how amazing the service was. I would recommended them to anyone who was looking for amazing service, great food and affordability. Thanks again to the team of Top of the Town, you guys made my wedding a huge success. P.S. the table decorations and décor were just as elegant and beautiful as the service!
Top of the City CateringTop of the City Catering
Leonisha D.
Made with love catering went above and beyond my expectations. I hired them for my husbands 45th bday party. Everyone loved the food! The salmon and Cajun shrimp pasta was a hit. I will definitely hire them again for my next event.
Made with Love CateringMade with Love Catering
Tamara M.
Mercedes went above and beyond our expectations. We are not from the DMV area and were hosting a professional networking event in downtown DC in conjunction with a national conference. Mercedes was so helpful in assisting us with deciding how much food to order, and she went above and beyond with the setup. Additionally, Tamika the bartender that Mercedes connected us with, was AMAZING! And the food was delicious- our networking event was for a group of registered dietitian nutritionists, so we are a very picky crowd when it comes to food. There was literally zero stress related to our catering, thanks to these ladies. I highly recommend Mercedes Jo Events for any catering needs.
MJE CateringMJE Catering
Helene P.
Everyone loved the food! It could not have been tastier. Jaclyn answered all my (many) questions, did a last minute accommodation for vegan options, arrived on time and was so helpful and knowledgeable about the best setup. We will definitely be using Made with Love Catering again!
Made with Love CateringMade with Love Catering
David L.
All of our guest loved the food and your servers were very professional and kept everything filled up and looking it’s best! Thank You so much for a great event. We will recommend you to anyone that ask us about a caterer. Sincerely, David & Michelle
MJE CateringMJE Catering
Gregory C.
It was great to worn with Chef Dre and Work of Mouth Catering. They were very responsive leading up to the section to move forward and through the planning process. Everyone spoke highly of their food during the event and event got a new client on the spot. Look forward to partnering with them in the future! Thanks again!
Word Of Mouth Grilling X Catering LLCWord Of Mouth Grilling X Catering LLC
Jasmine J.
My experience with Word of Mouth Grilling x Catering, LLC was phenomenal. The food was absolutely amazing! Mr. Chavis had outstanding customer service. Every time I had a question, he responded immediately. Overall, he did a great job. And, I will recommend him over and over again!
Word Of Mouth Grilling X Catering LLCWord Of Mouth Grilling X Catering LLC
Alex B.
Top of the city catering was responsive, professional, and worked very well with us to plan and execute the event. The food was delicious, and I felt like I had a great partner every step of the way. This was for a corporate holiday lunch event, and we have received nothing but compliments from the 100 people that were invited.
Top of the City CateringTop of the City Catering
Yasmyn B.
I originally hired A Family Affair for a holiday party for my office. They worked with me to create a wonderful menu. As it turned out I was tasked with another office event to put together and only had 3 days to work with. Fortunately A Family Affair was able to cater the event. I left the menu completely up to Chef Darryl. We agreed on a few appetizers and the attendees and myself were very pleased. We especially loved the cilantro shrimp with mango salsa. He arrived earlier then planned, and had everything beautifully setup 30 minutes before the luncheon. We've used a few caterers before with so so results. We will now be using Family Affair for all our events.
A Family Affair Catering LLPA Family Affair Catering LLP
KaBria B.
I had the absolute best experience. The food was AMAZING, the presentation was amazing. He was so nice and professional. Will def being using him for any next event I have. This was honestly the BEST catering experience I have ever had. Thank You Thank You for making my birthday brunch sooooo amazing.
A Family Affair Catering LLPA Family Affair Catering LLP
Beth B.
Aside from delivering a delicious Thanksgiving menu for me and my 60 colleagues to enjoy, Brendon was an absolute joy to work with — a true professional. During our luncheon several people asked me to share the caterer’s contact information because the meal was THAT good. I look forward to using Liliahna Catering again in the near future.
Liliahna Luxury CateringLiliahna Luxury Catering
Quanice F.
I had a last minute order for an event within 3-4 business days and Mercedes handled my order promptly and with ease. I was frantic because I had a caterer back out but when I told her how much food I needed, she was very accommodating. She was amazing - highly recommended.
MJE CateringMJE Catering
Stephanie B.
Top of the City exceeded our expectations for our wedding November 2018. From the moment we met Maribel and Noel they were exceptionally reasonable, flexible and understanding. The day of the event went seamlessly. The food was amazing and the staff was a joy to work with throughout the entire process. We would highly recommend them to anyone having a catered event in the DMV area.
Top of the City CateringTop of the City Catering
Daniel R.
I hired A Family Affair Catering for my wife’s birthday and they really came through. Chef Darryl was very communicative through the whole process and helped us set up a gluten free menu as we have a celiac in our friend circle. On the day of the party, everything was delivered right on time, hot and ready to eat. Everyone loved the food, would definitely hire them again!
A Family Affair Catering LLPA Family Affair Catering LLP
Alexia G.
OMG! The entire experience was amazing. Chef Nikki was super responsive, assisted with the menu selection, consistent communication and was on time. We ordered jerk chicken, salmon, yellow rice and green beans. All of the food was amazing! Jerk chicken done the right way. All of the guest couldn’t stop talking about the food. Even the Chef who attend the event was giving kudos about the food. Will defiantly be our go to cater for our events.
Chef Nikki S.Chef Nikki S.
Emily D.
Cannot offer enough praise for Nikki! We entrusted her with catering for a group of Brown University alumni and students in Washington, DC, and she overdelivered in every aspect. She helped create a menu of food and non-alcoholic beverages that exactly met our needs, and was careful to consider vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options per our request. Impeccable professionalism and we felt entirely comfortable in her hands. Would hire her again in a second.
Nikki's SpotNikki's Spot
Thumbtack Customer
Mercedes Joe if it's catered my wedding reception. Everything turned out perfect. Mercedes and her team went above and beyond to make sure I got everything I wanted and more. She is very dedicated and professional and will make sure the job gets done beautifully. The food turn out amazing and my guest kept talking about it. Everyone had a great time. Really appreciate the great experience. It's hard to find quality service so Mercedes is truly a gem!
MJE CateringMJE Catering
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