Wedding and Event Catering

Find a caterer near Boston, MA

Find a caterer near Boston, MA

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Top 10 Caterers near Boston, MA

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 Boston caterers
Carla W.
Soraya and her team were exceptional. I hired them to cater a lab holiday party for ~50 people and ~10 children. Soraya was committed to making sure my event was exactly as we wished and was able to offer a competitive price to fit our limited budget. We also wanted sushi catered from a specific restaurant, and Soraya made sure that happened and actually coordinated the arrival of the sushi for us. All in all, a fantastic catering experience! Will definitely be using SYB in the future!
SYB Event PlanningSYB Event Planning
Thumbtack Customer
Lori was flexible, punctual and the food was delicious! I hired her to cater my sister's bachelorette and everyone loved the food!
Lori Rizzo EventsLori Rizzo Events
Terri L.
Chris (and Ben) did a fabulous job catering our in-home event. Great food and professional service. I highly recommend!
Cristo's Kitchen Catering & Personal Chef ServiceCristo's Kitchen Catering & Personal Chef Service
Thumbtack Customer
Cristo's Kitchen was a pleasure to work with on catering a recent event. They team handled the event in a professional demeanor, serving around 300 guests. Thanks again!
Cristo's Kitchen Catering & Personal Chef ServiceCristo's Kitchen Catering & Personal Chef Service
Ruth M.
Probably the best caterer we've ever used. Food quality was excellent and reasonably priced. Would hire her again in a New York minute. :-)
SYB Event PlanningSYB Event Planning
Thumbtack Customer
Best caterer in Boston! Very flexible and always here to help you with what you need. I highly recommend those 2 dynamic ladies that made my Pop up event at the Quincy Market (+2000 people) and a press event a real success! Thanks again for your help and commitment
Hostess CateringHostess Catering
Thumbtack Customer
I run a luxury boutique on Newbury Street and we partnered up with Distinctive Taste to cater our grand opening event. Not only was Lori extremely mindful of our budget and catered to our every need, but she was able to execute an elevated menu with an elevated service. Her team showed up 2 hours prior to the event as requested and were able to maneuver around any last minute situations(lack of space in my shop for prep, space for placement of food, and separate space for bar) that arose. The food was amazing and all my guests loved it! Amazing food. Amazing service. Extremely nice team. 10/10 would contact again as well as recommend for any and all future events.
Lori Rizzo EventsLori Rizzo Events
Thumbtack Customer
I was so pleased with the service of Chris and his staff. They showed up with time to spare and were professional and attentive to my guests. The food was delicious - my guests especially loved the chocolate mousse cups! Thanks to Cristo's Kitchen, my crowdfunding campaign launch party went off without a hitch. I definitely plan on using Chris for all my catering needs!
Cristo's Kitchen Catering & Personal Chef ServiceCristo's Kitchen Catering & Personal Chef Service
Giselle K.
Hostess Catering was our wedding caterer. We got married in August 2018 at the Custom House in Boston and had about 100 guests. We chose to work with Hostess Catering because both my husband and I (and many of our family and friends) are big foodies and we wanted to offer our guests the best food with fresh, seasonal, and local ingredients. There was a lot of pressure on us to pick the right caterer as our guests had high expectations of the food quality and selection. Food was so important for us that we actually considered having our wedding reception at one of the best restaurants in Boston, but we are so happy we went with Hostess Catering. We mostly worked with Donna and she was AMAZING! Donna is an incredibly talented chef who is organized, reliable, friendly and so sweet. From the first moment we met her she was patient, attentive, meticulous, and provided excellent advice from food selection, to food quantity, to decoration, to staff hiring. She was extremely professional, kind and calm throughout the 3 months planning process. She would respond to my emails and text messages immediately with clear answers and tips. Donna was easy to work with and made the daunting process of finalizing our reception menu and figuring out all the tweaks easy, stress-free, and smooth (Hostess Catering has a great menu to choose from). Donna was open-minded about suggestions, accommodated our specific flavor requests, and made changes to include ingredients we liked (even using a more expensive bread without increasing the price). Everything turned out PHENOMENALLY!! We also worked with with Visnja a week before the wedding during the final walk through of the venue, and also on the day of the wedding. She was there all day making sure everything was running perfectly. Just like Donna, she was wonderful! Our venue is a particularly challenging for a catering company. The Custom House is a beautiful and historic building, but it doesn’t have a kitchen and it doesn’t allow for open flame. However, Donna knew exactly how to handle this tricky situation. We had guests spread out in 2 floors and we also moved all the guests to the Observation Deck on the 26th for sunset cocktails and mini taco bar. We opted to have a cocktails style reception with buffet dinner. Donna made sure there was plenty of food for everyone, without much waste. She actually advised us a couple of time to reduce the amount of certain items. For example, rather than ordering 100 shrimp cocktails, she recommended we go with 80 instead. She was right and saved us money! The appetizers and buffet items were generous portions and all our guests had plenty to eat. We had a charcuterie board, 6 passed appetizers, a taco bar, buffet dinner, and a dessert bar and everything was AMAZING! The food was fresh and incredibly DELICIOUS! Our guests were blown away by the food, and still rave about how exquisite everything was from food selection, to presentation, to staff service. The presentation was STUNNING (I am very picky with my food presentation). Every piece was decorated beautifully! The menu was planned and executed PERFECTLY. Hostess Catering cared about every little detail and their work showed passion for great food as well as genuine care for their customers. The fact that Hostess Catering managed to pull off serving our 100 guests so flawlessly with the unique setup of our venue is testament to their expertise and experience. We are so grateful for the unforgettable culinary experience we got to enjoy at our wedding thanks to the hard work of the Hostess Catering’s team. Donna’s team of servers did an excellent job. Everyone was so professional and had a big smile on their face throughout the night. The serving of food was perfectly timed and it was seamless. Hostess Catering also provided all the plates, tables, chairs, etc. and everything was beautiful! And at the end of the night, Donna made sure to pack for us “left overs” so we could enjoy it the next day. And boy we did!!! Another example of Donna’s beautiful personal touch is that she kept us up-to-date with ingredient preparation the days leading up to the wedding with messages and pictures, and it us got even more excited for the big day. We absolutely LOVED working with Donna and Visnja. What a dream team! Just FANTASTIC! We couldn’t have asked for better service or food. We have many beautiful memories from our wedding, and the food is one of the best! We can never thank Donna and Visnja enough for the gift of amazing food they offered us and our guests. We really appreciated not only how delicious the food was (everything was wonderful, no exceptions) but how easy it was to work with Hostess Catering. The peace of mind that comes with knowing that your wedding caterer is trustworthy, reliable and super talented is priceless! We would hire them again and again. Hostess Catering is truly amazing and we highly and enthusiastically recommend them. You and your guests will be in GREAT, IMPECCABLE hands! A 10 out of 10!! If you are curious, here’s a summary of our wedding reception menu: 1. The charcuterie board was unbelievable, with an incredible selection of cheeses! 2. The jumbo shrimp and cocktail sauce were excellent. 3. The avocado toast points with heirloom cherry tomatoes and basil infused oil were incredible! 4. The triple mushroom, half mozzarella and half with gorgonzola, with thyme was so delicious! 5. The bay scallop ceviche with mandarin and crispy tortilla triangle were out of this world! 6. The chicken skewers with hostess gourmet satay were incredible! 7. Pigs in a blanket all beef hotdogs were so good our guests couldn’t stop eating them. 8. The mini taco bar was outstanding with the most gorgeous presentation! Small plates tapas buffet & salad station: 9. The sliced beef tenderloin with chimichurri was so scrumptious! We’ve received so many compliments on this dish, so many! 10. The baked salmon with roasted red pepper and hazelnut salsa heavenly! 11. The ravioli with roasted butternut squash, sautéed spinach, garlic, toasted pine nut, and ricotta cheese was to die for! The portions were very generous and everything was cooked perfectly! Salad Station: 12. The panzanella salad with shaved Romano, homemade croutons, with champagne vinaigrette was so yummy! 13. The fresh fig salad with cheese, roasted beets, arugula, sugared walnuts, white balsamic was perfection! The dessert buffet and our wedding cake were simply divine! 14. Chocolate mini gaunach tartlet, lavender whipped cream, toped with raspberries 15. Lemon cheese cake 16. French Macarons with butter cream frosting: Pistachio, vanilla, lemon—the best we’ve had!
Hostess CateringHostess Catering
Thumbtack Customer
We selected Renee & her company Blonde on the Run Catering for our in-home Italian Wine tasting/pairing party and we were so happy we did. Renee and Tamara were friendly, professional and very accommodating in all aspects. The menu Renee came up with to match the 7 wines from Italy rocked. The food pairing was truly a match made in heaven. We look forward to hiring Renee for our next wine tasting party!
Blonde on the Run CateringBlonde on the Run Catering
Thumbtack Customer
Hostess Catering was okay. I hired them to cater a corporate snack hour at my office. Donna arrived on time and she, along with her daughter, set up the event. It's a very "mom & pop" company. It was hit or miss trying to get in touch pre and post event as there are 2 different owners and the one who I originally signed up with went on vacation. The presentation was nice, there was a small miscommunication with the china and they sent fine china that was decorated with flowers more suitable for a ladies tea party (not a corporate luncheon - which is what we were having) - so we didn't even end up using the cups and saucers which was a significant portion of the total cost. The labels for the snacks were nicely done. I had expected a follow up once my event was over. I never heard anything from them and I am still waiting for my final invoice. The prompt I just received to review them reminded me I STILL need to get the final bill ....
Hostess CateringHostess Catering
Kim L.
I was staying in town for a bachelorette party and rented a beautiful condo in the Fenway area. I had a last minute idea of hosting breakfast for everyone and reached out to Thumbtack. Shamia was very responsive and willing to work with our budget. The breakfast was a huge success! Veggie frittata, banana brule cinnamon french toast (it was so thick and delicious), and waffles with strawberry compote, thick cut bacon, sausages, and breakfast potatoes, coffee, tea, and all of the fixings. It was yummy! The girls loved hanging in their pj's, sipping the mimosas I provided and likely saving money by having our breakfast catered rather than going out. Delicious and for a great value!
The Aipyn CateringThe Aipyn Catering
Thumbtack Customer
We hired Christopher to cater our wedding last year. Though we had planned for an intimate 50-person event, we also had to deal with a broad mix of allergies, diets, and food preferences. After some discussion, we ultimately ended up with three entrees: a vegetarian eggplant curry, broiled salmon, and roast beef with mushrooms. Closer to the event, we also decided to add a charcuterie board to the spread. Having sampled everything on the day of the wedding, I can say without reservations that food quality was ultimately excellent across the entire menu; the beef was a particular favorite, but nobody walked away disappointed. Service was also great -- the servers and bartender brought on by Cristo were friendly, professional, and really helped take the event to the next level. Christopher himself was an incredibly patient and helpful presence throughout the planning process, even as we occasionally dithered on decisions. As happy as we were with the wedding overall, bringing Cristo's on board was definitely one of the best decisions we made. Highly recommended.
Cristo's Kitchen Catering & Personal Chef ServiceCristo's Kitchen Catering & Personal Chef Service
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