Wedding and Event Catering

Find a caterer near Seattle, WA

Find a caterer near Seattle, WA

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Top 10 Caterers near Seattle, WA

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 Seattle caterers
Danila D.
We had a great experience working with ENT Catering!
House ENT CateringHouse ENT Catering
Christina B.
The food was delicious! She catered our wedding of 25 people and did such a great job!
Supreme EaterySupreme Eatery
Shannon H.
Kiara did an amazing job catering for my wedding reception. She was a pleasure to work with, very responsive, helpful, and kind. Her presentation and food quality were excellent. She even helped tidy up after the event. She is wonderful and I highly recommend ENT Catering!
House ENT CateringHouse ENT Catering
Emily H.
Working with Dogfather was great! Food was delicious, and caterer was prompt, and so fun to work with! Will definitely use again in the future :)
Dogfather CateringDogfather Catering
M B.
We had a wonderful experience with Seattle BoBa Catering. All of our guests loved the drinks and it was the highlight of the party!
Seattle Boba Tea CateringSeattle Boba Tea Catering
Christine G.
Great company to work with - from the office staff who helped with the menu to the caterers who handled the dinner and bar. Thanks so much!
Twelve Baskets CateringTwelve Baskets Catering
Brenda M.
We were thrilled with the value and professionalism we received from Stephanie and the Emerald City crew for our corporate event. The food was DELICIOUS, but also innovative--not just your typical catered fare. We so appreciated Stephanie's helpfulness and assurance that all would go well....and, of course, it was spectacular! We would recommend you give them a call next time you need a caterer...we sure will!
Chomp! FoodsChomp! Foods
Thumbtack Customer
These folks are rock stars, prompt, professional, positive and so easy to work with. They catered and bartender our company party. The food was amazing. The bacon wrapped dates are not to be missed! Can't say enough.
Chomp! FoodsChomp! Foods
Thumbtack Customer
I would without a doubt hire Thyme Well Spent Catering in the future, as well as recommend her services to others. In the planning of my wedding celebration, I had a lot of questions about the caterer part of the party. Chantel was extremely pleasant to deal with, always answering every question proposed and assisting to select a menu that would be perfect for our guests. At the wedding reception itself, she showed up well before the party began to place the final preparations on the food and decorate the caterer table in accordance with our selected colors. The food was wonderful and guests quite enjoyed the meal. Chantel went above and beyond helping in other areas to facilitate the party, to include cutting the cakes for guests. I was quite pleased with her services that evening, as she helped to make the party run smoothly and memorable for all in attendance!
Thyme Well Spent CateringThyme Well Spent Catering
Eleanor M.
Chantel was amazing! We had an engagement party for 30 people in our backyard and had Chantel cater for us we did the BBQ menu. The food was superb and reasonably priced! All of the guests loved the pulled pork, macaroni, potato salad, etc. It was delicious! And Chantel is a very sweet, hard-working gal. I was so impressed with her! I enjoyed working with her from beginning to end. I love her style and personality. She's caring and detail oriented. I highly recommend you use her catering services!
Thyme Well Spent CateringThyme Well Spent Catering
Thumbtack Customer
Paul and Stephanie were the caterers for our wedding reception this August. They did a really fabulous job putting together a menu that was perfect for a summer event. Their pricing was fair and affordable and they were receptive, friendly and conscientious. We'd recommend them highly!
Chomp! FoodsChomp! Foods
Thumbtack Customer
Chef Sami is passionate about providing quality food for her clients as well as showing care to the overall experience of the catering job. She is a lovely lady with high ethics in her work which goes beyond the food itself. Thank you Sami! Teresa
Chef SamChef Sam
Natasha M.
This catering service company is fantastic! Ty, the lead chef, was able to come up with a detailed menu for an engagement celebration at a reasonable cost. They are timely, professional, and most importantly, the food was delicious! I received so many compliments from my guest. I highly recommend this company!
Black sheep cateringBlack sheep catering
Olga R.
Wow! What an amazing wedding reception dinner. Everyone was raving about the food and everything was spot on. Tiffany is so friendly and responsive. I gave a couple of ideas - salmon and beef tenderloin - and we got such a wonderful curated menu. I would absolutely recommend to anyone looking for a fantastic catering company!
The Orange RabbitThe Orange Rabbit
Chris S.
Working with Dayo and her crew was wonderful. Her food was delicious and the beautiful display was a welcome surprise. There was plenty of food and for the price it was above and beyond what was expected. Would recommend her to anyone that is looking for a caterer. Thank you Dayo for your part in making our companies 50th anniversary party a huge success.
DayoSense CateringDayoSense Catering
Thumbtack Customer
I hired Withstyle Catering for a week-long event in Seattle, WA. During this week Withstyle provided snacks, breakfast and lunch every day for my team. The food was absolutely delicious and abundant! The food was delivered each day on time and with a smile. Withstyle displayed each meal very professionally and beautifully! Bridgette Washington, owner of Withstyle, personally took care of my team and I. Bridgette is absolutely amazing! She is very talented and super easy to work with and very accommodating. The presentation of each item and the flavors of each were incredible! Bridgette listened to my team and went out of her way to ensure their satisfaction! I would highly recommend hiring Withstyle Catering for any event no matter how big or small! You will not be disappointed!
WithStyle Catering, LLCWithStyle Catering, LLC
Thumbtack Customer
Paul and Stephanie catered a reception for my husband and I. Our guests loved the food and we thought is was a great value. They were also extremely flexible and easy to work with. Everything was just what we expected and hoped for, with left overs to enjoy afterward. I would definitely recommend Emerald City Cakes and Chocolates for any event!
Chomp! FoodsChomp! Foods
Matt K.
Chantel was fantastic, and the food was delicious. All of the ~30 guests commented about how tasty it was and some asked for her information to use for their own catering needs. She really helped me out on short notice and curated the menu with me to have options for different dietary needs. I will go with Chantel again, and I highly recommend to others!
Laura M.
Orange Rabbit and Tiffany we're a delight to work with. Tiffany's very tasty appetizers were delivered on time and looked beautiful. She decorated my space for me and made it sparkle for my guests. Tiffany was very responsive to my dietary requests and stayed within my budget. Orange Rabbit will definitely be my go-to caterer for the future. Thank you Tiffany!
The Orange RabbitThe Orange Rabbit
Nyree E.
Chantel was great from beginning to end. She catered our annual Thanksgiving luncheon. We had fried turkey breast, green beans, sweet potatoe casserole (this was the talk of the table), garlic mashed potatoes, collard greens, and sweet potatoe pie. Let me just say, I looked up and everyones plate was clean and they went back for seconds. Awesome job Chantel! Thanks
Thumbtack Customer
Paul, and his wife Stephanie were wonderful to work with. They are very knowledgeable, and have a lot of experience catering. The menu Paul created for our Holiday Party was delicious, and the biggest foodies in my group were raving about the food. They provided everything, so all I had to worry about was the event space and getting everyone to the event. It was a wonderful event due to the fantastic food and service provided by Paul and his company. Thank you.
Chomp! FoodsChomp! Foods
Thumbtack Customer
We hired Emerald City Cakes and Chocolates for a wedding in October 2013. It was a last minute wedding, and they were extremely responsive and easy to work with. They thought of everything. The staff was very professional and friendly and everyone did their jobs well. The food was wonderful, and they did a great job of organizing the flow in a small venue. We got many, many compliments on the food. They also did a great job handling the bar service for us. We highly recommend them for any catering job.
Chomp! FoodsChomp! Foods
Dave C.
Hiring a caterer from 250 miles away to serve luncheon for 60 employees of your largest client is to say the least nerve wrecking. Chantel and her crew made that anxiety go away quite easily. She was quick to respond to our requests, suggested an excellent menu, and was reassuring the whole time. They showed on time, had excellent food, and the quantity was way more than needed. Our client was thoroughly impressed. Thank you very much and I will definitely keep you in my contacts.
Thyme Well Spent CateringThyme Well Spent Catering
Katherine V.
I hired Chantel and her crew for a company party and they really blew us away! She and her employees were very pleasant to work with and made sure we were well taken care of the entire night. After giving her a little push to join in on the karaoke fun, she got a standing ovation from all the guests after performing a power ballad :) All of my employees were complimenting me on the choice of caterer this week. Would definitely hire her again!
Thyme Well Spent CateringThyme Well Spent Catering
Vanessa M.
I wrote three emails to Chantal with Thyme Well Spent Catering after my birthday party to discuss some of my disappointments in the food based on expectations from our conversation by phone, and the menu she provided in advance. She never responded. I am not one to post reviews. I know people have good days and bad days, but ignoring my emails is not professional and only confirms that working with this caterer is a poor choice. The food she provided was average in quality, and in several cases not what we discussed. Here us a copy of the email I sent to her which descibes my reasons for disappointment. Hi I just wanted to check in with you about yesterday's catering that you provided for my 50th. Although I enjoyed the chicken skewers and the tomato-basil skewers, to be honest, there were a few details about the food that disappointed me and didn't match what I ordered and what we discussed. First, when you suggested the spinach dip, you said it would come with crudite. And I was really expecting carrots as you mentioned them when describing serving dip. Without the crudite/carrots, we had no veggies except for the tomato skewers. And a couple of my guest are gluten free, so they couldn't eat the toast with the dip. So, I was bummed by this change of plans. Also, the Shrimp Spring Rolls were a mix of won tons and some just breaded like you can get at Costco. So that was not what I expected either, and again disappointing. Finally when I asked for mini cherry pies. I thought you were going to provide tiny, individual pies, not chopped up pieces of a whole pie. Plus, you said you were going to drizzle chocolate on top of the pies. And yesterday, you referred to them as cherry fondue. These dipped pieces of chocolate covered cherry pie were really hard to eat, and messy to serve off the platter. And again, not what we had agreed on. Can you please respond? I could see that you hurt your hand or arm. So maybe yesterday was not the best representation of your skills or your product. For me, the food was disappointing, mostly because much of it didn't match what I ordered and what we discussed. I look forward to hearing how you can rectify this issue. Thank you.
Thyme Well Spent CateringThyme Well Spent Catering
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