It is usually the most expensive item of the reception: Dinner and Drinks! So what can you do to budget and organize well? Of course it all depends on your available money for the wedding total but for argument sake let's take a budget of about 100 dollars per person which is about average for all night bar and food service.
First let's start with the bar. I personally do not recommend the 4 to 5 hour bar to anyone in Mexico It is a party and no cash should be needed at any time. Also, in our venue we do not close early so it is an all-inclusive all night concept. So just consider the bar to be open during the entire party. The costs are going to be based on if you want well brands or top shelf brands and also I often set up a Specialty Sctrach Bar with all fresh ingredients for Mojitos and Margaritas So as you can guess, the cheapest is an open bar with well brands and beer and then it goes up according to the brands used and if we set up a cool looking bar and lounge area.
Second, the food, yummy , the food can cost about 40 dollars per person for a good quality 3 course dinner, up to 150 dollars per person for 8 hors d'ouevres and 4 course gourmet dinner with imported ingredients such as Foie Gras and such... The dinner/food service cost is really very variable since we in www.Martoca.com for example, create all our menus for each wedding according to the taste and budget of the couple. In order to plan your budget I suggest you take in consideration the duration of your party and if it is more than 5 Hours you should have a late night taco bar for example . You should not have your guests without eating for longer than 3 or 4 hours. I try to have something, even small hors d'ouvres for example every 3 or 4 hours...
This is a cool tip: If you are a mixed culture couple like for example Mexican Bride and American or Canadian Groom, it is fun to do for example hors d'ouevres from Mexico and Dinner from the Cajun/Southern Sould Food/France/italy/Irish or whatever the couples better half is originally from or his ancestry, and then close with amazing cultural desserts from Puerto Vallarta region in our case or wherever your wedding location is going to be. So Bride or groom gets hor's d Ouevres then the other gets the dinner choices and the dessert is local And if the budget permits and your party is longer than 5 or 6 hours like in our venue we do up to 10 hours... you should invest in a Taco Bar. It is a great feature for your wedding and it is only about 10 to 15 dollars per person to set it up with awesome fresh made salsas and tacos.
So to summerize you need to consider the bar, types of brands and duration of open bar and if you want a specialty drink bar set up like this one for example:
Then comes the food budget, in summary you need to consider qulity of food for example the steak can be Kobe, Prime, Choice... do you want Organic or Grassfed beef, or Lobster and Jumbo Shrimp versus Chicken or pork. All this matters. This is why I always interview my couples and find out if they enjoy fine dinning or are "foodies" and if not then I go with a more standard menu. If they enjoy food and want the dinner to be a showpiece in the wedding then we will offer exotic menus and combinations and create amazing culinary experiences for our brides and their guests. Once you decide on the quality and type of ingredients the cooking cost the same if we are making chicken or Lobster Does this make sense? It is about ingredients and then we cook what you like to serve your guests. Then you must consider after quality of ingredients is the Quantity of "servings" i.e. Fists Hors d'Ouevres, then dinner, then dessert bar, then taco bar and Mexican Coffee flambee for example Here are some pictures of levels and types of food services offered. I forgot about buffets... sorry. We do not usually do buffets because the quality of the food suffers on the line. In Mexico labor is cheap so it really is no difference in price so buffets are not recommended by me. You should treat your guests to great 5 star service