Estimate of what you would pay caterers for three different parties:

Sit-Down Dinner for 10

(Cost does not include liquor, equipment, flowers, etc., but does include all food, a waiter and waitress.)

Appetizers: bay scallops wrapped in sugar-cured bacon; canapes of turkey breast with mandarin orange and grape; pate' Strasburg with truffle garnish; nova salmon with caviar.

First course: Lobster bisque with fleuron (crescent-shaped puff pastries).

Main course: Roasted rare Black Angus tenderloin of beef with sauce perigeux, fresh buttered asparagus spears, baby Belgian carrots glazed with pineapple, warm sliced herb bread.

Salad: Heads of Belgian endive with croutons and a Williamsburg dressing.

Dessert: Floating island passed with a tray of fudge-dipped macaroons.

Coffee, tea and sanka.

Cost: $23.40 a head for the food. With the help: total of $334. --Ridgewells Caterer

Wedding Breakfast for 100

(Per-person cost does not include wine, although the caterer suggests appropriate ones. Includes food, equipment, service, flowers and background music.)

Medallions of salmon in aspic with brown bread tartine.

Kaiser Schmarrn a la Reine (chicken-filled German egg pancakes with a supreme sauce).

Artichoke bottoms filled with petit pois and a timbale of carrot souffle.

Salad of Bibb lettuce and hearts of palm with Avignon dressing.

Croissant and butter.

Wedding cake, a three-tier, brandy-soaked fruit cake covered with marzipan and fondant icing.

Coffee, tea, etc.

Suggested wines: 1979 Callaway Chenin Blanc throughout the breakfast, and a 1977 Schramsberg Blanc de Noir with the wedding cake.

Cost: $34.50 per person. --Avignon Freres

Cocktail Party for 500

(Cost includes food, equipment, set-ups, service and flowers, does not include tax, which would depend on length of party and quality of liquor.)

Five separate buffets:

Seafood buffet: Baked Pennsylvania mushroom caps stuffed with fresh Chesapeake Bay crabmeat; South Carolina fried shrimp with Palm Beach mustard sauce; gravlax of fresh Norwegian salmon with capers, chopped egg, onion rings, cream cheese and German brown bread; bay scallops wrapped in sugar-cured bacon; petite patty shells filled with oysters Rockefeller.

Bavarian buffet: Sauerbraten carved to order with old German wine sauce, rye and pumpernickel; cocktail-size bratwurst and wiesswurst with Dusseldorf mustard; Austrian cheese tarts in miniature pastry shells; tiny potato pancakes with homemade apple sauce; petite roulades of veal with seasoned lemon sauce.

Spring picnic buffet: Surry County country ham pate' with assorted crackers; Georgia peach corn fritters with powdered sugar; whole wheels of French brie topped with toasted almonds and raspberry preserves and thinly sliced French bread; fresh fruit served with chilled coconut yogurt dip and Devonshire cream, homebaked petite croissants with breast of chicken salad with pecans, grapes and pineapple.

International hors d'oeuvres buffet: Triangles of phyllo dough stuffed with spinach, mushroom and feta cheese; artichoke hearts cordon bleu; cocktail-size beef Wellington; tortellini in white cheese sauce; Oriental sweet and sour pork; brochettes of chicken Calypso (bits of chicken breast, pineapple and green pepper in ginger sauce).

Dessert and coffee buffet: Selection of French pastries. Coffee, tea and sanka.

Cost: $24.25 per person. --Braun's Fine Caterers

(Note: Caterers say that it is not necessary to tip the caterers' staff, bartenders, waitresses, etc.)