12 Wedding Food Ideas On A Budget

Catering is typically one of the most expensive aspects of any wedding celebration. Food and drinks cost so much these days that it comes as no surprise that having to organize eats and drinks for guests’ right from the engagement party to the reception can be enough to put a dent in anybody’s finances.

However, we all know that you cannot compromise on the quality or the style of the food because after all it’s common knowledge that food plays a major part of a wedding reception and is something that most guests will remember for a long time after.

With this in mind we have come up with 12 top tips for wedding food ideas on a budget.

1. Don’t Have and Open Bar

An open bar is akin to a death sentence for a couple planning to cater on a budget. If you keep the alcohol flowing, you are going to have an excessive bill by the end of the evening. Firstly, the bill will not be predefined because it will depend on the guests’ consumption.

Which means it might turn out to be in thousands without your consent. Secondly, if you keep alcohol access unlimited, the guests will drink and you cannot blame them. So keep it simple and limit access and only serve a fixed amount of drinks.

2. Ask Friends And Family To Make A Dish Each

Salmon on a plate with a glass of wine.

If you are really on a tight budget, you can always ask friends and family to help out. You can organize your guests into categories on the basis of food and all the members of one category can make that dish and bring to the wedding.

Since one person can obviously not cook for a wedding party, you should decide on a limited number of varieties you want and request a small group of people to make multiple dishes of each item; this could be your wedding gift from them.

3. Have Your Ceremony At A Non-Traditional Time To Avoid Meal Times

If you cannot afford to have full-course meals organized, consider hosting your reception or ceremony at a time when you are not obliged to provide full meals with multiple dishes. Ideal timings would be a midday ceremony or a late-afternoon event.

4. Avoid/Or Cut Down On Hors D'oeuvre's

Appetizers and hors d’oeuvres are generally very expensive, made in small quantities and typically fancy food. When you serve a lot of these foods, you overstep your budget in two ways: Firstly, these foods cost a LOT and you spend quite a bit of money on tiny tidbits and secondly, most people stuff themselves on appetizers and the main course dishes tend to go to waste. So in effect you pay for a lot of food but most of it is wasted. Instead of running either of these risks, simply cut down on the number and varieties of appetizers or do away with them altogether.

5. Choose Buffet Options

Buffets are great for people looking for catering on a budget. Firstly, you will be paying for dishes on a bulk rate and not on a per-dish and per-plate basis. Secondly, you can get more for less because with buffet and you get more dishes at reduced rates. Thirdly, you will not have to pay for butlers and waiters fees.

6. Limit The Number Of Dishes And Drinks

If you are on a budget, the menu is not the place to show off. Do not try to impress your guests with dozens of dishes and drinks. Remember that in a day or two nobody is going to remember the name and taste of each dish they sampled and the many others that they passed by.

All people are going to remember is whether the food was good or not. So, don’t try to outdo your friend’s catering extravaganza by ordering five varieties of each food category. Keep it simple, sophisticated and good quality.

7. Avoid Holidays/High Demand Dates

Having your wedding at a time of year that is marked by other popular events and festivities can spell bad news for your catering budget. Holidays and high demand dates mean that the food prices and catering charges will be hiked up and you will lose your bargaining edge. So think ahead and try to pick a date that doesn’t fall close to any major event.

8. Avoid Or Limit Alcoholic Beverages

Alcohol costs a lot. It’s a simple fact, if you are planning a wedding on a budget you are going to have to rethink serving alcohol at the event. It’s true that it is tough to have a wedding without a bar, as most guests will be looking for more than just fruit punch and cola. However, if you cannot do away with it completely, limit the number of alcoholic beverages. Try to keep it to two to three glasses per person if you can.

9. Choose A Caterer That Will Supply Everything

If you can find a caterer who will supply everything such as cutlery, plates, glasses and napkins you could be much better off than having to hire these on your own.

10. Check Out Your Local Colleges

You may have a college close by that teach hospitality/restaurant courses. They may run a small catering service that gives their students work experience; you could possibly also get your waiters from here as well and all at a well reduced rate.

11. Ask Caterers If There Is A Minimum Number That They Cater For

Most catering companies work on a minimum number and will not reduce the cost for an amount less than this. For example let’s say that you have 60 people to feed at your reception and if their minimum is 100 people they will charge you for 100 people regardless of the actual number which in this example would be 60 people. With the amount that you have spent on 40 nonexistent guests you could have easily put that amount to better use somewhere else.

12. When Renting A Self Service Reception Venue

If you are hiring a venue and are doing the catering yourself you should check the type of equipment that is already there. The more equipment that they have on site will mean less expense for you because you don’t have to hire more equipment to meet your catering needs on your wedding day.

You might also like to read this article at moneysavingexpert.com it has 50 more great cheap wedding idea tips to cut costs in other areas of your wedding.