Planning a wedding on a budget? We feel you. After allocating funds for the venue, the entertainment, and the decor, now it’s time to finalize your menu. Catering expenses can add up, so we’ve rounded up great ways to keep your food and beverage finances in check without letting your guests go hungry.
1. Two or Three Courses
A two or three-course meal that contains a soup or salad, entree, and finishes with a wedding cake is enough of a meal for your invitees. Remember, most people don’t even order this much food, even on their own, at their favorite restaurant.
Two-course meals that include a salad/soup and main will be enough. You can then build your own dessert bar or even purchase a cake and have the kitchen slice it and serve it as dessert. There is usually an extra fee for cake cutting and serving, but it is significantly lesser than a per plate dessert cost.
Choose appetizers that are filling. Comfort food like fries, mini-burgers, mini-sandwiches, etc., are filling but are definitely budget-friendly, compared to fancy appetizers like shrimp, specialty meats, etc.
These comfort foods can be elevated with their presentation, and the guests will absolutely love them.
As long as it’s not scorching outside, offer a hearty, locally suitable soup option to fill guests up before dinner. Creamy clam broth or savory tomato bisque is far economic per serving than seafood ceviche or Caprese salad.
4. Minimalist Bar
Instead of hosting a fully-stocked, top-shelf open bar for your invitees, go minimal with beer and wine only. It is more budget-friendly. If you’d like to incorporate your own signature drink, that will be great as well!
Elevate your buffet service by setting out modest, themed serving stations with one or two food choices. You can have a pasta station and a meat/fish station. You can creatively mix them both – and make it filling for your guests.
If you don’t like buffets, consider decreasing labor costs for dinner prep, plating, and service by offering family-style meals. Family-style service means seated invitees serve themselves out of shared dishes placed on their tables – an immediate conversation starter and an opportunity for portion control.
Items that work fine for family-style service also happen to be cost-effective. Consider:
Mac and cheese
Pulled meat snacks
Heavy hitters and fillers are great for family-style. They don’t need a lot of it, but it will surely be enough for your guest to feel full.
Serve great comfort and filling foods at your buffet like:
Restrict protein choice to a few reasonably priced meat and vegetable protein choices, such as:
Grilled tofu. portobello mushroom and eggplant
8. Consider a brunch wedding
Most lunch meals are 20-30% lesser than that of a dinner meal. Choosing a brunch wedding will cut prices on your menu. You can choose your choices from the dinner menu, but purchase at a lunch menu price – of course, that is if you choose a brunch wedding.
We are a team of designers, planners, and creatives, working together to create tips and guides using our expertise and experience to help you plan, design, and execute your wedding, event, or celebration.