Food costs at your wedding can really skyrocket the wedding expenses.
A sit down dinner can run as much as $75 per person without the wine. That means a guest list of 150 is going to run a tab of close to $12,000.
It’s rare not to serve some kind of food at your wedding, so rather than cut the food, figure out ways to cut the bill. Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
1. Dress up Cocktail Hour Foods
Serve inexpensive foods during your cocktail hour. Focus on the presentation instead. For example, gourmet macaroni and cheese is a crowd pleaser, inexpensive + can be filling. Serve it in martini glasses to give it some pizzazz + make it easy for guests to hold while they stand, mingle + eat.
2. Pass the Hors d’oeuvres
Instead of dinner, consider a buffet of bite size appetizers, or even better those appetizers passed on trays by servers. People have a tendency to fill up a plate at a buffet, wasting a good portion of the food, or stuffing themselves. They’re much less likely to chow down in front of a wait person or clear the entire tray.
3. Cut the Courses
No matter what time of the day you serve a meal, cut back on the number of courses you serve. Instead of a five-course meal, consider a three or even a two-course meal (salad + entree)). Guests can fill up during a cocktail hour, which means that you won’t need to serve as many courses during the main meal. Then, there’s wedding cake for dessert!
4. Go Family Style
Serve the meal family style instead of having a buffet or served meal. Wedding guests can pass the food platters + bowls around the table. It cuts down on the number of wait staff you have to employ. It also brings your wedding guests closer together—like family.
5. Serve Brunch or Lunch
Serve brunch or lunch rather than dinner. Guests tend to eat less during these mealtimes so you can naturally serve less food + pay less money.
6. Go Combo
Serve combination meals, such as surf + turf + serve everyone the same meal. Eliminate the options + it can help you cut down on your overall food costs. You can still have one or two plates of different foods for guests that have special dietary restrictions, such as allergies or are vegetarians.
7. Choose a Hardy Cuisine
You can serve less food when you choose hardier food options. Filling comfort foods, such as barbecued chicken + macaroni + cheese + pasta dishes fill tummies. Full tummies mean you don’t have to serve as much food, which also means that you spend less money on food.
8. Hire a Food Truck
Food trucks are all the rage. Foodies of all sorts flock to the mobile cuisine that food trucks offer. Ask the operator of your favorite food truck about catering. It is likely that they offer catering services, which means you can order the food for your reception for a fraction of the cost of a typical caterer. Some couples even have the food truck pull up to their reception to serve guests directly from the truck.
Food without Busting the Budget
You can serve up some delicious foods at your wedding without having to spend a lot of money to accomplish it. Guests can enjoy munching over cocktails + you don’t have to worry about the footing a super expensive bill.
I’m Kristie McCauley, a former certified wedding planner + lover of wedding planning. I share tips, advice + how-tos with brides + grooms that are planning their own weddings. Check out The Wedding Workshop, a self-paced course that walks couples step-by-step through the process of planning their own wedding.