Few would argue that with the possible exception of the romantic commitment ceremony or the style of the bride’s wedding gown, the wedding food is what wedding guests will be talking about on the way home from the affair. After all, everyone loves a delicious meal, especially one that they didn’t have to prepare for themselves or pay for (unless, of course, you count the cost of the wedding gift). But someone does have to pay for the wedding food, an expense which can often consume much of the wedding budget. If you’re planning your wedding now or thinking about planning your wedding in the future, you’ll be happy to know that there are ways to save money on the food for a wedding which don’t involve serving a home-cooked meal to your 200 guests. Here are some of the easiest ways to save on your wedding food:
- Forget the open bar. It’s pretty safe to assume that your guests will be satisfied with a selection of wine and beer without missing the margaritas. But, if you’re nervous that giving up on the full extent of your alcoholic offerings, consider making a mid-morning wedding – at that time of day, your guests definitely won’t yet be hankering for a drink!
- Ask for children’s meals. Why pay for your 4 year old niece to chow down on steak, when she’d be just as happy with a hot dog and fries? Wedding meals for children are significantly more affordable than adult meals, and are also more likely to get eaten. Unfortunately, not every caterer will offer children’s meals; but you can be savvy enough to ask for them. Ordering children’s meals is a great way to save money on your wedding food, especially if you’re inviting a lot of children.
- Have a buffet instead of a sit down dinner. Few things are more frustrating than sitting down for a wedding meal and getting served with something that you don’t like. By offering your guests a buffet meal you can ensure that they’ll find something (or some things) that they like to eat, and you can save a bundle on waiters and tips.
- Consider cheaper menu choices. If you’re a cost-conscious bride, ask your caterer about less expensive wedding food choices, such as offering two different types of chicken instead of the choice between chicken and meat. If the wedding food is delicious and well-presented, your guests won’t even notice that you’ve chosen less expensive items.
- Appreciate the appetizers. If you really have your heart set on serving beef, but can’t afford to offer that as the main course, think about using it as an appetizer which should be a less expensive way to integrate your favorite food. Most people notice and appreciate the appetizers because they arrive hungry in anticipation of the wedding meal.
- Cut courses. There’s no reason you need a 4 or 5 course wedding meal. To save money, serve a single appetizer, main course and dessert. Your guests will enjoy the food without feeling overstuffed or wondering why the wedding dragged on as a result of all of the courses.
- Create a casual affair. Getting married outside? Why not host a barbeque? Having a morning wedding? Why not host a pancake breakfast, complete with ice cream buffet? Even if you hire a staff to cook and serve, you’ll save a heap of money as compared to the cost of fancier wedding meals.
- Do your research. You may not be surprised to hear that different caterers offer different packages with different prices. What may surprise you, however, is just how much these costs vary. Oftentimes, choosing the in-house caterer at your wedding hall is the cheapest option, as this caterer needn’t carry all of his things to the hall. But if your hall doesn’t have an in-house caterer you should carefully research your options (including going for taste-testings) to determine which caterer offers the best deal (and the best food). It may take some time to do this research, but it will surely pay off!