Everybody knows that weddings are expensive. Still, it might come as a shock to you just how much money it takes to feed and booze your guests. Don’t want to break the bank for the banquet? Not to worry; you can still serve great food and drinks at your wedding without it costing an arm and a leg.
Here are the best tips to save money on your wedding catering:
1. Limit your courses
You’ve selected one of the best wedding and reception venues in your area, and now you have a limited budget for catering. One of the best ways to feed your guests without going broke right after is to limit your meal courses to only two or three. A meal with a soup or salad, an entree, and a dessert is already enough to make someone full and happy, so you might want to skip on the hors d’oeuvres, appetizers, and other courses that your caterer offers you.
2. Skip the expensive ingredients
Do you really need to have lobster, filet mignon, and caviar on your wedding menu? Expensive ingredients can easily blow up a catering bill, so avoid courses that include them. You can still impress guests with simpler, less expensive dishes given that they are done right. Moreover, you can serve bigger quantities of food if you keep the ingredients inexpensive, meaning your guests will be much fuller rather than, say, when you serve a small piece of expensive steak and some truffles.
Bringing your own liquor to the wedding can save you money, just ask your caterer how much they charge for the corkage fee. If appropriate, you can also ask guests to bring bottles to the event, especially if it is an intimate celebration.
4. Have an appetizer spread
Guests like it better when they can readily get some appetizers instead of waiting for a server to come their way. Moreover, it is cheaper and easier to have an appetizer spread instead of getting the caterer to serve appetizers to tables.
Examples of inexpensive appetizers include cheeses, fresh fruits, bread, gourmet crackers, cold cuts, and mini pastries.
5. Choose local ingredients
Ingredients that can be sourced locally are cheaper and likely fresher. Ask your caterer about dishes that can be primarily made from local ingredients.
6. Get an open tab
Liquor is another large expense for weddings, especially if you overestimate the number of bottles you need. So instead of getting an open bar and risk wasting some of the headcounts, consider getting an open tab instead. In this way, you only pay for what is consumed, helping you take off a few dollars from your bill.
7. Consider food trucks
Getting food trucks instead of catering is a widespread trend among couples who want to make their wedding more interesting as well save some serious buck. Moreover, food trucks are more inevitably more fun than traditional wedding buffets, which makes them a perfect option for couples who want a more laid-back event.
There are a lot of food truck options you can choose from, depending on your area. Find a food truck (or several food trucks) that most people will find appealing. Ensure that there are vegetarian and seafood-free options as well.
8. Book catering early
Just like with the wedding planner, venue, and florist, you must book your caterer early if you want to avoid the rush fee. At least a month in advance will do, but the earlier you book, the better. Doing this will also give you more than enough time to plan the menu, decide on the serving style, and negotiate with your caterer.
9. Consider other food options
Don’t limit yourself to caterers only. You can also consider getting your wedding catered by restaurants, cafes, and other food businesses that don’t usually offer catering services. Since you’re essentially ordering in bulk, they can give you a hefty discount for your wedding.
10. Serve a buffet
Having a buffet at your wedding is the most economical way to feed your guests, mainly because this serving style requires fewer members. If you’re worried about running out of food or ending up with a lot of waste, talk to your caterer about estimations, and ensure that you allot for more people than the number on your guest list.
11. Avoid complicated dishes
Even if you choose inexpensive and locally-sourced ingredients, the costs will still be high if you select dishes that are difficult to prepare. To keep the catering expenses to a minimum, choose dishes that are easy to prepare and serve.
Food and drinks make up for a big chunk of wedding expenses–but you don’t have to go broke to keep your guests a great meal. With these tips, you can keep your wedding costs low and still make it a great event.