Traditionally, the most expensive cost in the wedding budget is spent on catering the affair. For that reason, savvy couples often look for unique ways to carefully trim their wedding catering budget while still providing guests a night they will remember.
Here are 40 simple tips to help trim your wedding catering budget:
Wedding Appetizers Simplified
1. When it comes to pricey appetizers like shrimp, have a hostess hand-serve the guests to conserve a huge part of your catering budget. People tend to eat more when they are dishing up their own plate.
2. Utilize large salad bowls with generous amounts of greens and veggies to show an abundance of options while still being able to conserve spending.
3. Always compare seafood prices first. Stores often sell mussels and calamari for half the price of scampi or shrimp cocktail.
4. Trim the budget by losing that cubed cheese platter. Guests are use to seeing these at office parties and will never miss it not being at your affair.
5. When working on a tight budget, pay close attention to vegetable prices at the produce section. Depending on the season, cucumbers and carrots are usually less costly than radishes, broccoli, and artichokes.
6. Most people eat first with their eyes, so focus more on presentation than quantity. Use big bright colorful bowls paired with unusual platters to add flare and keep costs down.
7. Serve some delicious macaroni and cheese in cocktail glasses. Not only it is unique, you will pay a fraction of what it would cost for traditional appetizers.
8. Consider food stations like an Asian or Mexican station. Many of these foods are far less expensive and the variety will please everyone.
9. Lose the raw bar and hand-serve a few select seafood appetizers like salmon in a martini glass to conserve portion sizes.
10. Go with a pierogi bar. These potato-stuffed doughy bites can be stuffed with spinach, cheese, or even meats.
11. Forget a carving station, not only are ham, prime rib, and pork loin expensive, they are too filling as well. You want your guests to be able to get up and dance the night away, not overload with too much food.
12. In the cooler months, serve guests hot clam chowder or lobster bisque to incorporate seafood but still keep your budget in line.
13. If you already have pasta as a side dish, then you do not need to have a pasta station. This will allow guests to have more room for their meal.
Wedding Catering Budget Dinner Ideas
14. After appetizers, no one is going to be able to eat a five-course meal. Keep things simple with three courses and your budget will stay intact.
15. Combine both a salad and appetizer by incorporating some grilled shrimp with your salad.
16. Go for a unique and great tasting sauce on a less expensive pasta or chicken dish.
17. Make use of a gourmet salad with spring greens. Not only is it less expensive, it will certainly wow your guests.
18. Top-dollar filet can wreck wedding catering budgets, instead opt for affordable boneless short ribs, beef, or lamb plated or served at a food station.
19. Spice up your pasta with some dishes like spinach manicotti or pumpkin ravioli.
20. Rather than three entrees, create a platter with grill shrimp, beef medallions, and crab cakes. This way you will use less food than had you planned for a large quantity of three different entrees.
21. Discuss with the chef the seafood that will be in season during the wedding, this could save you hundreds of dollars.
22. Certain meats are more costly different times of the year. Let the chef know the wedding date and see which would be a more budget conscious choice.
23. Create a vegetarian entree choice because even those who eat meat may opt for this less expensive dinner choice, trimming up your budget one dinner at a time.
24. Less-expensive entree choices can look costly when you incorporate a tower of veggies or another budget-minded food choice.
25. Family-style dishes will trim your catering budget by as much as 20%. Platters of pasta or sliced meats can go a long way.
26. Feed the hired help with less-expensive dinner entree choices than the ones you are offering your invited guests.
27. If children will be present at the wedding reception, be sure to talk to the caterer about discounted food options for the little ones.
Dressing Up Those Side Dishes
28. To make budget-friendly sides look more expensive, fan out the chives and mini carrots while using asparagus to tie everything together.
29. Instead of basic potato sides, go for the more eye pleasing risotto.
30. Depending on the time of year of your wedding, certain vegetables will be out of season and more costly. Speak to the caterer about budget-conscious veggie choices.
31. Design artful presentations of vegetables in big colorful serving bowls. Allow guests to help themselves to the fresh salad.
32. Choosing eight smaller courses will save you about 15% off four larger courses.
Wedding Catering Budget Cakes & Desserts Ideas
33. Instead of the Viennese dessert station, your wedding package may already include the wedding cake and one dessert. Choose the chocolate-covered strawberries to satisfy just about every guest.
34. Go with regular cake flavors rather than gourmet, you will save a huge amount of your catering budget.
35. Many banquet halls will charge a fee of up to $2 for each piece of wedding cake they slice. Negotiate this cost or eliminate it altogether.
36. Go for a less labor-intensive wedding cake. It is more budget conscious to go with traditional butter cream that a rolled fondant.
37. Although a five-tier wedding cake is stunning, a three-tier cake will fall in line with your budget. Purchase a sheet cake in the same flavors waiting in the kitchen for staff to serve.
38. Think twice about that chocolate fountain or ice sculpture greeting guests when they arrive. There is no need to further entertain your guests; they will have plenty of fun on the dance floor instead.
39. Bite size desserts will not take a huge bite out of your wedding catering budget. By controlling the dessert portions, you can save over 33% off the price of a dessert buffet.
40. Dessert drinks like hot chocolate, coffee, and espresso can really lighten your costs. Add some fancy whip cream and chocolate shavings and your guests will be delighted.
By incorporating some of these simple tips to help trim your wedding catering budget, you can still have a memorable wedding without breaking the bank.