8 Smart Ways to Work with Your Wedding Catering Budget

Having a challenging budget for your wedding does not mean it’s going to turn out cheap. Take it as an opportunity to display your creativity in serving a memorable meal for your family and friends without them knowing how little you actually had to work. Here are smart ways on how you can maximize your budget without sacrificing the quality of the food and drinks you serve.

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1.   Keep it intimate

The easiest way to work with a tight budget – not just for your food, but for your entire wedding – is to limit your number of guests. When you keep it an intimate affair you can significantly cut down on your expenses and go extra on personalization. You can be indulgent with your guests since, overall, it won’t cost as much as catering to a large party.

2.   Serve lunch instead

Generally people eat more at a dinner celebration than lunch. Serving lunch over dinner can tremendously let you save on your budget. A lunch menu can have salads and sandwiches, which cost more than heavy entrees for dinner. You can also consider having your reception at an off meal time of the day to help you cut down further on your food expenses. Just inform your guests ahead regarding the formality of your wedding and the kind of banquet you’re serving so that they know what to expect.

3.   Buffet or plated meal

The common perception is that buffet is cheaper than plated meal but it really depends on the number of guests you are having and other considerations such as wait staff. If you’re having a buffet for a large number of guests, which requires more attendants, it will be more affordable to opt for a plated meal service instead. The kinds of dishes served in your buffet can also make it more expensive than a plated meal.

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4.   To host a bar or not to host a bar

You can host a bar if you really want to, even when you’re working on a budget. It’s only a matter of toning down a full bar to a soft bar that serves only beer, wine, and champagne or a semi soft bar with some liquors and spirit. You can serve one signature cocktail or offer vodka or whiskey that is flexible for other mixes. If less than half of your guests drinks, just skip the bar entirely.

5.   Have a separate wine and spirit supplier

Outsourcing your wine and spirit supplier can also help you save. Rather than including this in your caterer’s bill, a nominal corkage might be more affordable than the actual rate charges of your caterer if you order the liquors from them. Pick a vendor that offers a buy-back agreement, where they purchase from you any excess unopened bottles that you ordered. This avoids any wastage on your alcoholic beverages. Don’t go over the top with the quantity of your liquors base it on the number of guests that you know will be drinking.

6.   Three-course meal is not necessary

You can still have a decent banquet even if you don’t serve a full course meal. You can serve just one entrée along with a soup, salad, or a side dish in just enough quantity for your guests to have a happy filled stomach. Let your guests enjoy at least a second serving of a delicious entrée; one which will keep them from looking for another type of dish. You can serve a pasta dish which is very filling and an indulgent choice, or you can have grilled chicken breast drizzled in savory sauce, which is a healthy option.

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7.   Choose simple but flavorful entrees

Simple entrees mean dishes made from affordable ingredients that are easy to prepare and is widely appealing. To make your menu more personalized, you entrée can be a traditional family dish or your favorite dish as a couple. If you must serve steak, you can research on alternative cuts you can use to cut down on the costs. By researching the raw ingredients, you will find some affordable and even healthier alternatives to make that dish happen.

8.   Self-serve bites over hors d’oeuvres

Waiters roaming around with platters of hors d’oeuvres will surely exceed your budget. Drop the fancy hors d’oeuvres and opt for food bars instead. Cocktail tables stacked with finger foods can also be a great ice breakers for your guests. They can mingle while getting their share of tummy fillers. These can also be dressed up to become an attractive feature at your reception. You can do this for appetizers or desserts and even entrees. Organize a pasta bar that will complement your single entrée.

If there’s anything that should be non-negotiable it ought to be hiring an experienced and trusted caterer. It is good investment that spares you a great deal of hassle. Remember that while your food may take up about 30% of your overall wedding budget, it isn’t your only concern and there are other features to your wedding that will benefit more from your resources.

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8 Smart Ways to Work with Your Wedding Catering Budget

Having a challenging budget for your wedding does not mean it’s going to turn out cheap. Take it as an opportunity to display your creativity in serving a memorable meal for your family and friends without them knowing how little you actually had to work. Here are smart ways on how you can maximize your budget without sacrificing the...

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