Wedding Food Ideas for a Tight Budget

Do you know that the wedding banquet normally takes about half of the total wedding cost? And most of that cost obviously goes to food. So if you’re a bride-to-be trying to minimize your wedding expenses, a good place to start is cutting your wedding food cost. But the quality of your food doesn’t need to be sacrificed because of a tight budget. There are ways that lets you maximize your budget and still serve excellent dishes for your wedding meal.

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Here are some tricks in building a superb menu with a limited budget.

Hors d’oeuvres

Serving one or two kinds of hors d’oeuvres is enough. It is also better to let waiters serve the hors d’oeuvres to guests during cocktail hour so that each guest picks only one piece at a time, as suggested by Meghan Ely, Managing Director of the Richmond Bridal Association. This will also keep the guests from filling up their plates, which can be a waste of food.


You don’t have to serve three different entrees: one is enough, though for the sake of variety, you can have two. As an alternative, you may also combine a main dish with a make-your-own pasta bar. San Francisco-based Wedding Consultant Megan Weisberg recommends picking entrees that are made of in-season local produce as they are cheaper and has better quality. This tip is great for environment-conscious couples who wants their food to have as little carbon footprint as possible.


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Splurge on your cake and save on spending for a dessert buffet. Another option is to opt for a cupcake tier instead of the traditional wedding cake; have a small cake just for you and your most special guests, while the rest of the party gets the pretty cupcakes. Aside from minimizing cost, this has the added advantage of your cupcake being easy to customize to your wedding theme and even serve as part of your wedding decor. Note that as some of your guests might skip the dessert, it’s not practical to splurge on sweets.


Serving a variety of wines for all your guests won’t be necessary, and it’s acceptable to have just one type of sparkling wine for toasting. Also, offer the open bar simultaneously with the dinner or the toast to avoid guests from ordering more than enough booze for their selves. For soft drinks, order those that are canned since they are easier to manage and have less wastage.

Along with planning your menu, it also helps to set your reception at an off-meal time of the day, such as during brunch, in the afternoon for a tea party, or in the early evening for cocktails. Just be sure to inform your guests on what to expect regarding your food service.

Additionally, to save on food catering cost you can hire students of a culinary school instead of professional servers. The quality of food can be just as good as any wedding food caterer or probably even better plus you also get attentive customer service from the student waiters and save from spending on professional waiter services.

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It’s okay to be practical with your food choices, but never compromise quality. You can still have your guests rave about the food without them knowing you were challenged by your budget.

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