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Cheap Wedding Food

Here are some cheap wedding food ideas and tips to help keep costs down. Wedding food can be one of the biggest expenses in planning the reception. Its going to be how much per person? But it doesn't have to be. There are a number of different ways to try to cut costs when it comes to wedding food. But don't mistake the topic of this page to mean that I am suggesting "bad" wedding food. Cheap doesn't have to mean it doesn't taste good. We are definitely foodies and food is very important to use. We had one of the cheapest weddings we've heard of yet family members are still talking about how great the food was.

Read on for some more tips on how to keep costs down for your wedding food...

Cooking It Yourself: Obviously, one of the most significant ways to cut costs is to simply do the work yourself. While this doesn't have to be as scary as it sounds, it does take a lot of work, a big commitment and some serious planning. If you are the chef type and want some ideas on how to make this possible, check out the Cooking for a Large Party or Wedding page. If just the thought of cooking for a large group terrifies you, then forget that idea and read on for other wedding food ideas.

cheap wedding food buffet
Potluck: This is a trend in weddings right now (and it was popular in the 60s too) and there is good reason for it. It is fun, casual and warm and friendly. Not to mention cheap! We have a whole section on potluck wedding receptions that includes tons of must read tips and warnings. Things like storage, setting the buffet, servingware and of course clean-up are all things you'll need to know about! Similar to a potluck and just as much fun is having a Barbeque Wedding Reception!

Avoid "Wedding Caterers": You've probably already noticed that anything with the word "wedding" attached to it tends to be 10 times more expensive than the same thing otherwise. For example, wedding jewelry, wedding dresses, wedding just about anything is much more expensive than what it seems like it should be. Why is this the case? Well because retailers and other businesses know that weddings are important, once-in-a-lifetime (hopefully) events that people want to be memorable and perfect. For this reason, people will justify spending more on their wedding than they will on average things. So the businesses in the wedding industry get away with charging more, even if what they are supplying doesn't have to be that expensive.

Well, knowing this fact is a very important step to saving money on your wedding. In part, that is what this site is all about. Doing things the way you want your wedding to be and saving money while doing it. Avoid the money making machine that is the wedding industry.

How does this apply to food? Well there are caterers who specialize in catering weddings. Or who advertise special wedding packages. Even if you mention the word "wedding" they go into wedding mode, getting greedy and hiking up the prices. I don't mean to accuse every caterer of this, but you need to watch out for it. But do a little test. Have two friends call a caterer and one tell them they are just ordering food for 100 people at a business meeting and the other for a wedding. Order the same type of food. I'd be willing to bet the wedding food costs more.

So try to avoid caterers that specifically market to the wedding industry. We hired a local restaurant/caterer and didn't even mention wedding at first. We told them specifically what we wanted (and it wasn't boring stuff, great paella and other more ethnic stuff) and agreed on a great price.

Buffet Style Serving: One of the big expenses in wedding food is not just the food itself, it is the waitstaff and other workers needed to cater a large group of people. So one of the ways to get cheap wedding food is to avoid all this extra baggage. If you are open to a buffet-style dinner, you can potentially save a lot of money. All the time and personnel needed to plate individual food and serve it to each guest is eliminated. You may still need some people to set the buffet up and keep it stocked, but this is a lot more manageable and less expensive.

cheap wedding food
Have a Restaurant Supply the Food: Rather than hiring a dedicated caterer, having some restaurants supply the food may be a better option. In fact, restaurant food is often better than all but the most expensive caterers and they offer much more variety. Most caterers have a small list of preferred food options that are easy to cook for a large group (how many times have you had boring, bland and dry chicken breasts with boiled vegetables served to you at a wedding?). Don't limit yourself. Find a favorite restaurant and ask about ordering large amounts of food for a large group. Don't even mention the word wedding. You may just find that you can get great food for a relatively low price. And your options are pretty much limitless. Forget about deciding between the bland chicken and the bland salmon. Have a favorite mexican restaurant nearby? Make it a mexican themed dinner. Love Cuban food? Chinese? Surprise, and delight, your guests with your unique wedding food ideas. Keep in mind that you may need to hire a few additional workers for the day of to help set up the food and such. But even so, it will still likely be much less expensive, and better, than having your average caterer take care of it all.

Avoid Expensive Food: This may seem like a dreadfully obvious statement, but it is worth repeating. One of the determinants of the cost of food is the cost of the base ingredients. Chicken costs less than beef in general. Fish is less than lobster. If you are trying to keep the cost down and find cheap wedding food, avoid those foods that have expensive raw ingredients. Again, this doesn't have to mean it is bad food. You can serve a great pasta from a great restaurant for far less than you could serve steaks, even if you grilled them up yourself.

Choice of Venue: One final point worth mentioning is that many couples find themselves taken prisoner by their wedding reception venue. Many venues that specifically cater to the wedding industry already have their preferred caterers, food suppliers and servers lined up. Many of these places will take issue with you bringing in your own food, bringing in restaurant food or even bringing your own wine and other drinks. In fact, many will outright prohibit it. This is true of some caterers too. They want you to choose everything through them, food, wine, service and all. Don't get taken hostage and forced to pick wine from their list of 10 bad wines with prices hiked up 300%! If you really want to take control of your wedding experience, find a venue in the first place that will be open to whatever food option you decide on and who will not mind you bringing in your own alcohol (another way to save a lot of money on the reception) and won't charge you a per bottle corkage fee for the wine. Avoid the venues that specifically cater to the wedding industry. Get more creative and find a beautiful place without stringent rules of these types. Here is a section on Finding a Reception Location Where You Can Cater Your Own Cheap Wedding Food which may be helpful in giving you some unique ideas.

Good luck planning your cheap wedding food!

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