Budget Catering for Your Wedding

Food is an integral part of any celebration – after all, what’s a wedding without cake? Aside from renting a reception hall, you’ll also need to consider the cost of your wedding cake and food. A three course meal with filet mignon and mashed potatoes will cost a lot more than a buffet with simple hors d’ouevres. That said, there are a wide variety of options available that will help you cut costs and still provide quality menus for your guests.

The Wedding Cake

Today, there are many different ways to obtain a wedding cake – from professional wedding bakeries to homemade cakes from mom. Ask around – you may have a family member who’s willing to make a cake for you. You can also check your local food stores to see if they make wedding cakes, or find a bakery student or amateur pastry chef looking to add to their portfolio.

Or, for a bit of adventure, you may want to try making your own cake. You can find all kinds of pans, icings, and custom cake decorations on the internet or at baker’s supply stores. If you aren’t confident in your baking skills, you don’t even need to worry about baking from scratch because of the number of powdered cake mixes available at the supermarket – all you need to do is follow the instructions on the box. Practice a few times before the big day and experiment with different types of decorations – your guests will love the personal touch, even if it isn’t perfect!

Catered Dishes from Local Stores

In many cases, you can obtain fruit, veggies, cold cuts, and many other side dishes from your local supermarket. You may also be able to save money on food by visiting a commercial food store – like Gordon Food Service – that provides bulk ingredients to restaurants. Many of these stores will create custom food trays for you that will reduce the amount of prep work you need to do before the big day. If you purchase bulk ingredients for your main dishes, try to find a friend or family member to do the cooking and you’ll save big bucks on your wedding budget.

Restaurant Catering

If you’re set on having rich, formal food at your wedding, restaurant catering is the way to go. However, for the most part, restaurant catering will be one of your more expensive options. Check to see if there are any culinary education programs in your area – they may offer student catering at a discount. New restaurants and caterers in your area may also offer discounts in order to build clientele. In addition, if you use the restaurant as your reception hall, you may find the combined fees to be a more reasonable option.

Bring your own buffets

Without a question, potluck-style receptions are the cheapest and easiest wedding dinner options. Your guests will have an enormous variety of foods to choose from and you’ll save money by not buying any food! When combined with a self-serve buffet, the only thing you’ll need to worry about is cleaning up after the reception is over. However, if you do plan to go this route, consider circulating a sign-up sheet a few weeks before the wedding to ensure that you’ll have a balanced meal.

Even though the cost of food and catering services is getting more expensive, you can still trim the cost down to size. It might be helpful to make a list of all the foods you want to have available, and then do your research to find the cheapest, easiest way to get ahold of them. You may even find that you enjoy your wedding food more knowing that it was obtained at a more affordable price!

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Filed under: Receptions — vicky at 8:02 pm on Tuesday, July 1, 2008