Be very realistic about your budget from the beginning & don’t get carried away by the first venue you see that eats half of your budget and then you have to compromise on everything else for your day.
There are some incredible venues that cost very little we know of some amazing spaces for under
£ 500 and of course incredible ones for £ 12,000. So do your homework, there are of course ways of keeping your catering under control too, but remember the old saying ‘You get what you pay for’ and if something seems to good to be true, it usually isn’t so read all the small print and find out what’s included & what isn’t. i.e. Kitchen equipment, crockery, cutlery, laying up, staff, VAT & coordination on the day itself.
Wedding food ideas on a budget
1. Opt for a buffet over a sit down meal
At the planning stages of your wedding, be sure to get prices for both a sit down meal and a buffet. More often than not you’ll find that buffet tables work out cheaper as the staffing costs and equipment needed on site are lower, however you will still need staff to serve the food, clear plates etc. so avoid an option for just a drop off buffet, otherwise your family & friends will end up working at your wedding.
You can of course also choose more options & cover more likes & dislikes but remember to cover dietary requirements as well.
Don’t be tempted to ask your family to add dishes to the buffet, under EHO regulations we have to account for food production every step of the way from ingredient delivery, to temperatures during cooking, cooling method & temperature leaving the kitchen & on delivery, we can’t do that for your food so are not allowed to serve alongside ours. Those 5 stars on the doors aren’t earnt easily & no caterer wants to lose them over food not prepared by themselves. Wedding cakes are the only exception but the maker still needs to prepare an allergen list.
2. Skip a course
One of the best tips for catering a wedding is to skip a course and serve your canapés as a starter. Your guests are going to be hungry after the ceremony and photographs – especially if they’ve not eaten since breakfast – and will certainly appreciate something to eat. Make sure your canapes have the wow factor & get the guests excited about the rest of the food to come, if the canapes are interesting they will keep eating, we suggest allowing 6 pieces per person & provide at least 6 different canapes too.
You then go straight in to the main course at the wedding breakfast & you can also choose a dessert that can be decorated as your wedding cake so that you don’t have to pay for a wedding cake on top. The caterer will have additional desserts ready ( depending on your numbers) and can start to plate up whilst you cut your cake after the main course, the dessert has to be an ambient one such as a baked cheesecake but you can also serve as a duo with a pannacotta or lemon posset.
If you are considering serving your wedding cake as a dessert bear in mind the cake maker will cost the cake based on your guests having a 1-2” piece, so you will have to double the cake quantity at least and then the caterer will need to provide plates, cutlery & a garnish to make it look pretty on the plate, hence turning it on it’s head and serve the dessert as your wedding cake.
3. Choose sparkling wine, not Champagne
Toasting the new Mr and Mrs wouldn’t be the same without bubbles right? That’s fair enough but do you really need to splash out on Champagne? Will anyone really mind if it’s not the real deal? Prosecco has become highly fashionable of late and with so many amazing sparkling wines on the market you really don’t have to break the bank with a dozen or so bottles of Veuve Clicquot. Plus it’s often what’s left on the table when the guests mingle after the meal.
4. Cutback at the reception
It’s difficult to invite everyone to the main event and you may have to be really strict to keep the numbers under control but work colleagues and acquaintances will be more than happy to join you in the evening to celebrate your special day. I always say if you think of the friends you would invite around for dinner, then these should be the friends at your wedding, I recently catered for a 35th wedding anniversary & 50 guests attended who had all been at the original wedding, how beautiful is that, so when inviting them..ask the question, are we still likely to be friends in 35 years time.
5. Evening food
Remember your day guests won’t be starving but will need something to nibble on but evening guests will expect to be fed, so cater for all of your evening guests but only half of your day guests. Depending on your guest numbers of course but this can average out at around £ 6-£10 per head, Serving a selection of hot substantial finger foods canape style, such as Chip’n’fish ( ask us) , Chicken tikka skewers, Duck spring rolls & Filo parcels of Aubergine, spinach & potato ensure everyone gets something but the staff can make sure that the evening guests are looked after, & an interesting cheeseboard will keep the grazers happy too.
Wedding food ideas on a budget can still be innovative and exciting and will help to keep everyone happy. At the end of the day, the food is one of the things that guests will remember after the wedding so make sure it’s for the right reasons, and that no one went home hungry.