Wedding food on a budget

buffet wedding food on a budget

Wedding food on a budget

Planning a wedding is expensive business, with food and drink being one of the biggest spends for most couples. If you’re looking to get hitched on a budget, cutting costs by providing your wedding food on a budget could go a long way. But where do you start? Have a look at the ideas below for our tips and tricks!

Canapés on the cheap

Often when couples are trying to lower costs canapés are one of the first things to be cut. However, if you serve some canapés then guests won’t be as hungry later on and are less likely to notice any corners you’ve cut in your catering. A hungry guest is not a happy guest, and if you have a morning ceremony followed by the wedding breakfast hours later, most guests won’t have a chance to eat lunch. 

If you’re going to provide canapés consider preparing them yourself or roping some family and friends in to help (surely that’s what families and bridal parties are for!). You could buy canapé items from a bulk food store such as Costo or Makro. Be aware when viewing prospective venues that if you plan to DIY lots of your catering many wedding locations have restrictions on this. Just ask the venue representative what their restrictions are and they should be able to clarify before you put down any deposit.

Ways around a wedding breakfast

One really simple way to reduce catering costs is to ask yourselves, do we really want a wedding breakfast? A sit down meal isn’t for everyone and if you want to get straight to partying this can save you tons of cash. Consider booking your church or registrar for an afternoon ceremony and head straight into the evening reception, skipping the sit down meal altogether. If you only have to feed your guests one meal rather than two you’ve cut your food costs considerably. There are tons of options for reception food on a budget – read on to find out more!

Wedding breakfast bargains

If you’ve decided that you do in fact want to have a sit down wedding breakfast there are still tricks to keep costs down. Firstly, consider having limited options for the menu – perhaps one meat meal and one vegetarian or vegan meal. It’s easy to get carried away choosing a menu when there are so many tasty options, but caterers will often be able to reduce the cost if they have less variations to prepare. 

Sure, guests love a choice but at the end of the day a free 3 course meal is good no matter what. And an extra bonus – you don’t have to collect menu choices as well as RSVPs! 

If you want a sit down meal but don’t fancy a 3 course meal you could choose to have a buffet or afternoon tea instead. Both of these options could be done DIY by enlisting help from family and friends and visiting bulk food stores (just make sure you check with your venue before you go DIY). 

Many couples also choose to provide wine on tables at a wedding breakfast but these days guests often expect to buy their own drinks. You could save significantly by choosing to cut down on the alcohol. It’s custom for a drink to be provided for the toasts ,but you could always provide less (or zero) bottles of wine during the meal itself.

Cutting the cake?

The average three tier wedding cake in the UK costs around £550 with some totalling over £1,000 and most guests admit to not even having a slice! Although it’s a wedding tradition to cut the cake, “cutting the cake” from your budget could save you a pretty penny. 

If you’re certain you would like to have a wedding cake, there are other ways to save. You could serve it as dessert or have a single tier to cut with the remaining cake quantity provided as a tray bake or cupcakes. Many high street retailers also provide affordable options such as Marks and Spencer’s plain wedding cakes which can be decorated to suit your theme (they even have wedding versions of Colin the Caterpillar dressed as a bride and groom!). Or maybe you have family or friends who are avid bakers and would be happy to help out – this can be a great way to include others in the planning and organising of your special day.

Evening food economy

When providing reception food the first key to saving money is to adjust the number of guests you cater for. Most wedding planners will recommend that you cater for between 75 and 80% of your guests in the evening. Some of your guests will be too busy dancing to remember about the food and it is also unlikely that all extra evening guests you invite will attend. By providing food for just 75% of guests you reduce food waste and also cut down on cost!

Many couples choose to provide an evening buffet for their reception food and you could use our tips above on how to make that as cost effective as possible. Other popular options are external vendors providing hot food like a hog roast or even ordering in takeaway pizza in bulk. You can make a big saving on pizza by using vouchers or coupon codes the same as you would if ordering at home. We would recommend contacting the branch local to your venue in advance of the wedding so that they’re prepared for your big order!

Now your food budget is saved it’s time to make sure your outfits are sorted! Why not browse our selection of wedding dresses, accessories and bridesmaid dresses to see if you can find that perfect fit at Alta Costura, or book an appointment to visit us in store. 

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