Your guests won't even notice the difference if you serve inexpensive wedding meals during the reception. Ideas abound for cheap and delicious fare that will please and fulfil everyone's appetite at your wedding reception.
Besides the location, eating is likely to be one of your biggest wedding-related expenses. About half of the wedding budget is spent on the reception and the food. Some of today's brides report spending as much as AU$17,000 or more on the meal services for their big day.
It's true that reducing the number of guests at your wedding can help bring down the cost of the meal, but if you and your fiancé have a large extended family and group of buddies with whom you'd like to celebrate, that might not be a realistic choice. Alternatively, you might forego the concept of serving a full meal and instead go for a variety of small appetisers. Looking for Wedding Caterers in Melbourne? Look no further, Vogue Ballroom has you covered.
Yet, if you intend to have a reception and entertain your visitors for a while, they are likely to become hungry. Numerous unique and inexpensive wedding food ideas exist for those who plan on inviting a large number of guests and who would like to feed them all as a gesture of hospitality. Unless you really want to, you can throw a wedding reception without spending thousands of dollars on the food.
We will provide you some tips on how to save money on the food for your wedding reception, such as:
- Not having a formal, served supper.
- Eliminating unwanted people from your guest list
- The group will be doing some self-catering with some assistance from friends
- Use of an outside caterer rather than one recommended by the wedding venue
In this piece, we'll look at ways to cut costs without sacrificing quality by either doing the food yourself or partnering with a catering company that can be flexible with your needs. Do you know that the average cost of a wedding lunch ranges from A$16 (about $13) to A$480 (approximately $48) per guest? Our goal is to help you plan a wedding feast without breaking the bank. Our advice is as follows.
Save Money on Wedding Guest Food
Catering For Your Wedding Can Be Ordered From a Nearby Restaurant
At times, we have seen newlyweds order food from their preferred local eateries for their reception. These might be any of your favourite dining establishments, be they Indian, Mediterranean, or somewhere else entirely. Costs as little as $7 per guest may be quoted, and that includes setup and clean-up.
Buffets are available at certain local restaurants at what is typically a very cheap price. By eschewing the use of a professional caterer in favour of a more intimate setting, the experience is less likely to set any precedents or expectations on either side. Prices are thus often more amenable to haggling. We recommend discussing the menu and meal quantities with the restaurant's administration while keeping the guest list in mind.
Plan a Breakfast or Luncheon
You can always provide a brunch for your guests if you're having a morning wedding. Burgers, soup, and salad are just some of the lunchtime options, and you can also get morning pastries and savoury muffins. Brunch fare is typically less expensive than supper fare, and you may save even more money by skipping the meat courses.
Do It Yourself (DIY) Desserts Wedding
Let's pretend your gathering is set to begin after the supper hour. Having a wedding reception consisting just of desserts is a simple way to cut costs. That guests will only be offered beverages and desserts. For the wedding cake, you can have the greatest baker in the family or a close friend prepare their speciality.
Then, arrange the drinks and appetisers on the table in a pleasing fashion. Some people may consider this plan to be too cheap. And yet, a 'Cake and Punch' banquet has been held on the church lawn for decades. Make sure everyone knows what will be served at the reception so no one shows up to the party starving.
Inviting Guests to a Caterer’s Location for a Meal
If your guest list is on the smaller or moderate side, having the celebration in a private suite at your prefered restaurant is a great way to save money on both the venue and the catering. While it's possible that your chosen restaurant may accommodate a larger party, you might have better luck if your numbers are below 75. By having the reception at the caterer's or a restaurant, you can avoid spending money on equipment rentals and setting up the venue. You may enquire about a group discount, too.
Prepare DIY Food Stations for the Guests
The tradition of setting up a food station at a wedding that the bride and groom prepared themselves has grown in popularity in recent years. The "make your custom X" food booth is all the rage, and you can join in on the fun by setting up one at your wedding. Incorporating creative and low-cost food station ideas into your wedding reception can be a lot of fun.
- S'mores bar with a fire pit
- Doughnut bar, with a variety of fillings for diners to choose from
- a place where you can make your own tacos
- Hot dogs, nachos, fries, ice cream, and other foods with customizable topping bars.
However, this is really merely a cheap alternative. You could buy all the supplies and put up the booth yourself, or your most devoted friends and family might do it as a wedding gift. Make a detailed shopping list of everything you need, draw a rough layout of how you want the food and other items to be displayed on the service counters, and then sit back and relax while they do the rest!
Have a Serious Cheese and Meat Party
If you're planning a wedding on a tight budget and the bulk of your guests aren't vegans or vegetarians, this is a great option for the reception meal. In contrast, if only a small number of your wedding guests fall into the vegetarian or vegan categories, you'll want to make sure to provide something similar to the cheeses and charcuterie for them to enjoy. A wedding reception with only cheese and charcuterie is essentially the same as a hors d'oeuvres-only event.
Reception invites will include wording like "light refreshments and dancing," inviting visitors to the party. If you want your guests to have time to eat before attending your wedding, you may want to hold the ceremony later (about six or six thirty). After inviting everyone you know, it's time to stock up on cheese and charcuterie from a speciality store or supermarket.
In addition, stock up on some hummus, crackers, bread, nuts, and several fruits (dates, grapes, strawberries, etc.). The next step is to assemble gorgeous cheeses and charcuterie boards for your visitors to snack on. Again, this is a great time to ask close friends and family for favours by asking them to contribute to the cheese and charcuterie boards.
Perform a Wedding Reception Potluck
Traditional wedding feasts in many cultures, both ancient and modern, are still not catered or served at a specific location. Instead, mothers, aunts, cousins, and others from the bride and groom's immediate family would spend hours in the kitchen preparing elaborate dishes for the bridal reception.
These days, this custom is often overlooked or forgotten entirely. For some reason, people look down on weddings where guests bring dishes to share. Let's say you're fortunate enough to include within your circle of friends and family members some serious foodies. We recommend that you think about having a potluck wedding if this is the case.
Careful planning and delegation of duties are required for a successful potluck wedding. Make sure everyone is aware of what they need to get and in what quantities, and that they accept responsibility for their own dishes and supplies, so that you may relax on your wedding day. If you're having a potluck wedding, make sure you ask your closest friends and family members to bring dishes to share.
Get a Food Truck Catering Service
If you're looking to minimise costs without skimping on wedding cuisine, a food truck is a great, unique alternative for your reception. It's important to remember a few things, though, if you're thinking about going this way.
Just picture the line that forms when a food truck serves lunch in a busy metropolis. Remember that a food truck is most effective for a wedding reception if it functions more like a cafeteria, and the meals (a predetermined menu) can be offered as a buffet or if pre-made meals can be rapidly handed out from the truck. Trust us, a long line of hungry and irritated people will form if you force each guest to place an order and then wait in line until their food is ready. When deciding on a food truck at your reception, you should also think about the following details:
- Could it be loud?
- Is a backup power source required?
- Does it need electricity from the reception hall?
- Is there room for the truck to park at the reception site?
- What utensils and plates do you provide if you order from the food truck?
- Do you need to hire equipment? What kind of price tag can we expect to face?
Not thinking things through can make hiring a food truck for your wedding celebration very expensive. Be sure to complete your homework before making any major decisions.
Use Frozen or Pre-made Appetizers
To help the catering procedure run more smoothly and easily on the big day, you can prepare the meals in advance and freeze them. No, we are not suggesting that you heat up a slew of frozen pizzas. This way, on the morning of the wedding, you can ask your team of close relatives and friends to simply cook the food in the oven or on the stove. It's true that it's not for everyone, but it could be a decent compromise for foodies who aren't able to spend their entire wedding day in the kitchen.
Enjoy a Buffet
Meeting with a wedding caterer will immediately reveal that plated three- or four-course menus are more costly and time-consuming to prepare than the buffet option. Moreover, if you just have a few hours to use the space, you won't want to waste them waiting for the meal service to wrap up.
Guests can help themselves to a wide selection of reasonably priced meal selections at a buffet, and you can save money on wait staff as a result. Even better, reception meals served in a buffet manner are both relaxed and affordable.
Drop the Wedding Cake Custom
It's not uncommon for wedding cakes to be works of art in and of themselves. But in the end, it's only food, and your cake will be gone before you even have time to appreciate how beautiful it is. Some newlyweds are eschewing the traditional wedding cake in favour of more cost-effective alternatives including cupcakes, a variety of sweets, or even pies. Average prices for cupcakes are around A$3, but a layer cake with buttercream frosting and fondant can cost as much as A$6 per serving. Check out our extensive list of Wedding Cake Shops in Melbourne to wow your guests with.
Think About Buying Low-Priced Snacks
The shorter the event, the more efficiently supper and cake can be served. Snacks and finger foods should be included to the menu if you expect the party to last for several hours. Feeding a large gathering requires careful planning; you should think about foods that can be bought in bulk at a cheap cost per serving, and you should aim to minimise the variety of foods served.
While the idea of a dessert table is attractive and appetising to think about, the cost can sometimes exceed that of the cake itself. In addition, attendees will be less hungry overall when you provide a variety of desserts like pie, cookie, brownie, cupcake, and cake pop options since they will want to sample everything. One way to cut costs is to serve only one dessert but offer two different flavours. You can discover a home baker or place an order with a local bakery for a large quantity of cookies, which are inexpensive per serving. A fresh fruit salad featuring three or four varieties of in-season fruit is another option.
Menu Examples for an Affordable Wedding Reception
It is possible to reduce the cost of your menu by preparing some of the items yourself. If you choose this route, you will need to prepare and supply the beverages, appetisers, main course, and dessert for your guests. You don't have to build everything from scratch, though. You may calculate the price of any menu item, pick your prefered phrases, and make an informed selection using this feature. The following is an example menu suitable for a wedding reception that will be self-catered.
In order to save money, a small bar can be provided for guests. The most popular and inexpensive drinks at a bar are sodas, water, beer, and wine. One fantastic approach to minimise money is to stock up on discounted alcoholic beverages before the wedding.
- Cheese and cracker bar
- Small quiches filled with vegetables served as an appetiser
- Choose some cheeses for the station that won't break the bank. You may find frozen veggie quiches in great quantities at several warehouse stores.
You can get big quantities of salad greens of various varieties. If you buy cherry tomatoes and halve them, you can use them in a variety of salads but still only need a modest amount of tomatoes. Balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper are simple and inexpensive components that can be used to make a large batch of balsamic vinaigrette.
Main Dish And Sides
- Sautéed chicken breasts
- Mashed potatoes
Some warehouse stores specialise in selling chicken breasts in massive quantities. You can buy multiple packets and cook them in the same way by either sautéing them in a sauce of your choosing or pouring a ready-made sauce over them. Because carrots are so cheap, you can afford to offer multiples to each guest.
If you add butter and milk when mashing potatoes, you can get more out of them than if you baked each one separately. Slow cookers can be used to keep the chicken & mashed potatoes at serving temperature.
- Wedding cupcakes frosted in white
Quick and simple DIY cupcakes, suitable for any wedding celebration, can be produced with just a couple boxes of cake mix and some icing, either handmade or purchased.
Economical Menu Plans for the Wedding
When planning the food for your event, consider hiring a caterer. If you pay close attention to the ingredients and the meals to be served, you may keep the cost down even though this choice is typically more expensive than creating the meal yourself. When working with a caterer, you have greater flexibility to choose more elaborate menu items that still fit within your budget. This is an example of a catered reception menu:
- Wedding punch
- Signature cocktail
Catering services typically offer a selection of unique drinks in addition to a non-alcoholic punch. Avoid beverages that call for fresh fruits, juice, or other components, as they will likely drive up the price. In addition, make sure the caterer plans to use the cheapest alcohol brand possible for the trademark cocktail.
- Tomato and basil-stuffed mozzarella balls
- Crostini with grilled red onions
Miniature mozzarella balls, half a cherry tomato, and some basil can be served as an appetiser on a toothpick for each visitor without spending a fortune. Crostini can be made with nothing more complicated than toasted baguette slices, tomato sauce, and a few paper-thin cutlets of red onion.
Main Dish And Sides
- Salsa with red onions atop tilapia
- White rice
- Side salad
Avoiding an additional salad course and instead including salad in your main dish is a great way to save money. Grilled or baked tilapia is a great budget-friendly fish option, and it tastes great with a few pieces of caramelized red onion on top. White rice is cheap, can be stretched to feed a large number of people, and can be prepared quickly and easily by any caterer, so you won't be charged more for the caterer's time. Greens with cucumber slices or carrot slivers dressed in vinaigrette might serve as the side salad.
- Sheet cake covered in frosting
- An individual-sized cake for a cutting ceremony
Inexpensive wedding cakes without fillings or elaborate decorations can be made by most caterers. If you're looking to save money on your wedding cake, ask your caterer if they can give a smaller cake for you and your new spouse to cut and serve while sheet cakes are kept in the back for guests to slice and serve themselves. Cutting a cake is an unnecessary extra expense when you can just serve everybody a piece of sheet cake instead.
Menu for a Hybrid Reception
As a third alternative, you may create some of the meal yourself and have a caterer provide the rest. As an alternative to hiring a caterer to prepare all of the items on the reception menu, this plan allows you to relax and enjoy the celebration without worrying about the food. A possible menu for this alternative could look like this:
- Alcohol: If you don't want to provide a full bar but still want your guests to imbibe, serve them each a glass of champagne before the toast. You can supplement with discounted bottled water and soda.
- As an appetiser, you may prepare a spread with artichoke dip and cut up vegetables. Ascent is usually low-priced and simple to prepare in huge quantities. Vegetables served with the dip might be selected to minimise costs.
- Wedding cakes: If you do your research, you might locate bakeries that sell simple wedding cakes at reasonable prices. Oftentimes, you may get wedding cakes in the bakery section of a local supermarket. This alternative saves you money as you don't have to buy an expensive cake or ask a caterer to bake one for you. Sausage and pasta.
- Appetiser: Little pulled pork tacos would be a great appetiser for the welcome area. Simple and cheap to make, pulled pork tacos are a great way to give your friends a meat appetiser without breaking the bank.
- Main dish and sides: Sausage and pasta, with a dish of Caesar salad on the side. These dishes are ideal for a caterer to deliver because they need some planning ahead of time but can be made with relatively cheap components.
Making a Menu Plan
It is not necessary to spend a lot of money to feed a large group of people. In any case, you can choose less expensive foods and save money by keeping a close eye on the expense and amount of components required to prepare the dishes you choose. With any luck, you'll be able to have a wonderful wedding while staying within your allotted budget for the reception's cuisine by using some of the ideas we've provided here.
Remember that these are but a few of the various options available to you for creating memorable, tasty, and budget-friendly wedding meals. Then think of something original to say. Keep in mind that nothing can stop your boundless imagination.
The cost of the reception and the food typically accounts for half of the total wedding budget. A lot of brides say they spent upwards of AU$17,000 on catering alone. Whether you prepare the food yourself or work with a catering company, you can save money without compromising on quality. You can save even more money if you order vegetarian or vegan options at brunch instead of meat at dinner. For many years, the church lawn has been the site of a "Cake and Punch" banquet.
If you're looking to keep your wedding reception budget in check, a simple solution is to serve only dessert. Having a food station set up at a wedding reception has become a common practise. Reception food stations that are both fun and inexpensive can be a great addition to a wedding. S'mores bars, doughnut bars, and cheese and charcuterie boards are just some examples of do-it-yourself food stations. Many cultures' wedding feasts still aren't catered or served at a designated venue.
A well-organized potluck wedding is the result of careful preparation and the assignment of specific tasks. If you want to save money without sacrificing quality for your wedding meal, a food truck is a great option. If you want to make the catering process easier on yourself, use frozen or pre-made appetisers. A growing number of couples are forgoing the more conventional wedding cake in favour of individual desserts like cupcakes, pies, or cookies. Dinner and dessert can be served more quickly if the party lasts less time.
Preparing some of the items on the reception menu on your own can help you save money. However, not everything requires starting from scratch. Following is a sample menu that could be used for a cheap wedding reception that the guests will be responsible for providing themselves. For a Wedding Menu that won't break the bank, think about getting a caterer. Spend less on catering by paying close attention to what goes into the meals you plan to serve.
What follows is a sample menu for a reception that will be catered. Mozzarella balls stuffed with tomato and basil, for dipping into your drink. Tilapia topped with salsa and red onions. Almost any baker or caterer should be able to make a simple wedding cake without expensive fillings or decorations. Ask the caterer if they can provide a smaller cake for you and your new spouse to cut and serve as a way to reduce the cost of the wedding cake.
By keeping a close eye on the cost and quantity of components, you can select less expensive foods and save money. Wedding cakes can be found in the bakery section of many grocery stores. Because they require some forethought and preparation but can be made with inexpensive ingredients, these dishes are well-suited for a caterer's services.
- About half of the wedding budget is spent on the reception and the food.
- We will provide you some tips on how to save money on the food for your wedding reception, such as:Not having a formal, served supper.
- You can always provide a brunch for your guests if you're having a morning wedding.
- If your guest list is on the smaller or moderate side, having the celebration in a private suite at your prefered restaurant is a great way to save money on both the venue and the catering.
- The "make your custom X" food booth is all the rage, and you can join in on the fun by setting up one at your wedding.
- A wedding reception with only cheese and charcuterie is essentially the same as a hors d'oeuvres-only event.
- If you're looking to minimise costs without skimping on wedding cuisine, a food truck is a great, unique alternative for your reception.
- When deciding on a food truck at your reception, you should also think about the following details:Could it be loud?
- To help the catering procedure run more smoothly and easily on the big day, you can prepare the meals in advance and freeze them.
- Guests can help themselves to a wide selection of reasonably priced meal selections at a buffet, and you can save money on wait staff as a result.
- Even better, reception meals served in a buffet manner are both relaxed and affordable.
- While the idea of a dessert table is attractive and appetising to think about, the cost can sometimes exceed that of the cake itself.
- It is possible to reduce the cost of your menu by preparing some of the items yourself.
- If you choose this route, you will need to prepare and supply the beverages, appetisers, main course, and dessert for your guests.
- Slow cookers can be used to keep the chicken & mashed potatoes at serving temperature.
- When planning the food for your event, consider hiring a caterer.
- When working with a caterer, you have greater flexibility to choose more elaborate menu items that still fit within your budget.
- As a third alternative, you may create some of the meal yourself and have a caterer provide the rest.
- As an alternative to hiring a caterer to prepare all of the items on the reception menu, this plan allows you to relax and enjoy the celebration without worrying about the food.
- Oftentimes, you may get wedding cakes in the bakery section of a local supermarket.
- It is not necessary to spend a lot of money to feed a large group of people.
FAQs About Budget-Friendly Nuptials
There are numerous people and things involved in a wedding: caterers, the reception, photographers, videographers, makeup artists, etc. Because of the need for each of these elements, the total cost might quickly balloon.
Receptions can be held in a non-wedding venue for a reduced cost. Venues that specialise in hosting weddings might charge more because they have everything the happy couple could possibly need in one convenient location.
Wedding venues across the board tend to offer significant discounts in the month of March due to the month's status as an off-peak time of year with less reliable weather. Although April and May are high season in much of the country, those who live in areas with a longer winter may be able to discover more reasonably priced locations.
Costs for weddings held throughout the week tend to be lower than those held on weekends. The difference will, of course, depend on the location; upscale venues will maintain their upscale status regardless of the day of the week
Although it's not what you'd expect, hotels can be excellent financial choices for wedding venues. You can save a lot of money by having your event at a hotel instead of renting expensive equipment like tables, chairs, dishware, a dance floor, votive candles, etc.