To make your budget go further, why not opt for a 2 course menu (a hearty mains and pudding); instead of the classic three course dinner. If you are serving a few pre-reception canapés or nibbles with drinks, then this can act as a starter. In fact, most people are usually stuffed at weddings by the time it gets to enjoy the pudding anyway! On that note, another option would be to opt for a starter and main course and then serve your cake as a pudding – thus getting all three courses in. On the other hand, you could be clever with your timings and host a later wedding ceremony, so you only have to serve a wedding breakfast and not an evening buffet as well.
Image from Party Pieces
Remember to always focus on local specialities, as these often work out much cheaper. Think of your location. If near Cheddar for example, why not serve mini Hors D’oeuvres of cheddar cheese chunks with a dollop of pickle on mini crackers during pre-dinner drinks… or mini Cornish pasties if you are based in Cornwall? A delicious Lancashire hotpot would also go down a treat as a main course too! You get my drift right! A hog roast or big bowls of fresh pasta make a great alternative to the traditional evening buffet and are much lighter on the budget too. Beware of evening buffets as they can often work out to be very costly. Themed foods such as platters of Indian or Chinese dishes can also work out to be more cost effective and make a fun, memorable alternative to classic wedding day cuisine. Following on from this point, your entire wedding day look could be inspired by the menu you choose. If going Oriental, think about how you can run this theme across the entire celebration. Mexican cuisine is also really popular at the moment as is tapas, which is particular good for getting your guests interacting and talking at the table. Sharing food is always V sociable and perfect for a wedding.
Another option would be to pick your favourite three courses as a couple and start planning your wedding food from there. If burger and fries washed down with a sweet sundae is your thing, then maybe Fifties American retro could be your running theme! And so on…
Of course, if you are feeling super brave and hosting your wedding in a DIY styled venue, you could always get yourself a catering team together (consisting of close family and friends) to prep and serve on the day itself as we discussed earlier… WARNING this option is not for the faint hearted!
Image from Party Pieces
Remember though, whatever you decide on, steer well clear of luxury foods and posh fish to keep the costs down!
Serve prosecco or cava for the toasts instead of Champagne, no-one will ever know the difference and prosecco in particular, generally tastes much nicer than the average bottle of bubbly anyhow. Of course, you could totally ditch the Champagne altogether and go for a DIY cocktail instead for a pre-reception drink … this alternative is always very light on the budget front – especially when utilising minimal alcohol content!
And for the hardcore, why not go down the Homemade wine route – a perfect option if hosting your big day in a DIY space, or maybe you can simply negotiate a basic corkage rate in a more traditional venue… now we are talking personalisation people! Take a look at www.wineworks.co.uk for inspiration – my Dad made a batch of Red from this site and it tasted gorge!
Don’t offer a free bar – ½ a bottle of wine per person plus one DIY cocktail is sufficient… oh and don’t forget a few bottles of beers for the boys too! Most wedding guests do not expect a paid-for bar anymore.
If you are not sweet toothed, go for three tiers of savoury cheese instead and serve with cracker biscuits and pickle – this option is often much lighter on the budget and makes a refreshing change for your guests… visit www.thecheeseshed.com
And for a show-stopping spot of glitz at the table – why not wow your guests by adding in some edible flowers to your main dish of the day! V cheap and V fabulous visit www.maddocksfarmorganics.co.uk for visuals.
For more wedding food ideas… Exclusive extract taken from The Wedding Fairy’s Budget Busting DIY Wedding Guide!