*This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
The average cost of a wedding in the United States is can reach $26,000. This is a startling figure that many couples are unprepared to pay for. Therefore, you may be eager to take any steps possible to curb that cost in an effort to save money. Catering, food, and alcohol are some of the largest expenditures in a wedding. As a consequence, you can easily save on the cost of your wedding when you know how to save on wedding food.
Bonus read for your honeymoon – How to Find the Cheapest Flights Ever
Saving on Wedding Food Is Easy If You…
The cost of wedding food can easily equate to approximately 20 to 30 percent of your total budget. This varies substantially based on your location and various other factors. Still, you can see that this is a huge expense that deserves your full attention. If you want to know how to save on wedding food, you will be pleased to discover that there are various steps you can take to curtail this cost. Your focused effort on this task can help you drastically reduce the overall cost of your wedding. These are some of the best ways to reduce the cost of your wedding food.
1. Reduce Your Guest List
One of the primary factors that will quickly inflate your wedding budget in many areas is your guest list. When you have a large guest list, you need to enlarge everything. A bigger venue, reception site, different types of costly entertainment and plenty of food and drinks to go around.
Many people easily spend between $25-$50 per person on food and drinks. Therefore, you can see that reducing your guest list can have a beneficial and significant impact on your overall catering budget. Moreover, it can also help you save on other areas of the wedding.
2. Choose an Ideal Reception Time
If you want to know how to save on wedding food, you should pay close attention to the reception time. The most affordable times to cater an event are during breakfast, lunch, and dessert. For example, eggs and bacon or sandwiches are more affordable than a full dinner of prime rib or salmon.
Dessert may be the most affordable time for an event because most people will have very small samples of several desserts. Or they will have one or two larger servings. The best dessert time is usually in the early afternoon after lunch time or in the evening after dinner.
3. Choose an Off-Day for Your Wedding
Caterers are in high demand from Friday through Sunday. If you want to know how to save on wedding food, consider having your wedding from Monday through Thursday. Many venues and service providers may also have off-rates during these days of the week. This can help you save a substantial amount of money in various ways.
4. Select Your Location Carefully
You may not realize it, but your reception location plays a considerable role in the type and amount of food you need to purchase. For example, if your reception is at a high-end hall or resort, your guests may understandably expect to be pampered with an elaborate meal. This is especially true if the event is held during dinnertime.
If you want to know how to save on wedding food for your upcoming event, keep in mind that some venues require you to use their caterer. This can limit your ability to shop around for the best deal on the foods you really want to serve. More than that, if you choose to get married in a suburb or even in a nearby small town, you may be able to take advantage of the lower prices offered by a restaurant in the local area.
Another way location can save you money is by selecting a reception site at a restaurant. This works particularly well if you have a smaller wedding party. Moreover, you may be able to keep your per person cost to $20-$30 or less in some cases.
5. Choose an Affordable Theme
Some food themes are more expensive than others. You may find that your wedding theme corresponds better with some types of food than others. For example, a shabby chic or country wedding corresponds well with a barbecue meal. However, barbecue is often a pricey option because of the amount of beef required. Choosing chicken fajitas may be a more cost-effective alternative.
6. Use a Cash Bar
It may sound amazing to provide your guests with an open bar, but this can be expensive. Everyone may take full advantage of the bar, and they may have a fabulous time as a result. However, they often will drink more than they otherwise would if you have a cash bar. Evidently, this means that you are footing their very large bill for excessive drinking.
7. Select a Plated Meal Option
It may sound cheaper to do heavy appetizers than a plated meal or a buffet, but this is not actually true in many cases. With a plated meal, the caterer and you know exactly how much food to prepare for everyone. With a buffet or heavy appetizers, you may offer multiple options to choose from. Also, you may purchase more than necessary to avoid running out. In addition, the per person cost of multiple appetizers or buffet items may cost more than the per plate cost.
8. Pay Attention to the Type of Meat Offered
If you are debating between menu options, focus on the type of meat being offered. It may sound great to offer your guests prime rib or a savory steak, but this can cost a fortune. Chicken and pork are some of the more affordable options to consider. Your guests may be just as happy with those options.
9. Shop Around for the Best Prices
When you want to know how to save on wedding food, shopping around for the best price is imperative. Whether you choose to have your wedding in a hotel, reception hall, restaurant or another venue, always pay attention to the food prices that are linked to that venue. A restaurant may be the most affordable option in many cases, depending on the menu prices. However, your best option aside from that may be to choose a reception venue that allows you to shop freely and that does not hinder you to the use of a specific caterer.
Catering can cost a relative fortune, and you certainly need to know how to save on wedding food if you want to keep your budget under control. As you can see, there are various steps you can take as well as different approaches to wedding planning in general that you can use to keep your catering costs reasonable. Many couples will select a wedding theme as well as a reception site before selected a caterer. However, there are many basic or preliminary aspects of wedding planning that relate to food in some way. With this in mind, always keep food in the back of your mind when planning an affordable wedding.