Weddings are expensive, and feeding your guests is a big chunk of the cost. According to the Bridal Association of America, the average cost of wedding catering is $12,790. That includes food and food service, drinks and drink service, and cake and cake cutting costs for about 150 guests. However, if you're on a budget and don't want to spend that much, there are ways to cut your costs without looking like you're skimping. Take a look at some creative reception menu ideas that your guests will love and that will also save you money.
Wine and Cheese Tasting
A wine and cheese reception is a great choice for a late afternoon or early evening wedding. It will cost you less than providing all your guests with a full meal and an open bar, but it will come across as sophisticated and upscale, not as a budget-friendly choice.
Serve a selection of wines and cheeses with grapes, figs, and different types of bread. You can also serve cold meats, pâtés, and small hors d'oeuvres. Everybody will be able to try a variety of tastes, and they'll remember your reception as a particularly elegant affair. Plus, you'll easily be able to accommodate your vegetarian guests without having to provide separate meals.
Another great idea that's less expensive but still allows your reception to maintain a formal air is an English tea. This works especially well if you're planning a vintage-style theme wedding. An English tea will fit right in with themes that carry a touch of history or tradition.
You can serve a variety of dainty finger sandwiches, tea cakes and small pastries, and scones with jam and clotted cream. Offer a selection of flavored teas, along with champagne, sherry, and brandy. You'll have a unique and lovely reception for a much lower cost.
For an outdoor wedding with an informal feel, a barbecue meal is a fun choice. This is a great choice for a summer wedding on a bright and sunny day. It may also be preferable if you know that your guests tend to prefer easily recognizable food to fancy hors d'oeuvres. A barbecue allows you to serve a full meal for less than you'd need to pay for a formal sit-down dinner.
You can opt for tried-and-true summer barbecue items like potato salads and cheeseburgers, or you can get inventive with gourmet sausages and creative pasta salads. Grilled eggplant, tofu and vegetable kabobs, and black bean burgers are just some of the many vegetarian options you can provide at a barbecue.
Feeding your wedding guests doesn't have to be prohibitively expensive. You can have a creative and delicious spread that your guests will love while saving some of your wedding cash for the honeymoon.