27 Apr 2016 Admin

10 food and drink menu ideas for budget weddings

Planning a wedding should be fun. Unfortunately, the reality is often a colossal number of spreadsheets, an ever-present calculator and utter disbelief at the cost of each and every element.

Weddings consist of many parts and, while it’s possible to whittle down the things you’ll need to make your big day one to remember, there are some essentials like wedding dress, wedding band and obviously, guests need to eat and have a drink or two, so there’s no wiping ‘catering’ off the list. Sorry.

Happily, there are a number of brilliantly simple techniques for reducing the food and drink budget at your wedding.

Get ready for the ultimate guide to producing a wedding food and drink menu on a budget.

1. Provide appetisers yourself
No one expects you to turn chief cook and bottle washer on your wedding day, but you can remove a considerable amount of expense by providing the appetisers yourself. Catering companies often charge through the nose, so enlist the help of a friend to prepare your own.

2. Don’t overspend on wine
It is customary to provide a bottle or two of wine on each table during the wedding breakfast, but don’t go overboard when it comes to quality. One bottle of sufficient pedigree will be well received when everyone is sober, but as the day wears on, people will be far less ‘Oz Clarke’ in their judgement.

Alternatively, consider replacing the second bottle of wine with a complimentary, celebratory shot of a ‘signature’ drink at the end of the meal. The best whisky, gin or vodka might be available right on your doorstep.

3. Don’t be too generous with an open bar
You want everyone to enjoy themselves, but only put behind the bar what you can afford. If it runs out by 3pm, so be it - your guests should be accustomed to buying their own drinks!

4. Go for outside catering
Try and find a venue that allows outside catering. That way, you’ll avoid the inflated catering prices of the venue itself and have your pick of sensibly-priced vendors willing to rock up in a van and provide your guests with fab food.

5. Have a sweet bar
Sweet bars are becoming a common sight at weddings for a reason; they negate the need for sweets after the meal and can be built on a budget. Oh, and guests love them!

6. Replace your wedding cake with cupcakes
Wedding cakes can be surprisingly expensive. To swerve a budget-busting bullet here, go for a cupcake wedding cake instead. You’ll spend a fraction of the cost on a tiered cupcake display and it’ll be a real talking point.

7. Have a Saturday night takeaway
There are no rules for weddings (bar the ceremony, obviously), so why should you serve a stuffy three course meal? Surprise your guests with a takeaway. Pizzas will go down very well. Hey, even fish and chips will put smiles on their faces. Ordering a takeaway will save you a fortune and contribute to a truly memorable day.

8. Serve non-alcoholic beverages
It’s your day, and if you’re not a big drinker and have recently discovered the delights of smoothies or non-alcoholic cocktails, serve those with the wedding breakfast instead. Guests who fancy something stronger can head to the bar.

9. Remember: plated and buffet meal costs vary
You may be tempted to replace your plated meal with a buffet in an effort to save a few pennies, but check with the venue; you may well find that the buffet is more expensive. Go for whatever is cheaper.

10. Try ‘family style’ catering
Eating with the family at home usually consists of each element of the meal placed in the middle of the table, allowing everyone to help themselves. Why not do this for your wedding? It works as a great icebreaker on big tables and, crucially, will have a positive effect on your budget.

If there’s one takeaway above, it is this: remember that this is your day. There are no rules when it comes to food and drink at weddings. Protect your budget, try something inventive and you’ll add to the magic of the day.