Budget BBQ Wedding Menu: 8 Money-Saving Tips & Ideas

Budget BBQ Wedding Menu: 8 Money-Saving Tips & Ideas

Planning a wedding can feel like a juggling act, especially when you’re trying to keep costs under control. If you’re a fan of a good barbecue and want to incorporate this into your wedding day, you’re in luck. Creating a delicious, budget-friendly, BBQ-inspired wedding menu is entirely possible and can add a unique, relaxed atmosphere to your big day. Whether you’re hosting a casual backyard gathering or a larger affair, consider these money-saving tips and ideas that will help you plan the ideal BBQ wedding menu.

1. Choose Cost-Effective Meats

When you’re planning the perfect “I Do BBQ,” it’s crucial to prioritize ingredients that won’t break the bank. In this case, that means opting for cost-effective meats that pack a punch in the flavor department and can feed a crowd.

Consider options like pulled pork, chicken, and brisket—these meats not only have a natural smoky flavor that will leave your guests wanting more, but they’re also inexpensively priced when compared to other options, like steak or fish. Gather up your grill and your spices, and get ready to wow your guests with a BBQ feast that won’t burn a hole in your wallet.

Everyday Bride Tip

Remember to provide a vegetarian or vegan choice on your menu, such as grilled portobello mushrooms, veggie burgers, or extra veggies for a grilled medley, to cater to all guests and their dietary preferences.

2. Embrace Seasonal Produce

Fresh and seasonal produce can elevate any BBQ main dish from ordinary to extraordinary. Not only do seasonal fruits and vegetables taste better, but they’re also less expensive and more abundant, making it all the easier to pick up some local favorites.

For example, you can grill some colorful veggies, like bell peppers, corn, and zucchini, to create a perfect complement to your barbequed main dish. Additionally, you could serve up some juicy watermelon or a refreshing fruit salad for a delightful summertime side.

3. Set Up Your “I Do BBQ” Buffet Style

Another great cost-saving tip is to serve BBQ in a buffet-style setup. Buffet-style BBQs are great for weddings because they allow for variety and customization. This way, guests can select the foods they like and how much they want according to their tastes and dietary preferences, which ultimately reduces food waste. Here are some buffet-style BBQ station ideas you can consider for your wedding:

  • Meat Station
  • Salad Bar Station
  • Side Dish Station
  • Beverage Station
  • Dessert Station
  • Condiment Station

4. Incorporate DIY Elements

Add an extra element of fun and let your guests get creative with a make-your-own burger or hot dog station! Provide a range of toppings like different cheeses, pickles, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, bacon, and an assortment of sauces. This interactive addition is not only cost-effective but also provides a unique and enjoyable touch to the wedding menu. 

If your budget allows, it might be worth considering renting a hot dog cart for a more stress-free experience. Arranging for a catering service to come in will ensure you fully enjoy the celebration with your guests, without worrying about the added hassle of planning, serving, and cleaning up afterward.

5. Choose Budget-Friendly Sides

Opting for budget-friendly sides for your BBQ-inspired wedding menu can significantly cut costs while still providing a satisfying meal. Here are some traditional, low-cost options that will fulfill your BBQ menu wishes:

  • Coleslaw: Coleslaw is a favorite at BBQs. It’s an affordable dish to prepare in big batches because it mainly requires inexpensive cabbage and carrots. Additionally, it provides a refreshing and tangy complement to the savory BBQ flavors.
  • Potato salad: Looking for an affordable crowd-pleaser to go along with your BBQ dishes? Consider a delicious potato salad! Potatoes are budget-friendly and can be transformed into a flavorful dish with just a few simple ingredients, such as mayonnaise, mustard, onions, and celery.
  • Baked beans: If you’re feeding a big group, baked beans make for a filling and popular side dish that won’t break the bank. You can add extra flavor by mixing in some BBQ sauce or using leftover meat trimmings.
  • Cornbread: This timeless BBQ accompaniment is budget-friendly when prepared in large quantities. Whether sweet or spicy, infused with jalapenos, or topped with honey butter, cornbread is adaptable and adored by numerous individuals.
  • Macaroni salad: Looking for an affordable way to feed a large group of people? Consider making a delectable macaroni salad. All you need is some pasta, fresh veggies, and a basic dressing, and you can easily stretch your budget. Plus, it’s a refreshing dish that everyone is sure to enjoy.
  • Grilled corn on the cob: Corn on the cob is a great money-saving side dish that adds a touch of fun to any meal, especially when the corn is in season. It’s also an interactive option, as guests can choose their preferred toppings, such as butter, salt, pepper, or a sprinkle of cheese.
  • Green salad: A simple salad consisting of mixed lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers, along with a choice of dressings, is an affordable option for a light and refreshing side dish. Purchasing seasonal ingredients can also help to cut costs.
  • Mac and cheese: This popular comfort food is always a classic BBQ side. The ingredients are affordable, and the dish is easy to make in large quantities. It’s a hearty side that’s loved by both adults and kids. Add extras like bacon or onions for flavor, and prepare the mac and cheese ahead of time to reduce stress on the big day.

Remember, the key to keeping these sides budget-friendly is to focus on simple ingredients and recipes. Additionally, buying ingredients in bulk or when they’re in season can contribute to significant savings.

6. Buy Drinks in Bulk

When planning your budget BBQ-themed wedding menu, consider purchasing beverages in bulk from membership warehouses to save money and provide a diverse drink selection for your guests. It’s crucial to have options that cater to all preferences, including non-alcoholic and alcoholic choices.

Some retailers will even offer the option to return unopened bottles or cases after your wedding. This way, you can ensure you don’t run out of drinks, but you also won’t waste money on excess—just don’t forget to save your receipt!

Everyday Bride Tip

To follow the BBQ menu theme, consider using drink dispensers for non-alcoholic options like iced tea, lemonade, and fruit-infused water. 

7. Offer Simple, Tasty Desserts

Desserts are an essential part of any wedding menu, including a BBQ-themed wedding. The key to providing budget-friendly desserts is to choose options that can be prepared in advance and served easily. Here are some sweet ideas:

  • Fruit cobblers or crisps
  • S’mores bar
  • Homemade cookies or brownies
  • Ice cream or popsicles
  • Grilled fruit (like peaches or pineapple)
  • A sheet cake or cupcakes

8. Get Creative With Presentation

How you present your food can make a big difference in the overall appeal of your wedding menu. Consider serving your main dishes, sides, and desserts on rustic crates or wooden platters, and use mason jars for drinks to help support your BBQ menu theme. You can also add in some chalkboard signs and use checkered tablecloths. 

A Final Thought

A wedding is a celebration of love, and what better way to celebrate than with the food you love? With these budget-friendly tips and ideas, you’ll be able to create a delicious and memorable BBQ-inspired wedding menu that your guests will rave about long after your big day. Embrace your love of BBQ and say “I Do” in the most delicious way possible.

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Everyday Bride

Freelance Writer
June 7, 2023

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