There’s no other way to put it—weddings are expensive. If you’ve started planning and pricing out your wedding reception, you might be taken aback by some of the costs of the food. According to The Knot, the average cost for wedding catering is about $75 per person. These expenses can fluctuate depending on where you live and what time of year you’re getting married.
While every couple should be prepared to spend a large chunk of their expenses on reception food, there are a few ways you can “hack the system” and cut down on the costs of your catering. Here are six money-saving tips for wedding catering without sacrificing a delicious meal.
Book the Service With Special Rates
If you’re looking to save money on your wedding catering, look out for wedding shows or expos in your surrounding area. These events inform those in the industry and those planning a wedding. Thus, these businesses will provide special rates for those who stop by their tables and like what they see or taste. Take advantage of these special rates because they save you a ton of money—way more than their regular prices!
Tip: Check if your catering service offers special military rates or discounts for any active or retired military personnel.
Offer Themed Food Stations
When people think of food at weddings, they immediately think of the traditional options like pasta, steak, mixed vegetables, or chicken in sauce. Although those are great classic choices, you should think outside the box. A great and unique option is to create themed stations based on your and your partner’s favorite foods. From a build-your-own-burger station to a Chinese station to a seafood station, your guests will appreciate the variety. This will also cut down labor costs since the stations would be buffet-style ones.
Opt Out of Having Servers
When you’re paying for your catering services, you’re paying for the food and the staffing involved. It’s easy to get excited about the glitz and glamour of having servers and staff wait on you and your guests. Your guests won’t care if someone hands them a deviled egg or if they have to walk and get one themselves—they just want good food.
Save your money and hold off on the servers. Buffet-style food might be the best choice, especially if you want to save a few bucks. You can still have a luxurious wedding reception without servers.
Have a Casual Cocktail Hour
Having hors d’oeuvres for cocktail hour is a desirable aspect of the brief time between the wedding and reception. However, those small plates can increase the total cost of your catering bill. You can still provide small bites to hold guests over but make them less labor-intensive dishes.
Welcome your guests to a table full of cheese platters, dips, chips, fruits, nuts, and other snacks to help kill the hunger of your awaiting guests.
Fun tip: When your guests RSVP, ask them what their favorite snack is and provide it at cocktail hour!
Consider Hiring Food Trucks
If your wedding is outside and in warm weather, a food truck is a fun and money-saving way to cater food. Prices range depending on your location and what kinds of food you’re choosing, but the cost is significantly less than going with traditional catering. Work with your local food truck and have a set menu to avoid long lines or confusion.
Choose a Venue That Allows Outside Catering
When you find the perfect wedding venue, it feels like a dream. That is, until you read the fine print and learn that you have to use its services and only allow its caterer to serve food. Although it’s not ideal, you must find a new venue and shop around for caterers to compare budgets. It’s always best to read the fine print and ensure that your dream venue allows outside services.
There are so many ways you can save money when planning a wedding. You can cut your catering bill in half using these six money-saving catering hacks! You can contribute the money you save from your catering to something else, like your decorations, DJ, or photographer.