For our wedding price played a big part in selecting our wedding food. Ultimately we wanted great food, a great selection and for everyone to go away full and contented.
The caterer we ended up choosing offered all of this. We investigated the different meal styles (sit down, cocktail food, buffet etc) and weighed up the pros and cons of each. The perfect solution for us ended up being a BBQ buffet with gourmet sides. You may think that sounds naff but with bacon wrapped scallops, salmon and steak as some of the tasty offerings it was anything but!
In my family the good ol’ kiwi BBQ is the pivotal piece for all our gatherings and celebrations; Full cooked birthday breakfast… done on the BBQ; Sunday Roasts… done on the BBQ; Fresh fish off the back of the boat…done on the BBQ. So when this option was presented to us for our wedding it just clicked.
The upside of going with this option was that a buffet worked out cheaper than a sit down meal, it offered the selection to please everyone (including those with dietary requirements) and people could eat as much or as little as they wanted.
Like our wedding there are lots of creative ways to reduce the per person cost of the food and create a great meal.
Here are some of my favourites:
Less can be more!
Cut down on the courses – I mean how much food do people really need? Reducing the number of courses will reduce your overall per person cost.
Catering for the little ones
Ask your vendor for kids pricing. Kids (often) do not eat as much as adults. Taking this into consideration with your catering could save you a lot on money as the per person cost for children should be less.
Pot luck dinner
This is a great option; it drastically reduces your cost of catering as everyone who attends will bring a plate. You can coordinate it to ensure you have the correct amount of mains vs. deserts, or if some of your guests have a specialty dish that they do you can specifically request they bring that.
To reduce the burden on your guests you might want to forgo wedding gifts and have the dish they bring as their ‘gift’ to you (also this way they are likely to spend more time and effort on it).
This does however become difficult with hot meals as you will need a place to store and heat the meals. If you are unable to heat the meals a great alternate option could be a cold buffet or desert bar. You could even make it in to a bit of a competition and have a judging on the day for the yummiest and the best plated meal. That way people will bring their best dishes and their best presentation skills.
Think outside the box
Have a restaurant cater the food or order takeaways. You could tie it in with your wedding theme. For example you could have a Mexicana themed wedding and order Mexican food from your local restaurant.
Kitchens that come to you
Food Trucks are becoming more popular, you could have a food truck come to your site to feed your guests (my only caution with this one would be establishing their food throughput rate as you don’t want your guests waiting for hours to be fed.)
Become the caterer
Another good option is self-catering. It is a big commitment so needs full consideration before you decide to go this way. A compromise could be to self-cater part of the meal for example the entrée, sides or desert and have someone cater the rest. This is a great way to reduce the overall cost while not being overwhelmed with effort.
What time is it?
You could have a brunch or lunch wedding as the meals tend to be lighter thus cheaper. This can also help reduce the cost of the bar as well!
At the end of the day whatever you choose will be perfect for you and your wedding. Remember to think outside that box, get creative and know that the food does not need to be the biggest expense to be superb!
**Plug for the Food Gurus (our wedding caterers) they were amazing, great food, flexible and nothing was too big or small for them to handle.