Wedding food ideas for cheap
If you are looking for cheap wedding reception food ideas, you have come to the right place.
Choosing which foods to serve at your wedding is always an important decision.
I know when I was getting married, I had to please multiple people.
You want to create a lovely meal for all your wedding guests and make sure everything looks just as beautiful as it tastes.
So what is the cheapest food to serve at a wedding?
When you are on a budget, find ways to cut wedding expenses can help in a really big way.
Not many bridal couples can afford a fully catered affair.
But that doesn’t mean that your meal has to be anything less than spectacular.
Even though you are on a hunt for cheap wedding ideas, you still need to ensure that what you do plan for your guests is still as nice.
You just need to put some creativity into planning your food for the big day and it will all work out.
Don’t forget to work with your caterer or wedding venue to plan inexpensive wedding reception food that you can serve your guests.
They are the best people to come up with great reception food ideas that could possibly work with your budget.
I had brides ask me these questions over the last few weeks:
What is the cheapest food to cater?
What is the cheapest food to serve at a wedding?
Is it cheaper to cater your own wedding?
How can I feed my wedding guests cheap?
All these are absolutely amazing questions.
It just goes to show that many of you are working with a tight budget and you are really trying to cut costs wherever possible.
And if you don’t have a wedding budget done up yet, it’s time to get started on one before any planning can take place.
Lucky for you, you can grab a budget planner for FREE right here.
For those not sure how to create a budget for your wedding that works, read this post.
Don’t forget to check out the wedding printable shop for your wedding planning checklists, worksheets, and freebies.
So what are some affordable wedding food ideas that are budget-friendly?
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How to come up with wedding food on a budget
Did you know that a food reception typically goes from $20 to $160 per person plus taxes and in some places gratuities (or tips)?
The higher price is more all-inclusive.
Unless you have the money to spend, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on your wedding catering.
That’s why we created this post to show you the different cheap food ideas for a wedding that you can use on your own day.
Whether you are looking for inexpensive wedding menu ideas or affordable wedding food ideas you can try to cater for your own wedding, we have some epic tips for you.
We have plenty of ideas on ways to cut costs when planning out cheap wedding menu ideas.
Anywhere from avoiding sit-down meals, considering self-catering options and even simply reducing your menu altogether.
This guide should help you stay on track by following wedding food budget ideas that save money.
Here are some ideas for serving gorgeous wedding food on a budget:
Cater the Meal Yourself
If you are looking for cheap wedding reception food ideas and you are absolutely on a budget, consider cooking it yourself.
Preparing the food yourself, along with some family and friends, can be a very special treat for your wedding guests.
This is also a way to make your wedding more personal.
Instead of traditional wedding meals, you can serve your family’s favourite food or ethnic specialties.
Those unique touches will make this a meal everyone will remember with pleasure.
What are some simple ideas for wedding food you can prepare yourself for your big day:
- BBQ foods (simple meats – chicken pork chops)
- Garden salad
- Steamed vegetables
- Roasted potatoes
Go halfway on your wedding catering
If preparing the entire meal by yourself sounds too overwhelming, which in most cases it could be, then consider going halfway.
Hire a professional caterer to prepare some of the dishes you serve, perhaps an attractive main course.
Then round out the menu with your own favourite side dishes and appetizers.
By having a caterer do some of the meal preparation, you can relieve your budget and also your stress level.
I love this idea because you can save money and still prepare your favourite foods for your guests.
You can prepare the appetizers, the side dishes and the late-night snack.
Wedding food ideas for buffet
If you are on a budget, consider serving a buffet.
A buffet-style meal can be a lot easier on the budget than a sit-down meal.
What is a Buffet-Style Reception?
A buffet-style reception usually features one menu that is set up on a large table or a particular section in one area of your reception room.
This differs from a station-style reception, which will feature multiple menu concepts usually displayed on different tables.
You can definitely find a wide range of wedding reception buffet menu ideas on a budget on Pinterest.
Some foods that look wonderful on a buffet table are vegetable trays, fresh fruits, salads, rolls, and cold cuts.
Your local deli might be able to prepare the trays for you.
You can also assemble the platters yourself and add some lovely garnishes to spruce them up a bit.
Here are a few wedding reception buffet menu ideas on a budget:
- Salad stations
- A pasta dish
- Side dishes (usually one type of veggie and one type of potato)
- Dinner rolls
There are plenty of wedding food ideas on a budget buffet, just make a list of things you enjoy eating and go with that.
Potluck Wedding Ideas
If you are having a more informal wedding, consider serving a potluck meal.
What exactly is a potluck wedding?
You’ll also get a wonderful feast with a variety of everyone’s best dishes.
If you do decide to have a potluck dinner, be sure to organize what everyone is going to bring, so you don’t get too much of one type of dish.
Here are a few wedding potluck ideas for guests to bring:
- Meat dishes
- Pasta and casseroles
You can also theme your potluck and maybe ask your guests to bring their favourite dessert to add to your dessert table.
Either way, these cheap wedding reception food ideas will save you a lot of money.
If you have your heart set on serving elegant dishes like seafood or even prime rib, being on a budget doesn’t mean you have to do entirely without them.
These food types can definitely be more expensive but there is a way to go around this.
Instead of serving them as a main course, plan ahead of time and create appetizers that are smaller, more affordable versions of these expensive dishes.
I think these are great and can work really well if done right.
For example, instead of a seafood main course, serve crab cakes or a tasty lobster sauce with another appetizer.
So what are some other wedding finger foods on a budget that you can serve on your big day?
- Veggie platters
- Mini Sliders
- Mini pizzas
- Assorted cheeses
- Meat skewers
- Tuna tartare cones
- Mini hotdogs and pickles
- Tacos and tequila on the side
- Soft pretzels
- Bacon-wrapped foods
- Morrocan chicken skewers
- Assorted French fries
Honestly, I can go on and on.
As you can see, there are plenty of affordable wedding food ideas, you just have to be creative.
I would definitely also make it a point to serve foods that are filling so people do not starve or ask for more food.
Food truck hire for weddings
As you know, food and drink are the best way to ensure your guests have not only a memorable day, but are well fed and catered to on your special day.
And catering is such a huge part of the wedding day.
It’s only then expected that you serve the best.
But if you are on a tight budget, things may be a little tricky.
That’s why we recommend looking into food truck wedding catering!
A wedding food truck can absolutely be entertaining for your guests and they are so much fun.
But you absolutely need to do your due diligence.
A food truck wedding can seem much more cost-effective than one catered by a traditional caterer. But they can also be expensive if you don’t get an all-inclusive quote.
- Rentals such as plates, cutlery, napkins
- Dessert service
- Electricity/ Power
- Parking space
In most cases, wedding food trucks typically only bring their food and their truck.
You would be responsible for everything else.
Remember, you want to stick to cheap wedding reception foods here.
So although it might seem cheap, try to get everything needed to ensure your guests are well-taken care of and everything else required for the day, such as clean up after guests eat.
Photo by Steve Steinhardt Photography via Style Me Pretty
And there you have it, our examples of cheap food ideas for wedding receptions.
If we missed anything, please share below.
Other wedding menus on a budget:
- Brunch wedding
- Serve family-style meals (lasagna, Fajitas)
- Lunch wedding
- Serve Bar Snacks
- Serve Vegetarian meal Option
- Build-your-own meal bar (Pizza, Tacos, Burritos, Sandwiches or Burgers)
- Creative wedding food bars
- Dessert stations
We hope you enjoyed our list of cheap wedding reception food ideas!
The food you serve is an important part of your wedding day.
At the same time, it’s not so important that you should go into debt or break your budget to pay for an elaborate meal.
With some creativity and planning, it’s possible to serve gorgeous wedding food without overspending.
Hopefully, these food ideas for a wedding reception on a budget will help you better budget!
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