10 Ways To Cut The Cost of your Wedding Catering
Catering a wedding is one of the big costs associated with planning a wedding, which is why it is important that you do plenty of research and planning before hiring a wedding caterer. Following is 10 tips that may help you save money on your wedding catering. Feel free to add any more tips to help fellow brides and grooms in the comments box below.
1. Find out upfront if childrens meals will be cheaper than the adult rate. At most restaurants and venues this is always the case and it shouldn’t be any different for a wedding.
2. Get an itemized quote to ensure that you are fully aware of any ‘hidden charges’ and to ensure that the cost includes the price of labour.
3. Find out what the minimum guest count is for the caterer as if you do not have the required amount you may be charged additional fees.
4. Is there a local restaurant that you frequent that has delicious food? Why not ask them if they would be willing
to cater your wedding?
5. There are many home-based part-time catering businesses run by retired chefs who want to earn a bit of extra money by offering their services to special events and weddings. They usually offer their services at a heavily reduced price and offer one-on-one service ensuring that they know exactly what you are after.
The Open Bar vs. The Cash Bar
This is often a touchy issue with couples planning a wedding and its easy to see why. If you’re not careful an open bar can end up costing around $20 per guest. If you have 100 guests, well that’s easily $2000 of your budget, no wonder couple love the idea of a cash bar (where guest pay for their own drinks) Wedding etiquette suggests that a cash bar should be avoided, but is there a compromise that can save the couple some money yet still allow them the option of providing drinks for their guests?
1. Carefully plan your open bar. Stick to champagne, wine and beer and avoiding spirits and shots as this can easily add up.
2. Limit the time that the bar is open.
3. If you will be buying the alcohol yourself do it at the right time of year when there will be specials on such as New Years Eve or before a national sporting event.
4. Find out if your local alcohol stores have any free vip customer loyalty memberships where you can pick up great discounts.
5. Negotiate the removal of the corkage fee.
6. Prearrange a certain time for bartender to stop uncorking bottles as you don’t want to end up paying for ten bottles of only partially used bottles.
Have a Lunchtime Wedding to Save on Catering Costs
One way to reduce the cost of your catering is to have a lunchtime wedding rather than an evening one. Evening weddings generally consist of a more elaborate and larger meal for dinner. You could still have a tantalising lunch time menu for a significantly reduced cost.
Another bonus is that people (well most people anyway) tend to drink less for lunch time weddings rather than evening one saving you money.
I was recently asked for my views on a pot-luck wedding. The couple didn’t want a fancy wedding, just a small ceremony to symbolise their commitment to each other. They have limited funds, and would prefer to save the small amount of savings they do have towards a house deposit. They are excited about the possibility of a pot-luck wedding to be held in their backyard, but would hate to be seen as impolite or tacky.
Personally I think that pot-luck weddings can work in certain situations. Firstly, it is best suited to smaller weddings. If your guest list is somewhere in the 100+ range, it can just get chaotic coordinating all that food.
Whilst most guests will string bring a gift to a pot-luck wedding, it is rude to ask for money in lieu of gifts when you are also asking guests to bring a meal. This will just be seen as greedy.
In the next few days we will publish a complete guide detailing how to successfully throw a pot-luck wedding, detailing steps from the invitation wording to the actual wedding day.
Catering for Kids at Weddings
You can trim your catering bill by having a different serving size plate for kids. After all, kids don’t tend to eat as much as adults, so offering them a full sized serving is a waste of money.
You could even ask the caterer to serve the children at your wedding an entirely different meal, one that would likely be better received. Most kids don’t really care for the ‘fancy’ meals that adults are served anyway.
Not all caterers will advise you of the kid’s menu option, so you may need to negotiate this yourself.
Eliminate shots from the menu
A good way to reduce the cost of drinks at your wedding is to eliminate shots on the menu. Guests can go through shots pretty quickly which can inflate the alcohol cost. Mixed drinks and non-alcoholic beverages are the way to go to ensure that you stick to a decent budget. You might also want to consider having a restrictive bar, which means it would only be open at certain times, perhaps after the speeches or during the meal. This will ensure that your guests won’t be drinking on an empty stomach, so there will be a reduced chance of overly drunken guests.
The Lolly Buffet
Want a fun way to spruce up your reception catering, what about a lolly buffet? It’s a relatively simple and inexpensive way to add a little bit of fun to your wedding. All you need are some clear glass bowls and vases and an assortment of lollies to fill them up with. You will also need some scoops for your guests to fill up their lolly bowls with. Some good lolly suggestions are jelly beans, jelly jubes, lollypops and any other type of colourful lollies. Your guests (adults and children alike) will absolutely love this idea and the visual effect of clear glass filled with an assortment of colours will be stunning. In order to make the colours stand out, you may want to drape the table in a contrasting colour such as black velvet. It’s also visually pleasing to have the bowls on different levels. You can stack up some books under the fabric to create different heights.