Looking to save money on your catered wedding reception without looking cheap? It can be done with a little strategy and creativity. Here are 5 ideas to get you started.
Serve Heavy Appetizers. You can save a lot of money by avoiding having a full sit-down meal. One easy way to fill your guests' stomachs without a formal meal is to serve what are known as "heavy appetizers." These are more filling finger foods such as meatballs, chicken wings, potato croquettes or smoked salmon. Guests will chow down and enjoy themselves without feeling a void left by not having a sit-down dinner.
Create a Signature Drink. Rather than have an open bar, save on alcohol costs by slyly limiting the alcohol options to one: your signature drink. This special drink should reflect the tastes of both the bride and groom and the theme of the wedding (fun, traditional, formal, tropical, etc.). By controlling how much alcohol is required for the drink and limiting your alcohol needs to one or two types, you can save a lot of dough with no one noticing.
Serve Fun Non-Alcoholic Drinks. A recent trend has been to replace costly alcoholic beverage choices with a wider range of exotic and delicious non-alcoholic drinks. Whether you prefer mocktails (non-alcoholic versions of drinks), specialty lattes, smoothies or a variety of teas, you can provide your guests with something new and fascinating while secretly saving money on cheaper ingredients.
Bring Your Own Appetizers. Prepare a selection of appetizers ahead of time to avoid paying inflated costs from your caterer. This doesn't mean you will have to spend the day before your wedding cooking, since many appetizers--including crab cakes, taquitos, sliders or pot stickers--can be prepared ahead of time and frozen. You can find out how to estimate appetizer needs per guest here.
Hire Outside Catering. Your guests generally don't know who is providing the catering--the venue or an outside company--but you can save plenty of money by being able to shop around. Be sure to choose a venue that allows you to hire separate catering services rather than forcing you to choose their in-house service. Talk to caterers like Grand Street Cafe for more information on their pricing and services.
Saving money on food and drinks will help you be able to splurge on areas of your wedding and reception that are truly important to you. Then you can have a party you will enjoy without paying the price later on.