Having amazing food at your wedding is always worth it, unfortunately sometimes there simply isn’t enough budget for everything you want. But have no fear, there are a few ways to cut costs that may help you fit it all into your current budget.
Let’s start off with some hard-hitting numbers first. The average cost of a wedding is sitting right around $33,000 currently. We know. Join us in picking your jaw off the floor. When it comes to food, the average person will cost $68 a plate according to recent studies. In California, that number is above $100 so it will vary slightly depending on where you’re getting married.
Now that we have confirmed what all of us already know to be true, that weddings are expensive, let’s talk about Our top cost-saving tips for your reception to see about shaving some numbers off that bill.
Focus on Timing
If you’re willing to be a little flexible with your schedule, play around with different times of day to host your wedding day. If you want to host a sit-down meal, research shows that brunch is cheaper than dinner and can still be super good! Two words, Two words, Mimosa Bar. Your meal can still be elegant and tasty even if it is served in the morning.
If you’re very flexible and want to go against the grain a little bit, think about hosting a midday wedding. Having your reception around 3 pm will raise the chances that your guests have already eaten lunch and won’t be as demanding of a full meal. With venues and caterers who are up for it, you can “save between 40%-60% on catering” According to Denise and Alan Fields who wrote up Bridal Bargains.
Consider the season
There are a lot of price variances when it comes to the different seasons. For example: if you’re getting married in the winter, but want tropical fruits and vegetables for a salad, it’s definitely going to cost you more. It helps to think about what will be in season when you’re getting married and how to “shop” for the best fresh food within that time frame.
Similar to a venue’s peak and off-peak seasons, the same occurrence happens with catering. Since there are certain times of the year when there’s a high number of weddings happening, catering companies may charge extra for their services to accommodate the higher demand.
Just like the time of the day you host your wedding, being flexible with what time of year you get married could really save you some money by researching seasonal pricing.
Is it a Banquet or a Wedding?
What do we mean by this? Well, like most things wedding-related, there seems to be an up-charge simply because the phrase “wedding” is placed in front of any given word. When you get ready to pick a catering company, you may find that they offer “banquet” dinners and you’ll notice the pricing will be drastically different. A banquet might run $30-$50 per person, whereas their wedding menu will run $75-$100+ per person.
If you’re sitting here scratching your head at those numbers, trying to figure out why they’re so different, it’s simply because the term “wedding” is used in one and not the other. When you break it down, what is actually the difference between a banquet and a wedding? There are people coming together and food being served at each. So why the crazy prices? Because it’s a wedding and the wedding industry is notorious for inflating prices.
But, you don’t have to give in to their greed. You may have heard the saying, “if you don’t ask, the answer is always no”. So in this case, it never hurts to bring up your financial concerns with your catering company. If they offer banquet menus, ask them about using them instead. Some companies will say you can use them on Fridays and Sundays but not Saturday or that some items won’t be included.
The worst thing they can say is no, and it never hurts to be upfront about your budget and using our top cost-saving tips for your reception will help you to make that decision.
Do some things yourself
If it won’t add a lot of stress to your planning, go down the path of DIY. Pass on the hors d’oeuvres and set up a good old fashion cheese plate. Maybe some of your favorite local treats or simply some bread and olive oil.
Not only does this help cut the cost of your overall food costs, but it also cuts down the number of labor hours you will have to pay to hand out food.
Another DIY is actually to cut the cake yourself. A lot, and we do mean A LOT of venues and catering companies will charge to have your cake cut and plated. It can run up to $7 per slice. That’s a lot when you think about how many pieces of cake sit out and don’t get eaten.
Go the route of having a small ceremonial cake that the two of you cut for the photos or video and then hand out cupcakes or an assortment of dessert foods for your guests to choose from.
The DIY option is great, but make sure that you’ve communicated with your venue about their policies. Some venues don’t allow outside food to be brought on the property or they have preferred vendors for you to choose from. But again, if you don’t ask, it’s always no. There’s always a way to work with vendors to come to an agreement.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to what’s important to you and your soon-to-be spouse. Spend a little less on flowers or decorations. Find deals on dresses and wedding attire or get the hook up with a friend for wedding planning. There is always a way to work on what you find to be most important!!
Our top cost-saving tips for your reception