Providing a meal for your guests can take up a considerable amount of your budget. If you are hoping to save money on meals, there are a few things you can do.
If you hold your wedding later on in the day, then you won’t need to provide a wedding breakfast and an evening buffet, as you won’t be hosting guests for as long. You can get away with providing just one lot of food, which can pretty much cut your catering costs in half.
Opting to just provide a buffet rather than a sit down meal will prove much more budget friendly as you’re cutting down on labor costs, as there will be no table service. You can even (if your venue okays it) provide your own food, and ask guests to bring a plate of something with them, which will add to the variety and make sure everyone is catered for. Buying food from wholesalers will also help to keep costs down, particularly as you’ll need to buy in bulk. Use disposable table cloths rather than expensive linen, and bring your own table decorations.
If cooking isn’t your thing, and it suits the venue, you could hire a hog roast or arrange for a barbecue to be provided; both are different and cost less than a three course meal.
If you really want a sit down meal, consider serving your wedding cake for dessert, which cuts down the amount of courses the venue has to provide. Also, don’t offer a choice of meals, as this will cost more. Ask your venue for a breakdown of the costs; a lot of places charge for things you may not even need, or be able to provide yourself, such as linen or cutlery. You could even contact a local catering college and see if there are any students willing to provide their services — just make sure your venue is alright with you doing that.