When you start planning your wedding, you may quickly realize the venue is not the only significant expense. Often when you start thinking about catering, including the cake, your costs may rise exponentially. There are several ways you can keep the costs affordable while having tasty dining options.
Talk With Area Culinary Schools
You may find opportunities to decrease your wedding catering costs if local culinary schools are willing to help. Since most programs have both culinary arts and pastry chef programs, there may be a wide selection of foods and desserts for your menu. The overall cost is likely to be lower because your chefs will be students, much like students in other applied fields. This may be a good opportunity for current students to have the experience of cooking on a large scale or making food to order, which is difficult to achieve in the traditional classroom environment. Perhaps the culinary school may be willing to work out an arrangement where you pay for the ingredients and the preparation is free or at a reduced price.
Go Family Style
Deciding on menus options that are more family-friendly will not only cut the costs, but will reduce the effort and time it takes to serve each person. Family-style dining is popular in many types of restaurants and cultures because different food items are placed on the table and each person selects their own options. When you choose a family-style menu, you likely want to stick with food options that are easy to serve. For example, large cuts of meat should be sliced before being placed on the table, so it is easy for guests to pick up their desired portion. Other items that are easily served family-style include side dishes, such as steamed vegetables, macaroni and cheese, and mashed potatoes. If your are having a smaller wedding, it is much easier to accomplish family-style dining with just a few tables than if you have many guests.
Have An Early Wedding
A wedding on the weekend, in the early morning can be just as beautiful, especially if it is near sunrise. Another advantage of having an earlier wedding is the reception will be earlier. A breakfast or brunch menu is generally less expensive than dinner. Some items can be prepared ahead of time, such as a breakfast casserole or quiche. Other common items are generally quick to prepare, such as pancakes, waffles, eggs, and bacon. If you integrate a buffet-style presentation, it may be more cost-effective. You will need fewer people for the preparation of food, with only one or two people available to cook items on-demand, such as eggs. For sweet treats, you may want to include traditional breakfast pastries, in addition to the wedding cake.
Avoiding the traditional wedding reception can help you make catering more affordable. Even a more casual dining experience can be positive and memorable.