First I want to emphasize that YOUR wedding should be what YOU want, not what everyone else thinks it’s should be. If you start fishing for ideas, people will let you know their ideas. They’ll also let you know their thoughts about your ideas, good or bad, without a filter. They’ll also give you their opinion whether you ask for it or not! So either ask someone who can think outside the box, or don’t ask anyone. Trust me, in the end it will stress you out. I always say that weddings, babies and death bring out the best and worst in people. You will get many opinions of things you HAVE to do or things you SHOULDN’T do or, “grandmas not going to like that.” But it’s not anyone’s day but you and your fiancés. Don’t let anyone push you into thinking your ideas are anything other than amazing!!
When I think about food for weddings, I try to think about a few factors. What time of day is the wedding? How many guests will there be? What’s your favorite food?
First, never think of food in terms of what “everyone else” is doing. When most people think of wedding food the first thing they think of is a catered meal. If you’re trying to save money on your wedding I can guarantee that the results you find by Googling “wedding caterer” in your area, will NEVER get you options that are going to save you the most. Granted, if it’s within your budget, I think that a sit down catered meal has its place, but I’m not here to give you the traditional wedding. I’m here to help you think of creative ways to save some money. Think of options in your area that suit your needs and are within your budget.
1. Ask for a friend or family member to cook/prepare the food, beforehand of course.
2. Purchase the main dish through a restaurant that doesn’t require staff or a service fee. You can prepare the side dishes or appetizers ahead of time.
3. Provide finger foods such as sandwiches and meat/cheese trays from a grocery store.
4. Cook ahead of time and freeze, only requiring heating on your day.
5. Hire a caterer that’s new to the game or someone you know who wants some experience, a friend or a culinary team at a local college.
6. Use disposable plates and utensils.
7. Serve a buffet meal rather than a sit down service.
8. Negotiate the catering bill – if possible.
9. Invite less people.
10. Serve inexpensive foods such as pasta and chicken, rather than meats and seafood. Hell, you can serve pizza and tacos too. Be different!
Tip: If you are providing a hot meal that’s not catered. You can sometimes rent warm boxes from your local party store to keep it hot after it’s picked up and delivered. Make sure you remember serving utensils.
Also, try to keep things simple. At my own wedding we bout food at a local Thai restaurant and paid them like $50 to deliver it. We rented chafing dishes that we dropped off to them to put the food in. Which looked great. However, no one washed them for us the night of the wedding. When we pulled them out the day after the wedding we had to spend time washing them before they could be returned. Not the end of the world, but in retrospect, I should have just bought the disposable stuff to be done with it. We also rented champagne glasses and should have just made do with disposables. Keep your work to a minimum!
With that I will say that I would never recommend grilling food for your day, because while inexpensive, the food generally taste better right of the grill and has to be constantly manned, taking away from someone’s time at the wedding.