Serve This, Not That: How to Cut Your Wedding Reception's Food Budget

Food & Drink
How to Cut Your Wedding Food Budget

Photos: Kate Headley

One of the best parts of the wedding reception is the meal. Whether you choose to follow food trends and hire a food truck and eat breakfast for dinner, or prefer a formal plated dinner, high-quality grub can get very costly. To avoid potentially picky guests and a simultaneously empty wallet, we asked Fred Peightal, managing partner of Café Genevieve Catering in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to explain the prices of some of his most popular (and costly) entrées—and to offer some less expensive substitutes. By the way, we did the math: Cutting $15 from every guest's meal on your big day equals a total of $2,250 savings for a 150-person wedding! Sounds like a sweet deal to us. Here, Peightal's top tips.

Beef

Luxe ($45): Roasted strip loin. "It's one of the most desirable cuts of beef, with a price to match—very tender, with lots of marbling."

vs.

Less ($30): Roasted tri-tip. "Butchers used to keep this cut for themselves. In the right hands, it can taste as good as any steak."

Chicken

Luxe ($45): House-made ricotta-stuffed chicken breast. "With chicken, the cost is about labor—it takes time to make the ricotta and stuff the breast."

vs.

Less ($30): Mustard-glazed chicken breast. "This dish is easy to make—all you need to do is cook it and put the sauce on it."

Fish

Luxe ($45): Seared wild sockeye salmon. "It's a seasonal fish and mostly line-caught. If you want it fresh, you're going to have to pay for it."

Vs.

Less ($30): Seared Idaho rainbow trout. "Trout is extremely plentiful. And since it can be sustainably farm-raised, you can get it year-round."

One final tip: If you're obsessed with a pricey protein like lobster, but can't afford it for a as a full dinner spread, have your caterer work it into an amuse-bouche instead of an entrée.

—Sophie Brickman

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