One of the most important aspects of keeping your wedding guests happy is food. But, what many people don't realize, is that catering to a hundred (or hundreds) of people can become one of your most costly items in your budget. Here, our etiquette experts outline ways to lower the cost so you can eat and truly be merry.
Although catering can hike your wedding-day bill up by the hundreds, there are a few creative ways to lower costs. An obvious choice, which applies to your wedding as a whole, is to choose an off-season to get married. Better yet, choosing an off-time, like a brunch reception, can majorly slash the price. Especially avoiding a Saturday night, when weddings are at their all-time high, can save you a ton. (Hey, if Ashley Tisdale threw her wedding on a Monday, you can too!) Fun fact: If you choose an off-time, maybe not brunch but afternoon when there's no traditional meal served, your alcohol is likely to be cheaper as well, so that's a win-win.
Other ways to lower the catering bill is by carefully discerning what you serve. Go for less expensive ingredients (so long seafood!) and limit the options for hors d'oeurves (sorry, caviar on toast, you're going to have to go too). If you're having a very small reception, some caterers offer a pack-up reception, with the food delivered pre-packed up and instructions for how to heat it up and serve. A more conventional choice is throwing a hybrid of buffet or cocktail hour treats and a buffet, or, a sit-down first course of salad and then a buffet to follow.
Most importantly, whatever you decide, stick to the plan. Don't let a caterer talk you into some trendy new food item!