20 Game Changing Wedding Food Budget Tips From Caterers And Wedding Planners

Breaking news: Weddings are expensive! Ok, so it's not breaking in that it's brand new, but it's breaking in that it'll break your heart to know the amount of money that goes in to feeding and liquoring up your guests. In an attempt to help you out with that, we spoke to five wedding caterers and planners about when you can cut costs wisely from some of the most expensive (and important) parts of the evening—the food and drink.

According to these professionals, brides- and grooms-to-be allocate anywhere from 30 to 50 percent of their wedding budget to food alone, which can mean spending anywhere from $80-$250 a person. They want you to know that it doesn't have to be that way. And—and!—that being smart about slashing costs won't compromise the quality of your wedding #eeeats. Mind-blowing, crazy-informative, genius wedding food budget hacks, coming right up.

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The cocktail hour is the ideal time to spend a little extra as many guests feel this is the best part of the reception—it sets the mood for the entire evening. If guests can’t find passed hors d'oeuvre or [if] there are long lines at the one and only food display, you will have a disgruntled and very hungry crowd," -

Meryl Snow, Feastivities Events, Philadelphia, PA


Consider spending a little extra on great wine poured table-side at dinner. It’s when you'll have your guests' full attention. It's also fun to be able to buy a bottle on your anniversary and let it take you back to your big day," -

Paulette Alkire, Chalet View Lodge, Lost Sierra, CA

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"My clients typically

skip a 'champagne toast' if champagne isn't included in the open bar or bar selection. Not everyone drinks sparkling wines, and those who aren't will just take one sip and then put the glass down, which is

a huge waste when it comes to budget," -

Emily Sullivan, Emily Sullivan Events, New Orleans, LA


Late night bite

s rarely get eaten," -Meryl Snow

"If you've already had cocktail hour,

is it necessary to have an appetizer as a first course? An intermezzo is a nice touch, but certainly not one that will be missed," -Paulette Akire

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"Unless you have really strong preferences,

consider dropping down to house liquors, versus top shelf. Skip the champagne toast altogether and let guests toast with what they have in hand," -

Kevin Dennis, Fantasy Sound Event Services,

Livermore, CA

"Rather than creating 'special' options for guests with dietary needs or restrictions,

creating an entirely gluten-free or vegetarian menu isn't pricey, nor is it difficult! Swapping out meat-based proteins for grain bowls like quinoa or rice is an easy switch, and your creativity can really be put to the test," -

Heather Jones, Wente Vineyards, Livermore, CA


swapping cuts of meat, like steer (male) cut filet to cow (female) cut filet. You could also switch cow (female) cut filet to Teres Major, which is a muscle from the shoulder of the steer and will cost

half the price," -Meryl Snow

"See if there is any

flexibility with cuts, size, and preparation of the main protein—you may be able to discover cost savings there if you’re willing to get creative," -Kevin Dennis


Skip your favors and have a dessert bar with take away boxe

s, which can also double as your dessert course


-Emily Sullivan

"If a plated meal with a protein is a must, skip the pricier beef and opt for pork, chicken and fish. And

limit the size of your protein, even just by an ounce or two," -Paulette Alkire

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Family style is a great solution—there is less labor and culinary support," -Meryl Snow


Creative stations that don’t feature a costly protein can really get your bang for your buck. Couples are having fun with their menu planning these days,

there really are no rules. So if you're keen on a mac and cheese bar or a pizza station, go for it...and know that you’re probably going to save in the process," -Kevin Dennis

"Display hors d'oeuvre (such as

cheese and antipasto) will stretch the farthest for your money," -Heather Jones

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"Make dessert the focus instead!

Have a small cake to cut for just the two of you, and then surprise guests by treating them to assorted chocolates, s'mores by a roaring fire, or an ice cream station," -Paulette Alkire


Stick with one flavor option throughout and be mindful of the design...Being creative with your cake design can be a lot of fun but with that comes quite a bit of additional labor, especially if you want a number of three-dimensional accents, like sugar flowers. I've also had some couples skip the cake altogether and get creative with a late-night sweet snacks, such as cookies and milk, or beignets," -Emily Sullivan

"Stay clear of hand painting, metallic designs and hand-made fondant flowers. However, if you have your heart set on ornate designs,

opt for a smaller cake and have the caterers serve sheet cake from the back," -Meryl Snow


Don't over-order cake. We run into scenarios where a couple wants a grand confection, but ends up with so many leftovers. If you're having other desserts, be sure to let the pastry chef know so she or he can advise on quantity," -Kevin Dennis

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"Going for

fresh, local ingredients that are in season for your wedding day is the best way you can save money on your menu selections. Comfort food is especially popular in the fall and winter, plus you'll find that these items are

cheaper to produce in bulk. For example, soups and stews as starters are not only filling, but they're [also] easy when it comes to honoring special dietary requests," -Heather Jones


What foods are famous in or unique to your wedding destination? Southerners, for example, must have their shrimp and grits, while many Western weddings menus aren’t complete without some twist on a taco. You may find that your

regional stations cost far less than a seated dinner of filet for 200," -Emily Sullivan

Kevin Dennis is a certified wedding planner at Fantasy Sound Event Services in Livermore, California.

Emily Sullivan runs Emily Sullivan Events in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Paulette Alkire is the lead wedding planner at Chalet View Lodge in Lost Sierra, California.

Heather Jones is the catering sales director at Wente Vineyards in Livermore, California.

Meryl Snow is the vice president of Feastivities Events in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Source : https://www.delish.com/food-news/a24570717/wedding-food-budget-tips/

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