Guest Blog written by Head of Food & Founder at Cookaway Nidhi Verma. In this article she shares a few catering secrets that could help you get luxurious food for your guests without the hefty price tag.
When putting together the guest list for your wedding, it can be difficult to picture the number of people that will be in attendance. After all, how often do we plan parties for 50, 100, or even 500 people? It can be even harder to think about how you’re going to feed everyone, but once you’ve gathered them all together, they will need at least one meal and some snacks to keep their spirits up. And, as it’s your wedding day, you need to ensure that the food you provide is a delicious celebration of your union.
Whether you’re looking for ways to cater to a large crowd for less or you want to put on the most luxurious, intimate evening for your nearest and dearest on a budget, knowing how to keep catering costs low can be extremely useful. To help, here I’ll share five tips for cutting back on catering without compromising on luxury.
1. Have an evening wedding
The earlier in the day that you choose to get married, the more meals you will be expected to
provide for your guests. So, if you opt for an evening wedding, you may only have to feed them once! A wedding in the morning will have to include lunch and an evening meal, plus canapes or snacks throughout the day to ensure everyone stays energised, whereas an evening ceremony may only require an evening meal and perhaps a small snack later on. That means you can splash out on the finer things and still potentially pay less. Plus, evening weddings can have a more sophisticated, adult-only feeling to them, so if you’re looking for a way to save money, this is definitely one of them.
2. Serve local and seasonal produce
When putting together your menu, try to choose ingredients that are in season and can be sourced locally. Not only is this kind of produce much cheaper, but it’s significantly better for the planet as it is not imported, takes fewer miles to get to you, and doesn’t require any heat lamps or specialist equipment to grow in the UK. Not only this, but you’ll find it tends to be fresher and tastier as a result, too. This alone makes for an impressive menu that will wow your guests, and as it’s also a technique used by top chefs and restaurant owners, you can replicate that high-level dining experience at your own wedding.
3. Only offer a few canapes
Canapes are ideal for welcoming your guests to your event and can help keep their energy levels topped up while they wait for the wedding breakfast or evening buffet. But how many should you serve? In terms of the kinds of canapes you should offer, it’s best to only provide two or three different varieties. When you consider how many there are to choose from, this can be a difficult decision, but fewer options are better for your budget without missing out on the experience. In terms of volume, most caterers recommend you only buy enough canapes for 80% of your guest list, as not everyone will want to try them. This can help keep waste to a minimum at the end of the day.
4. Consider a buffet
Buffets have always been the cheaper catering option compared to a sit-down meal, so they’re a good idea if you’re trying to keep costs low. But if you’re thinking beige food and soggy sandwiches, think again. Your wedding buffet can comprise delicious hot and cold foods that are packed with flavour, like Middle Eastern falafel, Indian pakoras, charcuterie, tapas, and more. If the idea of a buffet table in the corner of the room is putting you off, you could consider combining a buffet with a sit-down meal and serving it like a banquet, or ‘family style’, on platters on the tables in front of your guests so that everyone can pick and choose what they want.
5. Go vegan or vegetarian
This option isn’t for everyone, but if you really want to cut back on the cost of your wedding
catering, you should consider an all-vegan or vegetarian menu. Meat is one of the biggest expenses when dining and you’ll find that dishes containing no meat are almost always significantly cheaper. Many fine dining options like exquisite pasta and complicated curries are naturally meat-free anyway, and you’ll find that your favourite dishes can be very easily adapted. Vegetarian meals can be bright and colourful, full of flavour, and depending on your preference, they can be healthy or indulgent. So, going veggie is a good opportunity to get creative and serve high-quality dishes while saving money too.
Wedding catering is complicated, but if you want the best for less, there are a few secrets you
should know. Remember that your wedding day is all about you and your spouse-to-be, so think carefully about whether an intimate evening meal or a vegetarian feast is more in line with your values, and plan accordingly.
We hope this article has been helpful. For even more top tips and advice for your special day, check out the rest of the blog here!