Post It Notes: 9th December 2011: How to Save Money on Your Wedding Food

December 9, 2011

Today I thought I’d run few a few ideas on how you can save money on the catering/food at your wedding. It’s often one of the biggest expenses but it doesn’t have to be.

As always I’d love to read any of your own tips in the comments so hit us up with them!

Pot Luck

Photography Credit: Matt Miller of  Our Labor Of Love (full wedding here)

One of my favourite trends from America, the potluck style reception is something I’m seeing more and more of in UK weddings. The basic premise is that you ask your guests to each bring their favourite or signature dish. Result? An eclectic and yummy buffet experience at a fraction of the price.


Photography Credit: Rosie Parsons Photography (full wedding here)

The wedding buffet often gets a bad rep for being a cheap (looking) and slightly tacky option. However the key is to forget soggy sandwiches and Iceland sausage rolls. I love the idea of an amazing Turkish spread, a Chinese inspired buffet or a classic English afternoon tea. Also think about having pretty plates and crockery for your guests to use instead of disposables. Makes all the difference daaaarling.

An Informal Meal

fish n chips weddingh

Photography Credit: Little Flowers Photography

A traditional sit down meal is probably the most expensive option for wedding day food out there but it’s the one most people go for. Instead, think about what you’d really love to eat. Fish n Chips? Bangers n Mash?

Non-traditional options are often much cheaper. I don’t think anyone enjoys dry wedding chicken anyway!

Using a Non-Wedding Caterer

Photography Credit: Steep Street Photography (full wedding here)

How about having pizza delivered to your reception or an Indian takeaway? (YUM!) Obviously the style and location of your wedding will determine if this is a viable and suitable option but I do love this idea. Lisa & Alex for example, had their reception in a bowling alley, so a pizza delivery suited their party perfectly!

Also how about using your favourite restaurant as your wedding caterer. A lot of establishments will do a catering option, just don’t mention the ‘W’ word (you’re having a party) and you’ll be surprised at the difference in price.


drink ideas at weddings

Photography Credit: Rosie Parsons Photography (full wedding here)

Alcohol often comes in as a bigger expense than even the wedding food (ahem, it did at our wedding anyway!) However instead of simply going with the easy option of choosing wine and champagne from your venue’s selection, see if it might work out cheaper to buy your own in bulk and pay a corkage charge (if your venue has one). Another idea is to forget wine and champagne completely and offer cheaper boozy alternatives.

Massive bowls of homemade punch? Your favourite local beer? G&T’s all round? Yes please…

Or of course you could forget the booze all together…this idea is not for everyone though!

Forget the Traditional Evening Buffet

Photography Credit: John Partridge Photography (full wedding here)

If you’re not having extra guests coming to the evening reception you can probably scrap the evening buffet. By the time 9pm rolls around (and after a few cheeky drinks) most people probably won’t be hungry again so don’t feel bad for skipping the extra food. You’ll have the pennies and most people won’t notice the absence.

How about spending the money on something fun for the guests to nibble on instead like a dessert table, candy buffet or ice cream/popcorn/candy floss machine!?

Using Seasonal Produce

Photography Credit: Joanna Brown Photography (full wedding here)

As with flowers, seasonal food may well come in cheaper. Be sure to ask your caterers for seasonal options.

Have a Lunchtime Wedding

Photography Credit: Credit: Emma Case Photography (full wedding here)

Traditionally dinner menus are more expensive than lunchtime ones. How about having an earlier meal or even brunch instead?!

Food Truck

Photography Credit: Sarah Maren Photographers (full wedding here)

This idea is potentially more relevant to my American readers (seriously, you guys have some amazing food truck options!) as I’m not sure how classy it would be for a British bride to rent a kebab van for her wedding meal…


Photography Credit: Liesl from Photo Pink NYC (full wedding here)

If you’re the DIY type and you’re not afraid to get stuck in, making your own food will be HUGELY cheaper than paying someone else to do it.

Hum…anyone else hungry now?


  1. Laura

    Going to check out our first venue today – armed with a bunch of questions…bring it on!

  2. “@JackiBruniquel – Make sure there is lots of pretty ambient light for your reception photographs ie fairy lights or up-lighting. Find out if these are included.”

    As a wedding photographer, I can agree that this is some of the best advice regarding venues – plenty of clean, pretty light can add a whole extra dimension to your images.

  3. Thanks for featuring my tip Kat, I wholeheartedly agree with every sentiment in this article.

    On the business note: I do sometimes have a wobble about my business and brand, worrying that I may exclude some people….but by staying true to myself, and not being too mainstream I am hoping to attract like-minded readers and of course clients. And I guess this will shine through to those who do follow and choose to work with me. xx

  4. BeatleBride

    I can vouch for how stressful looking for a venue can be. After choosing a beautiful Victorian hotel for our wedding the cancelled on us six months before the date! We then thought outside the box and found a youth hostel which was rustic and beautiful and perfect for our 1950s Christmas themed wedding. now, four months before the wedding this venue has also cancelled! Now we are really having to think outside of the box and your advice is really useful. Thanks!

  5. Rebecca

    Thanks for this. My fiancé & I are still struggling to make a decision on our venue, it’s just so scary, so much to think of, especially when our current favourite is just a field!

  6. Leila

    Defo recommend pubs for your reception! I’ve booked one for mine, got the whole pub, two floors and a beer garden, with no hire fee, just a minimum spend! Acers! 🙂 xxx

  7. Rebecca, go for a field! If that’s what you want?! We did it and I know other couples who did it! Get some tents too in case it lashes down. Speak to local land owners or campsites. esp farms that hold mini festivals or markets, they may have some good contacts and ideas re tents, parking, catering, all the bits you need for an outdoor event. Good luck x


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