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How to Save Money on Food for Wedding

Ever since I was a kid I was brought up to be frugal and to save and budget money. * Disclaimer: I am not a financial planner.

According to The Knot's annual Real Weddings Study, the average cost of catering a wedding rose 5% between 2018 and 2019. It's no surprise then that couples are


  • Prioritize. The first step to saving money on your wedding is to know what you actually need, and what you can let go of.
  • Be willing to compromise. If there's something that you absolutely must have, but it's above your budget, ask if there are ways it could be done cheaper or differently than originally planned. For example, if the floral arrangements are just too expensive for your taste or budget, consider using fewer flowers instead of having more expensive ones!
  • Be willing to make sacrifices in order to get other things done that are more important than whatever is being sacrificed! Your friends may not love when they find out they won't be invited because of how much money their invite would cost; however, they'll understand why at some point after the fact (and hopefully appreciate how much thought went into keeping costs low). In this case I would say "it was worth losing them" because our family and friends were able to come together on such a special day without worrying about anything else except celebrating with us (and playing games).

Plan Ahead of Time.

If you can't afford to hire a wedding planner, ask a friend or family member who has experience planning their own events. You'll be surprised how much they might be able to help set up the details of your day.

Learn the Language.

  • Caterers are the professionals who prepare and serve your food at the venue. They have their own kitchens, staff, and equipment, which they use to make everything from appetizers to desserts. It's a good idea to ask them what they can provide and how much it will cost before you book them so you have an accurate idea of costs at the end of your planning process.
  • Food trucks are mobile restaurants that set up in one location for a limited amount of time before heading somewhere else with their delicious food options on board! This type of vendor is great for outdoor weddings because they can help control any potential issues with crowds or weather (since they're mobile). Plus, if there's any leftovers from your reception dinner or snacks during cocktail hour—a common occurrence—you'll have something delicious on hand while everyone helps clean up after dinner!
  • Plated meals are served off plates by waiters/waitresses directly into guests' hands; this is usually done when people are seated at tables rather than standing around in clusters enjoying hors d'oeuvres together as part of an appetizer course! Buffet lines may also feature stations where guests pick up their own plates then load them up with delicious treats such as salad bars containing lettuce greens paired with sliced cucumber spears drizzled lightly in vinaigrette dressing plus other toppings like blue cheese crumbles sprinkled over top then topped off again with diced tomatoes cut into cubes along side some walnuts chopped fine along side crumbled feta cheese cubes sprinkled over top--and so on until all ingredients were gone...

Discuss Rates Early with Vendors.

There are a few ways to approach this. The first is to make sure you're comparing apples to apples. Are the prices from different vendors based on the same items? It's easy to get sidetracked by an item that looks good and forget that what matters most is quality.

The second way is to have a conversation with your vendor about their pricing structure and see if they can offer any deals on certain items or services. You should also explain why it's important for them as well as yourself (i.e., "I really want our wedding cake because it's going to look amazing.") This often works better than just asking for a discount outright—it shows that you know who they are and understand what makes them unique.

Have your wedding on Friday, Sunday or Saturday afternoon.

There are a few reasons why Sunday and Friday afternoon weddings tend to be less expensive than Saturday afternoon weddings.

First, fewer people attend on these days. If you’re only having 200 guests, it doesn’t matter what day you get married because your guests will not all be able to make it anyways. Second, venues will be more willing to negotiate their prices with you if they know that attendance is lower on those dates. Third, caterers charge less for Saturday evenings than they do for other times during the week because they want to fill up their schedule and need as much business as possible.

Hire a Food Truck Instead of a Caterer.

One of the best ways to save money on food for your wedding is to hire a food truck instead of a caterer. Food trucks are cheaper than caterers, but they're also more fun and modern. They're also better for you, since they use local ingredients and don't have many added preservatives or chemicals that can be harmful when ingested with regularity (and they're not going to give you food poisoning). And finally, hiring a food truck reduces waste by eliminating all those extra disposable plates and utensils that would have to be thrown out after eating at an event.

I know what you’re thinking: “But isn't having a catered meal more elegant? Doesn’t it make for better photos? Won't I regret my decision if everyone says how much they loved the chicken parmigiana sliders from this new trendy truck called The Compost Queen?

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Go With a Buffet Over a Plated Meal.

If you're on a budget, consider having a buffet instead of plated food. Buffet style is less expensive and it can be made in advance and kept warm for your guests. If there are any issues with the food being unevenly heated or cold, it's easier to fix that issue when you have fewer plates to worry about. Additionally, buffet style is more likely to be eaten by people who might otherwise hesitate at paying $45 for dinner. Finally, most guests will feel comfortable eating things they wouldn't normally order (such as ribs) when they know they won't ruin their outfit if they spill something on themselves.

Get Married in the Winter or Fall.

  • Winter and Fall are the best times of year to get married.
  • Winter is the most popular season for weddings, and fall is second only to winter in popularity.
  • Spring is by far the least popular season for weddings, which means that many venues will offer discounts on their spring inventory in order to clear out space for summer weddings.

If you can swing it, go for a winter or fall wedding!

Skip the Champagne Toast.

If there's one thing that wedding guests don't need, it's a champagne toast. I know what you're thinking: isn't the whole point of the booze-filled celebration to have a toast? Well, not really. If your family is anything like mine and are big fans of getting wasted at weddings, then there will be plenty of opportunities for them to drink too much alcohol throughout the evening (that's what happens when someone gets married). So why spend all that money on a fancy bottle just for someone else to chug it during dinner? Instead of wasting money on expensive bubbly, save some cash for yourself by skipping out on this one unnecessary expense and investing that extra cash into something else!

Don't Offer Alcohol at All.

Alcohol is not essential to a great party. In fact, it can be a big expense for your budget on the day of your wedding. Many people will choose to drink at your reception anyway, so you may want to save money by just offering soft drinks and water instead. You can also ask each guest ahead of time if they plan on drinking alcohol at the wedding; if they say yes and then show up without any cash in hand or credit card ready, you could politely offer them another option or let them know that you don’t have enough budget for providing unofficial “freebies” on top of what has already been paid for.

Planning ahead and learning how to talk about food will help you save money on your wedding food

  • Planning ahead is the best way to save money on your wedding food.
  • Don't be afraid to negotiate with vendors.
  • Ask for a discount or freebie if you plan to buy in bulk and have it delivered, even if the vendor doesn't normally offer this type of deal.


Food is such a big part of the wedding experience, so of course you want to make sure that it’s delicious and memorable. But there are ways to keep costs down without sacrificing quality or taste! We hope these tips have given you some ideas for how to save some cash on food for your big day—and if they didn’t work, then at least we gave you something fun to read while waiting on line at the supermarket.


This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2022 Shanon Sandquist

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