You are engaged and planning your dream wedding! But you’re on a tight budget! Here are some ways caterers can help you shave costs at your wedding reception without sacrificing the quality of your event!
1. Trim the guest count – the more guests the more it costs. Rather than stretch your budget so thin, reduce the guest count and have the best wedding reception for the number of guests you can afford to entertain well. Every ten persons you reduce can easily save you $1000.00!
2. Don’t have a cocktail menu to save money. Hors d’oeuvres are more expensive than dinner (expensive ingredients plus high labour and you have to serve lots to make up for dinner). People usually do not eat before coming to a wedding even if you tell them to. If your guests will be there between 6 and 8 pm they will need to be served enough for a dinner portion (12 to 15 appetizers each).
3. Family style service is not necessarily cost effective – it can cost even more than a plated dinner because of the additional rental cost of bowls and platters and the same number of waiters as for a plated dinner. Plus it takes up a lot of extra room on a usually already crowded table!
4. A buffet is the most cost effective style menu as less staff is required for serving. Usually the food portion is larger as well and guests can eat more of the items they enjoy the most.
5. Don’t have a tent or garden wedding to save money. It costs much more than a banquet hall wedding. Think about it: first you have to build the building (the tent) then you have to furnish it (tables, chairs, linens, china, offsite kitchen equipment, portable refrigeration, tent heaters or air conditioners, portable toilets – you do the math!) A tent is a must for outdoor weddings. Perhaps you think a tent won’t be needed if the forecast is good? Tents must be booked well in advance with a non-refundable deposit. Even if it’s a sunny day your guests and food will need shelter from the blazing sun!
7. Decorate with lighting. Coloured lights or spotlighting are relatively cost effective ways to set the mood or change the colour of a drab or dingy venue. Lighting gives you the most décor bang for your buck.
8. Provide your own alcohol if allowed by your venue or caterer. The cost saving is well worth the inconvenience. You can save at least 35 to 50% on the cost of your bar by supplying your own beverages.
9. Serve your wedding cake for dessert. Caterers may charge a small additional fee for cutting, plating and garnishing it and serving it as your dessert course, but it will still be cheaper and you are going to have a wedding cake anyway! This will save you from $3 to $6 per person.
10. Have friends and family help out with centerpieces or bringing sweets for your late night dessert table.
11. Depending on the venue or the caterer, you may be able to do some of the set up yourself (position tables & chairs, put on linen, set the table, etc.) to save on labour and staff costs.
12. Have your wedding reception any day except Saturday! You can expect to save anywhere from 15 to 25% on the total cost of your reception! Look for unusual venues such as night clubs or lounges that will close on off nights for private functions, or historic or municipal spaces that are available for special events.