You could save money by paring down your guest list, but you want to have everyone important to you sharing in this most special of days, so what can you do? You want them to know that they are important and that you appreciate that they are there for you. Hungry guests do not feel appreciated. We have some cost-effective ideas on how you can make sure that your guests are well-fed without maxing out your credit cards.
Buffet Style Dinner
Under ordinary circumstances, buffets cost less than plated dinners. One reason is that there are fewer wait staff to pay (and tip). Another reason is the flexibility you have in selecting less expensive foods. You also can have a larger variety of foods that all your guests will appreciate, but especially those with dietary restrictions.
Adding a couple/few themed food stations takes the buffet to another level. They add an upscale element and become part of the decorative design of the hall. A make-your-own mini-taco station or appetizer station or even a raw bar does not have to be overly expensive. A real bonus is a convenience for your guests. The stations relieve that long wait at the buffet table, the boredom and the hunger that may already be plaguing them. It is also a simple way of breaking the ice among guests who do not know each other.
“Crowdsourcing” is a relatively new phenomenon. It is usually applied to people seeking investors for a new business or people in crisis who need financial help, but there’s no reason why food cannot be crowdsourced. Back in the day, it was called a “potluck wedding.” Crowdsourced is not nearly as “frumpy” sounding.
The first thing you need is a venue that will allow you to bring in your own food and then a caterer who is fine with doing only part of the meal. In the wedding invitation or on your wedding website, invite your guests to sign up to contribute a homemade (or store-bought) dish of their choice. Surely, there are guests who are amateur chefs who would love to share their culinary talents. (If you have a professional or two among the guests, you have hit the jackpot!) Suggest (insist) that the contribution be the guest’s wedding gift.
The food stations are great places for crowdsourced foods. For example, it should not be a burden for a person or two to contribute the taco fixings or appetizers or quiche.
A wedding cake costs hundreds of dollars. Granted, it’s beautiful and makes really great photo ops. But is it worth the price? Of course, my answer is “no.” You may have already noticed that the towering cake overloaded with frosting flowers is not as de rigueur as it once was. If the cutting of the cake is an important tradition for you, a beautifully decorated small cake will work just as well. Your guests will be happy with a dessert table that offers a delectable assortment of sweets. For a fraction of the cost of a huge wedding cake, you can have cupcakes, mini-pies, cream puffs, tartlets, parfaits, etc. The desserts are also another category that can be crowdsourced and you can also include sweets with a candy bar.
Vintage candies often bring back wonderful childhood memories for your guests. Or you can have candies of beautiful gemstone colours or all your favourite colour—whatever theme that you like. Have bags for your guests to take candy home as your wedding favour.
Hungry wedding guests is grumpy guests. You don’t want that. Here is a sure-fire (and economical) way to keep your guests gastronomically happy, which is snacks before and after dinner. Snacks typically have a low cost-per-portion, and there is a wide variety of choices. Guests like surprises—touches that are off the usual wedding track. And tasty food to nibble on goes a long way toward “covering up” for a dinner that might be tad skimpy. Your guests will only remember that they were never hungry.
A grazing table is a good use for a food station: cheese, crackers, breadsticks, pretzels, fruit—anything and everything that belongs in the category “snacks.”
The fruits are not only delicious and enjoyed by nearly everyone, but it also adds to the aesthetics with its textures and beautiful colours.
Pizza is another colourful offering that can be dressed up. Have a popcorn machine with different coloured corn and various toppings for guests to make their own popcorn snack. Add cotton candy and you have a really festive and nostalgic carnival atmosphere.
The great thing about these ideas is that they are not only for the budget-minded. Many couples can benefit from an infusion of something out of the ordinary, even quirky, to put their own stamp on their receptions.
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