Every time I see the price tag on a wedding cake, I feel like the Dad on Father of the Bride. What is it that he says? “Cake is made of flour and sugar.”
So, why the hefty price?
I am very fortunate to have a talented grandmother who can do just about anything with cake. She has decorated cakes for a very long time, and she made my wedding cake and the Groom’s cake from my design. You, however, may not be so blessed with a family member who can make your cake and I do not recommend that you try to make your own.
How to cut costs on food at your wedding
Keep the cake design simple.
The more extravagant the design, the higher the price. Besides, the wedding cake will just be cut to pieces and gobbled up. Okay, I know… it is the centerpiece of the reception. But, you can do so much with a simple white cake and fresh flowers! Just think simple. Elegant.
Plan the time of your reception between meals.
As for the rest of the food, have a mid-afternoon wedding when everyone is still full from lunch and dinner is a few hours off. You can get away with serving light foods and not be burdened by the cost of a full meal.
Ask the caterer how to feed more people for less money.
If you pick a reception location where you are required to use a caterer, trust their recommendations. Tell them your budget and the number of people you expect and see what they can do to stretch your budget. You might be surprised.
Seek the help of friends who can cook.
If you are not bound by contract to use a caterer and have an extremely small wedding budget, think about recruiting the help of friends. I served as maid of honor in a wedding where the bride made a menu of what she wanted to serve and then contacted her friends that could cook those items REALLY well. She ended up with yummy food and the friends did not charge a dime!
If you go this route, please make sure you are very clear with the chefs. I also recommend that you transfer their preparations to servings pieces that you have picked to be similar in style to bring uniformity to your buffet table.
Choose basic beverages.
When it comes to beverages, the containers can bring a special elegance to your reception but keep the beverages basic. Beautiful pitchers of water, lemonade, or tea are perfect for any time of year. A simple punch can also be very cost effective but can leave people thirsty.
To keep the budget tight, skip the alcoholic beverages which can run up your bill in a hurry. If you know some of your guests will expect cocktails to be available, choose a champagne punch which stretches your investment with additional (and less expensive) ingredients.
Of course, many venues will also allow you to choose to hire a bartender at your venue but have the guests purchase their own drinks.