Planning a wedding is a stressful and time consuming endeavour. You need a venue, decorations, entertainment and food. When you’re catering to a huge number of guests, picking the right food is not easy. You need to cater to different special diets, different tastes and preferences, and potentially different ages too. Here’s a quick look at how to pick the best wedding food.
How to Choose Wedding Food
If you’re having a full wedding day, then you will need a main meal for your guests, as well as snacks and treats. How you arrange the main meal will depend on your budget and the scale of the wedding. For a small, intimate wedding you might get away with a single choice, but if you’re having a bigger party then you might want to offer a few different choices for your main course, or even a buffet.
When it comes to snacks, comfort food is a good choice. Whether that’s sliders or other finger food, or a sweet trolley so the guests can graze or make up a bag of sweets to take home, your guests will have fun with tasty treats.
How Much Does Wedding Food Cost?
Costs can vary massively depending on the vendor that you use. The ‘average’ UK wedding costs around £30,000 according to research published by Brides Magazine, and you can expect to spend nearly £4,000 on catering if you’re hosting a day-long wedding with a separate reception.
You don’t have to spend that much though, and there are ways that you can cut costs even if you are planning on having a big wedding. It takes a bit of time and thought to find the best ways to reduce costs without visibly skimping, though. For example, don’t make the mistake of assuming that a buffet will always be cheaper than a sit down meal. While that is often true if you’re getting the hotel you’re staying at to cater the wedding, it isn’t always the case. With external caterers, you might find that you would save money by opting for the sit-down meal.
A few other ways to save money on wedding food include:
- If you’re allowing children at your wedding, then consider offering a dedicated kid’s menu instead of having the kids be served a smaller version of the adult meal. Kids in particular will really appreciate sweet trolleys, especially with pick and mix style offerings.
- Serve a selection of canapés instead of a full starter. Most people feel over-fed at weddings anyway.
- If you’re offering alcohol, limit it to a few luxurious drinks instead of a full bar.
- Opt for a low service option – barbecues, street food, or self-carve, instead of full table service. It’s the food people remember, not the wait staff.
To an extent, the amount of money that you need to spend will be dictated by the size of the wedding. If you’re trying to feed more than 100 people then it’s going to cost a lot of money. If you’re hosting a wedding that is limited to your closest friends and family then you will be able to offer a much higher quality of food for a much lower price. Only you can decide whether it makes more sense to trim the guest list or try to save money on other areas – but the venue an food are some of the most expensive single purchases when planning a wedding.
How to Decorate Wedding Food Table
Most people don’t get a lot of experience with formal dining these days, so navigating table service can be tricky. The decorations you choose for the dining area are one area where you can have a big impact without spending a lot of money.
There are a few simple things that will make your dining set up seem truly luxurious:
- Match the buffet tablecloths and setting to the tablecloths used for the guests
- Incorporate, discretely, the colours you chose for the rest of the wedding – use them for place settings, candles, etc
- Consider using floral boquets as table centrepieces – but make sure that they’re flowers that don’t have a strong aroma that might interfere with your guest’s enjoyment of the food.
- Use colourful garnishes around finger food, snacks, and buffet pieces to make them look even more appetizing.
Lighting is important too. Dark mood lighting is good for an evening meal, and there are ways to light the dining area other than the standard chandeliers. Consider using stick candles, floating candles, twinkle lights, or even hanging rope lights around the tables.