What you eat at your wedding will largely be determined by the style of wedding, venue and any cultural traditions. When selecting a wedding venue, one of the main selection criteria will likely be the menu. If you choose a venue that includes catering, look at their menu options and do a tasting. If you decide to go with an external catering company, think about the style of food, celebration and location of your wedding.
Hot Tip! Before doing a generic Google search for wedding catering, think about the food you want – do you want a BBQ, buffet, mexican street food or a gourmet vegetarian feast? This will broaden your search and potentially lead you to more interesting and suited catering options you might first have overlooked, like that food truck you love to visit on a Friday lunchtime, or that tapas bar you and your partner enjoy.
When selecting a catering company, think about what you see as important in a vendor:
- Quality of food
- Origin of produce
- Range of menu selections
- Dietary considerations
- Choosing a local business or bringing them in from interstate
- Your budget
- Recommendations from friends or family
- What will happen to any leftover food?
What about alcohol?
One of the biggest expenses at a wedding can be the alcohol. Many venues include an alcohol package with their catering, offering a choice of wine, beer and even spirits. When engaging an external catering company, you can often have the alcohol included or opt to supply your own. It really is a matter of taste and style. If your reception is at a winery, you’re most likely limited to their wines, but you get the venue, catering and servers all included. If your wedding is at a private venue, you can choose to purchase as much or as little of each tipple you like, however you may need to organise cool boxes, ice and a drinks area yourselves.
Handy hints for saving money on your wedding meal:
- Don’t have servers – let your guests serve themselves
- Opt for simple over fancy when it comes to starters and appetisers
- Supply your own alcohol to avoid overhead prices a venue charges
- Serve only wine and beer – skip the spirits
- Serve non alcoholic beverages
- Serve one signature cocktail – gin and tonic, whisky and lime, or your favourite drink to have with your better half
- Have a family style meal where dishes are brought to the table and passed around to share
- Or don’t have a sit down dinner at all – instead have tapas style appetisers throughout the evening
- Serve smaller slices – instead of an extravagant 5 tiered cake, have a smaller cake, cupcakes as a cake, or a sweets bar for dessert – your guests will be none the wiser
- Have a daytime wedding – brunch and lunchtime meals are often significantly cheaper than evening meals
For some more tips to save money on your wedding meal, take a look at this Money Crashers guide.
Nathalie is the chief wedding coordinator and head of marketing at Pillingers. With over ten years experience, she has now built a team of dedicated wedding and events specialists to style and implement events from small parties to large corporate events and festivals.