Post # 1
I am planning to be starting med school in the fall, a couple of months before my planned wedding, and we are going to be some serious kinds of broke for the next 4 years. I want to be able to invite the people we are close with to the wedding without worrying about not being able to feed them and so we are picking a pretty low-key outdoor venue that we’re both excited about. We haven’t finalized a guest list yet but think we can keep it between 70 and 100 guests (not counting guests’ kids, who will likely also be attending — but who are all pretty little).
The problem right now is food. I thought it would be easy enough to just do BBQ catering, but the quotes for that came back at something like $2000 for 100 guests (which seemed sort of absurd to me). I think I could get it done for $1000, but ideally I’d like to be more along the lines of $500-$750 for food alone. For drinks, we were just planning to bring it in ourselves and have a literally open, help-yourself-until-there’s-no-more bar and budget separately for that. My dream would be to cover ALL the food & drink for $1000 or less. Unfortunately, it seems like to do that means serving hot dogs and burgers and I’m afraid the guests will not be pleased.
Anyone else planning anything low-budget, or has anyone else executed something with this kind of budget? Any advice? I think I can make the sides (or delegate them to people who will make them) and so mostly I would like to cover entrees (including who to have grill, if we end up grilling, but then I fret about bad weather) and dessert/cake.
Any advice or suggestions would be much appreciated!
Post # 3
No advise, but as long as it isn’t a black tie event, burgers and hotdogs sound perfectly fine to me. My cousin did this for his wedding a few years back, it was a huge hit!
Post # 4
Save, this should get interesting 🙂
Post # 5
First of all, off beat bride has a great article on ‘tacky’ and why it is a stupid word. : http://offbeatbride.com/2008/07/tacky
Second, low budget doesn’t need to mean low style. There are TONS of brides who have amazing weddings on here for 5k and less. MissChubbybunny’s wedding was 3k (I believe) and it was AMAZING.
Our budget is 5k, but we’re looking like we’re going to come out under (woo hoo!)
Post # 6
I have a 2-2.5k budget (with a guest list sitting at 150 but estimating only about 100-110 will actually show up), and we’re doing a 2pm ceremony with a 2:30/3pm dessert and snack food-type reception. No full meal, nothing catered. We’re going to save a fortune from doing it that way. My mom’s friends have already offered to make as much of the food as they can, and at least one of them is an amazing cook.
Hot dogs and burgers sound fine to me, as long as the rest of your wedding is laid back and casual like that! I think it would be fun, and I’d certainly rather have a buger than something I can’t pronounce.
Post # 7
- Wedding: March 2012 - Pelican Grand Beach Resort
It only gets tacky when you raise one set of expectations and deliver something else. For example, you shouldn’t ask guests to dress up and pay for valet parking and wear a $5000 couture dress and then give them sliced cheese and crackers and pour-your-own soda. You have to strike the balance between “your day” and guest comfort. There is absolutely nothign wrong with budget weddings and, say, hamburgers and hotdogs, but there is if you then indulge in totally superfluous bride-centric things.
I’d be really careful with your alcohol plans… what you are thinking of doing may very well not be legal depending on local laws. If you aren’t in a private home, you may need someone with some official status there to prevent underage drinking and to moderate consumption.
A option you may want to consider is a punch and cake reception or a cocktail and hors d’ouevres reception, though I think the kind of picnic/backyard BBQ party could be a lot of fun if paired well with the ceremony, dress, entertainment, and decoration.
Post # 8
The only thing I’d worry about in this case, nothing about being tacky or hamburgers vs. salmon…but just that if you have loved ones manning the grill or putting food together they will stay VERY VERY busy and may not get to enjoy their time as a guest.
Is it possible to pay someone outside of the wedding guest list to do the grilling?
Post # 9
Our wedding budget is 2K. I really wanted a BBQ reception and inviting around 80 people. For the food, we’re making all the food a night or two before. Before deciding to make our own food, we got a really cheap catering quote from an awesome barbecue place in a small town that would deliver for an extra fee (they normally don’t). Everyone I talked too seemed excited for home cooking rather than restaurant food. Different strokes for different folks. Don’t worry too much about it!
Post # 10
- Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry
For a wedding that size, you want to keep your guests’ involvement to a minimum. It’s worth the $25 an hour to hire servers, who can also oversee the drinks, then have someone stuck at a grill all day. Caterers also take care of set-up, trash… there’s a lot that goes into serving 100 people. So if you go the DIY food route, I highly recommed getting a server or two to take care of a lot of the details for you.
I third the suggestions on a cake/punch/dessert reception. If you have a 2pm wedding, for example, I’m going to eat a meal beforehand.
Post # 11
Thanks all (already!). I’ve thought about the appetizer/light meal route and that may actually be better for us. We’re doing it in fall and I suspect the fall colors will be nice during the day but if it’s an evening ceremony it may end up being dark and not as pretty. But the venue has fireplaces and we’d like to be able to crank them up to add some ambiance.
@MissFireFlower: Thanks for the link! A friend of mine sent me the offbeat bride book and I loved it, but I haven’t spent a ton of time on the site yet!
@mrsSonthebeach: Ack. Good call on the legal issue. I didn’t think too much about it since I know there will not be any young adults there (either toddlers or friends/family — not really anyone underage to consider) but there may still be some laws about it. Definitely will check out, and thanks for the rest of the other ideas!
Post # 12
Twenty dollars per head for barbecue does sound high. I would check with additional barbecue restaurants. If you don’t go all out and have the full works with ribs and a bazillion choices of side items, it seems like the cost would be much lower than that. Good luck!
Post # 13
Pretty much anything can be pulled off if you do it right… it doesn’t have to cross over into the realm of “in poor taste.” Since it’s a BBQ you might be able to do a potluck or get some family to volunteer to do the cooking? Or even a restaurant? They might do a special ribs order for you day-of that can be brought directly… Oh, and ball jars with field flowers and white stringed lights could be great and cheap additions 😉
Post # 14
@mrsSonthebeach: It only gets tacky when you raise one set of expectations and deliver something else.
I agree completely.
One of the best weddings I attended had a $3,000 budget for about 75 people. The brides made it clear this was a relaxing back yard event complete with wildflowers and food provided by the family. It was casual, DIY and nothing fancy but it was perfect.
One of the worst weddings I attended tried to do a lot with a small budget. That in my humble opinion is the quickest way to tacky. If you have a smaller budget focus on the key elements and DIY for the details. The wedding that was so awful had a $10,000 budget which is enough for a decent wedding but they spread themselves too thin. Instead of having a few key elements that were solid, nothing went they way they expected and it was a disaster.
Post # 15
We used Top of the River restaurant for our wedding; we all had a large portion of both chicken and shrimp, a baked potato and coleslaw. It was ~$800 to feed 100 or so people. DH’s mom also made jambalaya, and my mom bought rolls. It was still under 1k for all the food and drinks for everyone. For BBQ, you should definitely be able to get it for less than $20 per person. That’s a little high! GL.
Post # 16
I self-catered, we had a taco bar with ground beef, carnitas, homemade salsa, bean/corn salad, 7 layer dip and queso…plus all the regular fixings. I also made veggie trays and fruit trays. It was about $600 for 100 people, but we had TONS of food leftover! We did a keg and a signature drink (which was a vodka spiked lemonade), tea, water and cans of soda, which was definitely less than $400 total.