- 3 years ago
- Wedding: November 2015
We have not set a budget yet, but we’ll likely be looking at the $5,000 to $6,000 range; certainly less than $10,000 in any case. I am having a difficult time deciding what would be the best method to provide some type of reception refreshment for guests on this type of budget. We will not have more than 100 guests, are shooting for around 80, and might have as few as 60. So, 70 to 80 guests is what I am considering. I’m thinking no more than $2200-$2500 for all food, drinks, service, equipment, and related fees. That equals about $27pp; and, I would like to have a few small bites (even just cheese and crackers) when guests first arrive, beer and wine, a full meal, and wedding cake. I’ve been very underwhelmed with the quality of food from conventional caterers in this price range (bland iceberg salad, gray/anemic roast beef, dried-out chicken, canned/frozen vegetables, and no alcohol at all).
My first question is about the type of meal/refreshments to serve. I realize a lot of people have asked about this on weddingbee, but I’ve yet to see an answer that I feel really satisfies my concerns. The towns where my family and my fiancee’s family live are about 3 hours apart; and he and I live in another state about 7 hours away from either. So, no matter where we have the wedding, at least half of our guests will be driving at least 3 hours each way to attend. I love the idea of an afternoon punch-and-cake-and-nibbles reception, an early-morning wedding with breakfast reception, or a late-night (8-9pm) reception with cocktails and appetizers…all of which, I’m told are ways to do a nice reception on a budget.
However, I do feel that it is rude to ask guests to drive 6 hours in one day, and/or rent a hotel room and fail to provide them a full meal. Also, I’m not sure how the timing works out for a late night/early morning event when you have guests needing to drive at least 3 hours to attend. A 10am breakfast/brunch event would have to be preceeded by a 9am wedding, which means guests would have to leave their homes at 6am to attend, or come in the night before and pay for a hotel…which I think is a bit much.
Another cost-saving idea I’ve been toying with is psuedo-catering a full meal. I think it could be cost effective to provide a nice full meal and cocktail hour if I ordered hearty, simple, prepared food from local restaurants or markets, and paid someone to set it up, serve, bus tables, and clean up. Does anyone experience with this type of setup? Does it actually save money? Were you able to provide a higher-quality meal than just ordering the least-expensive catering you could find? Any tips or other thoughts?