(Closed) Food on a budget?? HELP!!!!

posted 9 years ago in Food
Post # 3
622 posts
Busy bee

I’m planning on doing a BBQ reception catered by a local restaurant. It will cost about $1500 to feed 100-120 guests.

Post # 4
1727 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

So start with what you have already spent or what you know you will spend on other items so you know what is available for food. 

What are you budgeting for dress/tux/gifts/officiant/marriage and or recepton venue?

Do you have a place for the reception? Do you have seating and tables? Do you need to rent those?

Lets assume you have $1,000 for food.

That is $7 per person. You could do a lot with $7 per person. But cooking for 140 is difficult

You can make lots of sandwiches and cut them into small pieces so people can choose what they want. IE turkey, ham, tuna. And serve chips and a green salad and pasta salad

Depending where you are having it, heating and cooking can be really difficult, but if you have several ovens nearby you can make ahead several pans of baked ziti and freeze, and bake that morning in the ovens. Make garlic bread and salad and rolls.

Appetizers may not necessarily be cheaper than doing a dinner and because they tend to be small bits of things are often more work.

You could also consider buying from a local deli/pizzeria/mexican/chinese premade items. Tell them your budget and how many people and see if they can work with you.  Not only will this be easier for you, you may be surprised what they can do since they buy at restaurant prices.


Post # 5
137 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

We are spending $700 for 70 people from carrabbas. 

Post # 6
3134 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

A pasta bar can be an inexpensive option.

Post # 7
8067 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

Pasta or BBQ are probably the cheapest ways to go

Post # 8
295 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

We are doing a BBQ buffet.  Originally we were going to get our favorite place to cater, now my Fiance is going to put a few pork shoulders in a couple crockpots that Friday.  So now we are DIY the food.  I have a few family contributing to the food.  We will have BBQ, chicken tenders, baked beans, hush puppies, macaroni salad, and salad.  I’m pretty excited.  The foods going to be good and while staying on budget.

Oh and mac and cheese

Post # 9
2119 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Would you be open to make the food yourself? If you are, you can definitely serve a full meal. I would pick something that doesn’t contain too much protein, as that will bring up the price. I would probably end up with a smorgasbord spread containing items such as:


– Pasta salad, very cheap, easy to make and you can make a base that you then vary

– Quiche, veggie and cheese

– Devilled eggs

– Veggie platters with different type of dips

– Different types of bread with spreads

– Meatballs, if you don’t want to make them yourself, IKEA sells 2.2 lb bags for $7.49

– Potato salad

Post # 10
1809 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@eocenia:  +1! Great suggestions. And a lot fo that can be made ahead, covered in seran wrap, and kept refrigerated until your reception. 🙂

Post # 11
2119 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@Asia: Thanks. 🙂

Yes, many of these things are easy to prepare in advance – and the quiches you can bake in advance and freeze. When it comes to the meatballs, IKEA also sells frozen 0.9 lb bags of mashed potatoes for $2.49 (home made will be better and cheaper, but of course it requires more work). If you do go with this option, don’t forget to buy lingonberry jam and pickled cucumbers – very important! A nice gravy also helps.

Post # 12
6593 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

@futuremrskgt:  This is what we’re doing as well but we cut our guest list down to 50 which helped a lot with the budget.  A local BBQ or Italian restaurant will usually offer trays of meat, pasta, and sides at pretty reasonable prices that are much cheaper than traditional catering.

A crock pot and pasta dishes can also be your friend.  Large trays of lasagna or baked ziti can feed large numbers of people pretty cheaply.  Crock pots can be used to make pulled pork or chili in large quantities.

Post # 13
870 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

Several sandwich trays from COSTCO or even Subway…with some pasta salads, potato salads, garden salad, chips. Or BBQ as PP said! 

Post # 14
5622 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

Pasta bar!

Post # 16
34 posts
  • Wedding: August 2014

Do you like Indian food? The place near us makes huge trays – you could feed all your guests for probably under $1000. If you’re afraid of picky eaters you could have them make some plain chicken/veggies etc 

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