(Closed) Outdoor wedding, I need ideas for affordable food and dancing?

posted 6 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
2440 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

Gonna comment to follow.

I’m in a similar situation. (though I am haveing about 70 guests, as opposed to 100)

We’ve got a great place, but we need to bring ev.er.y.thing in ourselves.

Right now we are considering the following

Rental items: about $500 (table, chairs, dining/serving ware)

Dance floor: non. We don’t have the money for it, currently. I am seriously considering telling people to kick off thier shoes and dance int he grass…

DJ: None. We’re going with an ipod. I don’t mind at all, because I can’t stand listening to DJ’s talk. πŸ™‚

Food: we’re talking to a farm tot able restaurant to cater for us. Looks like we’ll be looking at about $1600 total for 7 people- this includes taxes and service fees.

Meal: Family style. No cold buffet food, no extra costs of needless waitstaff. Plus, I love the thought of our tables covered with pretty food instead of spending money on extra decorations I don’t particularly care for.


That’s what i’ve got right now. It is still in the works, and I am waiting to make any major moves until my tastin with our potential caterer in March. bah.


What have you considered, thusfar?

Post # 5
2440 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@Gypsybarbi:  Oh my goodness. I don’t know what was up with my last message, but re-reading it is making me cringe! Guess I was in a rush. πŸ™‚


The menu that we are looking at includes the following:

Sea Salt and Black Pepper Whole Chicken (you can see an example fromt he restuarants webpage here)

Some Steak Option (most likely this one)

Local Mixed Herbs and Greens Salad with a few fancy dressing options 

Herb and Olive Oil Roasted Tri-Color Fingerling Potatoes

Farmers Market Seasonal Vegetable Mix


Origionall it did not have the steak option, but did have Slow Roasted Spice Rubbed Pork Ribs and Ancho and Orange Rubbed Grilled Salad) for 25 pp, with some rental charges, and service charges on top of that.


This picture has me seriously delerious.

If this falls apart at the tasting I will sob my eyes out. πŸ˜€


Food is going to be served in white dishes and on large wooden blocks like in the photo. It is just messy enough for me to love it. πŸ™‚


Try visiting a few restaurants and see if any of them are interested in catering! You never know who may bite. πŸ™‚

PS- The quote origionally came to about 2k fromt he caterers. However, my mother is gifting us our food and she is tax exempt. I also took off about $11 per person in the ribs and salmon options, and have the option off adding on the steak option from between $4 and $8 per person depending on which type of steak we choose. Because of that, I seriously reduced the price per head.


On a side note, my parents are aghast that I was going to skip the dance floor rental, and they are now going to gift that. πŸ™‚ My mom’s family will probably be pretty relieved, though I thought dancing barefoot in the grass under the moonlight was sort of charming (but also dangerous XD)

Post # 7
2440 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@Gypsybarbi:  I hope it helps! If you live in the area you want to get married in, it could be a great date night idea to choose a few restaurants a month to eat at, and then ask management if they cater. Even if they aren’t willing to deliver, you may have the resources available to pick up and set up the food yourselves (with some friendors. πŸ™‚ ) Almost any restaurant will jump at the chance to cook a huge order and boost their monthly or weekly profits from that many diners, especially if it goes without the overhead costs of servers, hostesses, bartenders, etc.


Do you have any family members who wouldn’t mind being on the food team?


OH OH OH! I had an idea FOREVER ago for a picnic style reception. πŸ™‚ Something like this:

Or less expensive, something like this:

or this


The point is, you could probably get a restaurant to package food (preferably food that did well in a picnic setting- IE had some measure of temperature control and could sit in a cooler or hot box for a little while) in boxes or baskets that you provided. It would obviously work best if they would also deliver, as it could be delivered a bit before your reception, and baskets could be set out on a table with table numbers per basket, or boxes could be set out on individual place settings. That way, you still would not need a crew to set up or tear down, and you wouldn’t need to pay for servers.


It’s a bit daydreaming, and a logistical challenge, but I was really into this. Unfortunately, my family is too lame to handle it. πŸ˜› I had visions of pillows and blankets and picnic baskets with flowers peaking out and and and…….. T_T

Post # 8
979 posts
Busy bee

We are doing a BBQ buffet…it’s $11.95 per person – about 50 guests.  Doing an express drop off service about a 1/2 hour before dinner.  

Post # 9
2959 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

We are having a catered pig roast. For approx. $7 per person, they get pork (of course), corn, and baked beans. Future Mother-In-Law is supplying cookies and other desserts, and friends are providing other side dishes. We are supplying the soda, coffee, and beer. Music for dancing will come from the satellite radio system we will hook up.

It doesn’t get any cheaper than that!

Post # 10
1606 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

We are doing an outdoor wedding (200 people):

My Dad is building the dance floor and we have friends of family donating tents

Food will be a roast pig and roast chicked so brisket/ribs/etc and chicken. And the side dishes are catered in but will be served family style – SO MUCH CHEAPER then plating everyones meal. Plus people can take as much/as little as they want. And no one has to stand in line to get food.

Plates/silverware/cups from smartyhadaparty.com – they are plastic but you can’t tell by looking at them.

Music will be Laptop and speakers.

Also thinkign of including lawn games for caocktail hour and a bonfire and an area to tent/camp overnight (so no one is driving).

Main cost will be catering and renting of tables/chairs/linens.

And all of this will be classy – right? lol

EDIT: Bar will have one girl to work the keg and the rest will be ‘signature drinks’, lemonade and tea served in ‘lemonade jars’.

Post # 11
2775 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

Figure out how much you want to spend on food, then call up some local restaurants (not specifically wedding caterers) and ask what they can do for you for $X per person.  Depending on your budget, you can probably get a BBQ restaurant to provide trays of BBQ meats, cornbread, cole slaw, baked beans, mac and cheese, etc., or an Italian restaurant to do pans of ziti, salads, and garlic bread, or a Mexican restaurant to set up a taco bar with all the fixings… any of that should be very reasonably priced, and at a casual outdoor wedding people can serve themselves so you don’t have to worry about hiring servers.  You may just need to rent some chafing dishes to keep things hot. 

Post # 12
9139 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

@sailor:  Great ideas.

Here are our estimated stats so far for our $5K budget wedding.

Venue: beach house for ceremony and reception $2800 (includes 8 day rental of beach house plus wedding fees and cleaning fees; we went over on this but it does include a week at the beach for our bridal party)

Rentals: tables and chairs for 50 guests $230 (includes delivery & pick up)

Food: BBQ dinner $600 (3 main dishes and two sides)

Chafing dishes: found kits at party store and walmart (2 kits = 6 trays with butane) $70

Drinks: beer, wine, and liquor plus bottled water, tea, and lemonade $300

Paper Products: linens, napkins, tablecloths, plates, cups, and silverware $100

Photography: $500 for four hours and disc of images with all rights to reproduce

Music: Spotify $40 for subscription (going to do a trial soon to check out the variety and make sure it will work for us)

Flowers: $100 I haven’t decided if I am ordering hydrangeas from Sam’s Club or ordering silks from afloral.com

Centerpieces: less than $100; found silver pails for 79 cents at Ikea (filling with hydrangea); ordering a bag of white shells and sugar starfish for $40; tealights for $20

Cake: $80 we are planning to order 3 regular cakes from Publix at $25 each (red velvet, raspberry elegance, and chocolate ganache); we have also considered ordering just the red velvet cake for us to cut along with four dozen “party” cupcakes which are are $10-12 a dozen

Rings: $80 ($40 for a braided gold band for me and $40 for a black and red ceramic band for him)

Attire: I am ordering a replica from Dressilyme for under $300 and he is having a custom white linen suit made for under $100.

Makeup, hair and nails: I am doing my own makeup.  I am hoping my mom will cover hair and nails as a gift since we’re going together.  If not, I plan for an additional $100 for hair and nails since I plan for an updo and a basic manicure/pedicure.

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