(Closed) What would you feed your guests if you had a very low budget?

posted 6 years ago in Money
Post # 3
371 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

If I was on a tight budget I would do a dessert reception.  It’s something we thought about. Though,  what you were thinking sounds really good too- I’m just not sure if you will be able to do it on a tight budget

Post # 4
243 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I second the dessert budget, or do a brunch reception! Brunch- Mimosas, Maybe a few omlet and belgian waffle stations, and the awesomely adorable pastries from sams club! We are doing BBQ ourselves, which is $16 per person in annapolis (relativley high $ area) so I dont know what you consider high! Sandwiches may be a little tricky- leaving refrigerated stuff out, messy, and people bottle necking the line?

Post # 5
1243 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

@Poppet:  Woo…neat question.  There’s also a cool thread with ladies who have planned weddings for under $5000.

I’m not sure what we’re defining as a “tight budget”, but I like the idea of a dessert reception, but I would probably add cheese and crackers and veggies to that so that it isn’t all sweet.  Personally, I would still have alcohol, but it would be limited to beer and wine and I would look for a venue that allowed me to BYOB- this is IF I really wanted the traditional wedding ceremony.

My other idea would be to stick to just what we did for our ceremony and family-only dinner the night before our reception with friends and extended family (my wedding kind of took over a weekend).  I guess all told the dinner/evening was around $1500, including my civil ceremony off-the-rack blue dress and fees.  We got married and then went out for dinner.  We reserved a private dining space, had an open bar and awesome 3 course meal for 20 people.  It was great!  

If I still wanted to party it up with my friends, I would probably host a backyard BBQ.

Post # 6
13079 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

Definitely a dessert reception.  You can make a lot of them yourself in advance and freeze things, and have bigger items, like the cake, delivered by a baker or even add that to a DIY list.  Punch is really easy to serve, and coolers of ice will do the trick to keep things cold!

Post # 7
2493 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I would do finger sandwiches and desserts, which, for 100 people, can be done for under $500 (easily)!. In fact, our late night snack we are DIY’ing and several of my relatives and friends who are great bakers volunteered to contribute something. I ended up saying ‘thanks, but no thanks’, but I’m sure many would have cut costs that way.

Anyways, I would do a variety of pinwheel and quarter sandwiches in things like cold cut, turkey, ham, cucumber, etc. I would have a large iceburg salad (cheap!) with garden grown tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. I would also have juice, pop and water with a vareity of cookies, brownies, squares and bars for dessert.

Post # 8
5423 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: November 2012

@papercrafter:  thats a great idea!

I considered a brunch reception for cost purposes…

Post # 9
1061 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

If I had I summer wedding, even though we had a decent budget, I think I would have done BBQ.  Pulled pork (get the huge loins from costco and DIY), buns, coleslaw, green beans and mac n’ cheese or sweet potatoes or loaded potato casserole.

Kosher isn’t an issue for us, but maybe some shredded BBQ chicken if it was. 

Post # 10
2891 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

scalloped potatoes are a cheap quick item. you can make them from a box just use real butter and substitue half and half for the milk. Meatballs are good tooo if done in the crockpot. I love deviled eggs at a wedding but they are labor intensive. I would do grilled chicken and a green salad for  sure.  Rice pilaf can be done in an electric roaster which btw go on sale before thanksgiving! I wouldn’t do a brunch reception as it can become a logistical nightmare to have all those hotplates andwaffle irons going. One would be shocked how many times oe needs to reset the breakers :p

I have found it safer to do hot food in the summer than trying to keep cold food from spoiling. If you are diying your food electric roasters and crockpots work great. Stay away from egg based orr dairy based things that spoil in the summer heat. Cold food options that a great are italian pasta salad, three bean salad, fruit salad, green salad but keep the dressings in an ice filled window planter box (found this to be the perfect size and depth

Post # 11
5766 posts
Bee Keeper

I think what I’d serve would depend on the time of year and location. I’d prefer things that could easily be made in bulk that would be filling rather than a bunch of smaller items that are time consuming to make ,store and serve.

In the heat of the summer, I’d never make anything that could easily spoil (nothing poultry or mayonaise based), as how horrible would it be to have a bunch of sick guests?

In off season times, I’d provide food more on the lines of ‘comfort food’.

Set up and clean up and replenishing is also a consideration.

Here’s some ideas!


Post # 12
5001 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

I would just do appetizers and a small cake to cut + sheet cake for guests to eat. If you’re really tight, just do cake! 

Post # 13
743 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

This is what we did for our Rehearsal Dinner (for 35 people) in Florida….I pre-ordered a bunch of platters from Publix (a grocery store) – they do lunch meats, hot meats, finger sandwiches, rolls, seafood….basically anything you could possible want for a picnic-style meal.  For 35 people, we spent $235 on food, drinks, desserts, and paper products, but there was definitely a LOT of extra food and we also splurged and got some nice seafood platters.  

Personally, I would not want to cook anything – I was glad I did not have the added stress of cooking food nor making sure it was cooked well.  The day before my wedding was insane enough as it was and I’m glad all I had to do was give a friend $$ and send her to the store to pick up the food!!

Post # 14
1446 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

We spent about $800 on the food for our reception for about 75 people. We did hors d’ouevres and desserts. We had:

Pasta salad

Chicken salad in phyllo cups

Pimento cheese sandwiches

Turkey and cheese roll-ups

Fruit tray

Veggies with ranch or spinach artichoke dip

Cream puffs

Cupcakes from local bakery

Lemon bars

Mexican wedding cookies

We made about half the food ourselves and a caterer friend of the family provided the other half. I think the menu you have listed sounds great, especially if you have guests with a wide variety of dietary needs.

Post # 15
2692 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

That’s a great menu, especially with all the variety you have.  But not sure how you’d do it on a tight budget (not sure how many people).  You’d have to make sure you have enough of each item for guests to have at least 3-5 (or more) per item.

For me, I am having a small budget wedding (less than $5000) and I am feeding my guests a full meal.  It’s not as varied as I’d like but it’ll do.  Plus in my circle, a dessert or appetizer wedding will not do.  

It really didn’t matter where I was having the wedding, we would serve a full meal anyway.  Most of my guests will expect to be fed a ‘real’ meal.  Our tentative menu looks like this:

an apppetizer (either a cream based soup or 3 types of puff pastries p/p)

Chicken with sauce (fish for fi and ds)

Rice with either corn or herbs or mashed potatoes

Salad or mixed veggies


It’s yout ypical standard fare but I am making sure it’s delicious (no dry chicken and no over salted veggies).

Post # 16
4109 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

The cheapest meat that can be dressed up to be made fancy is chicken. I also love the dessert only idea.

The topic ‘What would you feed your guests if you had a very low budget?’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors