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

posted 7 years ago in Money
Post # 17
Member
31 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: August 2012

I’m going to try to say this in a non-snarky way, and I’ll probably fail.  However, I would try to either limit the guest list or wait on the wedding until we could do it ‘right’.

 

I’d rather wait 6 mths or a year than put on an event I wasn’t proud of. 

 

 

Post # 18
Member
1659 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I would have planned a sunday 10am ceremony, with a DIY brunch reception following – muffins, bagels, fruit, BYO yogurt parfait, and tea sandwiches with juice, coffee and tea and a mimosa bar. Everything sould be from local bakeries. A donut cake too!

Now that I’m writing this out, wish I hadn’t gotten into this whole “big wedding” mess 😉 

ETA – an espresso cart! I think I would have done all of this for half of what we’re spending on catering and it would have been totally fine. I think I’m kind of burned out on my wedding.

Post # 19
Member
10285 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2011

BBQ! One of my best friends went this route for her wedding and in all honesty, it was some of the best wedding food I’ve ever had. She served BBQ chicken & brisket, a bunch of different cold salads (pasta, macaroni, potato, garden, cole slaw), corn on the cob & rolls/butter. Her whole wedding cost around $5k (including a limited open bar) so I think this is a great option for those who don’t want to spend a fortune. You can have a lovely wedding and care for your guests needs on a tight budget. 

Post # 20
Member
87 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

Our wedding is in the function room of a restyrant and everything is under 2,500 including dinner.

 

Also I’m a vegan and it would make me sad if the only options were bean salad and nuts…just saying.

Post # 21
Member
3461 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I love the BBQ idea, but I worry it would be pricey than some of the other options.  Brunch would be great except I’m not a morning person so getting up earlier to do hair, eeks!  (I realize you can have brunch after the morning, my Darling Husband is always trying to persuade me to do it, but I don’t like to eat brunch post noon!)  So maybe sandwiches, desserts, or hearty appetizers at an off time.  I had a great time at a friends where she did (costco I think) lassagna with salad and bread – pasta would work too.

I would be less concerned about vegan eaters (the only ones I knew were in college – in my circle it’s absolutely not a concern.  I’m surprised the OP knows many.  But I would need to balance kosher, hindu, gluten-free and a number of allergies, which makes it tricky.

ETA: I too would also shrink the guest list.  I just looked at my guest list and I could have made it 55-60 instead of the 95 it was.  (We anticipated 125, but some close friends couldn’t make it.)

Post # 22
Member
1573 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

backyard barbecue

dessrt and sandwich

brunch reception

dry reception

or…

make your guestlist smaller

Post # 23
Member
2401 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

I’d go the bbq/picnic route as well. At one point, I had proposed doing a literal picnic theme where I would give each guest and his family/date a picnic basket with various sandwiches, a bottle of sparkling cider, a piece of fruit, some chips, and a piece of wrapped up cake. I think I totaled it out to cost around $400-500 for 120 guests if you went to a place like Panera for the food. I was even going to throw in a blanket for those adventerous enough to sit on the grass.  

Post # 24
Member
1659 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

@kay01:  Not trying to threadjack but – I’m allergic to gluten and I always eat beforehand or bring substantial and covert purse snacks to things that involve a meal (unless I know that what’s being served is safe) because I just about always assume that I won’t be able to eat. I feel like my vegan friends do this too, and I’m totally okay with taking care of my special snowflake self rather than burdening the host wih my dietary restrictions.

Post # 25
Member
3278 posts
Sugar bee

If the budget was REALLY tight, I would do cake and punch.

If I was keen on having a meal, I’d do pasta and garlic bread and salad, or a brunch wedding (but I would loathe to get up so early to get ready).

 

Post # 26
Member
2281 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

You can have a great menu, without breaking the bank. We had a cocktail buffet for our wedding. Cost of food for 70 people was $2492.15. We rented out an upscale Italian restaurant were we had gone on some of our first dates (which did not charge us a separate venue cost – only food and drinks). Our menu, which our guests adored, was:

Cheese assortment with local apples, crackers, sauces 

Antipasto tray of hummus, roasted mushrooms & peas, crispy chickpeas, roasted carrots with onions & sage 

Housemade bread with olive tapenade 

Pesto roasted-vegetable stuffed bread 

Grilled marinated artichokes 

Local sausage & roasted potatoskewers with roasted garlic aioli 

Asparagus with Romesco sauce

Post # 27
Member
10285 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2011

@kay01:  The BBQ route can be done on the cheap if you have people willing to help. My friend used an actual BBQ caterer for the meat but everything else was made by her family. All of the salads were cold so they were made in advance and just refrigerated and everything was bought in bulk to cut down on the cost. She had more than 100 people in attendance and no one walked away hungry. I’d guess that the food & drink probably cost her $2500, if that. The whole shebang was $5k and that included a tent rental, DJ, decorations, their outfits and all the little misc. stuff that adds up. 

Post # 28
Member
3461 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

@Ellegee:  That’s very sweet of you to do so.  I always hope people are understanding, while at the same time, I try to take care of my guests.  Oddly it was the onion allergy that was the biggest issue – turned out almost all of our appetizers had it in them… 

We invited 4 gluten-free friends/family, although only one could make it in the end…but it was a close friend, wife of a groomsmen.  Fortunately, she used to also be vegetarian but about a yaer prior began eating meat again, so it wasn’t as tough as we expected to feed her!  But we requested potato vodka be available for her.

Our biggest concern was really someone who is Hindu – and not only vegetarian on some days, but also has certain rules like “no sugar or sour” and other funky things.  I saw her nibbling on seaweed once as she had a limited palate at those times.  We just figured worst case scenario, she’d bring her own food in to the event and the venue could deal – we were paying for her meal so it shouldn’t bother them if she didn’t eat it.

So to avoid thread jacking…the moral of the story I suppose is the more dietary restrictions, the more difficulty in providing low cost food.  Otherwise you need options and options add to the cost.

Post # 29
Member
3461 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

@UpstateCait:  Oh it’s definitely cheaper to do yourself – I did a rehearsal BBQ for 95 people for under $1500 (yay costco), with lots of leftovers, plenty of alcohol and beautiful decorations. It’s just that I think you have to compare apples and apples when making the decision, so I question the cost relative to other options – is it as cheap as say, a dessert reception where you DIY?  Is it as cheap as a brunch if you cater both?  In any event, the brainstorming is fun, and I don’t mean to dismiss it as an option – I would totally love to go to an actual bbq reception.  My 2nd cousins did that in their backyard about 20 years ago when they got married – such fun for a family wedding! 

Post # 30
Member
8040 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2013

@Poppet:  I wouldn’t serve dinner if I were on a budget. I would have a small wedding or elope, and feed my guests well. If I really wanted to have many guests, I’d have it later in the day and offer appetizers or dessert, or I’d do it in the afternoon after lunch and just serve snacks or something.

I think you can be creative to save $$, but honestly the menu you suggest seems like an odd mix of food and isn’t all that appealing to me. Just my 2 cents, though.

Post # 31
Member
11270 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2012

there are a lot of options as pp have mentioned.  i guess it comes down to two very important questions:  what’s the budget?  How many guest?

if it was a very low budget i would have it in a backyard and have an upscale bbq.  pork loin, marinated sirloin kabobs, a rice dish, homemade potatoe salad, pasta salad, toss salad, grilled veggies. 

i host numerous parties.  i have family members with diet restrictions and always have something for them to eat.  my mom and brother are celiac and our entire wedding menu was gluten-free.  you would never have known.  guests are still raving about the dinner and the creme brulee dessert.

 

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