How to Save Big on Your Wedding Menu

Easy ways to keep catering costs from chewing up your food budget.



"I love brunch receptions," said Michelle Rago. "They're so cheerful, happy and uplifting." Here are some uplifting budget-saving ideas for your daytime reception.
  • A local restaurant or hotel may make it simple for you by offering the perfect brunch with a wide array of menu options, at just $12 to $20 per person. If you like the options, go for the good price.
  • Provide just one seafood station, say, for smoked salmon.
  • Have a made-to-order station. Guests enjoy the chef’s attention as they watch him whip up a custom omelet, pancakes or crepes made to their taste. These are also great conversation-starters for guests as they give their orders and wait for their plates.
  • Give a classic a gourmet twist. “If your chef offers an eggs Benedict made with lobster or crab cakes, it feels like luxury,” says Kalman. “I also love a blini station topped with a touch of caviar.”
  • Some hotels and restaurants will give each guest a complimentary champagne or mimosa. “Champagne cocktails, mimosas or bellinis are elegant drinks for a brunch reception,” says Bianco. And remember that you’ll save lots on alcohol since most guests won’t be overindulging at this time of day.
  • Offer the best Bloody Mary bar ever, with great add-ins, or have a server walk around with a Bloody Mary serving station on a cart,” suggests Rago. Guests will enjoy having their drinks whipped up while they watch.
  • Provide a budget-friendly coffee, tea or chai bar.

Cut Your Cake and Desserts Cost

  • Choose a simple, pretty cake in a light flavor such as vanilla or lemon, which will be delicious and less expensive without the additional cost of decoration and multiple flavors. Skipping elaborate sugarpaste designs (these are better for a formal evening wedding) will keep the presentation clean and fresh.
  • Brunch calls for light and airy desserts, such as parfaits, whipped mousse with fresh mango—nothing heavy like a chocolate lava cake,” says Kalman.
  • Cupcakes impress on a budget, as do mini pastries and fruit tartlets. Platters of eye-pleasing sweet treats are great crowd-pleasers.
  • Brunch is perfect for fresh and refreshing fruit platters, or pretty dessert cups filled with sweet mandarin oranges. Remember that a single type of fruit looks more sophisticated than a mixed fruit cup. 



More Ways to Save:

► Sit-Down Dinners
► Cocktail Party