Traditional recipes

5 Ways to Trim Your Wedding Food Budget

5 Ways to Trim Your Wedding Food Budget

For those who love food, planning a meal for the big day can be just as important as finding the perfect dress is for other brides. It has to be delicious, made with fresh ingredients, look beautiful, and of course, delight guests. Then, there is the booze. And you have to remain within your budget. That’s where things can get tricky.

Alexia Miller, a writer at Small Kitchen College, faced that exact dilemma when planning her own wedding recently. She and her now-husband were fresh out of college and wanted to get the food and drink just right for the 250 guests, without somehow gouging her bank account. Catering is possibly the biggest expense when planning a wedding. Not to mention, when a wedding reception runs out of food or alcohol, you can be sure the guests are leaving early. So how do you keep the food and wine flowing when your cash flow is limited (short of making your own wedding cake)? Miller has shared her priceless tips with us. So raise a glass and eat, drink, and dance the night away!

1. The Venue Matters

Choose a venue that doesn’t require you to use their caterers (ex: a park, a backyard, an art gallery, etc.). This way you can customize food choices and bargain with vendors. At our wedding, we served small plates by way of self-serve stations. Each station had a different theme and, therefore, a different caterer. This allowed us to hand pick our food and our prices.

2. Show Your Loyalty

Ask your favorite restaurant to cater a small selection. More than likely, you will be able to bargain with them and because you are loyal customers, they should be willing to work with you. It’s also a cute way to personalize your wedding with your favorite dish, or food from your first date.

3. Consider the Small Business

Choose a caterer who’s just starting out, or works out of their home. Unlike big catering companies, they are still feeling out their value, so their prices will probably be lower. There is a risk factor here, so make you sure you do plenty of research by asking around. The best way to find a great, lesser-known caterer is by word of mouth.

4. Recruit Potluck-Style Assistance

There’s nothing wrong with asking for a little help. Having family or close friends make your favorite dishes for the wedding in bulk will make the food more meaningful to you. For our wedding, my grandmother made her famous mac ‘n' cheese with stewed tomatoes. It was a hit, especially with picky eaters.

5. BYOB

Probably the best financial decision we made at our wedding was purchasing all of the wine, liquor, and beer ourselves, instead of being charged by a company or a venue for each drink or bottle. We hired bartenders at an hourly wage and saved thousands of dollars.


Royal wedding party recipes

Lay on a celebratory high tea to toast the newlyweds.

Lemon & elderflower celebration cake

Decorate this simple elderflower and lemon cake with edible flowers for a showstopping celebration dessert. It's perfect for a wedding or birthday

Tea & biscuits cheesecake bars

What's better than dunking biscuits into tea? These ingenious tea and biscuits cheesecake bars capture that flavour sensation perfectly

Egg & cress club sandwich

Enjoy these toasted egg and cress club sandwiches as part of a summer family picnic. Skewer each sandwich with a sandwich pick and serve with crisps

Classic scones with jam & clotted cream

You can have a batch of scones on the table in 20 minutes with Jane Hornby's storecupboard recipe, perfect for unexpected guests

Lemon drizzle flapjacks

Treat yourself to a dessert mash-up in the form of our lemon drizzle flapjacks. This simple traybake is perfect for slicing and sharing with friends

Rhubarb gin

Use seasonal rhubarb to make this G&T-with-a-difference, or top the finished gin with soda water for a refreshing and gloriously pink summertime drink

Custard tarts

Try making our delicate custard tarts for an irresistible dessert. They take just 10 minutes to prep and are delicious with a grating of nutmeg

Raspberry bakewell cake

This simple almondy cake is a great way of using up pick-your-own raspberries

Lemon & poppyseed cupcakes

These zesty cupcakes look so gorgeous you won't want to eat them, but once you start you won't be able to stop

Yummy golden syrup flapjacks

Bake these 4-ingredient flapjacks – they're easy to make and ready in half an hour. Add chocolate drops, desiccated coconut or sultanas, if you like

Elderflower & lemon cordial

Diluted with sparkling water, this makes a refreshing drink to enjoy throughout the summer, or use a dash neat in recipes like gooseberry fool

Carrot patch cake

Bake a simple and stunning carrot cake with cream cheese frosting for an afternoon tea or mid-morning treat. It tastes even better a day or two later

Cheese & Marmite sausage rolls

Love Marmite? We’re staking our bets on these being the best sausage rolls you’ve ever tasted. Cut them into mini portions as a canapé or keep them longer for a filling lunch

Butternut Bakewell bars

Try these Bakewell slices made with a healthier twist. We’ve replaced white flour with light spelt, and butternut squash is used for natural sweetness


Royal wedding party recipes

Lay on a celebratory high tea to toast the newlyweds.

Lemon & elderflower celebration cake

Decorate this simple elderflower and lemon cake with edible flowers for a showstopping celebration dessert. It's perfect for a wedding or birthday

Tea & biscuits cheesecake bars

What's better than dunking biscuits into tea? These ingenious tea and biscuits cheesecake bars capture that flavour sensation perfectly

Egg & cress club sandwich

Enjoy these toasted egg and cress club sandwiches as part of a summer family picnic. Skewer each sandwich with a sandwich pick and serve with crisps

Classic scones with jam & clotted cream

You can have a batch of scones on the table in 20 minutes with Jane Hornby's storecupboard recipe, perfect for unexpected guests

Lemon drizzle flapjacks

Treat yourself to a dessert mash-up in the form of our lemon drizzle flapjacks. This simple traybake is perfect for slicing and sharing with friends

Rhubarb gin

Use seasonal rhubarb to make this G&T-with-a-difference, or top the finished gin with soda water for a refreshing and gloriously pink summertime drink

Custard tarts

Try making our delicate custard tarts for an irresistible dessert. They take just 10 minutes to prep and are delicious with a grating of nutmeg

Raspberry bakewell cake

This simple almondy cake is a great way of using up pick-your-own raspberries

Lemon & poppyseed cupcakes

These zesty cupcakes look so gorgeous you won't want to eat them, but once you start you won't be able to stop

Yummy golden syrup flapjacks

Bake these 4-ingredient flapjacks – they're easy to make and ready in half an hour. Add chocolate drops, desiccated coconut or sultanas, if you like

Elderflower & lemon cordial

Diluted with sparkling water, this makes a refreshing drink to enjoy throughout the summer, or use a dash neat in recipes like gooseberry fool

Carrot patch cake

Bake a simple and stunning carrot cake with cream cheese frosting for an afternoon tea or mid-morning treat. It tastes even better a day or two later

Cheese & Marmite sausage rolls

Love Marmite? We’re staking our bets on these being the best sausage rolls you’ve ever tasted. Cut them into mini portions as a canapé or keep them longer for a filling lunch

Butternut Bakewell bars

Try these Bakewell slices made with a healthier twist. We’ve replaced white flour with light spelt, and butternut squash is used for natural sweetness


Royal wedding party recipes

Lay on a celebratory high tea to toast the newlyweds.

Lemon & elderflower celebration cake

Decorate this simple elderflower and lemon cake with edible flowers for a showstopping celebration dessert. It's perfect for a wedding or birthday

Tea & biscuits cheesecake bars

What's better than dunking biscuits into tea? These ingenious tea and biscuits cheesecake bars capture that flavour sensation perfectly

Egg & cress club sandwich

Enjoy these toasted egg and cress club sandwiches as part of a summer family picnic. Skewer each sandwich with a sandwich pick and serve with crisps

Classic scones with jam & clotted cream

You can have a batch of scones on the table in 20 minutes with Jane Hornby's storecupboard recipe, perfect for unexpected guests

Lemon drizzle flapjacks

Treat yourself to a dessert mash-up in the form of our lemon drizzle flapjacks. This simple traybake is perfect for slicing and sharing with friends

Rhubarb gin

Use seasonal rhubarb to make this G&T-with-a-difference, or top the finished gin with soda water for a refreshing and gloriously pink summertime drink

Custard tarts

Try making our delicate custard tarts for an irresistible dessert. They take just 10 minutes to prep and are delicious with a grating of nutmeg

Raspberry bakewell cake

This simple almondy cake is a great way of using up pick-your-own raspberries

Lemon & poppyseed cupcakes

These zesty cupcakes look so gorgeous you won't want to eat them, but once you start you won't be able to stop

Yummy golden syrup flapjacks

Bake these 4-ingredient flapjacks – they're easy to make and ready in half an hour. Add chocolate drops, desiccated coconut or sultanas, if you like

Elderflower & lemon cordial

Diluted with sparkling water, this makes a refreshing drink to enjoy throughout the summer, or use a dash neat in recipes like gooseberry fool

Carrot patch cake

Bake a simple and stunning carrot cake with cream cheese frosting for an afternoon tea or mid-morning treat. It tastes even better a day or two later

Cheese & Marmite sausage rolls

Love Marmite? We’re staking our bets on these being the best sausage rolls you’ve ever tasted. Cut them into mini portions as a canapé or keep them longer for a filling lunch

Butternut Bakewell bars

Try these Bakewell slices made with a healthier twist. We’ve replaced white flour with light spelt, and butternut squash is used for natural sweetness


Royal wedding party recipes

Lay on a celebratory high tea to toast the newlyweds.

Lemon & elderflower celebration cake

Decorate this simple elderflower and lemon cake with edible flowers for a showstopping celebration dessert. It's perfect for a wedding or birthday

Tea & biscuits cheesecake bars

What's better than dunking biscuits into tea? These ingenious tea and biscuits cheesecake bars capture that flavour sensation perfectly

Egg & cress club sandwich

Enjoy these toasted egg and cress club sandwiches as part of a summer family picnic. Skewer each sandwich with a sandwich pick and serve with crisps

Classic scones with jam & clotted cream

You can have a batch of scones on the table in 20 minutes with Jane Hornby's storecupboard recipe, perfect for unexpected guests

Lemon drizzle flapjacks

Treat yourself to a dessert mash-up in the form of our lemon drizzle flapjacks. This simple traybake is perfect for slicing and sharing with friends

Rhubarb gin

Use seasonal rhubarb to make this G&T-with-a-difference, or top the finished gin with soda water for a refreshing and gloriously pink summertime drink

Custard tarts

Try making our delicate custard tarts for an irresistible dessert. They take just 10 minutes to prep and are delicious with a grating of nutmeg

Raspberry bakewell cake

This simple almondy cake is a great way of using up pick-your-own raspberries

Lemon & poppyseed cupcakes

These zesty cupcakes look so gorgeous you won't want to eat them, but once you start you won't be able to stop

Yummy golden syrup flapjacks

Bake these 4-ingredient flapjacks – they're easy to make and ready in half an hour. Add chocolate drops, desiccated coconut or sultanas, if you like

Elderflower & lemon cordial

Diluted with sparkling water, this makes a refreshing drink to enjoy throughout the summer, or use a dash neat in recipes like gooseberry fool

Carrot patch cake

Bake a simple and stunning carrot cake with cream cheese frosting for an afternoon tea or mid-morning treat. It tastes even better a day or two later

Cheese & Marmite sausage rolls

Love Marmite? We’re staking our bets on these being the best sausage rolls you’ve ever tasted. Cut them into mini portions as a canapé or keep them longer for a filling lunch

Butternut Bakewell bars

Try these Bakewell slices made with a healthier twist. We’ve replaced white flour with light spelt, and butternut squash is used for natural sweetness


Royal wedding party recipes

Lay on a celebratory high tea to toast the newlyweds.

Lemon & elderflower celebration cake

Decorate this simple elderflower and lemon cake with edible flowers for a showstopping celebration dessert. It's perfect for a wedding or birthday

Tea & biscuits cheesecake bars

What's better than dunking biscuits into tea? These ingenious tea and biscuits cheesecake bars capture that flavour sensation perfectly

Egg & cress club sandwich

Enjoy these toasted egg and cress club sandwiches as part of a summer family picnic. Skewer each sandwich with a sandwich pick and serve with crisps

Classic scones with jam & clotted cream

You can have a batch of scones on the table in 20 minutes with Jane Hornby's storecupboard recipe, perfect for unexpected guests

Lemon drizzle flapjacks

Treat yourself to a dessert mash-up in the form of our lemon drizzle flapjacks. This simple traybake is perfect for slicing and sharing with friends

Rhubarb gin

Use seasonal rhubarb to make this G&T-with-a-difference, or top the finished gin with soda water for a refreshing and gloriously pink summertime drink

Custard tarts

Try making our delicate custard tarts for an irresistible dessert. They take just 10 minutes to prep and are delicious with a grating of nutmeg

Raspberry bakewell cake

This simple almondy cake is a great way of using up pick-your-own raspberries

Lemon & poppyseed cupcakes

These zesty cupcakes look so gorgeous you won't want to eat them, but once you start you won't be able to stop

Yummy golden syrup flapjacks

Bake these 4-ingredient flapjacks – they're easy to make and ready in half an hour. Add chocolate drops, desiccated coconut or sultanas, if you like

Elderflower & lemon cordial

Diluted with sparkling water, this makes a refreshing drink to enjoy throughout the summer, or use a dash neat in recipes like gooseberry fool

Carrot patch cake

Bake a simple and stunning carrot cake with cream cheese frosting for an afternoon tea or mid-morning treat. It tastes even better a day or two later

Cheese & Marmite sausage rolls

Love Marmite? We’re staking our bets on these being the best sausage rolls you’ve ever tasted. Cut them into mini portions as a canapé or keep them longer for a filling lunch

Butternut Bakewell bars

Try these Bakewell slices made with a healthier twist. We’ve replaced white flour with light spelt, and butternut squash is used for natural sweetness


Royal wedding party recipes

Lay on a celebratory high tea to toast the newlyweds.

Lemon & elderflower celebration cake

Decorate this simple elderflower and lemon cake with edible flowers for a showstopping celebration dessert. It's perfect for a wedding or birthday

Tea & biscuits cheesecake bars

What's better than dunking biscuits into tea? These ingenious tea and biscuits cheesecake bars capture that flavour sensation perfectly

Egg & cress club sandwich

Enjoy these toasted egg and cress club sandwiches as part of a summer family picnic. Skewer each sandwich with a sandwich pick and serve with crisps

Classic scones with jam & clotted cream

You can have a batch of scones on the table in 20 minutes with Jane Hornby's storecupboard recipe, perfect for unexpected guests

Lemon drizzle flapjacks

Treat yourself to a dessert mash-up in the form of our lemon drizzle flapjacks. This simple traybake is perfect for slicing and sharing with friends

Rhubarb gin

Use seasonal rhubarb to make this G&T-with-a-difference, or top the finished gin with soda water for a refreshing and gloriously pink summertime drink

Custard tarts

Try making our delicate custard tarts for an irresistible dessert. They take just 10 minutes to prep and are delicious with a grating of nutmeg

Raspberry bakewell cake

This simple almondy cake is a great way of using up pick-your-own raspberries

Lemon & poppyseed cupcakes

These zesty cupcakes look so gorgeous you won't want to eat them, but once you start you won't be able to stop

Yummy golden syrup flapjacks

Bake these 4-ingredient flapjacks – they're easy to make and ready in half an hour. Add chocolate drops, desiccated coconut or sultanas, if you like

Elderflower & lemon cordial

Diluted with sparkling water, this makes a refreshing drink to enjoy throughout the summer, or use a dash neat in recipes like gooseberry fool

Carrot patch cake

Bake a simple and stunning carrot cake with cream cheese frosting for an afternoon tea or mid-morning treat. It tastes even better a day or two later

Cheese & Marmite sausage rolls

Love Marmite? We’re staking our bets on these being the best sausage rolls you’ve ever tasted. Cut them into mini portions as a canapé or keep them longer for a filling lunch

Butternut Bakewell bars

Try these Bakewell slices made with a healthier twist. We’ve replaced white flour with light spelt, and butternut squash is used for natural sweetness


Royal wedding party recipes

Lay on a celebratory high tea to toast the newlyweds.

Lemon & elderflower celebration cake

Decorate this simple elderflower and lemon cake with edible flowers for a showstopping celebration dessert. It's perfect for a wedding or birthday

Tea & biscuits cheesecake bars

What's better than dunking biscuits into tea? These ingenious tea and biscuits cheesecake bars capture that flavour sensation perfectly

Egg & cress club sandwich

Enjoy these toasted egg and cress club sandwiches as part of a summer family picnic. Skewer each sandwich with a sandwich pick and serve with crisps

Classic scones with jam & clotted cream

You can have a batch of scones on the table in 20 minutes with Jane Hornby's storecupboard recipe, perfect for unexpected guests

Lemon drizzle flapjacks

Treat yourself to a dessert mash-up in the form of our lemon drizzle flapjacks. This simple traybake is perfect for slicing and sharing with friends

Rhubarb gin

Use seasonal rhubarb to make this G&T-with-a-difference, or top the finished gin with soda water for a refreshing and gloriously pink summertime drink

Custard tarts

Try making our delicate custard tarts for an irresistible dessert. They take just 10 minutes to prep and are delicious with a grating of nutmeg

Raspberry bakewell cake

This simple almondy cake is a great way of using up pick-your-own raspberries

Lemon & poppyseed cupcakes

These zesty cupcakes look so gorgeous you won't want to eat them, but once you start you won't be able to stop

Yummy golden syrup flapjacks

Bake these 4-ingredient flapjacks – they're easy to make and ready in half an hour. Add chocolate drops, desiccated coconut or sultanas, if you like

Elderflower & lemon cordial

Diluted with sparkling water, this makes a refreshing drink to enjoy throughout the summer, or use a dash neat in recipes like gooseberry fool

Carrot patch cake

Bake a simple and stunning carrot cake with cream cheese frosting for an afternoon tea or mid-morning treat. It tastes even better a day or two later

Cheese & Marmite sausage rolls

Love Marmite? We’re staking our bets on these being the best sausage rolls you’ve ever tasted. Cut them into mini portions as a canapé or keep them longer for a filling lunch

Butternut Bakewell bars

Try these Bakewell slices made with a healthier twist. We’ve replaced white flour with light spelt, and butternut squash is used for natural sweetness


Royal wedding party recipes

Lay on a celebratory high tea to toast the newlyweds.

Lemon & elderflower celebration cake

Decorate this simple elderflower and lemon cake with edible flowers for a showstopping celebration dessert. It's perfect for a wedding or birthday

Tea & biscuits cheesecake bars

What's better than dunking biscuits into tea? These ingenious tea and biscuits cheesecake bars capture that flavour sensation perfectly

Egg & cress club sandwich

Enjoy these toasted egg and cress club sandwiches as part of a summer family picnic. Skewer each sandwich with a sandwich pick and serve with crisps

Classic scones with jam & clotted cream

You can have a batch of scones on the table in 20 minutes with Jane Hornby's storecupboard recipe, perfect for unexpected guests

Lemon drizzle flapjacks

Treat yourself to a dessert mash-up in the form of our lemon drizzle flapjacks. This simple traybake is perfect for slicing and sharing with friends

Rhubarb gin

Use seasonal rhubarb to make this G&T-with-a-difference, or top the finished gin with soda water for a refreshing and gloriously pink summertime drink

Custard tarts

Try making our delicate custard tarts for an irresistible dessert. They take just 10 minutes to prep and are delicious with a grating of nutmeg

Raspberry bakewell cake

This simple almondy cake is a great way of using up pick-your-own raspberries

Lemon & poppyseed cupcakes

These zesty cupcakes look so gorgeous you won't want to eat them, but once you start you won't be able to stop

Yummy golden syrup flapjacks

Bake these 4-ingredient flapjacks – they're easy to make and ready in half an hour. Add chocolate drops, desiccated coconut or sultanas, if you like

Elderflower & lemon cordial

Diluted with sparkling water, this makes a refreshing drink to enjoy throughout the summer, or use a dash neat in recipes like gooseberry fool

Carrot patch cake

Bake a simple and stunning carrot cake with cream cheese frosting for an afternoon tea or mid-morning treat. It tastes even better a day or two later

Cheese & Marmite sausage rolls

Love Marmite? We’re staking our bets on these being the best sausage rolls you’ve ever tasted. Cut them into mini portions as a canapé or keep them longer for a filling lunch

Butternut Bakewell bars

Try these Bakewell slices made with a healthier twist. We’ve replaced white flour with light spelt, and butternut squash is used for natural sweetness


Royal wedding party recipes

Lay on a celebratory high tea to toast the newlyweds.

Lemon & elderflower celebration cake

Decorate this simple elderflower and lemon cake with edible flowers for a showstopping celebration dessert. It's perfect for a wedding or birthday

Tea & biscuits cheesecake bars

What's better than dunking biscuits into tea? These ingenious tea and biscuits cheesecake bars capture that flavour sensation perfectly

Egg & cress club sandwich

Enjoy these toasted egg and cress club sandwiches as part of a summer family picnic. Skewer each sandwich with a sandwich pick and serve with crisps

Classic scones with jam & clotted cream

You can have a batch of scones on the table in 20 minutes with Jane Hornby's storecupboard recipe, perfect for unexpected guests

Lemon drizzle flapjacks

Treat yourself to a dessert mash-up in the form of our lemon drizzle flapjacks. This simple traybake is perfect for slicing and sharing with friends

Rhubarb gin

Use seasonal rhubarb to make this G&T-with-a-difference, or top the finished gin with soda water for a refreshing and gloriously pink summertime drink

Custard tarts

Try making our delicate custard tarts for an irresistible dessert. They take just 10 minutes to prep and are delicious with a grating of nutmeg

Raspberry bakewell cake

This simple almondy cake is a great way of using up pick-your-own raspberries

Lemon & poppyseed cupcakes

These zesty cupcakes look so gorgeous you won't want to eat them, but once you start you won't be able to stop

Yummy golden syrup flapjacks

Bake these 4-ingredient flapjacks – they're easy to make and ready in half an hour. Add chocolate drops, desiccated coconut or sultanas, if you like

Elderflower & lemon cordial

Diluted with sparkling water, this makes a refreshing drink to enjoy throughout the summer, or use a dash neat in recipes like gooseberry fool

Carrot patch cake

Bake a simple and stunning carrot cake with cream cheese frosting for an afternoon tea or mid-morning treat. It tastes even better a day or two later

Cheese & Marmite sausage rolls

Love Marmite? We’re staking our bets on these being the best sausage rolls you’ve ever tasted. Cut them into mini portions as a canapé or keep them longer for a filling lunch

Butternut Bakewell bars

Try these Bakewell slices made with a healthier twist. We’ve replaced white flour with light spelt, and butternut squash is used for natural sweetness


Royal wedding party recipes

Lay on a celebratory high tea to toast the newlyweds.

Lemon & elderflower celebration cake

Decorate this simple elderflower and lemon cake with edible flowers for a showstopping celebration dessert. It's perfect for a wedding or birthday

Tea & biscuits cheesecake bars

What's better than dunking biscuits into tea? These ingenious tea and biscuits cheesecake bars capture that flavour sensation perfectly

Egg & cress club sandwich

Enjoy these toasted egg and cress club sandwiches as part of a summer family picnic. Skewer each sandwich with a sandwich pick and serve with crisps

Classic scones with jam & clotted cream

You can have a batch of scones on the table in 20 minutes with Jane Hornby's storecupboard recipe, perfect for unexpected guests

Lemon drizzle flapjacks

Treat yourself to a dessert mash-up in the form of our lemon drizzle flapjacks. This simple traybake is perfect for slicing and sharing with friends

Rhubarb gin

Use seasonal rhubarb to make this G&T-with-a-difference, or top the finished gin with soda water for a refreshing and gloriously pink summertime drink

Custard tarts

Try making our delicate custard tarts for an irresistible dessert. They take just 10 minutes to prep and are delicious with a grating of nutmeg

Raspberry bakewell cake

This simple almondy cake is a great way of using up pick-your-own raspberries

Lemon & poppyseed cupcakes

These zesty cupcakes look so gorgeous you won't want to eat them, but once you start you won't be able to stop

Yummy golden syrup flapjacks

Bake these 4-ingredient flapjacks – they're easy to make and ready in half an hour. Add chocolate drops, desiccated coconut or sultanas, if you like

Elderflower & lemon cordial

Diluted with sparkling water, this makes a refreshing drink to enjoy throughout the summer, or use a dash neat in recipes like gooseberry fool

Carrot patch cake

Bake a simple and stunning carrot cake with cream cheese frosting for an afternoon tea or mid-morning treat. It tastes even better a day or two later

Cheese & Marmite sausage rolls

Love Marmite? We’re staking our bets on these being the best sausage rolls you’ve ever tasted. Cut them into mini portions as a canapé or keep them longer for a filling lunch

Butternut Bakewell bars

Try these Bakewell slices made with a healthier twist. We’ve replaced white flour with light spelt, and butternut squash is used for natural sweetness