How to serve great wedding food on a small budget

Article by Homes to Love

Look beyond tradition; there are no rules when it comes to how you serve food at your wedding

Table setting

Change the time

If you’d rather not serve dinner, opt for lunch, afternoon tea or a breakfast reception. Breakfast will cut out a huge expense for alcohol and will allow you to serve something different from the norm, such as fresh fruit smoothies and mouth-watering pastries. Or consider a high tea in the morning or afternoon. It will reduce the amount of food you’ll need to serve yet with beautiful bite-size sandwiches and cakes, it can still be an elegant, decadent affair.

Glitz and glamour

If you would still prefer something in the evening, opt for cocktails and canapes, and ignore the complete sit-down meal. You’ll spend more time mingling with guests – but make sure they know not to arrive expecting a large multicourse meal; you don’t want them to go hungry.

Do it yourself

It’s not as scary as it sounds. As a couple, plan a meal yourselves; one that can be made in advance and reheated on the day. You could even ask friends to help by bringing a plate.

At your service

Ordering meals to be catered for and delivered to the reception gives you the chance to provide a course yourself to cut costs, such as the salad or starters.

Try this peach-ginger punch with rye


Casual affair

Everyone loves the kiwi tradition of a barbecue, especially in summer. So, if yours is a warm-weather wedding, combine a juicy piece of meat with a few colourful salads for a smoky feast.

Help yourselves

A buffet meal can often end up costing much less than a sit-down, multi-course meal.

The sweet stuff

Keep it simple with a dessert reception that can allow guests to devour some delicious dishes – day or night.

Less is more

Don’t feel pressured into having an extravagantly large wedding cake. A smaller size is fine as long as there is enough for the guests and the wedding party.


You’ll be surprised at how quickly your budget will grow as your guest list lengthens. Don’t feel the need to invite people you’ve lost touch with, unless you really want to. Stick with close friends and family and keep your guest list (and budget) small.

Dine al fresco

If yours is a summer wedding in a beautiful outdoor setting, why not keep things casual with an outdoor picnic? Lay out beautiful blankets for sitting on, and hang colourful lanterns from the trees. Lay a table of meat and beautiful salads and let guests help themselves.

Hanging flower chandeliers

A contribution

Give guests the option to pay something towards the cost of the food, instead of a wedding present.

Wine, madam?

Let waiters pour the wine instead of placing bottles on individual tables at your reception – they can quickly empty.

Try these DIY floating flower bottles

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