To eat, drink and be merry! That’s the real reason guests love attending wedding receptions. Because food and fun go hand in hand, many couples plan their wedding food and wedding drinks at the same time they’re planning the reception.
And even though the majority of wedding receptions are held during the evening, this doesn’t have to be the case with yours. If you’re working on a tight budget, instead of planning a nighttime sit down-style reception, consider arranging a morning, brunch, lunch, or cocktail reception. They can be just as festive, but at a fraction of the cost. To set the tone, select a location with a pleasant daytime view. If you prefer an evening reception, a buffet dinner will cost less than a sit-down dinner as will a paid bar versus an open bar.
You need to plan your wedding food and drinks well ahead, at least 6 – 12 months in advance of the big day. Oftentimes, the reception location is selected because of the fact that the wedding food and non-alcoholic drinks are offered as part of the package price. And while these venues may not create the wedding cake, they will often refer a wedding cake specialist. At a minimum, you’ll find they offer cake cutting/serving services.
There are, however, a number of reception locations that will require the services of a caterer. If this is your situation, it’s important to check whether cooking facilities are available at the reception location. If not, the caterer may have to rent what is needed, which will add to your costs as these fees will ultimately be passed on to you. Most couples think only to deal with creating the menu, not the logistical end of catering including servers. Neglecting the details can lead to problems and cost overruns down the road. A good caterer will help you through the details, but you should know what to ask as well.
Most couples will break their wedding food budget down into a cost-per-person basis. The goal is to get as much quality food as you can while spending the least amount possible. You have lots of food options and if you’re planning the food and the wedding/reception simultaneously, you have time options like those noted above which can lower your wedding food costs significantly.
When it comes to wedding drinks, non-alcoholic beverages will be your least expensive option (although you still should have champagne for a toast) and you’ll find that they’re often included with the price of the wedding food. If you’re going to serve alcoholic beverages, you have more decisions to make including open bar or paid, wine and beer or full liquor service.
As for the wedding cake, again, the costs are typically determined on a per head basis. It used to be that you ordered your multi-tier, one flavor cake with plastic statue on top from a baker but nowadays, you can actually have your wedding cake custom-created by a cake designer! That’s just one more thing to think about when planning your wedding budget.