You don't have to do it up big. Everybody understands that newlyweds are on a tight budget. Just have cake, coffee, sodas, and nibbles. You can get boxes of frozen appetizers at Sam's or WalMart. Just thaw them out and heat them up. Skip the booze -- it's the most expensive part of a reception and the leading cause of fights at weddings. When you get to the reception why don't you pose for some pictures first? That will give friends and family time to set up the food. (09/22/2007)
By perfumed fan
We just got married 3 weeks ago on a tight budget. We hired a young college student, $200 for 10 hours. They were at the hall, the caterer set up and left. It worked great. Most caterers include set up in their price. For a small fee the college student coordinated and cleaned up! (09/23/2007)
Another suggestion is to ask some of your friends to help you out. For example have one of them make up a veggie platter with dip or small finger foods, such as mini sandwiches made out of the small cocktail bread loaves. (09/23/2007)
Sam's club has bags of salads, Stouffer lasagna that feeds 20 each, and garlic bread and of course wedding cake. Easy, cheap and filling. (09/24/2007)
I did the food for a friend's son's reception and we had ham sandwiches (made the night before), large containers of shrimp salad, potato salad and lots of chips, cheese and crackers. Coffee, soda and punch that I made were the beverages. Didn't cost a lot and all was put into servings dishes ahead of time and quickly put out while we waited for the bride and groom to arrive. (09/24/2007)
My nephew got married a couple of years ago on a Friday night and they just had cake and coffee and soft drinks. There were a few appetizers that people could nibble on. I left right after the wedding and set things out so the parents and other relatives could get a few pictures in before they arrived at the reception. (09/24/2007)
Borrow a roaster from a friend or church etc. Make a huge amount of rigatoni or some sort of pasta really reasonable. You can buy meatballs to have in it or in another roaster. A big bag of salad in a plastic bowl goes a long way. #10 cans of green beans or some other veggie fixed up with ham bits goes for a crowd. Purchased dinner rolls and butter.
If you have a favorite group who needs a small fund raiser such as girl scout troop, church group you could hire a few of them to over see or set up and take down quickly so the guests can mingle. Some supermarkets will cook and slice meats for you such as a ham or beef for a slightly higher fee than just buying raw meet. We have institutional style stores that sell party stuff, catering supplies and the ready made food at pretty fair prices around this area. Also friends could be asked to donate a home made tray of cookies for a cookie table so the cost of a fancy wedding cake could be smaller by being able to purchase a smaller decorated one. Often friends will say...Is there anything I can do to help? These can be frozen ahead of time. I was shocked at the $2.50 per 1" slice one prof baker was asking. wow! Congratulations on your special day. (09/24/2007)
When I got married we were also on a tight budget. We made up a tray of meat with ham, turkey, and roast beef from the deli and then a cheese tray with American and Swiss from the packages. We also had a bread tray, potato salad, macaroni salad and fruit. It did not cost a lot and my mom and aunts set it all up while waiting for us to arrive after the ceremony. (09/25/2007)
My sister in law had the right idea. She made about 6 large casseroles and asked us to provide the salad, dressings, and dinner roles. She made a baked spaghetti. It was easy and delicious too. I'm including the recipe. I use it a lot. My family loves it.
1 pound of ground chuck, browned and drained
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 can of stewed Italian tomatoes, chopped
1 sm can of cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup of milk
1 8 ounce block of Mozzarella cheese,grated
1 sm can of sliced black-ripe olives
1 pound box of angel hair spaghetti
Cook spaghetti noodles according to directions on the box, just cook until noodles are soft, don't over cook, they will cook more in the oven
mix together meat, sauce, tomatoes and cooked noodles, mix well.
Pour into a 9 x 13 inch casserole pan or dish.
mix cream of mushroom soup and milk until blended, spread over spaghetti/noodle mixture.
Sprinkle with cheese.
Sprinkle with black olives,
Bake in a 350* oven for about 45 minutes.
This makes one dish.
Ask for help from friends, When I got married I had so many friends and family who wanted to be included that I had to invent things for them to do.
Your cake could be ordered from a local grocery store. We have gotten great cakes from Publix, Ingles, and Kroger. You just need to research it. Just remember...something always goes wrong. Just go with the flow and years from now you will laugh about it. Don't be a Bridzilla. My wedding was beautiful. I had lots of family help. My wedding dress was even borrowed. Too many brides worry about the wedding. What really matters in the MARRIAGE. Make sure that you got this right. It's your future, make it the best.
By Susie in Buckhead, Ga
A tip I just learned if you're having a buffet -- Put the meat at the end of the line. That way people fill their plate with other food and don't take so much meat which is the most expensive item on your buffet. (09/25/2007)
By Marylin DeYoung
You can also ask a friend to ask some of their friends (who you don't know well enough to invite to the wedding - to avoid awkwardness) to help with the setup and catering. When my best friend got married, I asked a couple friends of mine to pick up the party platters (super cheap if you order them from somewhere like Costco or Sam's Club). They set them out while the wedding was finishing, then switched the platters out once they emptied. They weren't responsible for clean up after the party (family did it), so my friend paid them about $50 each (2 of them), so the family and close friends could enjoy the wedding and reception. (09/25/2007)
My parents gave me $500.00 and we had just the basics, cake, punch, nuts, and mints. The wedding was at 11:30 a.m. and then everyone went out for lunch on the way home. I used potted plants for greenery and all the family members took home a plant to remember the special day. I rented my dress and the bridesmaid dresses. When my daughter got married, I asked friends to pitch in.
Some made sandwiches, some made fruit bowls, some vegetable trays, others meat and cheese trays. I had tea, coffee, punch, and water to drink. There was no bar, a friend made the wedding cake as a gift to my daughter. We rented an arch and cut costs by shopping at thrift stores and on eBay for some of the accessories and decorations. I don't know what your budget is, but people love to help. If everything is ready a head of time, then about 6 people can set up the hall while wedding pictures are being taken, and then you can join your family and friends and celebrate. It doesn't have to be fancy to be fun and frugal! We didn't have a expensive photographer a neighbor was quite a good photographer and friends took lots of pictures. We don't have a gallery of wedding photos, but we have some nice memories. You can take some formal poses at a studio, or arm your family members with a video camera and lots of throw aways. You are bound to get some priceless photos!
Make it fun and remember, it isn't the money, it's the start of a new life shared with lots of loved ones. 'They won't care if you have cup cakes and wild flowers and get married bare footed on a beach or in a five thousand dollar gown. They just want to celebrate with you!
Congratulations to you!
When my daughter got married we had a buffet line for sandwiches. I bought Kaiser rolls, plain, poppy seed and sesame seed and split them ahead of time and put them in a large bread basket. I had a cheese tray with 3 kinds of cheese, a meat tray with ham and turkey and a vegetable tray with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions. Add condiments in pretty bowls. Relatives can make potato salad, macaroni salad and such and would probably be grateful to make their special dish for a special occasion. We bought all the plastic trays, punch bowl, little bowls, plates and napkins from Hobby Lobby in January when they have their wedding supply sale. It all matched, looked pretty and was 1/2 price. The dishes were later donated to our church and have been reused for countless showers and weddings since, so check with your church for loaners if possible.
Mama Cook (09/25/2007)
By Mama Cook
I normally use some of the students from the local colleges i.e. culinary arts to help with prep of foods and occasionally hire 1 or 2 that will not be at the wedding to help in setting up buffets and serving. (03/01/2008)
By Judith Elder
When my two friends got married, they had a spaghetti buffet, because many of the guests were vegetarian, as were the bride and groom. They had big pots of pasta, a couple different kinds of sauce, bread sticks, Parmesan cheese, and tossed salad. Now that is cheap!
The sandwich and side buffets that many are suggesting are a great idea. It's very popular here in the Midwest, I haven't been to many weddings where it wasn't this kind of food!
Sarah from IL. (04/07/2008)
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