Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!
This is a guide about cheap wedding reception food ideas. One way to keep within your wedding budget is to serve reasonably priced food at the reception.
This is a guide about frugal food ideas for wedding reception. Food for a wedding can be very expensive.
This is a guide about inexpensive wedding appetizers. One way to reduce the cost of food for your wedding reception is to serve inexpensive but tasty appetizers.
This is a guide about serving nuts and mints at a wedding reception. If you are looking for lighter fare at your wedding reception, perhaps nuts and mints served along with the cake and beverages will work for you.
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
We are getting married June 22, 2013. We are trying to decide on what kind of food to have. We are pretty much open to anything, but fish. My fiance was a chef at a college and they have offered to cater for us at a reasonable price. We just have to decide what we want. Any suggestions will help. Thank you.
By Shawnda from Springfield, OH
I think it depends on what time of day your wedding is held. I knew a couple that got married at sunrise and had a breakfast buffet. Another morning wedding had a "cake" of Krispy Kreme donuts stacked with lots of coffee, tea and juices. Another friend got married in the evening and had wine, cheese and crusty bread. My sister got married in the early afternoon and served finger food and lastly we've had two family weddings that were late afternoon weddings that served of chili cilantro shrimp and grilled chicken on skewers made of prettily curled palm fronds with cocktails (during photo time) and followed by ham/chicken buffet. The last was in a beautiful outdoor setting under a huge white tent so it was informal and all of these weddings were beautiful and very unique in their own way. The typical ceremony/photo time/reception, eat, dance/champagne toast could use some fresh ideas. Best wishes for a wonderful wedding!
I also have to answer, depends on the time of the day. Also do you have a particular theme for your wedding? If so I would try to carry that over to the type of food you serve. If you are having your wedding at a waterfront place, then serve either chowder or lobster bisque as a starter, cheese, grapes, crackers and choc covered strawberries are a nice spread to put out while your guests are waiting for you to arrive after all the pictures. I would choose a beef, chicken or turkey, (I prefer a nice turkey dinner and it is more economical in my opinion) and a vegetarian dish, there are so many that don't eat meat anymore for whatever reason, cost, health etc. You could do a veggie lasagna, eggplant parm, grilled marinated portobello mushrooms, looks almost like steak on the plate, Also, the menu would depend on whether you are serving individual plates or having a buffet type. I would also do a vegetable soup as a choice and either chowder, bisque, or chicken soup as a starter if sit down dinner. Soup is less messy than salad and I try to not eat salad at a wedding. Dressing usually has oil in it and it always seems to land on my dress or suit jacket. For dessert I have seen cupcakes arranged like a tiered wedding cake, much cheaper and again so much easier to pass a cupcake out with a slice or scoop of ice cream if desired. Cupcakes are in and considered gourmet now. Also one wedding i went to set up an old time candy store look on a table, used glass jars and filled them with different types of candy, nuts and chocolate, she had small bags with their initials on them in the color of her wedding party and also had fruit, pretzels etc to dip in the huge chocolate fountain.
Also, rice pilaf or a rice dish with a sauce, cream of chicken type, mexican rice etc, all stretch so far. You can even do chicken ala king over mashed potatoes or rice with a veggie. Also for your poultry choice croquettes would look very nice on a plate, they can be made ahead of time and just popped in oven to warm before serving. Serve with a gravy, baked potato or rice, and nice grilled or sauteed veggie combo, use fresh veggies that are peak in your area at that time of the year, carrots, green beans, squash all either roasted in oven or sauteed just enough to still be a bit crispy. OK, now you have lots to think about with all the other posts that have gone up, it is your wedding, do what you want to do, always listen to suggestions but in the end it is your decision. No matter if it goes off without a hitch or you run along a snag or two along the way, it will always be a special day to you.
My husband and I got remarried after being divorced about ten years ago. We held the reception in the basement of our church, it was free to use, we made punch, coffee, tea and juices and soda for beverages. We did a buffet line, I made several of the items and a few close family and friends helped out. We bought a plain sheet cake, cost about $30 I think, very cheap. We had all the food set up in crocks and heated trays. I made chicken mozambique over rice, it was a huge hit. we had the normal things, meatballs, lasagna, mac and cheese, mexican food, sandwich platter that I made up with shaved meat, ham, turkey, and roast beef, 3 different cheeses, lettuce, tomatoes etc. We had so much food, we were leaving the next day so we could not use the food, the church was having a missionary conference starting the following day so we donated the left overs to the church to feed the missionaries a few meals.
I made all the centerpieces with silk flowers and someone got to take home each one, I handed them out to those who donated time to work in the kitchen so I didn't have to on our wedding day. We also bought a few cases of small votive holders, glass and we put those rub off decals to decorate them and put tea lites in them all and lit them. There was one for everyone and small bottles of bubbles for the kids. It was a very reasonable wedding, we had about one hundred guests and a fabulous time!
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
My fiance and I are planning a February wedding. The theme is going to be "rustic". I'm considering doing only my reception with only a choice of three green salads, five different hearty soups, such as beef stew, and rustic breads.
We are also planning a hot cocoa bar, three choices of different alcoholic beverages like spiked apple cider, cake, and a cookie bar.
I've been getting mixed feedback. Some people think soup only is a fun idea, others think it looks cheap. What do you think?
By Sheila from Greenville, MI
I think this is a great idea, as long as you inform your guests that it will be a casual event.
Your reception is going to run through dinner time and your guests are going to be hungry, so if you want them to stay feed them. Here are some cheap snack foods (Sam's club) nacho's and cheese, pin wheel burrito wraps with cream cheese, brats and Italian sausages cut into bite sizes pieces, shredded chicken sandwiches, and pasta goes a long way. If you have an Aldi's try shopping there first (08/18/2010)
I think it's a great idea. So many weddings today serve the same things, have the same themes, etc. Your wedding will stand out from the rest of the crowd. If you want to serve a rustic snack, I would suggest popcorn. (08/19/2010)
By Patty Lynn
I had a Tuscan salad made at my son's graduation. It usually is a hit at most parties and doing. Here's what you need to make it.
Prepare all items starting with cutting up the chicken into 1 inch chunks. After meat has cooked in 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, set aside. Cook bacon till fully cooked. Remove excess fat and bacon from pan and crumble in small pieces. Cut all remaining ingredients and combine together into large tossed salad bowl, will serve 4 people. Toss and serve with Ranch dressing or red wine vinaigrette.
A great colorful rustic style salad and economical to make!
Cut up all ingredients to size of your party. Add 1 red, yellow, or green pepper (can use 2 of 3), 2 chicken breasts, 1 carrot, 1 package cherry tomatoes per each additional 4 servings.
Wish you the best for your wedding!
I think this is a nice idea. If you are serving hearty soups like beef stew, salads, and desserts, it is a very nice meal. If I were a guest, I would think it was delightful! (08/24/2010)
I'm with those like redhatterb and lowell53 who said this menu sounds great and it's your party, so serve what works for you. My daughter served pulled pork, hummus, and various chips. My oldest son had a small wedding, so we all paid for our lunch at a local Mexican eatery. My youngest son, whose wedding was a week short of being exactly a year after my daughter's (copycat, lol!) served Subway party-sliced sandwiches and asked family and friends to bring sides. All three parties were just right for each child's individual situation. (08/24/2010)
I have catered a number of weddings, and I agree, entirely, with what some people have posted. This is your wedding, your day, and you should do what feels right for you. The soup and salad idea sound like real winner to me.
You haven't stated where the reception will be held. What type of surroundings? If you want to make the rustic idea a theme, just decorate a little with rustic things, including things out of nature, and it will all come together beautifully. (One wedding I catered had a French theme to it and was held in July. We went with a "picnic" theme, with fancy tea sandwich fixings, salads, cheeses, and fruit, relish plates, and two very special hot dishes that were the favorites of the bride and groom, respectfully. There were 125 guests and it was held in a local lodge and we decorated in a rustic French theme. The bread was served in a red and white gingham picnic basket and served as a centerpiece for the groom's table. It was inexpensive and everyone loved it.
As for the 5 soups, for me that's a bit too many. I'd go with 3 different soups/stews, and load up on the rustic breads. I would also include coffee along with the cocoa, and perhaps something cold to drink, as well. I have a recipe for wedding punch that I served at a wedding I catered about 10 years ago and I still get requests for the recipe.
Keep in mind that these days not everyone is a meat eater, and some don't eat red meat. I am posting a soup recipe that you may like. It goes together quickly, cooks in less than an hour, and you may increase the ingredients in the recipe to fit your needs.
Notes: I usually use about 3 carrots and 2 - 3 stalks of celery. If carrots and celery are too big you can cut them in half and slice them. I prefer the taste of barley to spelt, but that's a personal choice. As for the saffron, I always use it because the saffron gives such a burst of flavor that most people can't quite put their finger on until you tell them. If you are going straight vegetarian, use the vegetable broth. My husband is a meat lover, but this has become his favorite soup. If I'm in a hurry I sometimes use Hunt's diced tomatoes instead of crushed.
If you decide to serve a cold punch, here's my recipe for a wedding punch:
For the base:
For the punch:
2 big bottles of Sprite (2 liters each)
Heat water until warm. Dissolve sugar in the water. Add the remaining ingredients for the base.
(At this point the base may be frozen in 1 cup containers.) When needed use 1 cup of base at a time per 2 bottles of Sprite.
If you're using a punch bowl you can do this right in the bowl. Or, since your wedding is rustic, you may choose to mix this up in a large container and then serve in a nice pitcher or something to your liking.
Blessed wedding. (11/11/2010)
By Gypsy Swan
I am getting married next June. June 11, 2011 to be exact. We were thinking of having the wedding at 11:00 A.M. to go along with the 11 theme just to be fun.
My problem is food. If I have the wedding at 11, people expect lunch. It is an outdoor reception and I was thinking picnic style food (hotdogs, salads, fruits, veggies, etc.), but I just want to know if this is practical. I am inviting around 150 people (and expecting about 100 or less). If anyone has any other ideas that is not a caterer please let me know. I would love to hear it.
By Lasair from St. Paul, MN
You could save a lot of extra work by not having to ask someone to cook hot dogs and hamburgers during the reception.
You can buy the small loaves of bread from a bakery or a large supermarket chain, such as white, wheat, pumpernickel, rye, etc. and make small bite-size sandwiches such as tuna, egg-salad, meat spreads, etc.
Along with that you could serve cold salads, hot dishes, fruit tray, vegetable tray + pickles and olives with dip, bowls of potato chips, and pretzels. For beverages you can provide coffee, tea, fruit punch, and soda/pop for the children.
For more suggestions read Archives at bottom of page.
I hope that I helped you out. (07/06/2010)
Sounds good to me, and keep in mind you can grill the hotdogs the day before and warm them in a large crock pot with a little beef broth at the bottom for moisture.
Remember that buying food in bulk is a great way to save money. We have a WalMart's Sam's Club bulk sales store in our area. But if you ask your local grocer if they can order bulk for you, or sell you a case at a time, you might save some money.
The meat salads are a good idea, too. Bake a chicken or two without any seasonings and then cut up the white meat in bite sized chunks for chicken salad. I like the recipe for this, that uses white grapes and celery and is served on a cracker. You will have left over dark meat to make a dish for your supper the next day. Meat salads all contain the same type of ingredients so that will be cost effective too, because you can buy the larger jars.
Also, don't be afraid to set your menu now and buy during holiday sales! A turkey baked up and pulled for dinner roll sandwiches would work, too. Key to this idea is to think light lunch and everyone's picnic idea is different. (07/06/2010)
For a picnic type reception, you could also make it a pot luck. Ask for a couple people to volunteer to do the grilling if you want it done the same day. I have heard of several pot luck receptions and graduation parties. (07/06/2010)
As to food for an outside party, my son and his wife got married on the beach and rented the pavilion there. I believe they had between 80-100 people there. They had BBQ beef (which we made in 2 large crock pots the day before) served on buns, hot dogs on buns (which his brother did at the wedding on the grill) with mustard, ketchup, and pickle relish, potato salad, watermelon cut up, chips, and veggies (small carrots and celery sticks). Everyone seemed to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere very much. They all served themselves. It was hot, however, and an uncle went and brought the cake just before it was time to cut so the icing would not be spoiled with the heat.
Have a wonderful wedding day!
PS: A warning: Depending on where the outside party is, my son's was in Florida in the afternoon so it was quite warm, but had lovely breezes, I would avoid too much food with mayonnaise, but especially food with chicken and turkey. We had the potato salad in a large bowl set in an container of ice. Chicken and turkey salad, especially if they are in tiny sandwiches and laid out would have a tendency to get salmonella. I went to a wedding where many people ended up with food poisoning about 2:00am after the wedding. (07/07/2010)
I would have the invitations say "Picnic Reception", that would surely alert the guests that this wasn't going to be a formal affair! But, I'm afraid that I'm "old school" and do not agree with the suggestions to have the reception be "pot luck". If family members offer to help and bring something, that's different. But to ask guests to bring a dish and a gift, I can't get used to that! (07/08/2010)
I am having a BBQ wedding and we are asking people to bring a dish. We are providing the main stuff.
I'm getting married on October 3rd at 3pm and reception to follow. I need the reception to be cheap. I want to know if it would be inappropriate to have cake, punch, coffee, and no food?
I need ideas for wedding reception food on a tight budget.