Frugal Food Ideas For Wedding Reception

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Food for a wedding can be very expensive. This is a page about frugal food ideas for wedding reception.


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November 11, 2010

I am getting married and am planning on using a caterer, but want to keep food on the reasonable side. I was thinking of lasagna, veggies, Italian bread, and a salad. Does anyone have any ideas of inexpensive ways to do a wedding with out it being a BBQ or hot dogs? What about big sliced hams? I need help.

By deb from Boston


November 13, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

You can't go wrong with finger sandwiches, veggie trays and fruit. Anything that drips, as leekelly suggested, or that is red will stain pretty clothes. In fact, the less silverware you have the less there is to clean!


If you make sandwiches that are meat and cheese, put the condiments between them to keep the breads from getting soggy, or put the condiments side up on the tray. Pretty cello picks make things festive. They can also be used for fruits, veggies, and more.

I did my sisters re-vow and made pastel parfaits in alternate plastic cups (yellow cup, pink dyed parfait) and they were very pretty.

I hope this helps!

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January 3, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

A friend of mine got married and they had a pasta buffet. It was great. They had big buffet warmer trays filled with pasta, and others filled with two different sauces. I think a red sauce and a cream sauce. Anyway, the only thing I would change would to serve bowtie pasta instead of spaghetti, less chance of disasters. They also had huge bowls of salad and bread. And this was at country club, so it was a pretty snazzy wedding. FYI, those big spiral hams work well for crowds, too, but they're more expensive. If you serve those, maybe you could serve it with green beans, rice pilaf, and rolls. P.s. if you live in New England, shop at Market Basket for your food. It's a lot cheaper than other area food stores.

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November 11, 2010

My fiance and I are planning a wedding, in April, and we are doing everything ourselves, including the food. We are having troubles coming up with ideas on what type of foods to have that are cheap and easy to prepare. The reception will be in the early evening. Any ideas?


By Toni from Omaha, NE


Thrifty Food Ideas For Wedding Reception

How about making three different types of soups (one of them should be meatless and one should be gluten-free), and you could borrow large roasters from family members to make and serve the soups in. You could also serve different types of bread and crackers to go with the soups. If one of the soups you make is chili, you could have toppings for it, like bowls of cheddar cheese, etc. On each table where your guests are going to sit you can put a bowl of mints and a bowl of small pretzels. Instead of soda, you can fill a large punch bowl with a inexpensive homemade punch. I would also offer coffee and tea. If you want to serve alcohol, maybe you can make a vodka punch, and buy a 1/4 keg of beer. (09/30/2010)


By Patricia Eldridge

Thrifty Food Ideas For Wedding Reception

I suggest pulled pork BBQ on bun, an assortment of salads including potato salad and a huge roaster full of Ziti or Mostachelli as they say in the midwest. You will have cake and coffee for dessert and that's all they need. (10/01/2010)

By Lilac

Thrifty Food Ideas For Wedding Reception

I recommend two books. "How to Have a Big Wedding on a Small Budget" and "How to Cater Your Own Wedding".
The first book has as one of it's suggestions to buy large turkeys, roast them and use the meat to make sandwich rolls. The second book lays out how to organize "crews" to do simple tasks that all contribute to the meal. (10/01/2010)

By Jane Foley

Thrifty Food Ideas For Wedding Reception

For our wedding we planned for 150 and had a very small budget. We bought disposable chafing dishes on sale at a party store for $10 each and went to a restaurant store and got green beans, corn, buttermilk biscuits, and mashed potatoes. A friend of ours heated it up for us and then put it in the trays to stay hot.


Her husband went to the Walmart deli and picked up a 100 piece and a 50 piece chicken bucket we had ordered earlier in the week. We spent about $300, $2 a person and the food was awesome! We had leftovers though, so I asked people to take them home. (10/05/2010)

By Anna

Thrifty Food Ideas For Wedding Reception

An early evening wedding does not mean feast, but hors d'oeuvres and the like, along with your wedding cake. In fact, we are invited to a wedding in 2 months that is a 6:30 wedding, followed by hors d'oeuvres and cake. Even though we will have a 3 hr drive, it is up to us to feed ourselves before the wedding. The couple tried to economize and have it on a Friday night as well, much cheaper!

My son is a manager at a grocery store and he said the cheapest menu is the sliced ham on a bun. You can take a 5 lb good quality ham (about $8-10) and get a nice slice to put on the bun (party sized) for 100 slices. Consider ham sandwiches, fresh salads using fruits, pasta, veggies, etc. Make sure you cover all varieties due to ingredient use. Some recipes have nuts, dressings, mayo, etc. For those with allergies, just put a note card by the bowls with the possible offending ingredient.


My husband, son, and I helped cater a friend's backyard wedding for her daughter and we did the Chinese salad, only-fruit salad, cake, punch, rolled deli meats, sliced cheeses, buns, traditional mints/nuts and a raw veggie tray. They could put their own likings together, the family had the recipes' ingredients in bulk, cut up, stored in separate fridges, and the friend volunteers just mixed and plated it all to the serving table. Fast and easy. This was a 5 pm reception in the middle of June. She is a master gardener in the county and so it was heavenly with all the economic things done, people thought thousands had been spent, when it was just a couple hundred.

Find someone you can order bulk from. They own the DQ, so they could order off the truck all items used. (10/11/2010)

By Grandma J

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September 29, 2010

I am looking for cheap food ideas for a fall wedding reception. It will be buffet style.

By Helen from Wintergarden, FL


Thrifty Food Ideas For Wedding Reception

I would go with casseroles/hot dishes, salads, etc. Some people are making things like that for potlucks. (08/12/2010)

By Joan

Thrifty Food Ideas For Wedding Reception

I did my sisters revow in 02 and boy, did we have a tight budget! Just 500.00 for the whole thing. I made:

And of course, wedding cake. I hope this helps. No one went away hungry! (08/13/2010)

By Sandi/Poor But Proud

Thrifty Food Ideas For Wedding Reception

What time of the day is your wedding? Do you really need to feed the guests a meal? Our daughter was married at 8 in the evening in July and we served strawberry shortcake, nuts, and mints. The individual cakes were arranged on a huge tiered silver tray with paper lace doilies, sprinkled with powdered sugar, and a silver tongs to pick them up. The very top tier had a small personal size wedding cake. Silver punch bowls filled with whipped cream and crushed and whole sugared strawberries served with large silver ladles and serving spoons. Sparkling cider in champagne glasses and coffee.

We did rent glassware and silverware, but did not need a lot of pieces because of what we were serving. Guests served themselves from the beautiful formal long table, set up in the church garden. We hired college students dressed as waiters (black pants/white shirts) to serve the cider and clear items. Twenty plus years later people still comment on how elegant and fun it was. With this budget it also allowed for a small string quartet to play for dancing in the evening in the social hall.

The same idea could be used at other times of the year with a dessert menu to fit the season. Even an ice cream bar with cookies. It is really all in the presentation of whatever you are serving. The silver items can be rented or borrowed from friends. So many have these kind of items that don't get used often enough and love to share them. Sometimes your church has a great supply to draw on. If you don't like silver, clear glass or Lucite or any solid color that is consistent throughout can look grand too. Have fun!

By Elgie

Thrifty Food Ideas For Wedding Reception

I don't know if this will help, but I found the neatest blog and they have a section on their wedding that I think is just too cool: Maybe you can find some ideas here. Best wishes. :) (08/14/2010)

By susan

Thrifty Food Ideas For Wedding Reception

I did the catering for my daughter's wedding in February 2009. I started 4 months ahead of time and made and froze everything. I did tiny chicken turnovers, rice balls, quiche which I cut up later into little pieces, a large rectangular pizza, also cut up into little pieces later, dips, sausage rolls (homemade) and apple sheet cake which I also cut up later. I made almond macaroons as well. All were frozen for later and all I had to make were the ham and cheese sandwiches which I had help with.

We had 150 guests and all went really well. The wedding cake was ordered out since I'm not good at cake decorating, but if you feel confident enough, there are many recipes and help to do this at home as well. All the recipes I found on a site called The secret is to pace yourself and not try to do too much in one go. Twice a week, I would dedicate a day for baking and such and I had no problems at all since I started 4 months beforehand. I calculated 2 pieces of everything per person and it was enough with leftovers. (08/15/2010)

By cettina

Thrifty Food Ideas For Wedding Reception

Pasta salads are cheap to make. Go to the Food Network website for budget ways to save money on food. (08/17/2010)

By Lee Taylor

Thrifty Food Ideas For Wedding Reception

I had a fall wedding in 2006, our budget was $300 to feed 175 guests. We purchased all the meats (boston butt-pork loins + turkey breast). My God. Dad smoked and sliced all of these for me. My favorite restaurant donated all the rolls as a wedding present to us, and we asked my sisters-in-law to be to do covered dishes (rice pilaf, garlic and bacon green beans, sauteed mushrooms, iced tea, apple cider, and mulled cider).

My wedding cakes $140 for (8) were all different flavors related to fall (red velvet, marble fudge chocolate chip, spice, raspberry white chocolate, lemon mousse, praline, devil food chocolate, and vanilla cream). My cakes looked the same on the outside (white chocolate frosting w/chocolate tree branches piped on). My cakes were all 10 inches and my MIL to be made cream cheese and sour cream pound cakes. For pound cake toppings we chose vanilla yogurt, sliced peaches, walnuts, and honey.

Since my wedding colors were ivory, chocolate, and all fall colors for the accents we had a candy bar and used all green glass candle holders in varying heights filled with chocolate covered pretzels (chocolate, white chocolate, and marble), M&Ms, Hershey kisses, Hershey mini candy bars from the holiday season series, and chocolate covered nuts and raisins.

It was very pretty. We anchored all the tables with dried fall leaves and coffee beans. All of these items were purchased from Sam's Club, Walmart, and Kmart in advance 2-3 months prior. (09/09/2010)

By stella

Thrifty Food Ideas For Wedding Reception

Canned green beans jazzed up, boxed rice such as Rice a Roni brand (wild rice or rice pilaf), mashed potatoes, bread puddings, sweet potato casserole, mac n cheese, broccoli or squash casseroles, apple sauce, polenta/grits, cous cous, chicken dishes, pot roast, salmon or tuna croquettes, rice or bean cakes, fritters, etc. Hope this helps. (09/09/2010)

By stella

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August 12, 2010

I'm getting married in Aug. and we're on a very tight budget. My family is going to cook the food for my reception, but I need some good ideas for food.

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April 10, 2008

I am getting married May 17 2008 and we are on a tight budget! We would like to have a buffet dinner but we can't decided on what food would be a inexpensive meal to serve.

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