Insider Tips on Saving Catering Costs – A Guest Post!

Ah, summer. Lots of extra things happen in the summer months, but events especially! Family reunions, barbecues and fish boils, weddings…the list goes on! And yes, here on the blog, you all know that I try to make most food myself for all of our celebrations…but sometimes, especially with weddings, you just need a little assistance, right?

So when professional blogger Suzan Hall contacted me and wanted to submit an article about saving on wedding catering costs, I jumped at it! If any of you have ever planned a wedding, you KNOW what it’s like to try and keep costs down! And if you’re planning a wedding or large event in the future and need a little help…you’ve come to the right place! Let’s see what Suzan had to say…

First and foremost, congratulations on your engagement! One of the happiest days of your life also happens to be one of the most expensive, and figuring out how much to spend to make your dream wedding a reality is no small feat. We understand how exciting yet challenging planning a wedding can be. Caterers can help you shave costs at your wedding reception without sacrificing the quality of your event, because food is a huge expense in most wedding budgets. Here are some easy ways to lower your wedding catering costs.

Plan a specific course
Are you looking to have alternate serves, i.e. two options for each course? How’s having one option for entrée, two for main meal and then dessert. This will reduce the cost of extra starters.

Keep your cool
Hot starters require more equipment in the kitchen, which means more cost. Stick to cold dishes to save money.

Serve on table
Hand pass appetizers rather than setting them out for guests to serve themselves. Caterers say guests consume 40 percent fewer pieces this way.

Wedding table

Meat most available
Some meats are pricier at certain times of the year. Let your caterer know that you’ll consider those that will be available at a good price when your wedding takes place.

Save the meat for the main
Serve salads or snack with cocktails instead of meat. Save it for the main course.

Colorful salads
Put out big bowls of colorful, lush salads with grilled vegetables, which allows you to show generosity without spending a whole lot.


No one will need a five-course feast after cocktails. If you offered salads at the cocktail party, eliminate salad at dinner.

Bar open
Also, consider having the bar open only during your cocktail hour. Don’t serve an expensive wine with dinner.

 Small touches, major impact

  • Drop raspberries into your fizz to impress guests. They are cheap.
  • Provide your own alcohol if allowed by your venue or caterer. (The cost saving is well worth the inconvenience.  You can save at least 35 to 50% on the cost of your bar by supplying your own beverages.)

On-the-spot preparations
There will probably be at least two items on the menu that don’t take much time to prepare. There will also be items that include ingredients that are readily available or cheaper, depending on the season. Include them.

Stay with regular cake flavors that are more budget friendly than specialty fillings.

Get your guests up on the balcony or deck and have a roving dessert. This saves on dessert cutlery and extra staff to help serve and clear each table.


Serve your wedding cake for dessert 
Caterers may charge a small additional fee for cutting, plating and garnishing it and serving it as your dessert course, but it will still be cheaper and you are going to have a wedding cake anyway.

Beautiful wedding cake

Half-priced meals
If you plan to have children at the reception, choose a wedding caterer who offers free or half-priced meals for children up to age 16.

Lunch not dinner
Consider a late morning or early afternoon wedding. People eat and drink less during the day than they do at evening Weddings.

Price list
Ask for a detailed price list to make better budget choices.

If you are planning your wedding in New York, then there are so many iconic locations to get married in throughout New York City. Plan to make your special day memorable with a wonderful New York wedding on Long Island, just outside New York City. It offers extraordinary options. Long Island catering halls offer a wide range of budget menus for special events like weddings. They do their best to provide you with the most comprehensive information on catering facilities and services you are seeking. Also, a reception at any Long Island catering hall provides a high level of personalized care and attention to detail. These catering halls provide you great offers and great deals.

Have a great ceremonial!

This article is contributed by Suzan Hall. She is a professional blogger and writer and possesses a very good knowledge about wedding venues in Long Island, NY. Her expertise includes event planning and design, decorations, celebration ideas, party planning, catering, cuisine, etc. Please join her on Google+ to get more information about wedding venues!Wow, thank you so much, Suzan! These are some fantastic tips! There may be a family wedding in our future, and I can’t wait to use these ideas to save some money!What was YOUR favorite tip? Are you planning any large events over the summer?

82 thoughts on “Insider Tips on Saving Catering Costs – A Guest Post!

  1. That is all great advice. I rarely have events catered because of the cost and end up doing lots of potlucks.

    • Yeah, me too, Robin…but if it’s ever unavoidable, I’ll know how to haggle 🙂

  2. It was so hard when we used to cater to get people to understand what they could get for their set budget. There are a lot of great tips here and I am sure caterers will appreciate your sharing this.

  3. Great tips! I will Pin this to my FYI board. I especially like the idea of putting the food on the table rather than buffet style. Wow 40% more food consumed on buffet style. That is a real wallet wallop!

  4. These are all awesome tips, especially about knowing what’s in season! I do a lot of cooking for big events all by myself, but I was very disappointed with the caterer at daughter #1’s wedding. I had used her before and had always loved her food, but after the wedding I received an additional bill for “labor” of $1,200.00. That was after the thousands I had already paid. The sad part: The staff sat on their butts (after the food was served) and ate the food I had paid for and then charged me for it! I will never use that caterer again!

    • Oh dear, that’s awful, Alli! Especially during your daughter’s wedding. You should not have to deal with that kind of thing 🙁

    • Well, that and I like knowing these things for small gatherings I plan, too! I might do a vegetarian dinner next time I host one LOL

  5. These are all great tips! We got married on a whim, so we didn’t cater anything, but my girls will probably have the big, fancy weddings, so these tips will definitely come in handy then!

  6. Lots of great information and tips here. I have an older son that married 10 years ago and we cut the cost in half for the price of the food for the reception by having it on a Friday night. Not sure if establishments still offer that. I still have one more son to be married so I will have to book mark this for future reference.

    • I feel ya! I realized I could have avoided lots more money than I ended up going 🙁

  7. Great tips! I never did catering as half our guests were vegetarian so we held our reception at a buffet on a different day. It worked out really well & actually cheaper since the buffet place gave us a discount.

  8. These are great tips for getting the most out of catering! I would probably work with my family to put the food together.

    • Yes, I like to do that too, Amanda…but I also want people to have time to enjoy themselves!

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