According to the Knot, the average wedding in the United States costs around $32,641. If your wedding budget is a little more modest, chances are you're looking for ways to cut costs without sacrificing the elegance and beauty of your big day. In addition to the dress and flowers, for many engaged couples, one of the biggest wedding day expenses is the food and beverages. Here are a few simple ways you can save big money on the drinks and food at your wedding:
Choose Your Menu Wisely
Restricting your menu to two to three entrée choices is a great way to save money. However, there is another way to stretch your dollar even further. If you're keeping your menu simple by offering three popular entrée choices, beef, chicken or fish, here are some ways to keep your costs down even more:
- Avoid Fresh Salmon and Lobster – Although they both taste amazing, fresh caught lobster and salmon are both very pricey. Instead, choose fish that is fresh, but less expensive, such as rainbow trout or halibut.
- Stay Away from Anything Stuffed – A stuffed chicken breast is a tasty option, but also typically more expensive. This is because it is more labor intensive for the catering staff to stuff and prepare the breast. Instead, choose a chicken entrée that can be prepared in less time and with less expensive ingredients.
- Choose a Less Expensive Cut of Beef – Finally if you choose beef as your main entrée, stay clear of the most expensive cuts and instead, look for options that taste amazing, but are more cost effective. For example, a well-prepared sirloin or flat iron steak will make a memorable meal that won't break your wedding budget.
Consider Serving a Wedding Breakfast or Brunch Buffet
The majority of weddings follow a very traditional timeframe: an afternoon ceremony and evening reception. If you're looking to save money on your food and beverage budget, considering changing up your timeline a bit and hosting a morning wedding and reception.
Not only is this more memorable, but you will be able to stretch your food and beverage dollar by hosting a simple breakfast or brunch buffet. There are a multitude of breakfast and brunch dishes and cocktails that your guests will love and that are very inexpensive. For example, you can ask your caterer to set up an omelet buffet, or offer a variety of seasonal fresh fruits, if you're serving brunch.
Keeping Your Liquor Costs Under Control
Now that you've chosen a reception menu that you can afford, it is time to move onto another surprisingly pricey expense: the booze. Luckily, there are several ways you can save money without having to sacrifice the fun:
- Limit Alcohol Availability – Limiting the access to liquor to the cocktail hour and a few hours during the reception will allow you to provide an open bar without breaking the bank.
- Serve a Signature Drink – Serving a signature cocktail in honor of the bride and groom is a great way to celebrate your big day. The guests will remember the drink, and you can brag about having a cocktail named in honor of your nuptials. Mostly importantly, a signature drink also allows you to keep the cost of liquor under control because you aren't offering an open bar.
- Stick to Beer and Wine -- Finally, instead of an open bar, only provide two options to your guest: wine and beer. Choose domestic beers and regional, inexpensive wines. These two favorites will allow your guests to enjoy the day, and you'll be able to actually afford a honeymoon!
From limiting the menu to serving a signature cocktail, there are several ways you can keep the cost of food and beverages at your wedding under control.