We all know that weddings are not cheap, but here at Oaktree we like to help our clients to make the most of their budget and to offer advice to save money in areas. Following we have put some ideas down to help your thoughts and your pocket when it comes to wedding catering.
Canapés instead of starters
Three courses can be filling so why not drop the starter and have canapés instead, you can treat your guests and give them a good selection to make up for no starter. Canapes are great for guests to chat over, fills a gap if guests are hungry and have missed their lunch and will help give you more time for those all important photos. Canapes can also help save on alcohol and slow the drink flowing down.
Choices, no extra charge from us
If you are invited to a wedding you may receive a menu to choose your meal, we like to offer this and for no extra charge. We are happy to serve a choice of 3 starters, 2 protein main courses and 1 vegetarian and 3 desserts. There really is no need to pay additional money for each person and for each course! If you would like to offer a choice then it is worth asking caterers this question when you first make an enquiry.
Choose hot food that only needs 1 cooker and 2 chefs
If you are getting married in the summer then a hot meal, with new potatoes and summer vegetables is perfect. If you have a hot meal with many different hot elements such as roasted vegetables, cauliflower cheese, dauphinoise potatoes then more cookers will be required, therefore attracting a higher equipment hire price. Think about your main course and how it is cooked. Obviously if you have 200 guests at your wedding you should expect to see a minimum of 3-4 cookers for this number.
Informal service less waitresses
By having a buffet or food stations the number of wait staff will be reduced. This meal choice is not for everyone but if those pennies are a factor then this is another area where some money can be saved. Or you can mix service styles up, have a buffet main course and a selection of small desserts carried to the table for your guests to nibble on with coffee.
Round table cloths, square ones are lots cheaper
Round table cloths are very stylish, classical and expensive! Square cloths can be 30-40% cheaper and are available in a range of sizes and colours. This is worth investigating as on a 5 foot 6 round table or smaller you would not necessarily see the difference.
Wine on tables
– buy your own
If your wedding is in a marquee or a venue that has no bar then buying your own drinks for the main day is reception will work out cheaper especially if you can find a caterer that does not charge corkage. Buy all the drinks when on special in the supermarkets, even months prior this will really help. Here at Oaktree we also offer help and advice with quantities of drinks to buy so that you do not have lots of wastage.
– let us serve the wine and replace so there is not heaps left open
As weddings become more informal guests are used to pouring their own wine, we can place a bottle of red and white on each table and monitor this so when a bottle is empty it gets exchanged and towards the end of the meal full bottles of wine are given to tables drinking that wine to limit wastage. This will ensure that lots of wine bottles are open and still full!
Cutting cake – smaller, cheaper wedding cake
By having a cutting cake which is the same as your wedding cake but not decorated you can have a smaller wedding cake saving some pennies but still giving you plenty of cake.
Want something sweet to eat in the evening? How about serving your wedding cake? We are big advocates of cutting your wedding cake in the evening as it encourages guests to arrive for ‘the cake cutting’, the cake can then be cut and placed around the room for the guests to help themselves as they make their way to the bar or the dance floor. By having different flavours, such as vanilla sponge, chocolate sponge and a fruit cake, this will cater to more of your guests tastes.
The traditional finger buffet is not so popular now, but are of course good but can be very time consuming therefor attracting a higher price. So here are some cheaper alternatives, warm cocktail pasties served along side cheese and biscuits. Bacon bap’s, hot dogs, pizza’s, hog roast cooked in the ovens that you have hired already, all work really well and save money on hiring additional suppliers and equipment. We always suggest a cheese board as this is low risk food that can be left out all evening and will be safe beer munchies at midnight when your caterers have gone home. That is just a few ideas, we still have many more….
Cater for Lower numbers for Evening Foods
If you are having a finger buffet in the evening with lots of food choices there is no need to cater for all the day guests and all the guests that are attending the evening reception. We would suggest catering for 75- 80% of your guest numbers. This will save you money and a lot of wasted food. This is not advisable for foods such as hog roasts, for example you may have a few hungry guests that have two baps each, if you are only allowing one bap per person and reduce your numbers by 80% you will run out. In this case cater for one each as those that do not have one will be covered with those guests that have two – perfect!
Above are just a few ideas to help you when budgeting for your wedding and to work out what is important to you. We have many more ideas that we can help with and we love to share our knowledge with you.
Dates for 2021 are filling so please contact us if we can help you with your catering needs.