5 Ways to Save Money on Wedding Catering

Posted by Kim on Oct 04, 2013

Erickson_Geatz_Kate_Wenzel_Photography_391_lowPhoto by Kate Wenzel Photography

Sure, your wedding guests are there to see you get married, but they’re also there to celebrate, dance – and eat! One of the biggest expenses of your wedding day will be the catering, so it’s important to set a budget and do your best to stick to it. Here are our top tips on saving money on food and drink.

Choose Hors D’oeuvres Carefully – Cocktail hour is usually held after the ceremony. Guest s will likely be at their hungriest, so while it’s important for food to be plentiful, there’s no need to go overboard with the hors d’oeuvres. We recommend making sure there are at least 5 bites per person, spread out among several different offerings, some passed, some stations. Guests tend to eat more food that’s offered on stationary platters as opposed to passed by servers on trays, so try to serve your most expensive items, like seafood, as passed hors d’oeuvres.  Less expensive foods, like fruit, veggies, and cheese, can be served on stationary platters.

Think About the Bar – Alcohol can be a major budget-buster. If your venue allows you to buy your own alcohol, that can be a great way to save money. You can also skip serving hard alcohol, and just serve wine and beer, or as a compromise serve wine, beer, and a signature drink featuring hard alcohol.

Buffet vs. Sit-Down – or Family Style – It’s common knowledge that serving food buffet style costs less than a sit-down dinner. Depending on the type of food you serve, buffets can get pretty pricey, as guests will eat more and the food needs to be constantly replenished. However, a sit-down dinner is quite labor intensive, as you’ll need enough people in the kitchen and as waitstaff. A good compromise can be to serve dinner family style. Large platters of food will be presented to each table, and everyone can serve themselves. We love the casual feel of this serving style, and it’s very budget-friendly!

Keep It Simple –  When it comes to your wedding cake, don’t go overboard with size or decorations. A simple cake will be the most cost-effective. If you’re having a lot of guests, you can ask your baker to create a small decorated wedding cake, but also have a larger sheet cake on hand to serve.

Serve Brunch – Forget serving dinner, brunch is the most budget friendly meal of the day! For the most part, the food is relatively inexpensive and you don’t need to serve alcohol. And how delicious does a pancake wedding cake sound? Yum!

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Summer Menu Inspiration: Beverages

Posted by Alexandra on Jul 09, 2013

Summer-BeveragesPhotos (clockwise from top left): Carmen Ash Photography, Hunter McRae Photography, Christa Elyce Photography, Austin & Dara Photography, Ashley Bartoletti Photography, Mackensey Alexander Photography

With so many delicious fruits in peak season during the summer months, there are plenty of great beverage options for summer weddings. Beat the heat with any of these refreshing summertime drinks!

Sangria – wine infused with fruit, spices, sweetener and soda packs a flavorful punch.

Lemonade – it wouldn’t be summer without the season’s fresh-squeezed signature drink!

Berry Fizz – pour bubbly or sparkling water over muddled summer berries for a sweet, sparkling sip.

Peach Iced Tea – fresh summer peaches add a flavorful twist to this warm weather pick-me-up.

Mojito – swirling sprigs of cool mint make this Cuban cocktail a summertime favorite.

Sea Breeze – this cranberry-grapefruit concoction is as refreshing as the ocean air!

What will your summer wedding guests be sipping? Let us know in the comments!


A Change of Venue…

Posted by jwimer on Feb 08, 2011

Though “outdoor” anywhere! still tops the list of favored wedding sites, today’s bride has a bevy of venue options available to her for consideration.  Many are off the beaten path and require a little imagination, but can have stunning and unique results.

Urban Theaters…

Coast to Coast: Autumnal Small Bites {3}

Posted by jwimer on Nov 15, 2010

Heading off to Utah today to showcase an adorable small bite dessert that fits the bill for a crisp Fall evening reception.  Created by the amazing team at Culinary Crafts, winner of Utah’s best of state caterer seven consecutive years, this company creates events in gorgeous mountain vista settings with impeccable service and five star quality food.

Owner/Creative Consultant Mary Crafts, calls the delectable bites “all grown up Smores” and offered a few suggestions for fun ways to serve them.  “This is such a fun retro mini dessert that we serve during the autumn months when blazing evening fire pits are the perfect thing.  Guests roast their homemade marshmallow and bring it to the chef for serving atop chocolate ganache and graham crackers.  If we are not able to create outdoor fire pits, the chefs brulee the marshmallows in front of the guests for a fun action station.  Everyone asks for “S’more”!”

I Do {How To’s} Planning Your Reception Menu

Posted by llongacre on Oct 22, 2010

Sit-Down Dinner – A sit-down or full-service dinner  that usually  takes place between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. These are  considered more of a formal affair and have a waitstaff serve each table for the duration of the meal so guests are not expected to leave their seats to help themselves to food.

Buffet – A buffet wedding reception refers to a wedding dinner in which guests leave their seats to serve themselves and then take their seats to eat. Similar to buffet restaurants, buffet-style wedding receptions can either have a pre-determined seating arrangement or they can allow for guests to choose the table of their choice. Buffets allow for a wide range and variety of foods to be served.

Cocktail Party – Cocktail receptions can serve as a classy and formal alternative to a dinner. They usually take place between 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. which allows guests to have their own dinner before arriving. They usually call for formal dressy attire for women and black tie or business dress for men. Cocktail receptions encourage mingling, since wedding guests stand for most of the party. However, small tables, chairs and sometime couches are set up for guests.

Family Style – This service  allows guests to have a variety of foods, such as meat, fish and vegetarian.  Also, it gives a more  casual, interactive quality to the dinner service.  Please keep in mind casual does not translate to less expensive just like buffets couples do not choose family style because of cost but because of the feel they are going for at their reception.

Dessert Reception – This is under the same idea of a cocktail party where instead of smaller appetizers, you will have a variety of sweets and treats for your guests. This  usually begins at 9 or 10 p.m., well after the typical dinner hours, so you’ll want to schedule the ceremony for no earlier than 8 p.m. It is best to indicate to your guests on your

A “Backyard” Barbecue – A growing and fun trend in weddings is a great backyard BBQ. This can be served by a caterer or more in a DIY fashion as either a sit-down dinner, a buffet or in a family-style service. It can be  less-expensive and is a fun option for a less formal wedding reception.

Photography compliments of  Brett Rose Photography

Catering compliments of Culinary Concepts