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Candyce
Beginner May 2021

a "no food" wedding? Catering too expensive!

Candyce, on January 1, 2021 at 6:47 AM Posted in Wedding Reception 3 61
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Has anyone had a "no food" wedding? Lol. Our venue is $4K and we are slowly paying that down. The list of "approved caterers" that we are to use are off the charts with the prices ($100-120/guest). We cut our guest list down from 75, to 60, to 45, and are now at the point where key people would be getting cut. That's still over $4K additional for catering. Not to mention all the other expenses.


So my question is, is it unusual to... not feed people at your wedding? I have heard of "dessert only" weddings if you have one later at night. What about an appetizer(s)/small plates only wedding? Alcohol only wedding? Everybody grab a sandwich and lawn chair wedding, and have a seat ??? 😬😬
We are not receiving any financial help from either family. Which is fine of course, but I do not want to be obligated to pay for these people to eat a lavish meal and drink it up on my tab 🤷🏻‍♀️ So where can I cut out a major expense? If not the food, is it weird to have a wedding with no music/DJ? Anything else that can go? We are already DIYing and saving everywhere we can find, but still looking at a $10-12,000 wedding. Need this down to about $6-8K (do dreams really come true? Lol).
Other issue is vendors not responding on this app. It's like pulling teeth to get a response!

61 Comments

Latest activity by Dizzy, on March 1, 2021 at 3:50 PM
  • Sarah
    VIP September 2019
    Sarah Online ·
    • Flag
    No I’ve never heard of a no food wedding. Is there any way you can find a different venue? The venue not including catering shouldn’t be taking up 75% of your budget. I think that’s going to be your biggest obstacle. You can certainly cut the DJ if you have to, as I think it’s more necessary to feed guests than to have a DJ.
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  • Dallas
    Devoted November 2020
    Dallas ·
    • Flag
    Do you have to use the approved caterers? If not, restaurant catering would be a good idea. Olive Garden is really cheap and they do all the set up. Or you could always do Publix’s/local grocery stores as they also offer catering. I agree with above, if you were going to cut something maybe cut the DJ.
    • Reply
  • Candyce
    Beginner May 2021
    Candyce ·
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    It is the cheapest non-backyard, not outdoors in a state park wedding venue we could find in our area (major metro). I get that the venues requiring people to pick from their approved list of caterers are going to be more expensive (I'm sure the venue gets a cut, this is how they make up the money for providing the venue "cheap"), but dang.. the average is a minimum of $70 per person for food, $20 per person for alcohol, $15 per person for appetizers, $5 per person to cut and serve wedding cake, $200 to the licensed bartender to serve the drinks, not to mention the other wait staff, and 20% for a tip. That's like... several, several thousands of dollars for even a very small guest list. Trying to figure out if I can just get away with appetizers and bar! Has to be some less expensive way to get around this approved caterers list. One caterer mentioned we could buy our own alcohol but they must serve it. Good start, but still looking for other ways to make it a bit more budget friendly.
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  • T
    Super April 2021
    Tiger Bride ·
    • Flag
    What is included in the venue that you are getting for $4k? Is this for your ceremony or reception or both? (You mentioned lawn chairs, most venues that cost that much include rentals) Why did you book it?


    If your entire budget was $6-$8k then a $4k venue was probably not something that could work within that budget. Weddings in that price range are typically affairs held in someone's back yard or a park. I'm not sure why you wouldn't have checked the caterers before booking the venue, but it is what it is. At this point, I would see if you could push the wedding a bit and save up the extra $4k. In the meantime go back to the drawing board and get lots and lots of quotes before making any commitments, so you can figure out what things actually cost.
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  • Candyce
    Beginner May 2021
    Candyce ·
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    Yup, have to use the approved caterers list. We briefly looked into the pricing per person before booking the venue and being obligated, but of course when you get into the nitty gritty its $15pp extra for appetizers here, $5pp cake cutting fee there, this expense here.. that expense there... being nicked and dimed to death, haha.
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  • Lauren
    Devoted July 2021
    Lauren ·
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    I’m gonna agree here. I would find it hard to invite people to a party that’s multiple hours and refuse to feed them. Especially if there is alcohol. Keep in mind, most people will probably be bringing you gifts. It’s only polite to keep them fed and entertained. Maybe move the party to a yard and just rent a tent? Or as mentioned, buy from a restaurant or grocery store. Can you make trays of food yourself or maybe with friends?


    I would definitely nix the DJ rather than the food. You could have other things going on to do.
    • Reply
  • Mrs. Spring
    Master April 2021
    Mrs. Spring ·
    • Flag
    It's uncommon now, but it can be done.
    It was quite the norm 60 years ago to only provide punch and cake for guests. I say go for it! Just make sure this info is communicated to the guests so that they eat before arriving to your wedding.
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  • Mrs. Spring
    Master April 2021
  • Candyce
    Beginner May 2021
    Candyce ·
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    Oh, we can afford it, we just are looking for opinions on making major cuts, and if anyone has done that before. Since we are paying for it on our own, things like feeding people/providing alcohol and music/dancing don't matter to us. Wondering if people have just used their booked venue as just an elopement/ceremony and brief social gathering with champagne/cake only (or apps/alcohol only). We don't need something super formal (and we also both have anxiety issues and don't want to be around people long). Everyone is local, no one is traveling more than 20-30 minutes. Not seeing why we need a formal sit down dinner at $120+/pp when it could possibly be done differently.
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  • Candyce
    Beginner May 2021
    Candyce ·
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    Thank you!!
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  • T
    Super April 2021
    Tiger Bride ·
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    She has to use the list of approved caterers, so no Olive Garden or self catering. She didn't mention this, but it's possible there's food and beverage minimums as well regardless of the number of guests.
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  • T
    Super April 2021
    Tiger Bride ·
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    "Since we are paying for it on our own, things like feeding people/providing alcohol and music/dancing don't matter to us."


    🤨 Entertaining your guests doesn't matter...?
    • Reply
  • Caytlyn
    Legend November 2019
    Caytlyn ·
    • Flag
    You can do a cake and punch (or appetizer only) wedding at a non-meal time, like 2-5 pm or 8-11 pm. Outside of that, this is extremely rude. I would just cut your guest list to a number that you can afford to properly host.
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  • Candyce
    Beginner May 2021
    Candyce ·
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    Nope! To be perfectly honest. Seems like a 2 hour elopement/mini-gathering later in the evening with just champagne and cake (or just appetizers and alcohol) might work out better for us. Anyone done this before?
    • Reply
  • Jenn
    Dedicated May 2021
    Jenn ·
    • Flag
    Could you cut out the appetizers and cake instead? $5pp to just get someone to cut and serve a slice of cake that a lot of people actually don't even eat, seems like a lot of money! (We skipped cake for this reason too! We are having a small cutting cake just for FH and I to cut for pictures, and will have donuts instead for guests) And maybe skip the appetizers and just give them dinner? I think saving in those areas might be better, rather than not serving meals!
    Or any chance you could have a brunch wedding instead? Usually prices are better or you can get away with an appetizer only wedding (and people drink less)


    • Reply
  • Candyce
    Beginner May 2021
    Candyce ·
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    Thank you, this is helpful info! I will look in to changing the time.
    • Reply
  • Yasmine
    Rockstar October 2020
    Yasmine ·
    • Flag
    I definitely wouldn't pay 4K for just the venue if my budget was only 6-8K. Could you not have found a cheaper venue? I'm sure there are community centers, fire halls, hotels etc. Also I wouldn't recommend an alcohol only wedding because that just sounds like a disaster lol people probably would be sick or throwing up from not having anything in their stomachs, besides when people drink a lot you tend to get hungry at some point.


    I don't see a problem with an appetizer wedding as long as you offer many different options and enough of them. You could really cut the DJ out as well and play a playlist for the reception.
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  • Candyce
    Beginner May 2021
    Candyce ·
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    I like the appetizers idea too. Cake and alcohol might not be a good combo, haha. I guess I should replace the "need" it around 6-8k, to "want" it around 6-8k. We're just not all into something super formal so we're trying to figure out what would make sense to cut. Smiley smile
    • Reply
  • V
    Master July 2019
    Veronica Online ·
    • Flag
    Food isn't where I would try to make cuts unless you plan on having your reception from like 2-4 or 8-10. But definitely don't just serve alcohol as that's how your guests will end up super drunk very quickly. Also, what the heck does your venue provide for $4,000? I know our venue provided catering and their standard packages were right around what you quoted, but they let us create our own menu. We choose to have a buffet rather than plated which was so much cheaper..
    • Reply
  • Allie
    Rockstar November 2021
    Allie ·
    • Flag

    I don't mean to sound rude...but if entertaining your guests doesn't matter to you, why don't you just elope? You are expecting these people to attend your wedding for your enjoyment, so I feel like you need to provide some kind of meal for them. I've never been to a wedding that was apps only, but I have been to parties that are apps and dessert only and I've left early because I wanted a real meal. If you are completely set on your venue, having guests at your venue, and cutting costs, I think I'd cut the DJ and just do a playlist type thing for music. DJs can run anywhere from $800-2000, so that would be a good chunk of money you are saving and more people will care less about no DJ than they would no food.

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