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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 61

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...
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

  • Michelle
    Dedicated March 2021
    Michelle ·
    • Flag
    Also it good to feed your guest find something you like and compare prices . I had a friend who hire a food truck , other went to Boston market , and my last friend ppl made the food for her wedding.
    • Reply
  • Dawn
    Dedicated May 2021
    Dawn ·
    • Flag
    My first wedding was in 1987. It was the norm to have cake and punch. Now, 34 years later, it's so much more!! We are planning a low key wedding at 1:00. I'm in charge of the sweets. There will be a top layer for my hubby and me. Guests will get petit fours, cookies, and chocolate covered strawberries. Fiance is in charge of rest. He's planning on appetizers only.
    I've talked to friends and they said that is fine, they have no problem with it.
    There is no reason to go into debt, or spend more than you can afford.
    • Reply
  • Florida Marlins
    Expert October 2017
    Florida Marlins ·
    • Flag

    I want to add that we hosted 50 people for a lunch reception and the total cost was about $3000. Open bar (but it was lunchtime so few people drank) no dance but we had a live musician, great food and wonderful time toasting and talking. The room was in a private dining room of a favorite restaurant, and because it was noon (and we were regulars) there was no fee. Our photographer was starting out so her fee was lower. It was over by 3 - I would do it all again in the same way!

    Best wishes!

    • Reply
  • Brittany
    Dedicated March 2021
    Brittany ·
    • Flag
    We’re doing apps and desserts only and our venue was free, but the ceremony starts at 5:30 pm.
    • Reply
  • Jen
    Savvy September 2022
    Jen ·
    • Flag
    I think you can do whatever you wish and what is in your budget. Just make sure your guests now explicitly that there will no food/limited menu so they can eat before and not be starving. You could also meet with the approved caterer and say that you are looking for something low budget. Things like pasta are cheaper for caterers to put out so they may be able to work with you.
    • Reply
  • K
    Just Said Yes May 2021
    Karisa ·
    • Flag
    I’m in the same boat girl. My plan is this, I’m going to move my wedding to early afternoon so it doesn’t fall into any meal time. Then I’m going to do charcuterie tables and dessert. Honestly I know a lot of people have opinions on this, but I’ve never gonna to a wedding and cared if there was food. Most really conservative Christian weddings only have cake so it’s not like totally out of left field to not do food.
    • Reply
  • Janessa
    Dedicated November 2022
    Janessa ·
    • Flag

    I too, am looking to cut my budget down as much as possible, just like you -its one night and yes while very special, most guests dont finish their meals and dont tend to appreciate the small details. For music, perhaps use your ipod and connect to speaker or PA system and come up with a playlist. I think you def need food, I would die that many hours without eating, but make it a light bites and sips ex appetizers or buffet and instead of a full liquor bar maybe beer and wine only or chamoaghen only , or offer a cash abr in which guests pay.

    • Reply
  • Tee
    Just Said Yes April 2022
    Tee ·
    • Flag

    I think it's doable, but you have to present it the right way on your invitations so no one expects a 4 course meal, all night party. If you have a 2 hour ceremony/reception during a non meal time its fine. Even use the language "micro wedding" ( which I'm seeing more and more of) or "join us for an intimate ceremony with dessert and a toast reception to follow." And if guest want anything more than the toast, have a cash bar. Also cut the DJ, find the iPhone and speaker. Maid of honor and Best man can do introductions. Otherwise we're looking at changing the venue to one that is cheaper and offers a little more flexibility with food. Good Luck!

    • Reply
  • Candyce
    Beginner May 2021
    Candyce ·
    • Flag
    Whatever happened to guests coming to enjoy your day and see you get married, just because they love you and are happy for you. Everywhere says I should be thanking them with a meal/food. Thanking them for what? They haven't dont anything! Maybe just my skewed view, but, is what it is lol.
    • Reply
  • A
    Super December 2020
    Anais ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    They took the time out of their day to come visit you. If anyone is traveling, they’re spending gas money + lodging to celebrate you. On top of buying you a gift.
    You obviously don’t care about your guests, don’t invite them then. Why do you want to have guests there, serious question?
    • Reply
  • S
    Devoted November 2021
    Sara ·
    • Flag

    If you don't want to serve food, then don't invite any guests. It's a simple as that! Or, your wedding may end up turning out like that episode of Four Weddings where the guests left the dessert-only reception to order a pizza.

    On a side note, I'm starting to think you might actually be trolling us...

    • Reply
  • Michelle
    Rockstar October 2022
    Michelle ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    Being a gracious host means you feed them. It doesn't have to be fancy or expensive Cake and coffee is very common and sufficient and shows that you care about them. If you truly don't, then elope with no guests.
    • Reply
  • Michelle
    Rockstar October 2022
    Michelle ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    Do not invite people to a party and charge them to drink. Only serve what you can afford. Do you charge guests to drink in your own home when you host parties? Even with light appetizers, people will need to serve a ton of them to soak up alcohol from beer/wine so they don't get drunk. In that case, you're better off finding a restaurant to cater a full meal at half the cost of a wedding caterer.
    • Reply
  • FELICHA
    Savvy July 2021
    FELICHA ·
    • Flag

    You can order invites at costco, they’re like 50 bucks. Invitations can be costly. Choose flowers that are in season. Ask your bridal party to purchase their own dress wear of their choosing so that it is affordable for them.

    • Reply
  • Michelle
    Devoted April 2021
    Michelle ·
    • Flag

    You need to feed your guest even if it is apps and cake. Have you sent our your invites? is there a way to put "intimate reception with apps and cake to follow" or anyway to put that out there for your guest to see?

    • Reply
  • Tracie
    Dedicated April 2021
    Tracie ·
    • Flag
    Things we're doing to cut costs:
    -Only one bridesmaid and one groomsman, no flower girl or ring bearer
    -No dj or band, I've created a Spotify playlist (premium account is a must do you don't get ads, and download the playlist so you don't have to worry about internet connection) -about 50 guests-all of my accessories except shoes are borrowed (jewelry and veil) -cut down on flowers! I've bought draping material for the arch, reception tables will be simple greenery runners weaved with fairy lights we bought in China town. A friend bought all her flowers online and arranged them herself and it was stunning-our photographer is new in the wedding industry, so her rates were SUPER cheap compared to other professionals-we've marked down the videographer as a "want" if we can fit it into the budget, and he's a friend of a friend-my hairstylist friend is doing my hair and makeup directly with me instead of paying through her salon, which would've doubled the price-bought my dress off the rack on a Black Friday sale. It was previously worn as a rental. I bought it for almost half the price of buying it new. I know other brides have found beautiful dresses found Lulus and Venus-definitely take up the option to provide your own alcohol!!! Many suppliers have the option of returning unopened bottles
    If you still need to adjust the menu cost, I would suggest a non meal time wedding. Maybe a tea time wedding, serving sandwiches or a large cheese and charcuterie platter. You can order a sheet cake from the grocery store (think of your local high end grocery store, they usually can do a pretty nice one) and dress it up yourself with edible flowers (this is what my mom did for her wedding in the 80s). If none of the caterers have something like that on their menus, then just go for an hors d'oeuvres/canapes selection. You'll want to figure about 5 pieces per person. See if they can do a canape size dessert. As a previous event coordinator for a wine tasting restaurant, this setup worked really well for an event timed around happy hour (any time between 3-7).
    • Reply
  • Tracie
    Dedicated April 2021
    Tracie ·
    • Flag
    ^^^Ugh I'm so sorry that came out as one massive block of text. It was broken into paragraphs when I wrote it!
    • Reply
  • Vicky
    Super January 2020
    Vicky ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment

    Thanking them for taking time out of their lives to come celebrate you and witness your wedding ceremony.

    • Reply
  • Samantha
    Super October 2022
    Samantha Online ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    They will show up, taking time from their day.
    • Reply
  • HRhodes
    HRhodes ·
    • Flag

    I think it's very unusual. Normally the things that I've been invited to and food wasn't served, few people showed up and the ones that did didn't stay very long.

    • Reply

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