Wedding catering prices are so varied that the last thing you want to do, when the average wedding already costs over £30,000 (according to Brides Magazine), is pick the ridiculously expensive option. And you don’t have to pick the ridiculously expensive wedding catering option - there are so many out there you can chose from, which is where we come in! Here at Companies Catering we realised there was an urgent requirement to match up clients with respected, trusted and great wedding caterers. Now you can plan your wedding safely in the knowledge that all of the caterers listed on Companies Catering have been peer-reviewed and that the wedding catering prices they quote you will not only be realistic, but it will include a great service too. So how do you avoid ridiculous wedding catering prices? We have compiled 10 top tips to help you:
Get married out of season and on a weekday. Wedding catering companies still need to work on days other than Saturdays so consider getting married on a Sunday or a weekday and ask them if they will give you a discount for not getting married on a Saturday. Remember if you don’t ask, you will never get. You could save yourself between 10-20% on wedding catering prices - just think how that could bolster the booze allowance!
Book early. Just like buying aeroplane tickets, if you book early enough in advance (think two years) you will be able to negotiate very cheap rates - also booking far in advance will enable you to find the best deals, not get stuck with wedding catering prices that are extortionate.
Cull the guest list. With the average cost of feeding a guest at £30 per head, if you aren’t that close, don’t invite them. Consider a ‘no-ring, no-bring’ policy - do you really want to pay for your mate’s new girlfriend’s food and drink when she probably won’t be around in 3 months time? Harsh, but effective.
Find a venue where you can do it yourself. If you can find a venue where you don’t have to use their kitchen and caterer, you will save yourself a small fortune. By finding independent people, the wedding catering prices won’t be so astronomical as they won’t include the overheads and extras that you would typically have to fork out for an in-house caterer.
Consider self-catering. This one is not for the faint hearted but if you have people who offer to help, or who volunteer to cook, do not turn them down. What a wonderful, personal contribution to an already memorable day! Even if it is just making the wedding cake, anything that helps you save on wedding catering prices is going to beneficial to you.
Ditch the traditional 3-course meal. If you don’t want to cut the number of guests you have coming, seek out alternative ways to feed your crowd instead. Think about having a buffet – buffet wedding catering prices start from about £11.50 per person (this will also reduce waiting staff costs as you won’t need so many). Who doesn’t love a hog roast? You can comfortably feed 150 people out of one hog and it is an ideal option if you have an outdoors venue or if your reception is in a hall without catering facilities.
Wedding cake alternatives. The wedding cake doesn’t have to dramatically add to your wedding catering prices - you can buy wedding cakes from upmarket supermarkets for approximately £1 a slice. If you have your heart set on the ombre, 4-tiered unicorn cake covered in fresh flowers, why not drop the dessert course and eat your beautiful cake instead? You could even go one step further and have a fake cake with just a real top tier. Have a cardboard cut out for the other tiers (decorated to look real) with just the top layer actually a cake you can cut. Have the caterers cut up tray bakes (so much cheaper and just as tasty) and lay out the tray bake as you would normally lay out the wedding cake!
Don’t be a feeder. Your guests don’t need a plateful of canapés, followed by a three course meal, washed down with cake and cheese, and an evening meal chaser an hour later. No one eats that much and the food won’t be appreciated and will most likely go to waste. Just don’t go the opposite way and leave your guests hungry either. Consider getting married later in the day too - the less time your guests have to stand around and be hungry, the less you have to ensure they are well fed and watered!
Feed the children appropriately. If you have invited little ones to the wedding ask for the wedding catering prices to be adjusted to take into account their portion sizes, or just ask for a much simpler, cheaper option for them - they will all love pasta followed by ice-cream! You can also use this easy meal to feed the staff, the band or anyone else who needs a meal.
Keep it simple. Remember why people are coming to eat with you - they are there to celebrate your most precious of days, so don’t get caught up in wedding catering prices by serving the most expensive food or vintage wine. They will already be having a blast because they love you and want to be with you. So keep the food simple: consider having family-style sharing dishes or have a vegetarian starter and a seasonal (and easily available) main course. Just make sure it is all beautifully prepared and wonderfully presented.
Finally, this is your day, so make sure whatever caterer and wedding catering prices you settle on suit you and your future spouse. You don’t have to do what everyone has done before you, there are so many options to choose from that actually narrowing down what you want is probably going to be the hardest decision you will have to make.