Alternatives to a traditional wedding dinner reception
Aug 23rd, 2012
Hosting a traditional wedding dinner reception typically starts at $35 per guest and can run easily over $100 per guest, especially if you have an open bar and full wait service. If you have a large-ish wedding of 200 guests, that means you can spend $20,000 on feeding your guests alone. Here are some ideas to keep your wedding guests happy without breaking the bank:
1. Serve a buffet
A lot of guests won’t mind a chance to get up and walk around the reception space and mingle with the other guests. Serving a buffet means you can serve the same number of people with half of the waitstaff or less. For a wedding with 200 guests, you will probably need at least 15 wait staff for full service; with a buffet, you can probably do it for 8 or less.
2. Go ‘ethnic’
Traditional American food can be tasty, but at the lower price points, it might mean that you’re paying $50 for some mashed potatoes and dry chicken. If you or your partner has some particular regional or ethnic heritage that you’re connected to, feel free to serve food from that tradition at your wedding- and cut down costs! This might mean fried chicken, polish sausage, Thai curries. These regional or ethnic cuisines often provide more tasty food for less compared to formal American dinner options.
3. Do lunch
Rather than dinner, how about lunch? Especially if the wedding ceremony is earlier in the day, this can be a great option. Caterers often charge less for lunches and reception venues often charge less for lunches as well.
4. Treat your guests to cake and punch.
If you’re having a big wedding but can’t afford to feed everyone a pricey gourmet meal, have a cake and punch reception instead. This is a great opportunity for guests to mingle with each other and for the bride and groom to circle amongst the guests.