Cut costs at your wedding using a DIY approach with food. An outdoor wedding can feature picnic or barbecue fare like fruit and cheese platters, smoked or grilled meats, summer salads, potato salad, baked beans and even chips. These kinds of foods are also excellent for weddings with attendees with children who may be fussy eaters or have trouble sitting around inside a venue all day. Giving your guests the freedom of the outdoors also allows them to entertain themselves so that you aren’t worrying about whether or not people are enjoying the festivities. If you think your family and friends wouldn’t be offended, you can also invite them to bring their favorite dishes. For dessert, use a cupcake tower instead of a tiered wedding cake. It allows everyone to have an equal portion, and it adds to the community theme of this type of wedding.
The DIY approach isn’t just limited to the outdoors. You can class it up inside using amuse-bouche style fare. This can be relatively simple like tapenade or thin slices of pears with Roquefort and walnuts. An herby tart can be made in bulk and portioned for dozens of people. You can sear pork chops with apples and raisins and portion small bites onto spoons to look like you hired a caterer. When you go to the store, look for a few items you can buy in bulk and re purpose through several dishes. Buy fruits and vegetables when they’re in-season and on-sale to help off-set the costs. By saving on your staples, you can spend a little more on some finer proteins. Let your guests know ahead of time that this is going to be more of a cocktail party than a five course meal so that they can plan accordingly. You can also shop around for inexpensive wines from smaller vintners to pair with your offerings as a sort of wine tasting. When both food and wine are portioned, you can save a lot on costs.
Carry that DIY attitude into your centerpieces. You can get supplies like votive candles and small vases at the dollar store along with table runners. Add color to a vase by slicing lemons and stacking them so that their patterning faces the guests. Photos can also add a personal touch; print off favorite memories with your partner, and add one to every table. Re purpose old wine bottles by wrapping them with fabric, and add some silk flowers in complementary colors. You can also use some inexpensive fruit to add color and inspire appetites.
If you want to save on the wedding venue, choose an off-season. Plan your wedding at the beginning of the year, and have an indoor reception with winter favorites like mulled wine. You can also save on the venue by booking for the lunchtime crowd rather than dinner. While many venues offer services like catering and decoration, do this work yourself. You can work within the space and use your own furniture or rent through a smaller company where prices may be lower. Make sure to ask the venue beforehand if this is acceptable.