📋 Get the Wedding Quick Start Guide!

Affordable Wedding Catering Ideas to Feed Your Guests on a Budget

When you shop via links on our site, we may earn a small commission if you make a purchase. Learn more.

Looking for ways to cut costs for your big day? Don’t miss these affordable wedding catering ideas to feed your guests on a budget!


If your goal is to host a low-budget wedding, three areas you will want to keep a close eye on while you plan are your guest list, your venue, and your food. The number of guests invited and ultimately attending your wedding will drive where you need to host your celebration and how much food you will need to serve. All three are very much intertwined! But, there are definitely things you can do to find a happy medium– including finding affordable wedding catering.

You can find much more detail about guest lists and venue options in other posts on the site, but for this, we thought we would dive into the food. Below are seven things you can do to stay within budget while serving a great menu your guests will enjoy!

8 Low-budget food ideas for affordable wedding catering

Serve Appetizers:

After the ceremony, guests are eager for cocktail hour to begin because drinks and appetizers are readily available. So, why not turn appetizers into a complete meal? Finger foods, especially those you can purchase in bulk from stores like BJ’s Wholesale and Costco, are less expensive than serving a traditional meal. Plus, if you display them buffet-style and skip having them passed by a wait staff, your budget will remain even further intact. Lastly, by serving appetizers you also won’t need to be concerned about guests becoming too full after cocktail hour to enjoy their meals during dinner (it’s common!).

Host a Brunch Wedding:

Think about breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus for a moment. Then consider which meal is the least expensive to enjoy out at a restaurant. Your mind has likely landed on breakfast. The first meal of the day is typically less costly because of the ingredients required: lots of eggs and potatoes and fewer amounts of meat. So, host a daytime wedding and serve a brunch menu! Quiche, French toast, pancakes, scrambled eggs, omelets, fruit, pastries, and salad can go a long way. Plus, it’s different, which will make your menu memorable for your guests.  

Order Takeout:

Where do you and your family like to order when you’re hosting a birthday, graduation, holiday, or “just because” party? You likely have a favorite restaurant, and it’s clear they cater. So, contact the establishment and order a restaurant-catered meal for your wedding! Then serve your meal family or buffet-style. If you want to make your setup a little fancier, invest in a few serving platters or trays. You’ll likely use them again at future get-togethers. Restaurant catering food delivery can be one of the most affordable wedding catering ideas– just keep in mind that you may need to assign some helpers to keep dishes stocked or cleared when they are emptied.  

Skip Plated Meals:

If you’re hosting your wedding at a traditional venue, the biggest thing you can do to make sure your budget remains intact is to skip a traditional plated dinner. This serving style is the costliest because of the number of staff members needed to make it happen. In the kitchen, help is needed to plate all of the meals before they are presented to guests. In the dining room, help is needed to serve plates to everyone. Later in the night, help is needed to clean all of the plates. On the flip side, buffet and family-style meals involve guests serving themselves. Opting for either is a great way to save!

Consider Family-Style Meals:

As we mentioned above, serving your wedding menu buffet or family-style is key. But, when we say family-style here, we mean choosing to serve items that naturally yield large quantities! Menu items like hamburgers and hotdogs, pizza, quiche, barbecue, tacos, and pasta all make a lot, and they’re also items that work well for “create your own” stations that will add to your menu experience. Big heaping bowls of various types of pasta is the ultimate affordable wedding catering idea!

Opt for a Potluck:

Often when guests are invited to a party, one of their first questions is, “What can I bring?” When you’re hosting any other type of party, you’re likely quick to make a request or offer a suggestion. Your wedding should not feel any different! With that being said, the key difference between a birthday party, for example, and a wedding is guests may be less likely to chime in with that all-important question. So, make it known that you’re hosting a potluck wedding and would love everyone to contribute. To ensure you have your entire menu covered and aren’t hosting a party with one too many drinks or desserts, create an online spreadsheet that notes what you hope to have on hand for everyone to enjoy. Then ask guests to sign up.  

Hire a Food Truck:

Everyone loves food trucks! Their menus are often different from what you might find in a restaurant, their food is delicious, they can cook on the go, and many love to cater weddings. If you would like to hire a food truck, consider working with them to cull down the menu to only a few items rather than the full list. That can help with the cost, but more importantly a smaller menu will help the staff to keep up their speed when preparing meals. Cost-wise, keep in mind that many food trucks charge a flat fee, and that fee typically starts around $500 (though it can be more or less!).

How are you saving money on your wedding menu? Share your affordable wedding catering ideas in our community!

📌 Pin This! 📌

Looking for ways to cut costs for your big day? Don't miss these affordable wedding catering ideas to feed your guests on a budget!
Looking for ways to cut costs for your big day? Don't miss these affordable wedding catering ideas to feed your guests on a budget!
Looking for ways to cut costs for your big day? Don't miss these affordable wedding catering ideas to feed your guests on a budget!

The Budget Savvy Bride is the #1 Online Wedding Planning Resource for couples who want to plan a beautiful wedding on a budget they can actually afford. Check out our best-selling book on Amazon, The Budget-Savvy Wedding Planner & Organizer!