This post is part of a recurring series here on BSB – we share a wedding budget tip every Tuesday to help you save money on your wedding! You can also access all the wedding budget tips on a single page for your convenience and future reference.
Wedding Budget Tip #9:
Consider a local restaurant instead of a caterer for your wedding reception meal.
A great way to save money on your wedding catering
Choosing a local restaurant instead of a traditional wedding caterer is something that can save you money on your big day!
We've done this ourselves, so when we suggest using a local restaurant to cater your wedding, we do so speaking from experience.
Typically, this means you'll be serving the food buffet style, which will cut down on costs incurred by hiring servers to pass out the food by a traditional caterer.
Choosing a local mom and pop restaurant allowed us to save over half off what a traditional caterer would cost.
We chose a local restaurant that specialized in southern style barbecue; think fried chicken, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, etc. We were able to feed our large group of wedding guests (150 people) for about $17 per person, buffet style.
We've seen wedding catering prices range anywhere from $50 – $100+ per person. So based on that figure, we saved a significant amount by using a restaurant to cater our wedding.
Choose affordable foods for your wedding menu
There are lots of food options for weddings from restaurants that can be wallet-friendly as well! Consider a taco bar from your favorite Mexican restaurant, or select a variety of pasta from a local Italian restaurant.
Barbecue is another great option for affordable wedding catering. And brunch foods can be really cost-effective to feed a large group. Basically, anything that is made cheaply in large quantities is a great option to consider.
Considerations for choosing a restaurant over a traditional caterer
Often they will even include the serving dishes needed to set up the food on the buffet. Granted, they might not be the fanciest chaffing dishes, but if your budget is tight it's definitely a great option.
It's important to note that though the food from a restaurant may cost less, many caterers include lots of other items in their overall fees including service, cleanup, setup, dishes, etc. As with everything else when it comes to your budget, make sure you take the time to calculate out ALL the costs and consider all options before making your final decisions!