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helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank

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 see past posts (and a sneak peek at what's ahead) on this wedding budget tips page for your convenience and future reference.


Wedding Budget Tip #9: Consider a local restaurant instead of a caterer for your meal.

Wedding Budget Tip #9:

Consider a local restaurant instead of a caterer for your meal.



Choosing a local restaurant instead of a traditional wedding caterer is something that can save you money on your big day!

I did this myself, so when I suggest using a local restaurant to cater your wedding, I do so speaking from experience.

Typically, this means you'll be serving food buffet style, which will cut down on costs incurred by hiring servers to pass out the food by a traditional caterer.

My husband and I chose a local mom and pop restaurant who specialized in southern style barbecue, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, etc — we were able to feed our large group of wedding guests (150 guests) for about $17 per person, buffet style. I've seen wedding catering prices at $50 – $100 per person – so we saved a significant amount.

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. 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!

Would you consider ordering your wedding catering from a local restaurant? Are you planning to try this out yourself? Sound off in the comments below! We want to hear from you!


Want more wedding budget tips? Come back next Tuesday for the next post in this series.


Wedding Budget Tip #9: Consider a local restaurant instead of a caterer for your meal.

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About Jessica

Jessica is the creator of The Budget Savvy Bride; she launched the site in May of 2008, shortly after becoming engaged. Jessica has been recognized as a budget wedding expert by various media outlets and continues to share realistic inspiration and actionable tips to help brides save money on their weddings. Google

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  • Currently, the fiance and I are considering using a restaurant to cater our wedding! We saw a venue last week and happened to eat lunch nearby and their food was UH-MAY-ZING so we asked for a catering price list! Very affordable!

    • That’s awesome!! Just remember to think through all the other costs involved like dishes, utensils etc when factoring up the total expense. Are they included or will you have to rent / buy those separately? Save yourself from surprises down the road! 🙂

  • Sydney

    I initially thought this article was about using a local restaurant as your venue plus caterer. I love the idea of using your favorite restaurant as your caterer (especially if it has some tie to your story as a couple!) but why not consider them as a venue too? For example, in the Washington DC area there are numerous restaurants with private dining rooms that can be more elegant and intimate than a hall or ballroom. And they already have the service staff, the china and glassware and the food is made on-site which is a huge plus in the quality of the food. Usually you just have to meet a food and beverage minimum so you don’t worry about adding on a rental fee for the room. For a smaller, more intimate wedding that isn’t centered around dancing restuarants can serve as great venues!

    • That’s definitely a great point as well! We actually have a tip later in our series about seeking out alternative venues to save money, and that would definitely be applicable! For the sake of this post we were just considering food costs but I’ll be sure to include restaurants in our list of affordable alternative reception venues!!

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