Reception Catering on a Budget: 3 Insider Tips

Reception catering services can stretch your budget to the limits.

Reception Catering on a Budget

Whether you’re planning a wedding, a charity event or any other type of party, the lion’s share of your budget will likely be spent on the food. So, what if you need to save money but you draw the line at a potluck or rubber chicken buffet line?

With these three insider tips, you can save money and still have the type of reception catering that you hope for.

No. 1: Schedule Your Reception at an Off-Hour

If you hold your reception in the evening, your guests will expect – and be hungry for – a full meal. Choose a different time and both their expectations and their hunger level won’t be quite as robust.

Breakfast, lunch and brunch will almost always allow you to scale back your event catering expenses. If those times don’t appeal to you or work for your event, holding a cocktail hour reception is a great alternative.

During the later afternoon or early evening (between 4:00 and 6:00 PM, for example), your guests are likely to be less hungry. Set your menu to feature passed hors-d’oeuvres and a couple of “grazing stations” with gourmet popcorns, nuts and fruit. This allows you to spend a little more money for good appetizers and a nice experience for your guests. The less expensive grazing options will fill in the gaps for those guests who need a little more sustenance.

No. 2: Rethink Your Reception Catering Menu

When planning your reception, consider making a departure from the standard chicken-beef-fish options. Instead, consider a food theme that will save you money while giving your guests a more entertaining experience.

For example, consider an Italian-themed menu. Pasta dishes generally cost less (often much less) than other dishes and most of your guests won’t mind if meat isn’t the star of the show. Add a salad and bread, you guests be full and happy.

Few guests want cake after they’ve eaten a dessert with their meal. So why not consider serving wedding cake for dessert, rather than adding a dessert to your reception catering menu?

No. 3: Choose Plated Food Rather than a Buffet

Despite what you might believe, reception catering often costs more when you choose buffet-style service, rather than plated food.

Guests are surprisingly bad a portion control, especially those who respond enthusiastically to what they view as “free food.” Others may skip a food item and instead help themselves to a double serving of a different dish. Consequently, to avoid running out of any given dish, the caterer must prepare more of each item than you may need.

So, although you may pay a little extra for the service aspect of plated reception catering, your caterer won’t have to allot for self-service portions. You will waste less food and – bonus! – your guests will enjoy a more luxurious experience.

In Provo and throughout Northern Utah, Brown Brothers Catering is your locally owned and operated expert for wedding and event catering. Contact us today for even more insider tips on how you can save money on your reception catering.