1. When guests are allowed to serve themselves awesome wedding finger food, they tend to consume more than their fair share.
2. An affordable way to show your generosity without spending a lot is by placing grilled veggies and salads with various colors in large bowls.
3. When you comparison shop for seafood, you find that scampi and shrimp cocktail are double the cost of calamari and mussels. Your wedding food catering company has a list of affordable seafood appetizers.
4. Forget about a cubed-cheese platter since it isn't popular during cocktail hour. No one will miss it since it is typically used at other gatherings.
5. In place of cucumber rounds, serve heart-shaped artichoke hearts, broccoli flowers and radishes served with a variety of dips.
6. People look at the food on their plates before eating it so impress guests with a good presentation. Using tapas-style plates as serving trays adds a nice twist.
7. A crowd pleasing favorite that costs little is placing Martini glasses filled with macaroni and cheese along with mini grilled cheese bites among the bread. Traditional cocktail fare costs three times as much.
8. Consider offering themed stations, such as Thai, Asian or Fajitas since they are popular at most gatherings. A good catering company will ensure everything goes with your wedding theme and colors. Ask about food pyramids and other condiments that are affordable.
9. Pass out finger foods like tequila cured salmon in Martini glasses.
10. Ask your food catering company about a Pierogi bar.
11. A carving station is not necessary and much too expensive. If you do include one, have it removed for the cocktail hour.
12. Small cups of acorn squash, clam chowder, or lobster bisque are a great idea.
13. Having a side dish of pasta eliminates the need for a pasta station.
14. Choose a three course meal over a five course one and serve salad at the cocktail party.
15. Combine an appetizer with the salad by serving it with two grilled shrimp.
16. An espresso sauce served over pasta is an example of a simple yet unique way to use an affordable sauce.
17. A gourmet salad with spring greens will excite guests as they anticipate the entree later on.
18. Ask your catering company about serving inexpensive braised boneless short ribs.
19. Add goat cheese to pasta with a topping of spinach for added flair.
20. Don't go overboard offering too much. Instead of serving three entrees consider a well designed platter of grilled shrimp, crab cakes or beef medallions.
21. Seafood that is in season is less expensive, so ask your food catering company about that.
22. Let your catering company know that you want to save money by using cuts of meat found at good prices at the time of the wedding.
23. Vegetarian entrees always go well at weddings.
24. Top simple entrees with colorful veggies to give a gourmet touch.
25. Family-style dishes like pasta or meat platters save money and make a great impression.
26. Feed wedding musicians and photographer from lower price dishes.
27. Select a wedding food catering company that offers discounts for kids if they will be attending.
On The Side
28. Dress up veggie dishes with mini carrots and asparagus tied with chives.
29. Fill the menu with potatoes or risotto to give them something different.
30. Research vegetable prices and choose those with lower cost.
31. Be creative with salads. Serve them with mixed greens in beautiful bowls on side tables.
32. Serve a tasting menu with 7 to 8 small courses instead of four larger ones.
33. Rather than a full bar, serve beer and wine along with a signature cocktail of your own keeping your colors and venue in mind.
34. Most guest will not notice if you use mid-shelf liquor to save money.
35. Dress up your signature drinks with fun garnishes like mini fruits or orange slices and have the bar manager create inexpensive fruit kebabs.
36. Don't allow shots and save a ton.
37. Stock your own bar with inexpensive vintage wines.
38. Negotiate the corkage fee or eliminate it altogether.
39. Serve sparkling wines or let guests toast with the drinks they already have.
40. Save hundreds by closing the bar an hour early.
41. Use flavored syrups with a dark brew at the coffee bar instead of expensive liquors.
42. A package deal with the wedding cake and an additional dessert is all you really need.
43. Opt for regular cake flavors over gourmet to save money.
44. Negotiate or totally eliminate the cake cutting fee.
45. Save money by selecting a cake that requires less labor. Choose buttercream frosting over rolled fondant.
46. Choose a three-tier cake instead of a five-tier tower and have a sheet cake in the same flavor for the wait staff to cut and serve to save money.
47. Flaming bananas with a chocolate fountain are unnecessary and no one will miss them.
48. Surprise your guests with a simple, exotic dessert that no one will suspect is inexpensive. Coconut is a great idea.
49. Avoid the expense of a full dessert buffet by serving portion sized desserts such as chocolate covered cheesecakes.
50. Your bank account will love you and so will your guests if you serve coffee or chocolate floats topped with shipped cream shavings in sugar-rimmed glasses and forego more costly dessert drinks.