A Little Food for Thought

After the venue one of the biggest costs you will encounter is food and beverage.  You already know that you can keep costs down by keeping your numbers a little lower.  But, if you’re a slightly more daring bride, you could also go another route…..and become the caterer yourself!  This obviously is not for everyone and I will be honest and say that it big role to take on.  But, if you plan ahead and enlist the help if others it can go very smooth and save you some big $$$.

You may remember from some of my earlier posts we were this crazy!  I am here to tell you the pros and cons.  As well as some yummy ideas you can incorporate into your own menu!

I LOVE the fall time.  The colors, the crisper air, the holidays, and the FOOD!  You know that delicious comfort food.  That is exactly what I wanted for the wedding.  But, since we were saving money by doing it ourselves I also wanted easy (and cheap) food.  My fiancee and I sat down and started making lists of ideas for the menu.  We started with some of our favorite fall foods: chili, mash potatoes, green bean casserole, BBQ chicken, fried turkey (it actually is delicious in a greaseless frier!), corn bread, ect.  Lots of great stuff!  Lots of things we could make ahead and freeze too!  I also perused part magazines and cookbooks.

In the end we went with:


Shrimp Cocktail

Spinach Dip

Veggie Platter

Main Course

Garden Salad

Loaded Mash Potatoes

BBQ Chicken

Creole Fried Turkey

Green Bean Casserole (my famous version!)

Mac and Cheese

Dinner Rolls


Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars (my awesome bridesmaid Gretchen made!)



Cream Cheese Mints (my Mom made these!) Cinnamon, Butter Rum, and Mint Flavors

Chocolate Truffels

S’mores (by the fire pit)

We also had a variety of beverages.  Lemonade, Sweet Tea (this is the South after all!), Coke, variety of beer and wine as well.

Now, I know this sounds like a lot.  And I’m not going to lie and say that it was a snap.  It take some work.  Fortunately, my fiancee and I planned this out well in advance and we had help.  Plus, I bought many things that were already pre-made.  Most of the items I bought at Costco.  We knew it was going to be around 35 people all together.  At Costco I was able to buy pre-made: Spinach Dip, Veggie Platter, Shrimp Cocktail (with the sauce as well!), the dinner rolls, the cupcakes, our cake, and the truffles.  Also got the sodas and beer there.  That’s not so bad!  Almost half the menu was done, we just had to get it out of the containers.

The BBQ chicken was cut up and marinating the day before the wedding.  Family members were able to put them on the grill and watch over them as we took photos after the ceremony.  The rest we made that morning with the help of friends and family members.  Craig’s step-father brought up the frier that morning and made the incredible turkey.

The biggest key to pulling this off was our friends that were a HUGE help in the kitchen that day!  On our way home we stopped and got Starbucks and I just had to buy those ladies some gift cards.  I just could not thank them enough!

NOW, you may read this and still think we were insane!  And you may be right 😉  But, for us, it seemed the right thing to do.  Craig, being the classic Italian man that he is, practically lives in the kitchen.  There’s a lot of cooking that goes on in our house.  Plus, it was a huge part of staying in our budget.  But, you may not be quite as culinary enthusiastic as we are.  That’s OK!  Here’s some ideas to stretch your catering budget.

Instead of having your caterer supply all the appetizers, opt to do this yourself.  Veggie and fruit trays are a snap to make.  You can head to Costco or Sam’s for some great pre-made items at a great price, such as: Spinach and Hummus Dips, Fruit, Veggie, or Cheese trays (running about $10 each).  You can save a little money on these easy items and use your caterer for the dinner!




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