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Wedding catering for the frugal bride

In Food and Drink, Uncategorized on March 15, 2009 at 9:00 pm

Catering is the main cost of a wedding. Ironically, most wedding food is bland and disappointing. Perhaps it’s the difficulty of serving over a hundred guests something that none of them will hate or be allergic to, perhaps it’s a lack of imagination. Here’s some ideas on creating the gourmet effect on a Lidl’s budget:

1. Go ironic. Kate Winslet served fish and chips at her wedding, and somehow managed to still seem elegant and cool, on account of it being Ironic Fish ‘n’ Chips. You could also serve Ironic Bangers & Mash or even (for the very Ironic) Children’s Party Food.

Michelle & Noah's picnic wedding

Michelle & Noah's picnic wedding

2. Have a picnic. This is ultimately the same as a cold buffet, but everyone gets their meal pre-packaged in a little wicker basket, and you sit on blankets on a sunny lawn.

Everyone loves a good wedding spit roast.

Everyone loves a good wedding spit roast. Sorry, did I just make that joke? Yes, yes, it appears I did. Apologies.

3. The hog roast, or indeed a BBQ. A whole roast lamb feeds about 40 whilst a whole roast pig feeds more like 100. There’s also a certain drama in seeing a huge skewered animal being roasted.

4. Choose a theme. Like Italian or Mexican. Even the most gourmet pizzas or burritos will be cheap in comparison to your standard 3 course affair.

5. Go for a fork buffet. A cold one is cheapest. If you have lots of interesting salads, a delicately poached salmon and a joint of gammon can be amazing.

6. Choose less expensive cuts. Fillet of beef is more expensive than sirloin.

7. Don’t have a sit down meal. A shorter wedding with canapes and drinks can work as a lower key affair. Indeed canapes can be tiny works of art. Just make sure they’re suitable for ladies wearing lots of lipgloss and trying to remain elegant.

Here’s a guide to how many canapes you’ll need per person.

Wedding canapes often outclass the main meal

Wedding canapes often outclass the main meal

8. Do your own catering (ok, get your mum to do it). This pair actually did it, at their $2,00 wedding, so it is possible. Inevitably though, it would be a Big Stress, unless you are actually Nigella Lawson. However, there is no doubt it will save a great deal of money, plus there’s something sweet about having food cooked by the bride. If this sounds too ambitious, you could just cook the wedding cake or the puddings yourself…

9. Sweat your caterers. Get comparative quotes and make sure they’re not going to hit you for surprise extras, like charging you for providing the dishes in which the food is served or similar nonsense. If they think you’re a besotted bride whose brain has turned to financially-illerate mush, they’ll hoik up their prices.

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Wedding reception drinks on a budget


Wedding reception drinks on a budget

In Food and Drink, Uncategorized on March 6, 2009 at 9:54 am

With 40% of an average wedding budget disappearing into food and booze, it’s worth thinking about how to cut corners without looking a cheapskate. Here’s how:

1. Make it look pretty. A raspberry on the side of a glass of champagne or edible flowers frozen in icecubes will be remembered more than whether your wine was from a vintage year or not.

Strawberries with your  bubbly, sir?

Strawberries with your bubbly, ma'am?

2. Bring a bottle. Instead of a gift list, encourage guests to bring a bottle of their favourite tipple. It’ll probably work out cheaper for them present-wise, and will mean everyone gets to drink what they like.

3. Cava not champagne. Champagne is a marvelous invention, but its Italian cousin Prosecco is a fraction of the price and just as nice. Cava also results in the same bubble-fuelled hilarity as champagne. You could even try a dry pink New World sparkling wine or a pink cava for your toast.

4. Don’t follow tradition, because tradition = expense. Try champagne cocktails like bellinis or Kir Royal (with sparkling wine, natch). Alternatively provide beer, or to give your event a whiff of Henley, serve Pimms and lemonade.

5. Limit happy hour. The more hours of boozing involved, the more will be drunk, the more your overdraft will shudder. What about a shorter wedding, say just afternoon tea or drinks and canapes. Or how about a cash bar later on.

6. Go wild on soft drinks. It’s worth having lots available, and making them look like attractive classy options. How about elderflower presse, or home made lemonade.

Lemonade sir?

Lemonade sir?

7. Start expensive, then go cheap. After afew glasses, your guests palates will be much more accepting of vinegary wine.

8. The booze cruise to Calais has been made a little less financially exciting, due to the pound’s demise. However it’s still worth doing.

9. Buy wine on a sale or return basis. Ooh, and if you’re using a catering company, count the empty bottles to check the swines don’t over-charge you.

10. A drinks fountain is cheaper than someone serving drinks, and more memorable.

drinks fountain

The drinks fountain

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