Wood table with greenery and flowers

Budget Friendly Alternatives to a Traditional Wedding Dinner

May 10, 2019
By Wedding Spot

Perhaps a formal four course dinner doesn’t fit in with your theme, or it simply isn’t your style. For a meal that’s going to cost you a serious portion of your wedding budget, you’ll want to be sure you’re satisfied with the outcome, or that the end result is worth the expense.

While your guests will and should expect to be fed a satisfying meal, what that meal is comprised of can be decided by your personal tastes and creativity. Gone are the days when a wedding must fit the traditional dinner mold.

Cheap wedding reception alternatives you should consider:

1. Cocktail reception

Skip the expensive linens and complicated place settings. Instead, opt for an elegant, yet relaxed evening cocktail reception. Guests will enjoy a variety of cocktails and hors d’oeuvres either passed by servers or displayed on tables. Keep in mind that if you are serving alcohol at your reception, you’ll want to serve plenty of heavy appetizers as well to keep your guests well balanced.

2. Wedding brunch or tea

For many, brunch is the most important meal of the day! Delight your guests with a delicious brunch of fresh fruits, sweet pastries, breakfast tacos, and more. You’ll even save on liquor by serving a higher concentration of daylight friendly champagne cocktails over heavier alcoholic beverages. A wedding brunch is sure to please. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a gigantic donut wall and a colorful mimosa bar?

3. Onsite food truck

Food truck catering has recently gained popularity and more and more food trucks are becoming available for large party catering. If you’re having an outdoor event, or if you have access to an outdoor area, offer your guests a unique experience and bring in an onsite food truck.

4. Specialty stations

Sometimes there are certain foods that hold a special place in your love story. Maybe you and your fiancé had pizza and beer on your first date, or the two of you celebrate Taco Tuesday religiously, or perhaps you want to treat your guests to some Southern homestyle BBQ like you both enjoyed on your favorite trip. If that’s the case, don’t shy away from incorporating these meaningful dishes into your big day by way of food stations. Food stations are easy to maneuver for guests and totally customizable.

5. Serve Bar Snacks

As Money Crashers shares, “Don’t break out the serious appetizers until guests are seated for dinner, or at least in the room where dinner will be served. At cocktail hour, whet their appetites with a variety of bar snacks, such as nuts, pretzels, and dried fruit. Those who partake will probably eat less during the official appetizer round, keeping your wedding’s food costs in check.”

Now that you have a handful of ideas for wedding reception alternatives, here are some fun, unique ideas for your wedding rehearsal dinner!

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Wedding Spot

Wedding Spot

The Wedding Spot blog is designed to help couples navigate every step of the wedding planning journey. From before the engagement to after you say “I do,” our goal is to give you the tips, ideas, and inspiration to prepare for your big day — and all that comes with it.