Wedding food on a budget

Wedding food has come a long way since the days of buffets stocked with home-made quiches and cheese and pineapple chunks on sticks! Now its common for brides and grooms to lay on a veritable gourmet feast, whether it's in the form of a sit-down three course meal or a more informal evening affair. So how to go about keeping your guests happy and well fed without spending a fortune?

If you're getting married in a hotel or a dedicated venue, you'll most likely be offered a choice of menu options from their on-site caterers. However, these are not always the best value and some spaces may be open to you inviting your own caterers in � so check with the venue to find out what you can do to cut down costs. A good compromise may be to order a set menu for your daytime guests, then arrange alternative catering for your extra guests in the evening.

If you're getting married somewhere that gives you free range for catering, there are plenty of budget alternatives to more traditional dining options. Hog roasts and BBQs are great for venues with outside space and can cater for large numbers of guests � just make sure you provide something for the vegetarians too! Or, if you're planning a real DIY wedding, why not ask your guests to bring a dish and cater your wedding 'pot luck' style? This works for both daytime and evening celebrations, and most people are always happy to have chance to show off their signature dish. Splash out on some basics like salads and breads to make sure all bases are covered, and enjoy a culinary treat without the expensive price tag!

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