What Is The Cheapest Food To Serve At A Wedding

To have an idea of what is the cheapest food to serve at a wedding, we recommend having a buffet or potluck setting. Understandably, you’ll get curious if these settings would be tacky for a wedding, so we’ll also explain how to make them more appropriate and classy. 

We’ll also share the menus for the buffet or potluck-style wedding reception. And finally, here is how to cater your own wedding for an in-depth guide. 

what is the cheapest food to serve at a wedding


What Is The Cheapest Wedding Food To Serve?


Buffet wedding reception dinner

If you are on a limited budget, you’ll have an easier time deciding on inexpensive wedding food by having a buffet-style reception. Compared to a traditional wedding sit-down dinner with multiple courses, it’s cheaper to set up all the meals on a large table. 

You’ll offer one menu on a single table in one area of the reception so that you can make a budget-friendly buffet than a station-style reception with different menus on different tables. And best of all, it wouldn’t be too obvious that you’re limited with your food budget. 

Plan with your caterer the buffet menu according to your budget. But to help you get an idea of the cheapest food items to serve for your wedding, try these on your wedding reception budget:

  • One to two salads or vegetable trays
  • Cold cuts 
  • One vegetable side dish
  • One pasta dish
  • One meat dish
  • A dinner roll platter
  • One to two desserts or pastries


Potluck meals for the wedding reception menu

Consider serving a potluck meal if you are limited with a budget and have an intimate wedding reception with just your closest relatives and friends. Of course, some would argue that a potluck wedding is tacky, but informal weddings are getting more common nowadays.  

Those who have many friends or family who volunteer to bring meals can also signify that you should have a wedding potluck. And best of all, a potluck always guarantees a feast, and you get to enjoy different dishes while the guests get to showcase their cooking skills. 

However, it’s a good idea that you’ll at least treat the guests with drinks as the ones getting married. If you’re having a potluck after-wedding celebration, allocate a budget for the alcohol, such as wine and spirits. 

Here are also some affordable potluck ideas you can share with your guests:

  • Scalloped potatoes
  • Pies
  • Casseroles
  • Pasta
  • Salads
  • Sliders
  • Salsa
  • Fruit platters
  • Cupcakes
  • Brownies 
  • Cookies


What Is The Cheapest Food To Cater?

If you are catering your own wedding, you can create an affordable menu without breaking the bank by selecting meals with readily available ingredients. This tip is also especially helpful if you serve many guests at the wedding. 

That being said, the two menus you can try are potato dishes and pasta. Both are filling, so you won’t need multiple dishes, and they can easily be modified according to your personal preference of the couple. 


Potato dishes: Starts at $3 per wedding guest 

Baked potatoes, potato salads, scalloped potatoes, and other potato dishes are among the cheapest meals you can cater for a wedding. This is because potatoes are relatively easy to prepare in bulk, and the dishes don’t require that many other ingredients. 


Pasta meals: Starts at $10 per two to three guests

You can buy large quantities of pasta and sauces for a wedding at a reasonable price for catering. Depending on your preferred recipe, a pasta dish or two should be easy to prepare because of the readily available sauces and ready-to-cook pasta on the market. 

For the appetizers, read how many appetizers per person in a wedding to compute accordingly. 


What Is A Good Budget For Food At A Wedding?

It’s reasonable to spend around $4,000 for the wedding catering. After all, the food and venue of the wedding are the biggest portions of the wedding budget. 

Depending on the size and time of the wedding, some couples can also spend only under $2,000 on their wedding food. And if you’re curious about the higher end of the range, wedding catering in the US can also reach $9,000 and higher.  

As the wedding hosts, it’s only fitting to spend on good quality food to serve your guests. But to get you the best value for money, you can compare different wedding catering packages and then ensure that it includes the beverages, staff, and rentals to save you the hassle. 


What Is The Most Common Food Served At Weddings?

There are different inexpensive meals to serve at a wedding to help you stay within your budget. You’ll typically see sandwiches, salads, soups, pasta, meats, side dishes, bread, and a couple of deserts. 

You can have a menu idea at your wedding: tea sandwiches, tomato soup, Caesar salad, pasta Alfredo, prime rib or chicken piccata, roasted potatoes, muffins, and cookies. 



And that’s it! We found out what is the cheapest food to serve at a wedding, which is potato dishes and pasta. 

You can then consider a buffet or potluck-style wedding reception instead of a traditional sit-down dinner to save more on costs. But in general, $2,000 to $4,000 is a reasonable amount to spend on wedding food. 

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