Rhoad to the Altar: Chicken and green beans
cost HOW MUCH?

Jenny Ebert Photography/Provided by weddingchannel.com/MCT
Setting up a candy buffet at your wedding isn’t just a great way to offer a range of sweets, but it can also perk up one corner of your reception hall.

Christian and I had our first meeting with two caterers to talk about food for the wedding, and I’ve decided that everyone’s just going to eat hot dogs. I  almost threw up when I found out how much it costs to feed 200 people chicken and green beans. Wow.

We talked to two catering companies around Lancaster, both recommended by Lauxmont Farms. While checking out the venue, Lauxmont gave us a list of caterers, DJs, decorators and more, with tips on which were more affordable and which were on the pricey side. I recommend asking for suggestions if your venue doesn’t provide a list. They deal with wedding-related businesses on a weekly basis, and I’m sure they’ve formed their own opinions.

Even if they aren’t the most unbiased opinions, is that really what you want at this point? I need someone who’s going to tell me honestly, “No, their food sucked and cost way too much money.” Or “You might pay more, but they’re dependable.” Especially since I’ve never ordered more than $30 worth of food to-go!

We sat down with both caterers and gave them our sketched-out menu. After throwing a few ideas around, we had decided on sticking with comfort foods for an October wedding: herb-roasted chicken, mashed sweet potatoes, salad, green beans, maybe a pasta and bread. Both caterers were very helpful in our first attempts at figuring out what to serve our guests, and both found us a couple of ways to save some money.

Courtesy of Vancouver Bites! — Flickr.com
We opted to go for a salad bar at the buffet, rather than pre-plated salads to save some money.

Instead of using pre-plated salads, we’re going to do a salad bar, which saved us about $1 per person. And our guests will be eating those salads off their very own plastic salad plates. We also decided to go with plastic for appetizer and dessert/cake plates, saving us another $105. It’s not much, but it adds up fast. Believe me. We also might forgo the water goblets for some good old, clear solo cups, saving another $52.50

We also opted for the caterers to provide beverage service, such as soda and water during dinner. We were going to try and handle this ourselves, but the task seems quite daunting.  This will save us from having to buy an igloo’s worth of ice and hundreds of cans of soda or 2-liters. This wedding-planning experience is teaching me that sometimes convenience is worth the higher price. Beverage service also comes with someone to watch over said drinks while providing service to guests.

Initially, we were going to offer a tricked-out salad bar as our vegetarian option with cranberries, nuts, figs (Christian kept bringing up figs. Who eats figs?), goat cheese and more, but Christian made a good point that three hot offerings might not be enough options. Essentially, if you don’t like green beans, you’re only eating chicken and sweet potatoes. And if you don’t like sweet potatoes, you’re only eating chicken and green beans. I have way too many picky friends, so we decided we might want to go with a fourth option of pasta, like cannolli or manicotti.

It’s very had to balance my want for tasty food and multiple options for wedding guests with our less-than-cushy budget, but I definitely recommend talking to several caterers and weighing your options. I’m sure we’ll still talk to a few more just to get a better idea of what we can anticipate spending, including a few locations in York.

Paper napkins, cupcakes, faux silver plasticware: What did you do to save money on food at your wedding?

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