Culinary Creativity on a Budget: Cheap Catering Ideas for Wedding

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Weddings can be expensive, but who says you can’t have a fabulous feast without breaking the bank? Get ready to discover some amazing cheap catering ideas that will leave your guests raving about the food while keeping your budget intact. From mouth-watering appetizers to delectable desserts, we’ve got you covered with creative and budget-friendly options that will make your special day unforgettable.

In this blog post, we’ll explore affordable appetizer selections, budget-friendly main course ideas, delightful dessert options, money-saving beverage choices, and valuable DIY catering tips. Let’s dive in and start planning a scrumptious wedding feast that won’t break the bank!

Short Summary

  • Feed your guests on a budget with affordable appetizers, finger foods & creative crudité displays!
  • Excite them with budget-friendly main course ideas like pasta stations, BBQ buffets & taco bars!
  • Delight in delicious desserts and affordable beverage choices for the perfect wedding feast!

Affordable Appetizer Selections

Starting your wedding feast with affordable appetizer selections can save money while still providing a variety of delicious options for guests. Your guests will love nibbling on tasty bites during cocktail hour, setting the tone for the rest of the dinner party celebration.

In the following sections, we’ll delve into finger foods, creative crudité displays, and DIY charcuterie boards as cost-effective appetizer options that will leave your guests craving for more.

Finger Foods

Finger foods are a fantastic and cost-effective catering choice, offering bite-sized snacks that your guests can enjoy while mingling. These little delights are easy to prepare and often less expensive than other catering options, making them a smart choice for your wedding budget. When it comes to food choices, these can be altered to suit different dietary requirements and even cater to picky eaters. There is also the possibility to satisfy different food preferences too.

Some delightful finger food examples include sliders, spring rolls, mini pizzas, and other light snacks that will keep your guests satisfied until the main course is served. Don’t be surprised if they can’t stop talking about how delicious these appetizers were!

Creative Crudité Displays

Creative crudité displays with a variety of vegetables and dips can be an inexpensive and visually appealing appetizer option for weddings. Not only are they easy on the wallet, but they also offer a healthy option for your guests to munch on.

Get playful with your crudité display by using cups or glassware, arranging them in a platter, or creating a colorful display of sliced vegetables. Popular options include carrots, celery, bell peppers, cucumbers, radishes, and jicama. Paired with delicious dips, your guests will be delighted by this fresh and budget-friendly appetizer option.

Cheese and Charcuterie Boards

Cheese and charcuterie boards are not only a crowd-pleaser, but also a budget-friendly appetizer choice that can be customized to include a variety of cheeses, meats, fruits, and crackers. These boards add an air of sophistication to your event without putting a dent in your wallet.

Popular cheese options for your board include cheddar, gruyere, gouda, fresh goat cheese, brie, and feta cheese, while charcuterie options can range from salami to prosciutto. Add crackers, nuts, and fresh fruits to complete your delicious and budget-conscious cheese and charcuterie board. Use CMJJ’s Plastic Mason Jars as the perfect portion ready to go charcuterie vessels. With our two newest sizes, 24oz and 29.6oz, your guests can have a full selection of meats, cheeses and fruits without having to worry about all the other party guests hovering over the selection.

Budget-Friendly Main Course Ideas

When it comes to the main course, it’s important to strike a balance between satisfying your guests’ palates and keeping your budget in check. Thankfully, there are several mouth-watering and budget-friendly main course ideas that will leave your guests raving about the food without breaking the bank.

In the following sections, we’ll look at pasta stations, barbecue buffets, and taco bars as cost-effective main course options that can be customized to suit your guests’ preferences and dietary restrictions.

Pasta Stations

Pasta stations are an affordable catering option that allows guests to choose their preferred pasta, sauce, and toppings, creating a personalized and satisfying meal. They’re not only budget-friendly, but also offer a wide range of customization options to cater to different tastes and dietary requirements.

Exciting pasta station options include mac and cheese, spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, and ravioli. Other tasty options include pesto pasta, Alfredo pasta, and pasta salads, which can be combined to create family style meals for a complete meal experience for your guests.

When setting up a pasta station, make sure to provide a variety of pasta, sauces, and toppings, as well as vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, ensuring that every guest gets their perfect plate of pasta.

Barbecue Buffets

Barbecue buffets offer a casual and cost-effective way to feed guests, with options such as grilled meats, vegetables, and side dishes that can be tailored to the event. The laid-back atmosphere of a barbecue buffet makes it a popular choice for weddings, allowing guests to enjoy delicious food without the formality of a sit-down dinner. For those looking to arrange buffets for their events, a barbecue buffet is an excellent option.

Popular barbecue buffet options include grilled chicken, ribs, burgers, and sausages, along with grilled vegetables and mouth-watering side dishes like potato salad and coleslaw. By offering a variety of meats, veggies, and sides, you can create a feast that caters to everyone’s tastes while keeping costs low.

Self Serve Taco Bars

Taco bars provide a fun and budget-friendly main course option, allowing guests to build their own tacos with a variety of fillings and toppings. This interactive dining experience lets your guests create their perfect taco while keeping costs low.

Offer a selection of proteins, such as beef, chicken, or fish, along with a variety of toppings like cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and salsa. Don’t forget to include vegetarian and vegan options, as well as gluten-free tortillas, to cater to all dietary preferences.

With a taco bar, you’ll have a festive and budget-friendly main course that’s sure to be a hit.

Dessert Options on a Dime

No wedding feast is complete without dessert. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on a towering wedding cake. There are plenty of affordable dessert options that can be customized to suit your wedding theme and guests’ tastes.

In the following sections, we’ll explore cupcake towers, dessert bars, and DIY ice cream stations as delightful dessert options that won’t hurt your wallet while still satisfying your guests’ sweet tooth.

Cupcake Towers

Cupcake towers are an affordable alternative to traditional wedding cakes, offering a variety of flavors and decorations that can be tailored to the event. Not only do they save you money, but they also allow your guests to choose their favorite flavors and enjoy a sweet treat without the formality of a cake-cutting ceremony.

Some popular cupcake tower options include vanilla, chocolate, red velvet, and lemon, adorned with frosting, sprinkles, and edible flowers to match your wedding theme. With a cupcake tower, you can offer a variety of delectable treats that cater to everyone’s preferences without breaking the bank.

Dessert Bars

Dessert bars provide a cost-effective way to offer a variety of sweet treats, such as cookies, brownies, and fruit cups, allowing guests to choose their favorites. By offering an array of desserts, you can cater to different tastes and ensure that everyone finds something they love.

When setting up a dessert bar, make sure to provide a variety of treats, label each treat, and provide utensils for guests to use. This will allow guests to enjoy a range of sweet flavors and find their favorite dessert options, all while keeping costs low.

Don’t stop there, one of the most important parts of having beautiful a beautiful, and Instagram worthy dessert spread is having a plastic container that fits into your vision. If you want to elevate your dessert bar in the most cost effective way is to utilize unique mini plastic dessert cups to house your creations.

DIY Ice Cream Stations

DIY ice cream stations are a fun and budget-friendly dessert option, with guests able to create their own ice cream sundaes using a variety of toppings and sauces. This interactive dessert experience lets your guests indulge their sweet tooth while keeping costs low.

Offer a selection of ice cream flavors, along with toppings like sprinkles, chocolate chips, caramel sauce, hot fudge, and whipped cream, allowing guests to create their perfect sundae. Don’t forget to include some non-dairy ice cream options for those with dietary restrictions.

With a DIY ice cream station, you’ll have a dessert option that’s both fun and budget-friendly, similar to a food truck experience. For more tips on DIY ice cream stations check out “4 Self-Serve Ice Cream Bar Tips for Wedding Planners“, this will give you the inside scoop from a different perspective.

Money-Saving Beverage Choices

When it comes to quenching your guests’ thirst, there are money-saving beverage choices that can help reduce costs while still providing a variety of drink options. By offering budget-friendly drinks, you can ensure that your guests stay refreshed and entertained throughout the event.

In the following sections, we’ll look at signature cocktails and self-serve drink stations as cost-effective ways to keep your guests hydrated and happy without breaking the bank.

Signature Cocktails

Signature cocktails are a budget-friendly way to offer alcoholic beverages at a wedding, with one or two specially chosen drinks that can be prepared in advance and served throughout the event. By limiting your alcoholic beverage options, you can significantly reduce costs while still offering a touch of sophistication.

Some popular signature cocktails for weddings include Moscow Mules, Manhattans, Margaritas, and Old Fashioneds. When choosing your signature cocktails, consider the theme and colors of your wedding, as well as the preferences of your guests, to create a memorable and budget-conscious beverage option.

You could also offer signature shots named in honor of you and your beloved for example, “The Williams Shot” or “True Love’s Potion”. These custom shots can be served alongside your signature cocktails for those who want something a little extra. Using disposable shot glasses for your wedding is a smart and cost effective choice for several reasons. Plastic shot glasses are durable and hassle free as they come with the peace of mind that you won’t have broken glass at the end of the night.

Self-Serve Drink Stations

Self-serve drink stations allow guests to help themselves to a variety of beverages, such as water, soft drinks, and tea, reducing the need for additional staff and keeping costs low. By offering a selection of non-alcoholic beverages, you can cater to all guests’ preferences without breaking the bank.

When setting up a self-serve drink station, make sure to provide a variety of beverages, label each drink, and provide cups and utensils for guests to use. This will allow guests to stay refreshed throughout the event while keeping your catering costs low.

DIY Catering Tips

DIY catering can be a great way to create a memorable and budget-friendly wedding catering experience. By taking matters into your own hands, you can save money and ensure that everything is tailored to your specific needs and preferences, providing affordable catering options. However, it’s important to remember that not every event may be suitable for DIY catering.

In the following sections, we’ll explore menu planning, food preparation, and presentation ideas as valuable DIY catering tips that can help you create a wedding feast that both you and your guests will love.

Menu Planning

Menu planning involves selecting dishes that are cost-effective, easy to prepare, and suitable for the event, taking into account guests’ preferences and dietary restrictions. By carefully planning your menu, you can ensure that your wedding feast is both delicious and budget-friendly.

Consider the occasion and the attendees when planning your menu, and focus on using seasonal ingredients and dishes that cater to different dietary preferences. This will help you create a menu that satisfies all guests while keeping costs low.

Food Preparation

Food preparation tips include using seasonal ingredients, buying in bulk, and preparing dishes in advance to save time and money on the day of the event. By focusing on these strategies, you can create a delicious wedding feast without breaking the bank.

Incorporate seasonal produce into your menu to ensure food quality and look for local farmers markets or grocery stores that offer seasonal produce at a lower cost. Buy in bulk to save money on ingredients, and prepare dishes in advance so you can focus on enjoying your special day.

Presentation Ideas

Presentation ideas for DIY catering setup include using attractive serving platters, creating food stations, and incorporating the wedding theme and colors into the food and drink displays. With these cheap catering ideas, a visually appealing presentation will leave a lasting impression on your guests and elevate the overall dining experience. By implementing these creative ideas, you can achieve a stunning catering setup without breaking the bank.

Use decorations, tablecloths, and serving platters in your wedding colors and theme, and create food stations that are both functional and visually appealing, ensuring that your wedding catering is as memorable as the rest of your special day.


In conclusion, creating a memorable and budget-friendly wedding catering experience is possible with smart planning and creative ideas. By exploring affordable appetizer selections, budget-friendly main course ideas, delightful dessert options, money-saving beverage choices, and valuable DIY catering tips, you can ensure that your guests enjoy a delicious feast without breaking the bank.

Remember that the key to successful wedding catering on a budget is to be resourceful, flexible, and willing to think outside the box. With these tips in mind, you’re well on your way to creating a wedding feast that’s both satisfying and budget-friendly. You may want to check out “A Feast to Remember: Unique Catering Ideas for Your Wedding” to get you started on on what catering ideas are popular and how you can use your resources to make them more affordable to suit your budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cheapest way to feed a wedding crowd?

Catering can be one of the most expensive parts of a wedding, but it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of ways to feed your guests without breaking the bank. Treat your wedding guests to a budget-friendly feast with BBQ, taco bar, pasta bar, food truck, pizza, DIY potluck dinner, baked potato bar, charcuterie and snacks – guaranteed to keep your food costs low!

These options are sure to please everyone, and you can rest assured that your guests will be full and happy without breaking the bank.

What are the cheapest foods to cater?

With the help of family and friends, create your menu using budget-friendly ingredients like pasta or rice dishes, homemade salads, chicken, vegetables, stews, and curries.

All of these are great, cheap catering options to save money and keep your guests full and happy!

How can I save money on beverages at my wedding?

Take advantage of signature cocktails and self-serve drink stations to save money on beverages at your wedding – it’s a great way to provide variety without breaking the bank!

These options are becoming increasingly popular for weddings, and can be tailored to fit any budget. They also provide a unique and memorable experience for your guests.

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  • Dacia Flowers

    Dacia Flowers is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) with a major in Cultural Anthropology. Since graduating in 2019, she has expanded her expertise and applied her anthropological background in the practical domain. As the Administration Manager at CMJJ Gourmet since August 2022, Dacia handles crucial day-to-day operations, ensuring the warehouse's optimal functionality, timely delivery of orders, and managing invoices. Her commitment to excellence and in-depth understanding of organizational dynamics stem not just from her academic prowess but also her personal passion. Beyond her professional responsibilities, Dacia has a keen interest in reading, loves to travel, and stays active through regular exercise.

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