Different Ways to Cut Costs on Your Wedding Reception Menu

Wondering how to cut costs on your wedding reception menu? Fret not! We have listed 5 smart ways to stick to your budget.

The money spent on wedding catering takes up a major chunk of your wedding budget. Especially a wedding reception’s menu is lavish (for most of the time) and ends up being the most expensive meal in Indian weddings. Though this is the truth, you should not be scared of the catering costs of a wedding reception. There are smart ways to cut down the cost of your reception menu without actually compromising on the quality or the quantity. 


The wedding reception dinners include a variety of cuisines and have different live-counters and salad bars. The guests usually expect a mix of North Indian cuisine and South Indian cuisine along with Chinese starters, Italian salads, etc..


Here are 11 ways to cut down costs on your wedding reception menu: 

  1.  Make a guestlist


This is the part where most of the couples go wrong. It is vital to know the size of your guest list before you decide on the number of servings. Yes, sometimes there might be slight differences between the anticipated numbers and the actual numbers. As long as the difference between those numbers is minimal, there is no need to worry about the cost. 


Beware, there have been instances where a large number of guests turned up for the wedding reception than the actual wedding. It is because wedding receptions usually happen in the evening where most of the guests will be relieved of their work commitments.

It is also interesting to note that, these reception dinners are usually served with the buffet system, and hence the catering costs are calculated per plate. Now imagine the bills if a sudden barrage of unexpected guests shows up! Scary!

  1. Brainstorm with your catering experts before deciding on the menu: 


Brainstorming with your caterer can do wonders for your wedding reception menu. Experts from the catering industry have extensive knowledge of the menu and great cost-cutting measures. For instance, your caterer may have had live barbecue counters which were crowd pullers in their last catering assignment. If you fail to brainstorm with your caterer, you may miss out on this magical set up to please your guests. 


Choosing the right caterer is the most important step that you should take before deciding on the menu. We, at Matrimony Bazaar, help you find those industry-leading experts with our WeddingAssist platform. Our experts at WeddingAssist, connect you with the best wedding caterers available near you and they negotiate with them on your behalf.  

  1. Set up live counters: 


Live counters are a street smart way to reduce your food wastage. People are usually attracted to live counters, because of the freshness and flexibility they get with it. Right from welcome drinks to snacks and desserts, live counters can be showstoppers anywhere. Whether it is vegetarian or non-vegetarian dishes, live-counters can save you a lot of money.  


Take a live dosa counter for example. Say, you are expecting around 350 guests, but you are not sure about how many people would love to have a dosa. Live dosa counters come to your rescue here. The live counter ends up making dosas only for those who are interested in having it and not for those who prefer to avoid it. This way, you reduce food wastage and save costs. Live counters are also exciting for the guests and to know that a chef is making something especially for you is the best feeling!


Photo by Naim Benjelloun from Pexels

  1. Chalk out a plan to use seasonal ingredients: 


Using seasonal ingredients in your wedding reception menu helps you cut down on the costs while enhancing the taste of your dishes. For example, if you are having an Indian summer wedding, you can include a generous amount of mango in your wedding reception menu. 


That will be a sweet surprise to your guests and pocket-friendly for you. Dishes like Mango Seekarane, Aamras and poori, Mavinkayi Chitranna, Maanga Pachdi, Mango milkshake/smoothie, Appe saaru (as an appetizer,) Mango salads,  Mango pudding, Mango pickles, Chunda, Sugar Baby mango curry (Konkani cuisine), Fruit salad, Mango Ice cream, Mango Lassi, Mango Pani Poori, etc.. (The list goes on and on!)


Going back to the summer theme, seasonal fruits and veggies like Melons, Jackfruit, Raw Jackfruit, Cucumbers, etc., are a great addition to the menu. 


Photo by Bruno Scramgnon from Pexels

  1. Stay away from the big and fancy cakes: 


People prefer to have a fancy and big wedding cake at their reception. Mostly, these wedding cakes are ginormous and people tend to stop with just a piece or two. The rest of the cake is obviously left out. To cut down on this, you can choose to have a relatively smaller cake that can last for a single serving to your guests. Instead, you can go with little cupcakes of different flavours.


This way you can cut spending on big cakes but still give some variety to your guests. 


Photo by Abie ZeroSix from Pexels

  1. Limit the number of dishes 


It is quite simple. Lesser the number of dishes, the lesser you spend. Instead of going for a four-course or five-course meal you can stick to only three courses and serve them better. For instance, you can have two appetizers, four to five dishes on the main course and a couple of desserts. 


Some people prefer to have an elaborate menu with three to four appetizers, seven or eight main course dishes, and a big assortment of salads and desserts. In these cases, the guests will be confused and they will have a bit of everything and most of it will be leftover. 


Reports on food wastage in India have heart-stopping numbers. They suggest that around INR 50,000 crores worth of food gets disposed of as food waste. Apart from other significant numbers, figures from the wedding catering industry are major contributors to that number. One of the ways to address this problem is to have a conservative menu with a limited number of dishes that are of high quality. This not only saves costs but also values the millions of people who struggle to have one square meal a day.

  1. Source meat from local markets


If your wedding menu involves a lot of meat, consider sourcing it from the local markets. Sourcing locally means that your meat will be fresh and more importantly you can save money on transportation. Take an example of a beach wedding, if you have seafood in your menu what better place to source it than from the local fish market. Seafood from local fisherman always tastes better and costs less. 


Check out our Partner stories by The Masha Caterers on non-veg catering for weddings




Photo by Chait Goli from Pexels

  1. Go for an off-season wedding


Yes, this can influence the cost of everything at your wedding. During auspicious days, the cost of vegetables and fruits skyrocket and they will increase the cost of the food at your wedding. Apart from fruits and vegetables, even the cost of flowers for decorations shoots up. Hence, for all good reasons, try to avoid having a wedding during peak wedding season.

  1. Opt for a buffet 


Buffets significantly reduce the cost of your wedding reception menu. Guests can have as much food as they want instead of being served everything. Even in quantities, the guests can decide how much they want, which will lead to less food wastage. In a reception buffet, less staff are required which is a significant factor in bringing down the costs. 

  1. Wedding crashers


Wedding crashers are a common occurrence in every Indian wedding. They can’t be identified easily among the crowd that gathers to greet the couple. These wedding crashers are nowhere related to you but still, you will end up spending for them at your wedding. The best way to avoid this to have a proper system in place to send-in people only with wedding invitations

  1. Check for in-house catering


Wedding venues usually have tie-ups with wedding service providers such as caterers and decorators. If you are opting for an in-house catering service you may end up saving some money. For instance, some resorts double up as a wedding venue, but they will insist that you will have to go with the in-house catering service. If you do, then you will end up paying only for the food and save the cost spent on rent for the wedding venue.



These are the 11 tips that will help you save up some money on the wedding reception menu. If you are looking for caterers who can help you with your wedding catering, look no further. 


Our WeddingAssist service is focussed primarily on helping couples find the best wedding services like mehndi artists, emcees, wedding photographers, wedding vehicle rentals, and a plethora of other wedding services.  For more info, get in touch with us through care@matrimonybazaar.com or call us on +91 812 422 2266.

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