My Wedding Breakfast

How we reduced the cost of catering our wedding by opting for cheaper options for drinks and choosing 2 courses instead of 3

I’ve shared many details about my wedding, I’ve shared with you some of the decorations and entertainment we created, how the husband and I made our invitations, I gave you 14 ways how we reduced costs, I’ve divulged a breakdown of the wedding day and I let you in our own very own personal vows!

But in none of these posts have I ever gone into detail about our catering, what food and drink we chose for our wedding breakfast, how we went about making the decisions we did and what our reasons were for those decisions. In this post I will finally share these details with you.

It’s probably quite evident from everything else I’ve shared in the past 2-3 years on this blog that the Husband and I wanted our wedding planning to go as smoothly as possible, and we really didn’t want to be spending all our spare time planning the wedding. We also didn’t want to cause ourselves any more stress or grief than was necessary, so if there was a way we could cut out any potential stress we would.

From previous experience (of when I was first engaged) and from watching friends and family plan their weddings we knew that catering was not only one of the most expensive elements to a wedding but was also something that could cause a lot of problems.

Problems that often arise from catering:

  • The pressure of trying to choose a menu that will wow your guests
  • Whilst also trying to ensure the menu you choose will meet all the guests fussiness and food allergies/intolerances
  • And if it does meet guests’ allergies, intolerances and fussiness requirements the stress of then trying to get that menu within your budget
  • let alone then selecting the right wine that everyone will like, the best bubbles and a welcome drink that will “really compliment your couple style”
  • If you manage to make it past all of these hurdles the last and most stressful part of the whole endeavour is chasing your guests for their menu choices, especially Aunt Mable who doesn’t have email nor is able to text and who is wary of answering the phone so makes it go to the answer machine and will only pick up if she recognises your voice. That is if she gets to the phone before you’ve hung up after leaving a brief message as to the fact you’re calling to just check (again!) if she has had a chance to look over the menu options part of the invitation you’re sure she received months ago…

Oh Gosh! I went into a bit of a world of my own there, poor (pretend) Aunt Mable. As you can tell from my above little made up rant, I just could not bare the stress of chasing people for their menu choices. Even though I’ve been married a year I come out in theoretical sweats just thinking about it.

One of the reasons the Husband and I decided to book with Donnington Valley Hotel was because of their flexible approach to catering. Having researched venues online and over the phone I went to view 3 venues with one of my Bridesmaids and to be honest Donnington just really stood out to me for lots of reasons, but it was their flexibility and happiness to work to our budget that really swung the decision.

Back in January 2015 when we first reserved the date of 8th October 2016 for our wedding at Donnington Valley Hotel they emailed me a quotation for 2 catering options for the wedding breakfast, one quote was based on having a 3 course sit down wedding breakfast and the other was based on having a 2 course hot buffet. The 2 course hot buffet option worked out as £12 per head cheaper than the 3 course served to the tables option and I tell you what, a £12 a head saving really works out as quite a bit when you multiply that by the number of guests you plan on inviting.

How to cater your wedding less. How we reduced the cost of feeding our wedding guests and how you could too

Children’s Menu as chosen by our Best Man’s little girl who was 6 years old at the time of the wedding:
Starter: Bread sticks with melted cheese dip
Main: Popcorn chicken with fries
Dessert: Ice cream sundae (mix of ice cream)
The children’s menu cost us £15 per head and we had 5 children attending the wedding that were eating from the children’s menu.

Adults hot buffet menu for guests to choose from on the day
Main: Beef Lasagna and Vegetable Cannelloni (both served hot) with Broccoli and Stilton Quiche (served cold), new potatoes and chives, green beans and red onion, mixed leaves and coleslaw
Desserts: Rich Chocolate Tart and Vanilla Cheesecake

Let’s rewind to the “welcome drinks”. The usual choice for the welcome drinks is Champagne or the slightly cheaper Cava. As we were having an autumnal wedding, and wanted to be a little different, at the same time as reducing costs we opted for
Hot Toddy Cider and Winter Pimms which were £5 each.

Ok, back to the wedding breakfast, we put 1 bottle of red and 1 bottle white wine on each table. We were charged £20 per bottle which was a lot less than many other venues quoted us for bottles of wine. We kept to the tradition of bubbles for toasting the speeches with but opted for Prosecco which worked out as much less then champagne at just £5 per drink.

Many friends advised us that a full evening buffet was quite a waste of money as at their own weddings they noticed most of it was left untouched by the end of the evening. With this advice in mind in opted for bacon, egg and sausage sandwiches to be served around 9pm.

This equates to all the food and drink we paid for for our guests coming to £2,090 which was a significant percentage of our £6.5k budget.


Home Bake – Wedding Cake

My favourite You Tube ‘How To’ for making your own  wedding cake at home. Over these two videos Chef Alan Tetreault, owner of Global Sugar Art shows you have to create your own three tiered wedding cake.

I would say only people who enjoy baking and who bake regularly should even contemplate making their own cake, so do approach this with caution. If you are determined to go down the DIY route for your cake but aren’t great at baking, you could either ask a friend/family member to bake it and you decorate it.


Alternatives to wedding Cake

While browsing a blog that I have linked to on my bloglovin’ page I came across a post on ‘My Big Fat Wedding’ giving ideas for fun alternatives to wedding cake. I’d never even imagined a krispy square wedding “cake”!

It got me thinking about some of my favourite alternatives to the infamous wedding cake; after all the wedding should reflect your style as a couple and should include all the things you love, not just the things you think you should have. Not to mention the cost of a wedding cake can range anything from a cheap £150 to a scary £800. More personal and quirky alternatives can save you big bucks!

Some of the alternatives that really catch my imagination and set my taste buds tingling are:

Cheese Cake 
a Thornton's multi-tiered wedding cheesecake

Doughnut Tower
Simply pop to a shop, select a range of different doughnuts and stack them on a stand or just tower them on top of each other.

Sweet Pies
Either have individual mini pies or have a three or four different flavour full size pies – the pies could be served cold with cream or custard – doubling up as the wedding “cake” and the desert.
Nontraditional Wedding Cake Ideas

Cheese Stack
If you and your H2B don’t have a sweet tooth don’t feel like you have to have something sweet just because it is the most common thing to do. Embrace the savory with a cheese stack. Perhaps this could be served to guests in the evening with bread, crackers and grapes? Just be careful that the cheese doesn’t get too warm…

Will you be going alternative? What sort of alternative wedding “cake” will you be having?

Think High Street…Updated

The high street is the best friend of any budget bride for outfits and accessories. You can clothe yourself, your bridesmaids and your groomsmen all from the high street.

“You needn’t start your married life in debt from your dress – there are some stunning gowns available on the high street that fit a treat.”

BHS, Debenhams (and any local department stores), Littlewoods, M&S, Phase Eight, Monsoon etc. BHS’s wedding dress range is one of the biggest and best ranges you will find on the high street.

TKMAXX now has a wedding boutique! The range includes wedding dresses, wedding shoes, BM dresses, MOB dresses and flower girl dresses. If you’re having a slightly inconvential, relaxed or wedding abroad then TKMAXX really is the place to look for budget wedding idems.

The high street has more to offer for your wedding day then you first think. Beautiful wedding dresses, lovely bridesmaids dresses, shoes to die for, veils (traditional and birdcage), tiaras and hair slides etc, mens suits, waistcoats and cravats, you name it, the high street has it! Sometimes it may not be your local shop that has it, but their website will, and the great thing is often the prices are so much cheaper than the bridal store equivalent, especially in the sale!

Discount shops on the high street can also be great, think Poundland, 99p Store etc for your invites, balloons to decorate, banners, cake/favour boxes. They will be simpler than the more expensive alternative, however they can still look lovely and provide simple chic to your decorations and extras.

Waitrose and M&S do scrummy wedding cakes at a fraction of the cost that a specialised wedding cake maker could. With the range of styles and colours on offer you are bound to find a cake that will suit you. The other way to get yourself a high street cake but to have it more personalised, it to but the plain round cakes that are on offer (these can be bought not only from Waitrose and M&S but Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Asda as well), if you look around you will be able to find fruit and sponge varieties, and if you hire a cake stand you can can 1,2 or 3 tiers and buy ribbons, flowers and other decorations to personalise your cake to fit into the theme of your special day.