You’ve got the venue or tent. You’ve got the invitations out. All the hard stuff is over, right? Wrong. Now you’ve got to decide on food. Odds are you’ve got a group too big for the dinner table. So how can you feed all those mouths while still staying within your budget? Read on to find out.

Before signing anything with a high price catering business, first take a moment to determine your needs. What are you catering for? Maybe you only need an appetizer or a dessert. Maybe your guests will expect a full on dinner. By considering how much food is expected and appropriate, you could save yourself a fortune. After all, if you are having an Engagement Party at 8pm, odds are you won’t need to serve dinner as everyone will know to eat beforehand.

Unique Catering Options

Make It Yourself

This is only suggested if you have access to a fridge and full kitchen the day of the event. This is also only a “budget” option if you are doing dessert or appetizers. Pouring some chips in a bowl, a few dollops of salsa in small dishes and chopping up some carrots is easy as 1-2-3. Things can often be prepared ahead of time and frozen or refrigerated until the event. Keep it simple though as to not overwhelm yourself.


Instead of asking your guests “chicken or fish?” consider just setting up a buffet. A trip to your local warehouse food source can provide you with large vegetable trays, meat platters, and jello salad. By simply removing the lid and lining a table with the food, guests can come and get as much or as little as they’d like. This way, the guests that ate before hand, aren’t hungry or are watching their figure, won’t be pressured to eat the $15 a plate dinner that is by their nametag. This also allows guests who just want a little bite of food to have just that. It is easy set up and easy cleanup and will save a fortune since you won’t need servers!


Depending on the type of event and how formal it is, a barbeque, if appropriate, is a wonderful food option that can save a bundle while providing guest fresh, hot food. You can do potluck style if you wish, or simply buy the basics. A burger head is much cheaper than one fish per person. This also cuts out the need for waiters, a heavy expense in catering. The dollar store or warehouse can supply paper plates and utensils that are fancier than you might think and it makes cleanup a breeze. Even if you decide to offer other options, such as fish or chicken, it will still cost less if you go this route. You can glam up the idea of a barbeque as well by offering grilled fruit, like pineapple, and vegetables.

Dessert Only

That’s right! By serving only dessert and possibly fruit, you are saving a bundle of money on food and dishes. Have several options available. Consider offering cupcakes, fruit and dip, ice cream, cookies and pie! Most guests will only be able to have a few of each so you won’t need to buy as much as you would of normal dinner/lunch items. One more tip, it is a good idea to use online cake delivery sites for your convenience. This will not just save you time but also money.

Author Bio

Shelby Morrison has been writing for seven years in various categories. She specializes currently in articles, web content and novel writing. She enjoys writing about party rental in Salt Lake City, activities for small children to help stay-at-home moms, and saving money by living frugal.

Photo Credit: TEDxLasPalmas