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Top Wedding Menu Ideas In 2023 And Tips On Saving Money


Picking out the wedding menu ideas for your wedding is one of the most crucial parts of your wedding checklist. The right foods to get the guests excited are cheap wedding foods that are in season at the time of your wedding.

Using seasonal food gives you the opportunity to experiment with and combine different fresh foods, flavors, foods etc.

Let’s list the main questions about the wedding menu:

  • What is the average cost per plate for a wedding reception?

The average cost per plate for a wedding is $41 while a buffet will cost an average of $28. This is inclusive of food, drinks, appetizers and all.
Usually, couples spend as low as $1800 on food upwards to the tune of $10,000 dollars. This is depending on the kind of wedding they are having.

  • Is a buffet wedding cheaper?

Serving your wedding receptions food buffet style is quite cheap but has its flip side. While you will spend very little or nothing on caterers, staff and rentals, you will spend more getting food.

This is because guests will be totally left to serve themselves and we all know some guests can go overboard at such liberties. Best bet is to control portions by keeping someone in charge.

This post will show you the best sample menu for a wedding reception in winter or summer, buffet or cocktail, if you’re catering your own wedding.

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Spring Wedding Menu Ideas

For wedding food ideas on a budget, go for everything fresh from fruits to vegetables and incorporate them into your spring wedding menu ideas.
Cheap foods that make the seasonal menu in spring range from apricots to lemons, asparagus, melons, mint, berries, lavender, and others.

The weather is warm, so we will advise you to do less liquor and more chilled juices, lemonades, and wine. The menu is a simple one too, so to minimize spending, do find and let the guests make their own cocktail.


A sample wedding menu for the spring wedding:


  • Mini shrimp salad rolls
  • Raspberry infused vinaigrette + mixed fruit salad
  • Deconstructed bruschetta
  • Assorted charcuterie board

Main Courses:

  • Lightly seasoned trout with parsley-caper vinaigrette
  • Herb roasted chicken and rice with fresh apricot
  • Spring vegetable risotto
  • Pastel colored macaroons
  • Grilled rack of lamb with asparagus
  • Orange-soy glazed scallops


  • Mint Juleps
  • Bellinis
  • Champagne and raspberry sorbet
  • Make-your-own Mimosas
  • Flavor variants of lemonade


  • Vintage wedding cake
  • Simple cake + colored pompoms
  • Lavender wedding cake
  • Petit Fours
  • Colorful candy bar
  • Pop tarts
  • Pick candy galore


Wedding Menu Ideas For Summer

The summer months is a cool time to get married outdoors. Summer wedding menu ideas should be light and soothing. What do you serve at a summer wedding? Your menu will be dependent on where you choose to have your wedding – whether in the woods, beach, park, backyard or a well-ventilated hall.

The seasonal foods to incorporate into your wedding menu ranges from fruits to vegetables and herbs such as peaches, cucumber, garlic, zucchini, carrots. We also have really cheap radishes, tomatoes, lemons, plums, blackberries, and passion fruit.

Leave out anything hot as summer menu foods serve to skip them, and go for chilled desserts, cocktails, and drinks.


A sample of summer wedding menu:


  • Antipasto display
  • Frozen slices of watermelon
  • Shrimp gazpacho
  • Miniature crab cakes

Main course:

  • Cheese with dressed lobster mac
  • Pulled pork sandwiches
  • Shrimp and grits
  • Grilled chicken with sweet summer vegetables
  • Brisket with mashed potatoes


  • Mai Tais
  • Cocktail Paletas
  • Sweet tea
  • Basil Gimlets
  • Cold sodas


  • Simple and minimalist wedding cake
  • Peach-blueberry cobbler
  • Strawberry shortcake
  • Ice cream sandwiches
  • Snow cone cart


Simple Wedding Menu For Autumn

Your fall wedding menu ideas should be well filled with deep rich and traditional colors with a lot of spices and flavor. Take advantage of seasonal fruits and vegetables like apples, Brussel sprouts, carrots, cranberries, beets- cabbage, cauliflowers, figs, mushrooms, potato, sweet-corn, broccoli, and pears.

Do as many DIY as you can, it helps a lot. They can be homemade and are basically cheap. Save money by self-catering.

A sample menu for an autumn wedding:


  • Cranberry and brie bites
  • Filo tarts with spinach, pumpkin and pine nuts
  • Potato leek soup shooters
  • Bacon wrapped dates
  • Sweet potato rounds and cheddar and chives toppings

Main courses:

  • Roast potatoes+ grilled petit filet
  • Roasted pork loin with sautéed apple slices
  • Wild mushroom risotto
  • Wild rice + Cornish game hen
  • Butternut squash ravioli with brown butter sauce


  • Moscow Mules
  • Honeycrisp apple sangria
  • Apple cider spiked with cinnamon
  • Cinnamon rosemary old fashioned
  • Hot apple cider


  • DIY help yourself smores
  • Indulgent chocolate cake
  • Mini apple and pumpkin pies
  • Spiced carrot cake


Sample Menu For Winter Wedding Reception

Winter is a cold period and everyone needs something to warm them up. It’s a time for coziness and some heavy eating. Winter wedding menu ideas should consist of everything hot, spicy and full meals, with hard cocktails slandered decadent desserts.

Take advantage of the cheap fruits and veggies in the season like pomegranates, sweet potato, clementine, cabbage- onions, carrots, mushrooms, and turnips.

Do as many DIY as you can, it helps a lot and is cost effective. They can be homemade and are basically cheap. Save money by self-catering.
What do you serve at a winter wedding then?

A sample of winter wedding menu:


  • Mini grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup
  • Baked Brie with blackberry compote
  • Pancetta-wrapped asparagus
  • Pear Bruschetta
  • Butternut squash soup with bleu cheese

Main courses:

  • Beef tenderloin with roasted potatoes
  • Filet mignon with green beans
  • Herb crusted lamb and mashed potatoes
  • Chicken pot pie with winter vegetables
  • Stuffed Portobello mushrooms

Signature drinks:

  • Hot toddies
  • Mulled wine
  • Salted caramel white Russians
  • Poinsettia spritz punch
  • Sparkling apple cranberry juice


  • Hot chocolate bar
  • Donut Bar
  • Red velvet cake
  • Homemade Toffee
  • Dark chocolate cake


Ways To Save Money On Food And Drink At A Wedding

You can cut wedding expenses and save money on food and drink at a wedding through these smart methods below.

  • Don’t hire servers

If you are particular about cutting costs wedding menu ideas, do not hire servers. That is a huge way to save money. Guests can help themselves to their appetizers and meals and they don’t really care. You may also ask the family to man the area, as that will ensure orderliness.


Choose simple appetizers

The average person has a rough clue on how to cater a wedding. But it is important to know how to either make your own appetizers or go for simple ones. This saves you about 30% – 50% of your budget.

  • Don’t choose a sit-down dinner

Wedding reception menus that allow the guests to move around have taken over in recent times. Couples now prefer a simple wedding menu that guests can take without sitting down. This saves cost on rentals, caterers, servers and course meals. Appetizers are the best bets for a stand-up reception meal.


Use seasonal foods

Seasonal foods at the time of your wedding is an advantage to you. They come really cheap. You will also be serving your guests something fresh with a much-reduced cost in logistics. This is as against other foods that will be costly and need to be moved into the state.

  • Make sure your venue allows outside catering for your own wedding

A self-catered wedding menu ideas or striking better deals with vendors of your choice- gives you many pocket-friendly options to choose from. Check that your venue allows an external vendor to cater your wedding. Some may insist you eat their own food or buy all your drinks from them.


Choose a simply decorated wedding cake

The beauty of a castle style or Eiffel Tower cake is very tempting, extravagant and beautiful. But to save some money, go for something simple, yet beautiful. Truth is the ones who really care do not notice or eat these cakes. Do you and go easy on your dear pocket.

  • Try a cupcake wedding cake

You can have as many cupcakes as you want and even make them into tiers if you wish. They are a pretty sight and they cost way less than an actual wedding cake. The best part is that these cakes will make great take-home wedding favors for your guests.


Limit open bar

The bar should be open an hour to the wedding the reception or an hour to the end of the reception. But it is best to have it open at the beginning of the reception because guests will most likely take a drink as they arrive and mingle, not when it ends.

  • Serve wine and beer

A lot of guests will come in to have good liquor. Whip out your alcohol calculator and measure how much beer to wine you can supply instead. Those are cheap options to hard liquor which will dig a hole in your pocket. Guests also got two options to choose from.


Check your venue for hidden fees

Fees that pop up at the venue can ruin your day because they were not planned for. Find out hidden fees at your venue and avoid them no matter how small. Make do with what you have even if you have to bring your kitchen knife to cut your cake.

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Top Wedding Food Ideas On A Budget

For wedding menu ideas that fit your wedding budget, go for the simplest of foods. The foods below are simple, cheap, easy to find, yet special. This is a regular at weddings and hands-on brides can DIY. Get creative with these foods below and save extra cash from the wedding.


Mimosa bar

Source: Instagram@villagracegh

For something light and low on alcohol to serve your guests with, get the sweet tongue calming mimosa bar into the party. There is no better goodness for cakes, cookies, and biscuits than mimosa bars. The best part is that it is very popular and trending cheap wedding food.

  • Crostini bar

Source: Instagram@mistyyoon

Forget the 3 and 5-course meals served to guests at exotics weddings. These are the ideal brunch or lunch wedding menu ideas. A very sophisticated, yet cheap wedding food. One you can cater to by yourself. You can DIY with family or friends. Wash down with some wine or beer.


Biscuits bar

Source: Instagram@katienesbittphoto

Since people do not attend a wedding to take breakfast, biscuits bar are perfect for afternoon or evening wedding. Even better served as a buffet, where guests can have their fill. Experiment with a different flavor for biscuits like chocolate, caramel, and others. These are foods that you can DIY for the wedding.

  • Dessert bar

Source: Instagram@swttoothbuffets

“Wow” your guests and save money by presenting them with work dessert bars, especially if you are having an evening wedding. Go full creative by opting for classic varieties like cheesecake bars, cookies, lemon bars, and peanut butter bars etc. Match the desserts with a glass of wine or some premium beer.


Salsa bar

Source: Instagram@tessbrankerphoto

Salsa bars are multipurpose wedding food ideas that serve well and cheap. This is something you can DIY along with family and friends. Make unending batches of sauce and finish with great toppings. This can be served as a buffet style with bread crumbs, chips and any other dessert you deem fit.

  • Candy buffet

Source: Instagram@bizziebeecreations

Guests will turn giddy with excitement to have to take their own candy. Have candies placed out for guests? Let them pick up as much as they want and even take home as wedding favors. Make the candies available in cute variations, this will be both kids and adults delight.

Your wedding menu ideas can be exotic and still budget-friendly. For every season of the year, there are cheap wedding foods to give you the best time at your wedding-yet-to to help you save money.

If you’re looking to create a wedding receptions menu for any season of the year or any style of wedding, you’re at the right place. We have something for everyone to make a wedding unforgettable!