I loved this article by Heather W. at Better Homes and Gardens.
One year I went to a remarkable wedding -- the bride was radiant, the groom gallant, the vows tear-inducing and the setting idyllic. The only problem? I was starving. Over the duration of the five-hour affair, I was only able to wrangle a few mini-squash blossoms and chicken skewers from the elusive caterers. Yet this was no shoestring-budget wedding -- the champagne, venue, and wedding band were A-List, and the bride’s dress was, I'm told, in the five figures. My thought, en route to the nearest drive-through on the way home: Being frugal is fine, but don't scrimp on the food.
To avoid the following reception food faux pas (and get some wallet-friendly DIY wedding menu inspiration!), check out BHG.com's:
-at-home wedding reception menu
-outdoors wedding reception menu
-elegantly casual wedding buffet menu.
While your wedding needn’t be a bacchanalian free-for-all, let’s face it: Nobody likes a cash bar. It’s essentially saying, “Pay to celebrate our love”! If your budget is tight, consider pouring lower-priced wines and beer, with top-shelf options available for purchase. Another way to save when it comes to alcohol is with a signature cocktail in lieu of a full bar -- fun, festive, and friendlier on the bottom line.
Big Journey, Small Bites
Destination weddings are lovely but can be pricey for guests. If people are traveling long distances or overseas for your wedding, they’ve earned themselves a sit-down meal. As destination weddings tend to be more intimate, consider a seated dinner or buffet instead of a smattering of snacks -- your jet-lagged guests will thank you.
All Fried Food
While haute comfort food is whimsical, trendy, and hard-to-resist (Gourmet fried chicken! Sustainably-farmed sliders! Duck fat fries!), try to avoid a menu that’s excessively fatty. Include a few healthful appetizers into the rotation to give your diet-conscious guests a break -- and potentially more energy on the dance floor.
No Veggie Option
According to an April 2008 poll, 3.2 percent of Americans claim to be vegetarians, and 10 percent claim to follow a "vegetarian-inclined" diet. So, for the sake of 3-10 percent of your guests, try to incorporate a meat-free entree option or a few hearty veggie-friendly sides and appetizers.
Never-Ending Waits for Food Service
Wedding reception purgatory: We've all been there. Standing in a hotel courtyard or milling in front of a church, overdressed, underfed, sneaking a glance at your watch while making pained small talk. While logistics of event planning vary, the bride and groom should take care to ensure that guests are not left waiting for an hour or more with nothing to do, eat, or drink. Low blood sugar is not conducive to celebrating.
Running Out of The Big Ticket Entree
One lively wedding I attended featured a whole roast pig, but by the time my table was given its turn at the buffet, all that was left was the snout. Planning a wedding isn't an exact science -- there are always last minute RSVPs (or people who don't RSVP at all) or those who show up with unexpected guests, children, or food allergies. So, consider the snout and plan for a few extra guests (or extra hungry ones).
The Wedding Cake Face Smash
A curious tradition indeed. The bride and groom cut the cake under the joyous gaze of friends, family, and possibly religious figures, and then, to cement the union, the groom smashes a handful of pricey cake on the (impeccably made-up) bride. Who started this? Who actually enjoys this uneasy ritual? My humble opinion: Save the frosting frolicking for the honeymoon.