Catering costs what?! – A guest blog by Kerry McCullough

March 1, 2010 – The quote for food and beverages at your event takes up a hefty portion of the entire bill, but you can actually control these costs by going with some particular styles and themes. Most people are sick of the same old chicken/beef with a starch and a vegetable. Consider switching to some of these more unique options that will save you money…

Hors d’oeuvres Event
Replacing a formal meal with hors d’oeuvres is great for a more laid back setting, allowing people to move around and mingle. This type of event can quickly add up if you don’t do your research, but there are a lot of great options that will actually cost significantly less than a plated meal. For instance, mini quiches, meatballs on toothpicks, quesadilla wedges, spinach dip with crackers, vegetables with dip, chicken skewers, bruschetta and pigs in a blanket. However, seafood appetizers like mini crabcakes and shrimp cocktail will cost you!

Italian Family Style
This intimate style event allows each table to feel like they’re sitting down to a family meal. Pastas, bread and salad are brought out to each table and your guests will pass everything around. This type of meal should be just around $20 per head. You could also have a variety of pastas at a buffet and call it a “pasta bar” for sampling various types. This is also a great type of event for putting out a bottle of red and white at each table and cut back on the other alcohol.

Barbeque Event
This type of event is great for outdoor settings in the summer. The meat is pulled pork, accompanied by pasta/potato salad and marinated vegetables or green salad and rolls. This theme should be just around $20 per head as well, and is pleasantly different from the typical event spread. It is also a great decorational accent to have the pig on the spit going (unless you have a lot of vegetarians)!

Bar Ideas
There are a number of ways to save on the bar tab. The first and most obvious would be to limit your options to a few types of beer and a red and a white wine. Also, serving your beer from kegs into nice cups will be less expensive than bottles. The next step would be to limit liquor by having a specific signature drink- think about your personalities and the theme of the event. Great signature drinks include margaritas on the rocks, baybreezes, spiked iced tea/ lemonade and sangria. Think outside the box and have fun with it!

Kerry McCullough is the owner of Maryland Budget Wise Weddings, a website that helps brides on a budget to plan an affordable event in the Maryland area. After planning her own wedding a year and a half ago, Kerry realized how challenging it can be to create a memorable event that doesn’t break the bank. Her website features affordable local vendors, a budget calculator, tricks and tips, articles, local bridal shows, a timeline, and bride-to-bride advice. http://www.budgetwiseweddingmd.com

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