Budget-Friendly Catering Ideas For Special Events

If you're planning any type of special event on a limited budget, the good news is that you don't have to sacrifice taste and creativity to save money. There are plenty of ways to satisfy your guests' appetites throughout the event without breaking the bank. 

Hiring a caterer may be more of a necessity than a luxury if you're holding a larger gathering, such as a big birthday celebration, a family reunion, a family or corporate holiday party, a bridal or baby shower, a graduation soiree, or a wedding reception. You may actually end up saving money by hiring a professional caterer instead of buying all of the individual ingredients yourself. 

To help you stay on budget, let the caterer know how much you want to spend on event food and drinks, and then plan the menu accordingly. Sticking with local ingredients, such as produce, may also help you stay on track financially.

Below are some additional budget-friendly event catering tips to consider:

1. Go Vegetarian 

Your guests won't miss the meat when you plan a delicious and satisfying plant-based vegetarian menu. To further stretch your money, stick with rice and pasta dishes, such as stir fry and spaghetti. Not only are they tasty, but they're also cost-efficient and filling.

Have the catering company use meatless protein sources, including any type of beans, eggs, tofu, and tempeh. There are also a lot of soy-based meat alternatives—such as sausages, hot dogs, hamburgers, and pepperoni—that are generally cheaper than their real meal counterparts. 

Some vegetarian menu options include a taco and burrito bar, pizzas, salads, lasagna, and a variety of soups and stews. It's also easy to make a big pot of vegetarian chili to feed a large crowd on a cold fall or winter day.

2. Serve Savory Sandwiches 

Depending on the type of ingredients you use, sandwiches can work for both super casual and elegant events, from picnics to receptions. Since the meal is bread-based, it will typically be more cost-efficient than seafood- and meat-based dishes. 

Classic sandwich ingredients include a variety of cold cuts (such as turkey and ham), sliced cheeses, lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise, and mustard. More gourmet sandwich fillings include prosciutto, salami, higher-end deli meats (such as pastrami and peppered turkey), avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, and pesto spread. 

To keep the sandwich spread budget-friendly, serve them with potato chips, regular fries or sweet potato fries, potato or macaroni salads, coleslaw, or even cups of soup. 

Contact a local event catering service to learn more.