Weddings aren’t cheap altogether, so cheap wedding food sounds like an antilogy to many brides. However, no one (except for own prejudices) forces you to spend a fortune on professional wedding catering.
Numerous savory foods are made from cheap ingredients. Cheese and crackers, spring rolls, tacos, or burgers taste no worse than fresh oysters, black caviar, or truffle pasta. At least for most of your guests.
Such recipes are also easy to make, so you can cook the dinner yourself instead of paying a professional. DIY wedding buffets are on the rise.
Be aware when choosing a self-cater wedding, though, as there are more points to consider than the budget.
You may be worried about someone finding cheap wedding food tacky. This may be true if you offer guests plain hotdogs or potato mash, but it’s all about the toppings, sides, and serving.
Pay attention to the small details in the chosen cheap recipes. Then, add more ingredients to the mix, opt for more lavish sauces, and don’t forget about decoration.
This way, no one will even notice you haven’t ordered a professional wedding catering service.
Cheese & Crackers
Cheese and crackers are straightforward and affordable wedding finger food. While some guests may find such a choice tacky for such a sophisticated event, many have loved cheese and crackers since childhood.
Cheese and crackers are a perfect choice for a DIY wedding buffet. They don’t require any cooking skills, so even your little niece can help you prepare this appetizer.
Not all cheese and crackers are the same. If choosing this wedding buffet appetizer option, don’t go for the cheapest ingredients you can find.
Let your imagination flow, experiment with different cheese types. Crackers with brie ad cheddar cheese taste like two completely different foods.
Apart from cheese, you can add some veggies, sauce, nuts, or other ingredients on top to make this simple dish more unusual. Some of the best affordable add-ons are cottage cheese and honey, guacamole, bacon, and tomatoes.
Spring rolls are highly versatile, thus are suitable for any event. They’re also easy to cook and are an excellent choice for a DIY wedding reception.
To please all guests, you can make several spring roll types, with meat and vegetables, spicy and sweet.
Traditional Vietnamese spring rolls are wrapped in rice paper or special wrappers and include lots of veggies and some optional beef or chicken. You can eat them fresh in any quantity, as they’re very low in calories.
Cantonese spring rolls are higher in calories and require more work but are delicious, nonetheless. They include marinated fried pork, mushrooms, and are baked in an oven or fried in oil.
Sweet spring rolls are an unusual addition or alternative to a wedding cake.
It’s an excellent choice for a relaxed wedding dessert buffet, especially in spring or summer, as sweet spring rolls can include fruits, condensed milk, honey, or custard.
Green salads are suitable for any occasion. They are easy to make. There are hundreds of salad recipes online. Salads are never considered tacky even though they are cheap.
Furthermore, it’s pretty hard to distinguish between a homemade salad and one prepared by a professional caterer. So what could be a better option for a DIY wedding buffet?
Naturally, a regular tomato and cucumber combination is a bit boring for a wedding. But if you add some herbs, olives or capers, mango, apples, peppercorn, pasta, or nuts, an ordinary salad instantly becomes a sophisticated dish. But, of course, the sauce can also change the salad taste drastically.
When shopping for vegetables, go to farmer’s markets instead of the local hypermarket. Farmers sell truly organic veggies that are full of taste and nutrition.
Store veggies are often watery and more expensive, though this may differ depending on the location.
Tacos can be served both as an appetizer and as a main course. They’re filling, delicious, and most importantly, don’t involve costly ingredients. This dish is an excellent choice for casual weddings.
The taco recipe options are endless. You can go for a combination of cheese, ground beef, and beans, or opt for something lighter such as chicken and veggies.
Pineapple and shrimp tacos aren’t typical and may seem sophisticated but are highly affordable.
Tacos are an ideal dish for a DIY wedding buffet. You can offer different fillings and toppings so that your guests can mix and match. But if you don’t want any hassle, tacos can also be ordered from a restaurant.
When serving tacos, don’t forget about some lime and sauces. These two ingredients make tacos juicer.
By offering your guests several sauce options to choose from, you will please everyone at the wedding. Tacos also go great with some green salad or the side.
Chicken & Mashed Potatoes
Potatoes have saved numerous nations from starvation during economic crises. To our day, potatoes remain one of the cheapest foods you can find.
Mashed potatoes are easy to cook and taste delicious if you add some hot milk and butter to the mixture. Sprinkle them with some dill, and the ultimate side dish is ready.
If you don’t like mashed potatoes, you can opt for boiled or oven-cooked with cheese instead. Either way, potatoes go well with everything, but one of the best combinations is chicken.
Chicken can be prepared by any recipe you prefer. For example, you can roast the entire chicken with some herbs, but there may be many leftovers in this case.
Alternatively, you can cook chicken fillets with some cheese, sauce, or fry them in breadcrumbs.
This traditional Italian dish is beloved by people around the globe and is served in the most luxurious restaurants. However, most pasta recipes are affordable and straightforward, making this main course ideal for a budget wedding.
Pasta tastes great even when made with leftovers or only with cheese, though this isn’t a suitable recipe for a special occasion. Instead, experiment with unusual ingredients or go for traditional Pasta alla Carbonara or Pasta al Tonno.
Even pasta consisting of two ingredients can taste excellent with the proper sauce. Some of the most versatile and delicious pasts sauces include marinara, white wine sauce, and creamy mushroom sauce.
You can also add pasta to green salads to make them more filling. Vegetables mixed with pasta and grated cheese is an uncomplicated but savory combination.
Burgers will be appreciated both as a main course and as an unusual wedding finger food if you make a mini version. The variety of burger recipes is so wide the only point that unites them all is the buns.
Vegetarian burgers with falafel cutlets, fish burgers, hamburgers, bacon cheeseburgers – there’s a burger for everyone, even those skeptical about fast food.
Burgers can be genuinely a gourmet dish if you use sophisticated ingredients. Not all unusual foods are costly. Shrimps, blue cheese, honey habanero pickles, or sauteed mushrooms will fit in most wedding budgets.
Burgers are suitable both for a buffet-style wedding reception and for plated dinner but serving matters. Try to differentiate your wedding burgers from McDonald’s.
Offer some green salad instead of regular fries. Decorate the burgers using skewers with tiny flags or plates by sprinkling them with sauce.
A casserole is a versatile dish appropriate both at a family dinner and at a plated wedding reception. It can be delicious even when made from cheap ingredients.
Of course, mac and cheese casserole isn’t a good choice for such an event. Instead, you’ll have to go for something more intricate, such as turkey, broccoli, and creamy cheese sauce combination. This recipe is nearly as easy but savorer.
Casseroles don’t necessarily have to look like a warm salad or mash either. You can make a casserole look more appealing by cooking it as a traditional pie with a lattice crust on top.
Fish & Chips
Fish and chips are a traditional English meal that’s served in nearly every restaurant across the country. You can find fish and chips for $5 or $30, and the difference isn’t only in the restaurant’s audacity.
Classic fish and chips recipe requires using thick white fish. However, you can follow an example of the best British pubs and opt for more unique options.
Switch white fish to salmon, use sweet potato instead of regular, or add some rum to the batter. Your guests likely won’t ever try such exquisite fish and chips.
The sauce plays a significant role in any fish and chips recipe. You can save some money on the main ingredients but go for indulgent condiments to make the whole dish taste classy.
The best fish and chips condiments are beetroot and bourbon ketchup, horseradish and caper sauce with bacon, and broad bean and mint mush.
DIY Food Bar
A buffet-style wedding reception has numerous advantages, the main one being freedom of choice. A DIY food bar complements this idea by allowing your guests to create their own dinner.
You can place various buns, fillings, toppings, and side dishes on a table and let everyone enjoy what they desire.
Fast foods, such as burgers, tacos, and hotdogs, align perfectly with the DIY food bar concept. You can also offer the guests to mix and match ingredients for their salads.
If putting together the entire meal seems like too much work for guests, you can let them only pick the toppings and sides. For instance, serve plain battered fish and let the guests choose their sauce and side.
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