Wedding Catering Ideas on a Budget

10th February, 2013 - Posted by Lia - No Comments

wedding_trends_nontraditional-wedding_food

Weddings are a pricy affair, and sometimes you need a little help to prevent you starting married life with a second mortgage. One area you can help cut costs is with the food and drink, if you come up with some little creative ideas.

One way to lower the costs is to provide your own appetizers. This might sound like a lot of effort and it’s almost tempting to just get the checkbook out, but this is much easier than it sounds. Pick some finger foods which can be either made in advanced or can be frozen, then just warm them up before the cocktails are served. This is an area caterers love to overcharge, so by doing it yourself you can save a huge ton of money.

exquisite-food-presentation-nashville-wedding

Skip the servers if you want to save for the piggy bank. It might be fun and classy to have waiters walking round with silver platters, serving champagne and appetizers, but to be honest, this is not an essential luxury. Your guests are there for you, and if anything is of importance it’s the quality of the food – not who serves them.

wedding-food-red

Going all out on elaborate appetizers is a waste of time. The cocktail hour is about socializing before the formal meal, and chances are guests are going to be on the hungry side, so any snack will do. Even something as simple as cheese, crackers and some fruit will go down a treat for peckish guests.

food-greece_

The drinks tab can be a hefty price to pay, and one way to save is to make the event bring your own bottle. By doing this, you save on inflated prices the venue would charge for serving those drinks. An open bar can create some problems, and not just with the bridesmaids making a fool of themselves, but in terms of price. Limit the bar to maybe one or two hours, and to even cut costs – just serve wine and beer only or maybe one signature drink.

Saving money on the meal can be done a various ways, from skipping the sit down meal in favor of a buffet with multiple stations. You can even get your catering from a take out services, but make sure your venue allows for outside catering. If you do want a sit down affair then go for family style – have each table come with their own dish you can serve yourself. It’s fun, intimate and you’ll get some great quality food. And remember, seasonal food is always cheaper than non-seasonal, and tastes better too.

Save on the elaborate wedding cake with some alternatives, like some beautiful cupcakes, which can be displayed in a tiered style to mimic the wedding cake. Have friends or family bring their own desserts – the choices are limitless! If you’re not a baking type, then opt for a sweets bar – get some bags of candy and prepare a buffet, or offer a variety of cookies and brownies. This is a lot cheaper than a wedding cake, and you’ll find your guests get to have more fun

Unusual Wedding Catering Ideas

20th December, 2012 - Posted by Lia - No Comments

toben-food-by-design-wedding-catering-1

If the usual sit down meal at a wedding of formal elegance where you need a copy of Emily Post under your seat isn’t your cup of tea, then have no fear, there are plenty of quirky and fun ideas to incorporate into your wedding that will leave the guests feeling less intimidated and more likely to have fun.

For those of you with a theme in mind, planning your catering around that is a good start. Opting for a Moroccan wedding? Then tajines all round! For those going for something vintage or rustic, then the appropriate menu needs to be found. However, have a look at these ideas if you’re stuck for a theme.

imagesCA7NXF19

One great idea for a wedding menu is to go back to the 1950s. Think Elvis and Rock N’ Roll. Maybe you can draw inspiration from the diner in Pulp Fiction with the Five Dollar Shake and all, but this need not be a “junk-food” extravaganza. Why not serve up some classic iconic dishes? Open up with some prawn cocktails and maybe you can do an Elvis with some high-quality gourmet cheeseburgers and homemade fries. You can have a lot of fun with this theme – why not go all out and get a cake made to look like Elvis?

lamb

The Beach Barbecue is ideal for anyone planning a beach wedding, but if you’re nowhere near the sea, you can bring the beach to you – if the weather is good, that is. It doesn’t have to be a swimwear theme, not exactly ideal for the older members of the family, but have a wedding marquee set up with a few barbecues around serving up cooked meat and fish.

A Victorian Banquet might fall under the guise of a traditional wedding meal, but it’s the fact that so many couple eschew traditional for elegant and avant-garde that makes it modernist by proxy. Start off with the soup course, hors d’oeuvres, the entrée with fish or meat as the center, a good dessert with a cheeseboard and port for the die-hard traditionalists.

 

If you’re stuck with a low budget wedding, then there is a way to get your catering done for low cost – bring your own dish. It can either function as a wedding potluck or assign something to your guests, whether they’ll bring desserts, appetizers or mains in. Make sure you find out any allergies your guests could have in advance and make sure everyone is aware of this. It’s a nice way to get friends to contribute to your wedding.

beautiful wedding cake…

8th May, 2012 - Posted by Lia - No Comments

I’ve been adding a lot of photos of various wedding items onto Pinterest and today while scouring the internet for wedding cakes I came across this wedding cake that I think looks absolutely perfect. So elegant, pretty, romantic and timeless……..

 Photo source: http://thecaketressblog.com

 

wedding menu ideas for a hungry crowd!

30th April, 2012 - Posted by Lia - No Comments

The words ‘tradition’ and ‘wedding’ go hand in hand. Part of that tradition includes the reception menus. Most of the time guests choose between ham or roast beef, corn or green beans, ranch or Italian dressing and tea or lemonade. Not, bad, but why not shake it up? The following menu ideas are cost-effective, easily prepared for a crowd and well-received by guests everywhere.

  1. Lasagna, salad and garlic bread. This meal can be self-serve or served restaurant style.
  2. Taco bar; buffet style, of course. Offer both soft and hard shells and all traditional toppings.
  3. Chicken pot pie, salad bar or vegetable platters and dips, rolls; comfort food to carry over the feeling of relaxation and enjoyment
  4. Pulled pork sandwiches, french fries and dips, potato salad and slaw, vegetable and fruit platters or pasta salads; easy, casual and delicious. NOTE: it will be best to serve this buffet style and offer a variety of barbeque sauces on the buffet to eliminate the need to have them on each table.
  5. Chicken tenders, scalloped potatoes or potato salad, honey-glazed baby carrots, rolls; easy, kid-friendly and filling.
  6. Pasta buffet of cold and hot pasta salads, baked spaghetti, toasted ravioli and tortellini. Offering marinara, meat and Alfredo sauces adds an extra-special touch. Pasta dishes are inexpensive and can stretch to feed several.
  7. Brunch! Breakfast casseroles, pastries, fruit and even biscuits and gravy; different, filling and who doesn’t like breakfast? In order to have convenient flights, one couple opted to have a mid morning wedding on a Saturday followed by brunch. They were leaving the church one o’clock and bound forSt. Luciaby three in the afternoon. So much more relaxing for everyone.
  8. Fruit and vegetable trays, cheeses and crackers and ice cream/toppings to go with the cake. Small, mid-afternoon weddings don’t necessarily need to serve a meal at the reception. It’s after lunch and well before dinner time, so a light finger food buffet is sufficient.

The reception venue, meal and décor often eats up a major portion of the wedding budget (no pun intended). If you elect to serve something a bit less pricey, you’ll have more to spend on something you really want. Besides, your guests aren’t coming for the food-they’re coming for you.

 

 

Photo Source:

www.eatmywedding.com (Fries)

www.fantasticfood.com (Pulled Pork)

poptails…or adult popsicles…

29th April, 2012 - Posted by Lia - No Comments

What a cool idea, cocktails on a stick, especially for an outdoor summer wedding. These can be made as a diy project ahead of time or ask your caterer to prepare them for your special day. Don’t forget to make non-alcoholic versions for the little onse and for guests that don’t drink alcohol. Below are a few flavor combinations we thought sounded delicious and refreshing:

  • Strawberry Peach Vodka Collins Popsicles
  • Honeydew Cucumber Margarita Popsicle
  • Cherry Apple Whisky Sour
  • Blackberry Prosecco Popsicle
  • Watermelon Mojito Popsicle (image above)….& more….

For recipes and more inspiration visit www.endlesssimmer.com

 

Photo sourced at www.endlessimmer.com

step aside cupcakes….

10th April, 2012 - Posted by Lia - No Comments

Cake in all forms is delicious, be it a traditional wedding cake, wedding cupcakes or this years growing trend, wedding cake pops! Cake pops are a fun and novel way of offering your guests a perfectly portioned and iced piece of cake. Let’s face it, after having a multiple course meal, the last thing  you want is a big slab of wedding cake or a cupcake smothered in frosting.

Cake pops can be decorated according to your wedding theme, glitter cake pops will surely stand out but if you want to stick to traditional icing that’s fine too.

vegan wedding menu inspiration…

8th April, 2012 - Posted by Lia - No Comments

Vegan cuisine is becoming a trend at all occasions, including weddings! Regardless if it’s just for the taste, the variety, or the originality, vegan dishes are a great way to try something new and appease your guests with a different type of cuisine.  Looking to be more environmentally concious? Vegan is truly the way to go. You’ll find with various caterers that vegetarian and vegan will be your cheaper option when picking your menu or buffet choices.

Veggie Tip #1: Stuff It! Choose stuffed dishes, they’re more filling and many people won’t even notice that there isn’t meat in it. Stuffed peppers, mushrooms, or even stuffed squash are great and  filling dishes that will keep your guests’ satisfied, full, and meat free.

Veggie Tip #2: Pasta Popularity. Pasta is an extremely filling dish that everyone enjoys. Zucchini Risotto, Veggie Lasagna, and vegetarian ravioli are popular options to fill your guests up yet keeping the menu elegant and classy.

Veggie Tip #3: Try before you buy. Before compiling the menu with your caterer or chef, be sure you try each dish.  Many people spend anywhere between 16-30 dollars per person per plate on their wedding food menu, it’s important that you’re satisfied with your menu choices…especially when choosing an original menu theme such as vegan or vegetarian.

To give you even more inspiration we have obtained a list of concrete menu options !

Hors d’oeuvres:

Mediterranean-style Hors d’oeuvres:

  • Tomato risotto cakes
  • Tofu cheese filled dates wrapped in crispy smoked portobello bacon
  • Faux farmer’s cheese and caramelized onions in a puff pastry
  • Crudite with dips like cannelini, black bean, hummus, or spicy artichoke Grilled Veggie brochettes (could be mushrooms, zucchini, bell peppers, chives, herbs, etc)
  • Tomato bruschetta brushed with olive oil
  • Lemon-potato pancakes with gingered avocado creme
  • Stuffed grape leaves
  • Lemon risotto balls
  • Falafel with tahini sauce
  • Crostini with dips like eggplant caponata, white bean puree, kalamata olive or sun-dried tomato tapenade
  • Baba Ganoush with pita bread

American-style Hors d’oeuvres:

  • Potato crochettes with chive creme
  • Twice-baked red and white potatoes
  • Sweet potato spread and plum tomato crostini with balsamic vinaigrette
  • Endive and apple haroseth salad
  • Fruit skewers
  • Potato cakes with apple chutney
  • Mushroom and Leek Empanadas
  • Artichokes filled with fennel and tomatoes
  • Guacamole with tortilla chips and pico de gallo
  • Stuffed Mushrooms
  • Stir-fried sugar snap peas with shiitake mushrooms
  • Mini spinach quiches

Asian-style Hors d’oeuvres:

  • Vegetable Samosas
  • Spring Rolls with soy-ginger dipping sauce
  • Avocado and cucumber sushi with pickled ginger and wasabi
  • Seitan fingers with tamarind dipping sauce
  • Avocado tempura with tomato dipping sauce

Salads:

  • Caesar Salad
  • Red beet tartare
  • Baby greens with candied walnuts, stone fruit, and balsamic vinegar
  • Field greens with sliced pears
  • Spiced green beans and walnuts with dijon vinaigrette
  • Couscous, chickpea, and sun-dried fruit salad
  • Mesclun greens with sliced nectarines, jicama, pistachios with maple-sherry vinaigrette
  • Green salad with avocado-lime vinaigrette
  • Vegetable maki and tempura rolls
  • Tabouli salad
  • Three-bean salad
  • Spinach salad with strawberries, walnuts, and balsamic vinaigrette
  • Romaine lettuce with mandarin oranges, candied almonds, and vinaigrette
  • Cucumber tomato salad

Soups:

  • Fresh fruit soup simmered in red and white wine
  • Potato-leek soup
  • Miso tofu soup with sliced portabello mushrooms
  • Barley slit pea soup
  • Tomato dill soup
  • Minestrone soup
  • Gazpacho

Entrees:

Mediterranean-style Entrees:

  • Spicy ratatouille served over rice
  • Couscous stuffed portabello mushrooms
  • Pasta primavera with seasonal vegetables with sauteed onions or marinara sauce
  • Mushroom phyllo roulade with smoked-paprika creme
  • Tofu-squash ravioli in a cashew cream sauce
  • Roasted bell peppers stuffed with bulgur, herbs, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, and toasted pine-nut stuffing
  • Roasted vegetable lasagna with vegan ricotta, broccoli rabe with white beans, sundried tomatoes, chili, and garlic

American-style Entrees:

  • Rice with slivered almonds and snap peas
  • Southern fried mock chicken with BBQ sauce
  • Seitan meatloaf with mushroom gravy
  • Lemon-rosemary mock chicken
  • Mushroom ragout with pasta
  • Refried black beans and tomato rice with guacamole
  • Sweet plantains and corn tortillas with pico de gallo
  • Stuffed butternut squash
  • Peppers stuffed with rice and vegetables

Asian-style Entrees:

  • Seitan and veggie skewers with plum sauce
  • Vegetable Thai curry with steamed quinoa
  • Angel hair pasta with vegetables in a ginger soy sauce
  • Vegetable Samosas and Pakoras
  • Chickpea curry
  • Spiced spinach and potatoes with mango chutney
  • Pistachio-crusted tofu over horseradish potatoes and wilted spinach

Side dishes to accompany entrees:

  • Garlic Mashed potatoes
  • Herb roasted vegetables
  • Collard greens
  • Sauteed vegetable ragout
  • Vegetable skewers with garlic and rosemary

 

**List obtained from www.vegan-nutritionista.com.

choosing a caterer…yum!

16th March, 2012 - Posted by Lia - No Comments

Choosing a caterer is one of the most important parts of planning your reception– it will probably be the most money spent on your wedding day so it’s important that you’re please all around with whom you choose. This is the meal that all of your guests will partake in and it is what connects and entertains your guests all night. Your caterer or catering company will be responsible for so much more than just putting a plate in front of your guests– it is here that you’ll most likely book your china, linens, hire your servers, and compile your beverage menu. With all of these tasks under one vendor, it’s someone you should be very happy with.

I attended my second wedding menu tasting last week because while I had a great first tasting with another caterer, I wasn’t completely satisfied with the service, all they had to offer, and the pricepoint. I was more than pleased in attending my second tasting and my fiancee and I will be going with this particular vendor.

Here are some questions to ask your caterer before attending your menu tasting:

1. Have they catered a wedding at the reception venue you chose?

2. What is included in their catering quote ?

3. Are they willing to include all rentals and menu choices for a certain price point?

4. How are dietary concerns met? Allergies, low fat, diabetics, etc.

5. What is the timeline from the arrival of the caterer to serving?

6. What serving options are available– i.e. buffet, plated, family style, etc.

7. Are the willing to create a menu on your specific choices, family recipes, cultural desires, etc?

 

Happy Tasting!

A Mediterranean menu tasting for my upcoming wedding!

the casbah tea house- dazzle your guests with exotic sweet offerings!

9th August, 2010 - Posted by Lia - No Comments

 

Freshly brewed mint tea with fresh mint leaves...

New to the  Montreal Wedding Scene is the Casbah Tea House. Started by two North African women, the Casbah Tea House promises to bring the flair and elegance of Moroccan style tea and service to your wedding!

I must say, it’s definitely an exotic and original way to end a meal.  Your wedding guests will be expecting the usual such as ordinary coffee, maybe a cup of Earl Grey, but no, you’ve got something else up you sleeve! Freshly prepared mint tea poured into dainty oriental cups, served with an assortment of intricately prepared oriental sweets.

According to Layla, co-owner of the Casbah Tea House, the secret to brewing good mint tea is in the ingredients. High quality Chinese green tea is added to boiling water followed by an abundance of fresh mint leaves brought in from Morocco daily. The brew is then sweetened to taste and poured while still hot from a certain height into glass tea cups. Pouring from a certain height is key as this allows the concoction to aerate thus improving the flavour! Turkish coffee is also offered for those that insist on a cup of java after their meal!

Sweet offerings are also provided. I sampled several pastries and fell in love with all of them. My favourite though was the “Griywsha”, a tangled mass of fried pastry dipped in honey and sesame seeds. It was sweet, sticky, crumbly and melt-in your mouth all at the same time!

Griywsha, fried pastry dipped in honey & sesame seeds!

If you’re a lover of tea and the orient and want something different for your wedding reception here in Montreal, a Moroccan tea stand is the element to have. Visit the  Casbah Tea House profile  should you need more details.