Five ideas for delicious wedding food on a budget

Updated on 14 March 2016 | 0 Comments

Planning a wedding? A tight budget needn't be a barrier to serving a feast – check out these delicious ideas for proof...

Hog Roast 

The average wedding now costs an eye-watering £21,000, so it’s no surprise many couples are opting for a hog roast instead of a formal wedding breakfast. Teachers Sam Hiscock and Eva Tellick had a hog roast at their Kent wedding. “We liked the informal nature of the hog roast; it suited our country wedding,” says Eva. “Hog roasts are popular. They smell delicious, provide a substantial meal if served with all the accompaniments, and are reasonably priced,” says Kelly Chandler, Director of the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners (UKAWP). Don’t forget to factor in sides like coleslaw and salads, plus a vegetarian option as well as your hog, which typically comes served in buns with apple sauce and crackling. 

Cost: Around £10-£15 per head with side dishes. 

BBQ or picnic 

A BBQ or picnic is a great option if you have outdoor space – but you’ll need a Plan B if it rains. Both options can be tailored to your budget. Throw a BBQ in your back garden or picnic on the village green where everyone brings a dish, or hire a caterer for a bigger BBQ or gourmet picnic. Try something unexpected – “for one of our weddings, we built a tower of mussels on the BBQ and cooked them in hay,” says Kent wedding caterer Nicci Gurr. Kelly Chandler raves about a Cambridgeshire wedding where “guests were given a picnic hamper with pork pies, sausage rolls, sandwiches, Victoria sponge and mini bottles of Champagne.”

Cost: From around £7.50 a head for a catered picnic or BBQ, less for DIY option.

Street food van 

“My wife Amy and I love our food, but like many people we were on a budget and weren't interested in salmon en croute and sugared almonds. Instead we looked into food trucks in our area and found Pizza Pod,” says journalist Keyan Milanian, of his Yorkshire wedding. “Some guests said it was the best pizza they ever had.” Indian street food van Horn OK Please, Austrian food truck Speckmobile and soul food van Anna Mae’s are just a few of the street food vendors now catering for weddings around the UK. If you’re not sure if your favourite van does weddings… just ask. “We’ve had a lot of people approach us directly to ask about weddings,” says Thom Elliot of Pizza Pilgrims. Thom even served pizza at his own Dorset wedding: “We did a Margherita Bar, serving only margherita pizza with flavoured oils. It went down a storm!” 

Cost: Around £10-£15 a head

Fish and chips 

We bet many of your guests would secretly prefer a big portion of fish and chips to hotel food served under a silver dome. “I wanted something very easy and very English,” says sub editor Emma Haines, who served fish and chips at her village fête-style Wiltshire wedding. “Budget was a huge consideration, too.” “There’s been an increase in bookings for fish and chips, mainly on the basis of less formality and cost,” says Neil Ansell of Sussex-based fish and chip caterers Fishers. Worried your guests are expecting a sit-down dinner? Don’t be. “The fish and chips went down really well,” says Emma. “Everyone loved the simplicity.” 

Cost: From around £7.50 per person

Afternoon tea

Scones, cakes, finger sandwiches – everyone loves afternoon tea, and they are an increasingly popular alternative to the traditional wedding breakfast. “Afternoon tea and vintage themes have been popular for many years, but more than ever before in 2012 with the Jubilee and Olympics,” says Kelly Chandler. A caterer can put together your afternoon tea, or do as Emma Haines did at her wedding and combine sandwiches and scones from a caterer with a homemade cake competition for your guests. “We had every cake you can imagine – brownies, chocolate Guinness cake, Hummingbird cake and fruit loaves.”

If you’re a keen baker, you can also shave several £100s off your budget by making your own wedding cake.

Cost: Around £12.50 a head

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