Frugal Weddings: Skip the Prime Rib Plate and Try a Pasta Bar Instead

I’ve been told by more than a few people that my wedding was one of the best they’ve ever attended. Trust me, I am not bragging. My wedding will never make the cover of Brides. It wasn’t elaborate, and it wasn’t fancy. In fact, it was quite simple…but fun and meaningful at the same time.

Did you know that the average wedding costs $30,000? (Thankfully, ours was 1/10th that amount). One of the biggest expenses at most weddings is the reception. In my last post, I offered a frugal tip for table décor and wedding cakes. This time, I am going to talk about another big wedding expense – the food.

We had a morning wedding and planned to serve our three hundred guests a nice lunch. I pictured a pretty salad, a chicken dish, maybe some fancy vegetables or a wild rice side. I didn’t think I was being too unrealistic to start with, until I saw the cost of a seemingly simple sit-down, catered lunch.

We were looking at nearly $3000 just to serve lunch. That was more than our wedding budget. I was devastated. I wanted my guests to enjoy themselves. I wanted to give them a special meal. I didn’t know what to do.

I called another caterer. I was disappointed because his prices were similar so I told him my dilemma. “Have you thought about having a pasta bar”? “Wow…sounds neat”, I replied.

For nearly half the cost of a sit-down lunch, we created a fresh and fun pasta bar. We had two salads to choose from along with several different types of noodles. There were six unique sauces (an alfredo, a red sauce, a meat sauce and a pesto). The guests could add meatballs, fresh vegetables, Italian cheeses, or chicken breasts to their creation. At the end of the bar, they could choose breadsticks, cheese bread or fresh garlic bread.

They loved it and so did I. Of course, it was one of the first time I didn’t slurp my noodles due to the fear of spilling red sauce on my wedding dress.

Do you have any frugal wedding suggestions to offer? Share them with us in the comments section.