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Planning a menu on a budget. Any ideas?!

As college students, we have an extremely limited budget for our wedding. In order to cut costs, we're thinking about doing the appetizers and desert (including wedding cake) ourselves and possibly finding someone to do the entree for us. We're no foodies but would like to serve something a bit more upscale since it is our wedding. The entire wedding itself is classic, feminine, with a few vintage ideas thrown in.

Does anyone have any appetizer or entree ideas? Our wedding is in March, during mid to late afternoon at a small lake house for a group of around 75 people.

Re: Planning a menu on a budget. Any ideas?!

  • You can find some pretty awesome crock-pot spinach and artichoke dip recipes online. You could do that, with tortilla chips (or fancy crackers if you want to dress it up a little bit).  Get an assortment of gourmet cheeses, fruit, veggies, hummus, shrimp cocktail platters.  All should be easy enough to get in bulk and set up the morning of the wedding without much hassle.  You could also buy a couple quiches or savory cheesecakes from a local grocery store and serve at room temperature. 
  • I agree, midafternoon weddings do not require a full meal. A high tea would fit in with your theme I think. I was at one two weeks agothere were scones with jam or lemon curd, several types of finger sandwiches, shortbread and petite fours. There was also a number of Scottish foods which don't apply. Maybe you could add a veg tray? A little early in the season for fruit kabobs I would guess. Be careful of anything that is going to need refrigeration.
  • Love the tea theme suggestion!  And I agree that slow cookers / crock pots can be your best friends for something like this.  I've even seen some in the stores (Walmart, Target) lately that were designed for a buffet -- three crocks all in one heating unit.  You could put three hot dips in them with baskets of bread, crackers and crudite nearby.  There are tons of really good dip/appetizer recipes for slow cookers online (allrecipes.com is my favorite site).

    I'll echo PP that for a mid-afternoon wedding, you do not have to serve a meal.  Cake with punch/champagne/coffee is fine ... add on appetizers / hors 'douvres if you'd like.  
  • CA.GiraffeCA.Giraffe Whine Country member
    Seventh Anniversary 100 Comments 5 Love Its Name Dropper
    We've planned a midafternoon reception as well. Our menu is assorted sandwiches from a local deli, cut into fourths, chips with guacamole, salsa, ranch, and spinach dips, a veggie tray, cheese and crackers, and a fruit platter. This, plus nonalcoholic beverages, is running 200 for 50 guests.
  • Just an idea - if you're on a budget, see if there are any culinary schools nearby.  Culinary and pastry students alike jump at the opportunity to do a 'real job'!  More often than not, they're very creative as well, and would love the chance to include their work for you in their portfolio - but you will need to pay for the ingredients.

    Good luck!
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