Our job as event caterers is to help you get the very most from your wedding food and drinks budget. We want you to whizz off on your honeymoon remembering the delicious food, knowing your family and friends loved everything they ate and knowing that you got great value for money.
So here is our one huge piece of advice to make every penny work for you:
Direct your money to where the supplier has their unique skill.
Our skill is to provide blooming tasty and unique food. To create the menu, to source local and seasonal ingredients, to put together a team to cook and serve it perfectly for you. That's the basics, it's what guests will remember and it's worth spending the cash on.
Queen & Whippet could potentially also provide a host of other things such as a table-laying service, setting up a bar or providing interesting crockery and glassware and so on. We're happy to and we'd do them all very well. But maybe some of those aspects require skills that you, your friends & family share, have time to do and therefore could save money on...?
1: Can you or your bridesmaids set up the tables the night before with a personal touch?
2: That guy who's really into brewing craft beer - would he brew you a keg in lieu of buying you something from your gift list?
3: Caterers usually charge for items like cutlery and linens at cost price from a hire company. We don't make a profit on it. But with a bit of strategic ebaying and bric-a-brac-hunting you could very probably find vintage tablecloths, crockery, teapots and the like for even less than our hire charge. And get to keep them for your fabulous future dinner parties. But bear in mind that delivery, washing and collection are included in the hire charge; consider how you'd clean and transport it if you provided your own.
4: Can you task your friends to save their jam jars over a few months for tumblers or desserts?
5: Staff costs can soon stack up. As well as the usual cost-saving advice of going for sharing platters or buffets rather than plated dining, you can also try and cut the number of waiting staff who would have to stay to clear and replenish glassware as the party goes on. Consider sourcing compostable glasses for the evening. Or pay entrepreneurial tweenagers 5p per glass returned to the kitchen and your tables will always be clear. I watched a tribe of kids at a festival-style wedding try and outdo each other with towers of collected cups.
6: Buy your own booze. If you're using a venue that doesn't have a bar they probably won't charge corkage. We as the caterer definitely wouldn't. So buy in bulk when the deals are on, ask friends with access to wholesalers to help you stock up and maybe ask a stylish barfly pal to make up a batch of a signature cocktail...
7: Remember, people do LOVE to be asked to help in some small way. Especially when it's contributing to such a special day.
So when you're on a budget, let us caterers do what we do best - the scrumptious grub - and let us advise you where you can really save.
All photography by Pete Cranston