7 Workable Ways to Cut Your Wedding Catering Costs (You might not like it but it works!)

7 Workable Ways to Cut Your Wedding Catering Costs (You might not like it but it works!)

An array of Ghanaian food at a traditional engagement party.

An array of Ghanaian food at a traditional engagement party.

Feeding wedding guests can be more expensive than most items on your wedding list. Especially for a Ghanaian wedding & engagement. Why wouldn't it when a wedding can start from breakfast time all through to dinner time? Catering can cost between GHC4,000- 7,000 easily. People get hungry and trust me you don't want to have hungry guests on the most important day of your life. 

On one of my wedding shoots, I had taken the bridal team for an exclusive shoot and we had only been away for less than hour and by the time we got to the wedding grounds, the guests were about to tear the newly weds apart. They were hungry! And boy were they fed! The buffet table was heavily laden with Kokonte, Fufu, Banku, Fried Rice, Steamed Rice, Jollof, Fried Chicken, Chicken Light soup, two types of salads and drinks of all sorts! I guess the guests had a whiff of all that good stuff and were getting hungry by the minute. 

Wedding catering takes a major toll on couples planning to marry and with the rising cost of food items thanks to the depreciating cedi, its never been more expensive organising a wedding. Not to forget that most traditional engagements in Ghana also involve serving a buffet for guests. Thats double cost. I hope you found my previous post on planning a budget wedding useful. Perhaps you have asked yourself  how can the catering budget be reduced. Or perhaps not. But its possible to do this and have a great wedding at the same time. 

  1. Go Cocktail Style. 

You should be able to decide as a couple whether to choose a buffet-style or go simple with a cocktail. This could be a hard decision to make especially if your aim is to outdo your friend's last wedding who served up two whole roast pig in addition to the buffet. Be realistic and stick to what you can afford. Work with your caterer on what you would like. Cocktails are simple, guests won't even need to sit down, just the two of you get the honours to sit under your own wedding canopy and every one gets served entrees and canapés or what we like to call finger-food in Ghana. Examples could be grilled gizzard kebabs (everyone loves that), spring-rolls/samosa, chicken pieces, fried goat pieces, etc. These can sometimes be heavy appetisers. Let the drinks flow and soon everyone will be having a happy time (Oh the music must be great too)!

2. Do You Have To Invite Everyone?? 

I remember having to shoot an Order of Photography for almost 35mins (minimum) because of the number of old student associations, work colleagues, church associations, club associations on the list. Do you really have to invite all those people, knowing very well that you are on a budget? It may be a tough decision to make, but hey...its your money and they can catch up later on Facebook. And you know how inviting one person means he/she will turn up with one or two other people? Cut the guest lists to save up on the mouths to feed especially if you are going for a buffet-style wedding. Reducing the number of guests will also lead to less food waste and a more environmentally-friendly wedding! Every caterer works with numbers so maybe you should too. 

Here is a little tip on cutting the list: 

  • Make a list of persons you haven't spoken to in the past 5-10years...get the idea?

3. Who Are You Showing Off To?

Sometimes caterers have a knack of making choices very difficult for soon-to-be couples by placing all kinds of exotic items on a menu selection. Ignore the fancy things and stick to what you know. Don't be tempted to show off to your guests with food they can't even pronounce. Will they notice if 'Fra Diavolo with Pasta' isn't on the list? Nope. 


4. Can You Make Your Own Appetisers? 

Not on your wedding day. But maybe the day before, you can get that cousin who is great at making starters or some finger food help you make some DIY starters. Its cheap and very free. 


5. Waiters aren't Cheap.

Sometimes having waiters means an extra cost for the serving of guests. Can you possibly do without servers and have a few relatives to do that for you? 


6. Desert Desserts?

You can always cut back on ice-cream desserts and just serve pieces of the wedding cake (which people hardly eat anyway). Everyone will be so busy dancing that they usually forget dessert. Lucky you!

7. Take Out Anyone?

It might seem outrageous to you but yes take out. If your wedding is going to have uniquely small numbers why not order in Family size pizza's or maybe some of KFC's bucket chicken, add some chips some salad and you are good to go. Like I said, don't look at what people might think, do whats best for the two of you. 

Additional tip:

* The guests can bring their own food! It will be what we call in Ghana, 'Bring and Chop!' I AM JOKING!!! 

Hopefully these are useful tips for you and your future partner to be able to save and  have enough to start your new life. Do share your tips as well, I will be glad to read them! :) 


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