Here at Robert Tate Photography, Robert has provided a means of helping couples plan their big day through his regular blog posts. The main aim of this blog is to help guide those who are bewildered by the prospect of tying the knot, or even just providing the reassurance that you’re on the right track. Join us every week for more helpful hints and tips. Keep on reading for in insight into the world of wedding catering. From all of us here, live for the moment!


Everyone loves a good wedding and its down to the caterer to ensure the food on your special day is truly delicious and unforgettable.

CATERINGCatering and your wedding

Often hotels and wedding venues insist that you use them when you’re thinking about catering a wedding. They may allow you to use your own caterers or provide your own wine but may charge you a surcharge or corkage fee.  For most couples their wedding is always kept to a budget and every aspect of the planning puts a strain on your finances. It should be every contractors obligation to meet the budgetary requirements of their clients. There are of course ways to cut your costs and save a lump of cash to spend on something quite luxurious such as a bespoke wedding album!

Try a few of these ideas to watch the pennies:

  • D.I.Y appetizers – Pre-make your appetizers and serve fresh at your meal, or provide the facility for your guests to create their own appetizers.
  • Take the chef to lunch – Have a chat with the catering chef to find out what produce will be in season around the time you get hitched, this could save you hundreds of pounds alone!
  • Find out how old your guests are – Not all guests require full size, full price meals. Some caters provide a large discount for OAP’s and children. The older generation may not be impressed when you ask to see their bus pass, but they have free bus travel they may as well help reduce your food bill.
  • Fast food – It can be a long day for guests, especially those who have attended the full day. By providing small snacks such as fruit, crackers and cheese you help calm nerves and the guests will appreciate the gesture.
  • Dress to impress – Dressing up cheaper meals can provide a touch of class for a fraction of the cost.
  • Bite-size – A tasting menu consisting of 6-8 courses  provides variety but also costs around 15% less than a traditional 3 course meal.
  • Serve the family – have the guests order as a table and share the food around, this gives variety and cuts down on how much they consume.
  • Take out – There are no official wedding food rules, and if you and your future spouse like pizza, then order some pies. If you like Chinese food, order a couple pu pu platters along with some fried rice. It’s your wedding so serve food you love, and you could save big time.
  • Last orders – If your going to have an open bar either limit the time its open, the drinks it serves or only serve your favourite beverage – if they don’t like it that means more for you!


Your wedding cake is your way to express your self, full of decoration, bling, fireworks or even a dancing fireman that bursts out of the cake. You can have it the way you imagined but it doesn’t require you to take on a second mortgage.

These helpful hints from past couples may help save you some money for that honeymoon of your dreams.

  • KISS (keep it simple stupid) – Having an extravagant seven tiered cake is impressive but tastes the same as a two tiered cake with a sheet cake in the back.
  • Get the Grandmother cooking – Some of the most memorable cakes are those that are composed of beautifully decorated cupcakes arranged in a tiered display, they also save you hundreds of pounds.
  • Cut out the middle man literally – Cake cutting fees can range from £1 per slice, the grooms-men can easily perform this task for free (or provide them with a larger slice of cake).
  • Miniature – Choose bite-size finger desserts or provide a sweet station, this gives a much needed energy boost to those eagerly awaiting the dance floor and doesn’t break the bank to buy a few chocolate coins.


There are plenty of ways to save money on catering and cake at your  wedding, without sacrificing style or having guests leave with an empty stomach.


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  1. My husband and I got married in our own church, with just sixteen guests. Our minister married us for free as his wedding gift to us. A friend played the guitar and sang as his gift to us. We went out to dinner afterward at a local restaurant, where they put our wedding party into a private room, which they decorated. Did I mention we got married on a Monday evening? The restaurant staff was really excited, as it was a snowy January evening, so they pulled out all the stops and used some terrific decorations, again free of charge. We told them to use their creativity as they decorated the room, and believe me did they ever! The food was fabulous, most of us had prime rib as I recall. The cake was exceptional, and we had a champagne toast. Our wedding night was spent in a wonderfully expensive hotel, with a canopied bed and fireplace, complimentary bottle of wine. It cost us $99.00 for the night. Had we married on a Saturday, that same wedding suite would have cost us $379.00. They even gave us crystal wedding goblets labeled bride and groom! And we got to go back and stay in a hotel room for free the following year on our anniversary as part of our wedding package! On our first anniversary when we went in to register, they gave us matches with our names on them- It was twenty seven years ago. All told, I think our entire wedding budget was just over $1100. I would do it the same way again in a heartbeat.

    My daughter just got married this past May, and she followed in our footsteps, keeping her costs down to a minimum, despite having 100 guests. Her best deal by far was to buy her wedding dress directly from China. She fell in love with a dress here in town that was priced at $1400.00, and it needed $400.00 worth of alterations. That was simply out of the question. Instead, we sent off her measurements to the Cinderella Bridal Company in China, and three weeks later, her wedding gown arrived. The EXACT same gown of her dreams purchased from China cost us a grand total of $155.00 ( shipping inclusive). No alterations were necessary because the dress was made to her exact measurements. It was spectacularly beautiful. We took it to the bridal shop to get ironed, and they could not tell the difference between the one we purchased in China, and the one they had in the shop. Also, it only took three weeks from the day we emailed her measurements to them, until the dress arrived here in the US. Best deal from her wedding by far!

  2. I made my own cakes because I am baker/cake decorator by trade – but a $100 budget seems way too low. You forget about all the incidentals like the pans, cake stands, rentals (if you would rather) and flowers. Butter for a 150 person portion of buttercream can easily run $60 alone. I would estimate the actual cost somewhere in the $300 range when all is said and done if you are using top-notch ingredients. It’s still more affordable than buying a cake, but understand that there are lots of incidental costs.

  3. Making your own wedding cake is a lot of work. If you just want to make numerous 8″ or 10″ cakes and serve them separately or in short stacks, it can work. But if you want to make a cake with large layers, or stack more than 3 layers, be very careful.
    The batter for a 10″ cake will not always work for a 14″ or 16″ cake, and the results can turn out gluey, for lack of a better word. The baker who made my cake told me that the batter they use is a cross between a poundcake batter and a regular cake batter so it has enough structure to support itself. I was at a wedding with a homemade cake and it was not very good, the cake hadn’t fallen, but it was gummy, they must have used a recipe that didn’t scale up well. So don’t think that you can just use a larger pan and the cake will turn out the same way.
    Cakes themselves really aren’t that expensive, especially if you don’t want a lot of decoration or fondant. It is the fancy decoration (look at the prices on Wendy Kromer’s site, some of her sets are over $300) and inticate icing that drives up the price. I think our baker charged us around $350 for a cake for over 200 people and it had fondant (which was delicious, we wouldn’t have served it if we didn’t like it) and fresh fruit filling. It was just plain fondant, no gumpaste flowers or intricate piping work, and our florist provided flowers to decorate the tiers. I don’t think you save a lot of money DIY when you add it all up in the end, especially if you want something really simple. (Piling up strawberries on a cake may be easy, but they get more and more expensive everytime I go to the store).
    And if you don’t like the frosting a baker uses, find another baker. There are plenty of good ones out there who make delicious cakes. Many people think cake is little more than a vehicle for frosting.
    If you’re going to do the 4 layer/whipped cream filling, drive wooden skewers through the cake. I made a 4 layer cake with a chocolate mousse filling for my nephew’s first birthday and once the cake sat out for a little while the layers started sliding. We stuck the skewers in and that kept it together, but if we’d tried moving it without the skewers we would have had a mess.
    Making the ice cream and sorbet seems like a wonderful idea. You don’t have to do anything the day before or the day of the wedding. If I’d had to worry about assembling a cake the day before or the day of my wedding, moving and assembling it, I’d have had a breakdown. Too may other things go wrong.

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