Affordable food for events

These smart strategies will maximize your client or company catering budget at your next corporate or social event. Click To Tweet. Everyone knows meat is expensive.

The good news is there are plenty of ways to create a classy and enjoyable menu based on vegetables, regardless of the event type. For example, these vegetarian wedding menu ideas look absolutely stunning. Want to make it fancier?

Include a larger quantity of affordable, heavier snacks like mini grilled cheese sandwiches, tortellini and sauce cups, or even items like spinach puffs. This tip is also great for if you have a lot of children or grown up picky eaters or want to save on wait staff expenses.

Which means that a slightly smaller plate might subconsciously discourage them from wasting food or taking too much of your carefully alloted dishes. Finally, here are other ways to keep event catering costs down.

Soups, spruced up canned goods, and all manner of delectable roasted creations combat common colds and ward off overspending on event food.

Check out these light, refreshing, and floral ideas for some spring event food and beverage inspiration. Next, be sure to brush up on your catering preparation plan. Then, get unique budget-friendly centerpiece ideas or summer event decor ideas.

The cheapest food to cater is any rice or noodle-based cultural cuisine. Pizza is also a reliably cheap option. For example: a half salad and half slider bar. If you don't see the bar you have in mind on our website, just ask! We hope that some of these suggestions have inspired your imagination.

If you'd like more personalized tips on crafting an event experience that suits your budget and your taste buds , we'd love to help. Contact our catering team here at Caroline's Fine Food!

Skip to main content. Catering Tips About Us Full Menu FAQs. December 23, Budget-Friendly Catering Ideas for Events. She gave us some great creative tips and menu items she regularly offers her her budget-savvy clients: Consider There are several broad factors which will determine the overall cost of your event: Where do you plan to hold your event?

What style of service would you like? full, buffet, delivery, pick-up How many guests are you inviting? What time of day are you scheduling your event? What type of menu would you like to serve? What will your non-food costs be? lights, rentals, drinks, music, flowers, etc Location, Location, Location Are you planning to rent a venue for your catered event?

At Your Service Caroline stresses that one of the key determinants of pricing is the type of service you choose. VIP's Only Another way to stay within your budget is to carefully vet your guest list.

Perfect Timing This is sort of a sneaky one but you can greatly reduce your menu cost by holding your office party, shower, etc. Best Tips: Non-Food Expenses If you're serving alcohol, consider sangria and creative punches instead of a fully stocked open bar.

Look for deals from local outlets, breweries and vineyards on wine and beer. Go non-alcoholic with an exotic and colorful lemonade bar and freshly brewed iced teas. Dress up your event with inexpensive tiki torches, fairy lights and candles instead of rented lights.

Instead of a band or professional DJ, create your own playlists tailored to your event. You could also tap that music-savvy relative, friend or coworker to do the honors.

They've been waiting in the wings for just such an opportunity! Do your own flowers. Focus on smaller, visually arresting arrangements as accents to your larger theme. Explore inexpensive options like succulents and Eucalyptus!

Dress up your buffet or table with attractive, inexpensive runners, charges, napkin rings and candles, Dollar and home good-type stores are great resources.

Display an heirloom vase, serving vessel or utensils for a personal touch and visual interest. More from the Blog.

Special Events Planning. Logistics You Should Consider When Ordering Catering. Meals to go: A Delicious Holiday Hack. Menu Planning for Successful Corporate Events.

Buffet vs. Plated Service: A Guide. Wellness Catering: A Win-Win Workplace Strategy. Tips for Creating a Memorable Graduation Party.

Go to Costco and pick up their chicken salad (add grapes - yum!), spiral sliced ham, rolls, and an array of salads - potato, pasta, quinoa, slaw Generally bbq, tacos, picnic catering or even just cake and punch are all good options if you are trying to save money on food. My only advice 6 Affordable Catering Ideas That Will Stretch Your Budget · 1. Family-style pasta · 2. Build-your-own tacos · 3. Apps, not entrees · 4. Sandwich

Affordable Catering Austin, Texas: Uplift Your Event with Delicious Dining

Affordable food for events - So if you need ideas for affordable catering options, build a menu around budget-friendly cuisines. Mexican, Indian, Thai, and Chinese foods won Go to Costco and pick up their chicken salad (add grapes - yum!), spiral sliced ham, rolls, and an array of salads - potato, pasta, quinoa, slaw Generally bbq, tacos, picnic catering or even just cake and punch are all good options if you are trying to save money on food. My only advice 6 Affordable Catering Ideas That Will Stretch Your Budget · 1. Family-style pasta · 2. Build-your-own tacos · 3. Apps, not entrees · 4. Sandwich

You don't need to serve gourmet ketchup at your BBQ; just buy whatever is cheapest. Don't just shoot from the hip and buy eight heads of lettuce for your taco bar unless you know for certain that it's exactly how much you need. Waste not, be reasonable, and don't go crazy!

Accessories make the outfit when it comes to throwing a party. Whether it's functional must-have's or little touches that give a party some POP! Now, you don't have to go crazy with it, but just incorporate it here and there to tie it all in together.

Whether it's with little decorative pieces, invitations, food labels, napkins, table cloth, candles, or with the food itself, bringing a pop of color in can bring your gathering to the next level. For a dessert party I threw, I had yellow and green as my accent colors.

To tie the colors in, I simply placed different sheets of 12×12 scrapbook paper under some of the dishes. You can also use tissue paper and wrapping paper for this. And yes, you can use the paper for future projects!

This is an inexpensive way to dress up a gathering. Lately I have been buying my cute napkins from Ikea. Look at how adorable they are! I love them because they are BIG sometimes party napkins are itty bitty , and are super sturdy.

They're affordable, too! An amazing crockpot is always a must when serving a crowd. You can cook and serve right in the crockpot, so it cuts down on dishes and mess! I have two different electric serving warmers and I'm OBSESSED! I got one for Christmas a few years ago from Costco.

It's perfect for food that you've made in advance, and want to keep warm. I got the Oster buffet server warmer tray one year for Christmas. I love it because it's three individual crock pots that actually cook, which makes for easy clean-up since I'm doing everything in the same pot.

These are the handiest tools EVER for feeding a crowd. They save space, keep your food warm, and look nice and professional. They are pretty affordable. I recommend keeping your eyes peeled and buying them AFTER Christmas when they go on sale.

It's an investment that you will be able to use over and over! I even use these for our Sunday dinners. This is not only an easy way to dress up your gathering, but will also protect your furniture.

I like the vinyl ones that are easy to wipe down, but I also have cloth ones that I can throw in the washing machine. Once again, it's an investment that you can use over and over. Keep in mind that you can also use a roll of wrapping paper down the center of a table as a disposable runner!

I also like the cheap table cloths from the dollar store , because you can toss them guilt-free if they're too dirty to keep and reuse later. No need to buy any fancy ones from Etsy or other shops.

They're simple! You can even make them on Word or in Canva! Labels add cuteness and creativity to a gathering, but are also really functional… Especially for dessert parties so people can know if there are nuts in the dessert they are about to eat.

I always like to put a sign on my front door so people don't feel like they have to knock and wait for me to answer, AND so they know they are at the right house.

Once again, just make it on your computer, print it, and stick it on some cute scrapbooking paper. Easy and free 🙂. Functionality and flow is key when feeding a crowd. You don't want people to have to reach over three different trays of food to reach the napkins!

Here are some tools I like:. I love using baby food jars or leftover tupperware to serve sauces and toppings. Wrap a cute ribbon around them, put a label on or next to them, and there you go. I save and re-use plastic baby food containers the Walmart brand. I LOVE THEM because they are like tiny tupperware.

For my potato bar , I prepared the toppings ahead of time, stacked them in the fridge, then pulled them out when it was time to start the party.

I also use colorful baby spoons because they are the perfect serving spoon size. The dishes you use to display your food can really make a statement at a gathering.

The good news? There are TONS of ways to get inexpensive platters and dishes! Thrift stores, dollar store, Target , Walmart , clearance, and even getting creative and making some yourself. I've even made a stand out of dollar store items and glue!

You can get TONS of DIY project ideas from Pinterest. We got a tiered stand as a wedding gift and have used it probably a million and one times.

Buy a functional piece for a good deal, and you will use it over and over! This rectangular serving stand looks like it would be perfect for so many types of parties! Great investment! My MIL bought me an amazing picnic caddy from Costco one year and I use it for EVERY SINGLE gathering we have.

I love it because it avoids having to stack things plates, napkins, silverware , keeps things neat and organized, and takes up little counter or table space. I absolutely LOVE my center-folding plastic table I got at Costco. Costco's plastic utensils are THE BEST. They are so sturdy, I actually toss them in the dishwasher and use them again!

But, if I'm outside like at a family reunion or picnic then we can toss them, guilt free. They always have coupons for them too, so stock up when they go on sale. Rather than serving fancy, expensive drinks, give your water a face-lift! Slice up fruit to make flavored water.

Put your water in a cute pitcher. Dress it up with fancy ice cubes. All easy ways to serve a nice drink…for cheap or free.

Ikea has great ice cube trays for cheap. The black tray is really cool because it creates ice cube rods that you can put in water bottles! You can make a neat display out of these for people to put in their cups.

Take fruit that is bruised or on it's way out, and freeze it. When it's time for a party, break up the fruit and freeze it in your ice cubes. How fancy is that?! I prefer serving my water in a large dispenser so I don't have to keep filling it up throughout the party.

When I want to serve something other than water, I often go the easy route and buy a case of water bottles or serve soda in the can. I keep my eye on soda all year and stock up when it goes on sale. Mix a clear soda with some Crystal Light and you have a delicious party punch everyone will love!

So there you go! Wow, this was the longest post ever. Hopefully now you have all the tools you need to have LOTS of gatherings this year… on the cheap.

Remember, even the cheapest and simplest meals can make for an unforgettable party with a little creativity and a lot of love. You can get all budgeting and finance tips, and my secret sauce in my fun-to-watch video program Budget Boot Camp!

You have nothing to lose because if you don't save or earn at LEAST what you paid for it, I'll give your money back. WHEW, well there you have it! All of my best tips, tricks and cheap party food ideas.

What's your go-to party food when you have people over? Let us know in the comments! Thanks so much! Love it! Thank you! This gives me a start. Now I just have to try to figure out how much to cook.

Soups, spruced up canned goods, and all manner of delectable roasted creations combat common colds and ward off overspending on event food. Check out these light, refreshing, and floral ideas for some spring event food and beverage inspiration. Next, be sure to brush up on your catering preparation plan.

Then, get unique budget-friendly centerpiece ideas or summer event decor ideas. The cheapest food to cater is any rice or noodle-based cultural cuisine.

Pizza is also a reliably cheap option. Catering costs can vary widely depending on cuisine, location, and level of service. Webinar Spotlight: New Year, New You: Discover Tools to Make Your Events Better Than Ever!

Register now. Home » Monday Motivation: 40 Budget-Smart Event Catering Ideas for Every Season. What style of service would you like? full, buffet, delivery, pick-up How many guests are you inviting?

What time of day are you scheduling your event? What type of menu would you like to serve? What will your non-food costs be? lights, rentals, drinks, music, flowers, etc Location, Location, Location Are you planning to rent a venue for your catered event?

At Your Service Caroline stresses that one of the key determinants of pricing is the type of service you choose. VIP's Only Another way to stay within your budget is to carefully vet your guest list. Perfect Timing This is sort of a sneaky one but you can greatly reduce your menu cost by holding your office party, shower, etc.

Best Tips: Non-Food Expenses If you're serving alcohol, consider sangria and creative punches instead of a fully stocked open bar. Look for deals from local outlets, breweries and vineyards on wine and beer.

Go non-alcoholic with an exotic and colorful lemonade bar and freshly brewed iced teas. Dress up your event with inexpensive tiki torches, fairy lights and candles instead of rented lights. Instead of a band or professional DJ, create your own playlists tailored to your event. You could also tap that music-savvy relative, friend or coworker to do the honors.

They've been waiting in the wings for just such an opportunity! Do your own flowers. Focus on smaller, visually arresting arrangements as accents to your larger theme. Explore inexpensive options like succulents and Eucalyptus! Dress up your buffet or table with attractive, inexpensive runners, charges, napkin rings and candles, Dollar and home good-type stores are great resources.

Display an heirloom vase, serving vessel or utensils for a personal touch and visual interest. More from the Blog. Special Events Planning. Logistics You Should Consider When Ordering Catering. Meals to go: A Delicious Holiday Hack.

Menu Planning for Successful Corporate Events.

Affordable food for events - So if you need ideas for affordable catering options, build a menu around budget-friendly cuisines. Mexican, Indian, Thai, and Chinese foods won Go to Costco and pick up their chicken salad (add grapes - yum!), spiral sliced ham, rolls, and an array of salads - potato, pasta, quinoa, slaw Generally bbq, tacos, picnic catering or even just cake and punch are all good options if you are trying to save money on food. My only advice 6 Affordable Catering Ideas That Will Stretch Your Budget · 1. Family-style pasta · 2. Build-your-own tacos · 3. Apps, not entrees · 4. Sandwich

Take a dessert party , for example, if you have more variety of desserts, people will eat less of each and will be satisfied with smaller bites.

If you have a dessert party with three cakes and nothing else, you should cut big slices and expect them to be wiped out. But if you have smaller cakes, cookies, pastries, cake bites, brownie bites, and other small things, you can serve less of each and make much smaller portions because there is more variety.

With anything in life, setting a budget is key. Decide early what you are willing to spend and base your menu around it. Believe it or not, it's quite easy to do a party for cheap or even free. Potluck , BYOM BBQ, dessert party, or even a pasta party all can be done for only a few dollars.

If there are going to be lots of kids at your party, avoid dark-colored punch, soups, and meals that could cause a mini disaster in your house.

When people will have a table to sit at, soups and taco salads are fine to serve. If people will mostly be standing and mingling, finger foods are best.

When it's something like a family reunion , consider a menu that has something for everyone, something that everyone from little kids to seniors would enjoy.

For a bachelor party, I probably wouldn't do a salad bar… Maybe stick more to a hearty BBQ. Having a baby shower? I'd avoid chicken wings and focus on a lighter menu. Just keep your attendees in mind so the food is fitting!

Baked potato bars , soup bars, and pasta bars are perfect for winter months. Salad bars and BBQ's are perfect for spring and summer. Potlucks are great all year. Just consider what's in season, and what time of year it is. All of that being said, here are some examples of great menus that I use to feed a crowd on the cheap:.

A lot of these ideas are classic! These are foods that people love, and the best part is that they can be cheap if you plan right! Another bonus — a lot of them will also work for lunch time. If your party can be turned into a brunch, you're in luck because you can mass produce all kinds of brunch foods for cheap.

And people love breakfast foods. There are so many ways to mix up snacks and have a super fun party! The sky is the limit. Here are just a few ideas to get you started thinking.

Great for late-night get togethers. Provide drinks and a few main desserts, as your guests to bring a dessert to share. Toss in a veggie tray for the healthy eaters. We also have a printable version of this list plus all the topping and food ideas, be sure to grab that list!

Throughout the year, watch the sales! If you see condiments go on sale, stock up. Same with chips, paper plates, napkins, drinks, and other pantry items. This also goes for anything you can freeze cheese, tortillas, meat, etc. Before running to the store, open your fridge, freezer, cupboards, and pantry and use what you have!

This goes for decorations, too. Trust me…you'll save A TON of money if you simply get creative with what you already have. The week of your party, keep an eye on the ads and use it to influence your menu.

If Coke products are on sale that week, buy those instead of Pepsi products. If Heinz ketchup is cheaper than Hunts, then buy Heinz. That alone will save you TONS. Buying bulk will save you tons of money when cooking for a crowd!

I prefer shopping at Costco , personally, but even grocery stores have bulk sections. I avoid buying cutesy plates and cups since they are WAY more expensive. Rather, I stick to the bulk plates and cups and dress up my party in other ways. See below for ideas! You don't need to serve gourmet ketchup at your BBQ; just buy whatever is cheapest.

Don't just shoot from the hip and buy eight heads of lettuce for your taco bar unless you know for certain that it's exactly how much you need. Waste not, be reasonable, and don't go crazy! Accessories make the outfit when it comes to throwing a party.

Whether it's functional must-have's or little touches that give a party some POP! Now, you don't have to go crazy with it, but just incorporate it here and there to tie it all in together.

Whether it's with little decorative pieces, invitations, food labels, napkins, table cloth, candles, or with the food itself, bringing a pop of color in can bring your gathering to the next level. For a dessert party I threw, I had yellow and green as my accent colors. To tie the colors in, I simply placed different sheets of 12×12 scrapbook paper under some of the dishes.

You can also use tissue paper and wrapping paper for this. And yes, you can use the paper for future projects! This is an inexpensive way to dress up a gathering. Lately I have been buying my cute napkins from Ikea. Look at how adorable they are!

I love them because they are BIG sometimes party napkins are itty bitty , and are super sturdy. They're affordable, too! An amazing crockpot is always a must when serving a crowd. You can cook and serve right in the crockpot, so it cuts down on dishes and mess! I have two different electric serving warmers and I'm OBSESSED!

I got one for Christmas a few years ago from Costco. It's perfect for food that you've made in advance, and want to keep warm. I got the Oster buffet server warmer tray one year for Christmas. I love it because it's three individual crock pots that actually cook, which makes for easy clean-up since I'm doing everything in the same pot.

These are the handiest tools EVER for feeding a crowd. They save space, keep your food warm, and look nice and professional. They are pretty affordable. I recommend keeping your eyes peeled and buying them AFTER Christmas when they go on sale.

It's an investment that you will be able to use over and over! I even use these for our Sunday dinners. This is not only an easy way to dress up your gathering, but will also protect your furniture.

I like the vinyl ones that are easy to wipe down, but I also have cloth ones that I can throw in the washing machine. Once again, it's an investment that you can use over and over. Keep in mind that you can also use a roll of wrapping paper down the center of a table as a disposable runner!

I also like the cheap table cloths from the dollar store , because you can toss them guilt-free if they're too dirty to keep and reuse later. No need to buy any fancy ones from Etsy or other shops.

They're simple! You can even make them on Word or in Canva! Labels add cuteness and creativity to a gathering, but are also really functional… Especially for dessert parties so people can know if there are nuts in the dessert they are about to eat.

I always like to put a sign on my front door so people don't feel like they have to knock and wait for me to answer, AND so they know they are at the right house.

Once again, just make it on your computer, print it, and stick it on some cute scrapbooking paper. Easy and free 🙂. Functionality and flow is key when feeding a crowd. You don't want people to have to reach over three different trays of food to reach the napkins!

Here are some tools I like:. I love using baby food jars or leftover tupperware to serve sauces and toppings. Wrap a cute ribbon around them, put a label on or next to them, and there you go.

I save and re-use plastic baby food containers the Walmart brand. I LOVE THEM because they are like tiny tupperware. For my potato bar , I prepared the toppings ahead of time, stacked them in the fridge, then pulled them out when it was time to start the party.

I also use colorful baby spoons because they are the perfect serving spoon size. The dishes you use to display your food can really make a statement at a gathering.

The good news? There are TONS of ways to get inexpensive platters and dishes! Thrift stores, dollar store, Target , Walmart , clearance, and even getting creative and making some yourself. I've even made a stand out of dollar store items and glue! You can get TONS of DIY project ideas from Pinterest.

We got a tiered stand as a wedding gift and have used it probably a million and one times. Buy a functional piece for a good deal, and you will use it over and over! This rectangular serving stand looks like it would be perfect for so many types of parties!

Great investment! My MIL bought me an amazing picnic caddy from Costco one year and I use it for EVERY SINGLE gathering we have. I love it because it avoids having to stack things plates, napkins, silverware , keeps things neat and organized, and takes up little counter or table space.

I absolutely LOVE my center-folding plastic table I got at Costco. Costco's plastic utensils are THE BEST. They are so sturdy, I actually toss them in the dishwasher and use them again! But, if I'm outside like at a family reunion or picnic then we can toss them, guilt free. They always have coupons for them too, so stock up when they go on sale.

Rather than serving fancy, expensive drinks, give your water a face-lift! Slice up fruit to make flavored water. Put your water in a cute pitcher. Dress it up with fancy ice cubes. All easy ways to serve a nice drink…for cheap or free.

Ikea has great ice cube trays for cheap. The black tray is really cool because it creates ice cube rods that you can put in water bottles! You can make a neat display out of these for people to put in their cups.

Take fruit that is bruised or on it's way out, and freeze it. When it's time for a party, break up the fruit and freeze it in your ice cubes. How fancy is that?! I prefer serving my water in a large dispenser so I don't have to keep filling it up throughout the party.

When I want to serve something other than water, I often go the easy route and buy a case of water bottles or serve soda in the can. I keep my eye on soda all year and stock up when it goes on sale. Mix a clear soda with some Crystal Light and you have a delicious party punch everyone will love!

So there you go! Wow, this was the longest post ever. Hopefully now you have all the tools you need to have LOTS of gatherings this year… on the cheap. Remember, even the cheapest and simplest meals can make for an unforgettable party with a little creativity and a lot of love.

You can get all budgeting and finance tips, and my secret sauce in my fun-to-watch video program Budget Boot Camp! You have nothing to lose because if you don't save or earn at LEAST what you paid for it, I'll give your money back. WHEW, well there you have it!

All of my best tips, tricks and cheap party food ideas. What's your go-to party food when you have people over? Let us know in the comments! Thanks so much! Love it! Thank you! This gives me a start. Now I just have to try to figure out how much to cook. This is such an awesome list!!!

Better still, you might consider stationary apps as a less expensive possibility. You can also design a hybrid menu where you provide some of the food yourself and order budget-friendly options from your caterer.

Another way to stay within your budget is to carefully vet your guest list. Micro-weddings and other "downsized" events are trending right now and we believe this trend is here to stay.

People are reimagining what a wedding, shower or celebration of life "looks" like. People seem less concerned with traditional must-haves and must-dos and more concerned with creating meaningful, personalized, smaller get-togethers.

This is sort of a sneaky one but you can greatly reduce your menu cost by holding your office party, shower, etc. in the mid-afternoon. The time of day will determine whether your guests will expect a full meal.

Serving apps or desserts instead of a full menu is an excellent way to make the most of your budget! If this sounds uninspired, don't lose heart! It all depends on your presentation and imagination!

Instead of offering individual servings of protein for each guest, you can save money by incorporating your meat or fish into a rice or pasta base with interesting taste profiles and a visually pleasing presentation. Think exotic spices. Think yummy sauces.

Consider international foods. Think out of the box! One of the easiest, least expensive and most enjoyable ways to entertain is to offer a " fix-it-yourself bar ". For example, some of Caroline's most popular bars are: Larb Southeast Asian , Fiesta Taco, Moo Shu Chinese , Platinum Mezze vegetarian , Tacos Two Ways, Traditional Sliders, Traditional Tacos, Upscale Sliders, Vegetarian Tacos.

As you can see, the sky's the limit when it comes to creative combinations. Whether you do it yourself or choose to have your bar catered , you have the option to combine elements.

For example: a half salad and half slider bar. If you don't see the bar you have in mind on our website, just ask! We hope that some of these suggestions have inspired your imagination.

If you'd like more personalized tips on crafting an event experience that suits your budget and your taste buds , we'd love to help.

Contact our catering team here at Caroline's Fine Food! Skip to main content. Catering Tips About Us Full Menu FAQs. December 23, Budget-Friendly Catering Ideas for Events.

She gave us some great creative tips and menu items she regularly offers her her budget-savvy clients: Consider There are several broad factors which will determine the overall cost of your event: Where do you plan to hold your event?

What style of service would you like? full, buffet, delivery, pick-up How many guests are you inviting? What time of day are you scheduling your event? What type of menu would you like to serve? What will your non-food costs be? lights, rentals, drinks, music, flowers, etc Location, Location, Location Are you planning to rent a venue for your catered event?

At Your Service Caroline stresses that one of the key determinants of pricing is the type of service you choose. VIP's Only Another way to stay within your budget is to carefully vet your guest list. Perfect Timing This is sort of a sneaky one but you can greatly reduce your menu cost by holding your office party, shower, etc.

Food trucks are also mobile, which means they ecents be set up at Affordable food for events locations during an event, foos guests with easy Atfordable to food. Affordable food for events More: 30 Thrifty fine dining offers Catering Websites and How To Design One This is also really helpful for crowd control as it spreads people throughout the venue. There are so many ways to mix up snacks and have a super fun party! Salad bars and BBQ's are perfect for spring and summer. Another way to stay within your budget is to carefully vet your guest list.

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