wedding catererMaybe you’ve got the details of the actual wedding ceremony worked out, but what about the reception? One of the major costs of the wedding reception will definitely be the food, so you’ll want to make sure you’ll have enough food for everyone without spending too much money. Here are some top ways to cut on your catering bill that will ensure that your guests enjoy your reception—and you save money.

Don’t order more food than you need.

Most couples want to order an extra tray or two of hors d’oeuvres in case extra guests show up. This is fine (and usually a smart idea), but you should still make sure that you’re not order more appetizers than you actually need; use your discretion based on the guest list. For instance, if you know a number of your guests are vegetarian, you may not need to order as many appetizers with meat. Also, ordering two or three types of hors d’oeuvres will help to reduce your catering bill. If you buy more of the same dish, you can usually save money with most catering companies—different kinds of foods will increase the bill, so it’s important to keep it classy but simple at the wedding—even when it comes to food.

Caterers will also try to encourage you to spend more than you may need to on the actual meal as well. You may not need a five course meal if you’ve already purchased three types of appetizers and a salad, or three extra desserts if you already have a pretty large wedding cake. The time of day that you hold your wedding will give you a good indication of how much food to serve; if you’re having the ceremony in the afternoon or early evening, you may want to serve more food.

Pay attention to the types of foods you order.

There are some foods that are always going to be expensive, even if you only order small amounts. So, since you have to order a considerable amount of food, ordering dishes that aren’t so costly will help you to keep your catering bill reasonable. Certain seafood, like shrimp, lobster and salmon will definitely make your catering bill higher, so if you have to have them, try to use them as only one of the course choices for dinner, or purchase these foods as appetizers to save on costs.

Have food stations.

Food stations are a unique way to serve a variety of foods at your wedding reception, and you can be sure that everyone will find something they like to eat. This way, you won’t have to worry about people changing their minds about their meal choices once they arrive at the reception. A food station with different types of pasta is usually a hit with most guests, and can be very economical. You can also include food stations with other types of the ethnic foods, such as Mexican or Indian fare, to celebrate the cultures of the people who will be attending your wedding, or to acknowledge your backgrounds.

You may also be able to cut your catering bill by not requesting an elaborate setup for your food stations and tables. Using a single color for tablecloths, usually white, will cut down on labor costs. To add more color to your reception decorations, you may want to add elaborate centerpieces, so that you can spend as much as you need to on the meals for the reception.