How To Ask Wedding Guests To Pay For Their Own Meals

One of the main expenses for couples getting married is the cost of food. A budget trend in modern weddings in Australia is to ask guests to pay for their own wedding meal. Traditionally, asking guests to pay for their meals has been seen as taboo. However, wedding planners and budget-conscious couples are keen to offset wedding costs and are getting creative in their “pay for your own meal” invitation wording.

Should Guests Pay for their Own Meals?

Politely asking your guests to pay for their own meal at your wedding is a subject to approach delicately. Some guests may perceive this request as off-putting or even offensive. If you do decide to ask guests to pay for their own meals, your request should be made as option for those who want to do it instead of a requirement of everyone. Also, to ensure that all invited guests who wish to attend are able, consider breaking your reception into two parts ( as unconventional as it is): the meal portion first and the dance and party to follow.

Tips to ask guests to pay for their own wedding meal:

  1. Be direct and to the point. You don’t want guests to be uncertain about your meaning. For example: “Food at our wedding reception will be provided to guests at their expense. The cost per guest is (price per plate). Check this box to R.S.V.P your attendance at the reception dinner. Please make payment to…………….. ( Bank, Cheque or cash ) for all members attending”.
  2. Be clear that they don’t have to pay if they don’t want to—they can attend the later part of the event. For example: “Check this box if you would like to attend only the cocktail reception and dance to follow.”
  3. Consider the options below to help offset the cost of your wedding meal.

Guests Can Pay For A Meal with Potluck-Style

Popular in community style weddings, Offset the cost of your wedding by planning a potluck-style reception. In your wedding invitation or on a separate card, ask your guests to bring their favourite dish to your wedding. If you have a wedding website, you can set up a spreadsheet for wedding food categories, such as appetisers, main courses, vegetarian options, desserts, and beverages. Wedding guests can then sign up for the food category they want to contribute to. Potluck-style receptions can also suit specific wedding themes. A garden theme wedding, for instance, would be ideal for potluck tea sandwiches and desserts. A BBQ-themed wedding could see guests bringing a variety of cold salads and picnic-style sweets.

Or Guests Pay For Meals As A Gift

One of the more subtle ways to ask wedding guests to pay for their meal at your reception is to ask them to donate the meal as your wedding gift. For example, “Check this box if you would like to pay for your wedding meal as a gift to the wedding couple. If so, please enclose (price per plate) for each member of your party.”

Using this gift option also allows guests to pay for their reception meals without feeling like they are being forced to do so.

Consider A More Budget-Friendly Wedding Meal

One of the things to consider during your wedding reception planning is whether you need to include food service at all. If the cost to feed your guests at your expense is prohibitive, it may be time to assess the size of your wedding, the wedding venue, or the type and style of food you want to serve. Limiting your guest list to align with your budget will make for a more intimate occasion. It will also allow your guests to enjoy the festivities of your wedding without the concern of added expense. Examples of alternative wedding styles with a modest food budget are buffet-style foodservice, cocktail receptions with a selection of appetisers, and “coffee and dessert” receptions with coffee, tea, and an assortment of desserts and pastries.

The cost of weddings can sometimes feel overwhelming. A modern trend to help couples offset wedding costs is to ask guests to pay for their reception meals. By approaching the question delicately and considering alternatives for your wedding food, you can ensure that your wedding will be an affordable and memorable experience for everyone.

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