20 ways to Save Money when Wedding Planning

In honour of launching our $28 Classic Buffet (hello, affordable!), we had our Catering Events Manager (and expert party planner), Christina put together her list of 20 Money saving ideas for wedding clients.

The big takeaway: prioritize what is most important–do you want to make sure that you serve a delicious and memorable meal (in which case you’ve come to the right place) or have  DJ that keeps the party going all night? Spend your money on those elements and then follow our list below for tips and tricks to save some major money as you start the next exciting phase of your life: marriage.


Food and Beverage

  1. Be honest with your caterer about your budget, often times we can make suggestion for our clients on how to create a unique and affordable menus (like a more casual cocktail style reception or a couple of food stations instead of a traditional meal or buffet).
  2. Put together a small buffet of platters for cocktail hour rather than passed canapé service
  3. There are no rules that say that you have to offer your guests a full open bar for the entire reception. Offering your guests complimentary beer and wine and having a cash bar for high balls and cocktails is a great way to keep your costs down.
  4. If you decide that you want to purchase your own liquor, it’s best to ask the catering company (us!) to provide you with bartenders, streamlining service through one vendor is very time saving (and time is money, right?)
  5. Ask family and friends to provide a platter of favourite treats and goodies to set up a dessert table, and then add on a few dozen desserts from your caterer to round out the options.


  1. If your venue has a gorgeous view, cool art deco features or beautiful landscape, let those elements serve as your decoration and keep all other elements clean and simple.
  2. Flowers (while beautiful) can add up quickly. Earmark your floral budget for bouquets and boutonnieres and find unique centre pieces that speak to you as a couple. We love these options on Pinterest.
  3. If you really want flowers, but want to keep your cost down, stick to one or two types of monochromatic flowers, or add lots of greenery, then ask your florist to come up with ideas to re-purpose your arrangements from the ceremony to the reception. Again, Pinterest has endless options for ideas.
  4. Check Craig’s List and second hand stores for cool and unique décor ideas on the cheap.
  5. If there are brand new things you want, subscribe to Michael’s newsletters. They often have one day sales on frames, vases and candles. (Also they almost always have a 50% off regular priced coupon in their newsletter).


  1. Have your ceremony and reception in the same location, you’ll save on travel expenses (and it makes things so much more streamlined for your guests)
  2. While summer is considered wedding season…you can get married any time of the year you choose. During off peak months, you can save money at most venues.
  3. Don’t get married on a Saturday. Most venues charge a premium for Saturday bookings, look at hosting on a Sunday or week night.

Other ideas

  1. E-mail your save the dates and save printing and postage costs
  2. Instead of having guests mail their RSVP back, set up a wedding site like rileygrey.com. For a small fee, it will track your RSVP count, guest’s dietary restrictions , where everyone is staying and even song requests. Bonus: it allow you to  communicate with your wedding guests in an easy and streamlined tool
  3. If your floor plan will allow for it, rent larger tables (meaning that you will need to rent fewer tables, linens and centre pieces).
  4. Skip escort cards and allow guests to choose their own seats at the table
  5. Purchase things that you can repurpose again-like really great shoes that can go from wedding to cocktail party, or décor elements that can be used as accents in your home
  6. Have your photographer capture all the important moments, ceremony, toasts, first dance…and then leave the picture taking to the wedding guests. You’ll get the most fun, candid pictures of your family and friends AND with smart phones it’s easy to share photos using apps like wedpics.com
  7. Accept help—maybe your mom has an eye for making floral arrangements, or you have a friend who has awesome hand writing, take a loan from small-cash.com in need of fast cash, take everyone up on their offer to help you, you’ll save money and those sweet, personalized touches, made with love, really make weddings memorable.




Last minute ways to eat deliciously this Holiday Season!

It’s been a busy December at The Black Radish Catering Co. helping our clients feed their friend, family and colleagues this holiday season! If you didn’t get a chance to dine with us, we invite you to our sister restaurant The Fat Cow and Oyster Bar to feed your loved ones  (and yourself!) Check out our list below for last minute ways to eat deliciously for the rest of the holiday season.

Gift Cards to The Fat Cow and Oyster Bar

Ok, we won’t tell you waited until the last minute to shop (it’ll be our secret). There is still time to pop into The Fat Cow and Oyster Bar to buy a gift card. BONUS: spend $100 and get $15 for yourself. You’re welcome.

Christmas Eve Dinner

Join us on December 24th for our Christmas Eve buffet dinner, for $35/ per person The Fat Cow and Oyster Bar will be serving up holiday favourites including our famous turducken, roast ham, season veg, mashed potatoes, dessert AND MORE. Kids under 5 are free and get to pick a toy under the tree. Call us Santa, because we’re feeling extra generous this year–especially since we’ll do the dishes! Call us to book your reservation.

New Year Eve

Ring in 2017 at The Fat Cow and Oyster Bar and dine on your favourite dishes from our dinner menu (Shrimp and lobster mac and cheese anyone?) reservations still available and are perfect if your New Year’s resolution is to eat delicious things and hang out with awesome people. Call us to book today.

Are your holiday plans all booked up?  We’ll catch you in 2017—e-mail us at info@theblackradish.ca to get started on planning your wedding, private dinner or corporate event.

A Guide to Planning Your Wedding Reception Meal

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Start here to plan your perfect wedding menu to please your palates and wow your guests

Are you a traditional couple who wants a classic buffet filled with crowd pleasing favourites? Maybe you’re looking to create a more intimate vibe with a family style dinner where your guests can serve each other and themselves.  Perhaps you’re a fun-loving bride, who wants contemporary canapes and cocktails or you are a couple who wants to wow your guests with fun and flashy food stations. The type of food you serve sets the tone for the wedding and we’ve developed this handy guide to help you decide what type of service is right for you (spoiler alert: all options are delicious).

Buffet Dinner

This tried and true option is a mainstay in wedding dining for a reason:  Variety!  Buffets offer your guests the opportunity to try as much or a little of the different dishes that you’ve selected to serve. This style is great for accommodating a variety of dietary restrictions and palates and allows guests to sample as they like. The downside to this style is that guests have to wait for the table to be called up, meaning that everyone waits and eats at different times (this also causes dinner service to go on a bit longer, meaning guests will have to wait to hit the dance floor).

Family Style

With family style dining, servers bring large portions of dishes to each table and guests serve each other and themselves. This is our personal favourite way of serving because it’s just like having a family dinner, it’s warm, interactive and it really brings people together. The other plus is that dinner service is efficient, as food is delivered to each table at roughly the same time and guests may eat as soon as they have served themselves. The challenge with family style is getting all the platters to fit on each dining table (it’s like the most delicious game of Tetris), but with some planning we can ensure that we have the right service ware to make this go smoothly.


A trend we’ve noticed is couples opting to have a cocktail party instead of a formal sit down dinner. Guests enjoy a variety of 1-2 bite canapes (a selection of hot and cold), that are passed by servers as well as a selection of platters (think: Local cheese, charcuterie and antipasto) that guests can serve themselves. This creates a fun and casual atmosphere—oh and did we mention that this option helps keep food costs down? Some guests might not be as familiar with this style of service (in which case wording on your wedding invitation will have to be very clear—ex. Please join us for a cocktail reception after the wedding ceremony). You’ll also have to consider some different seating options, to ensure that guests are still able to comfortably eat, drink and enjoy the wedding festivities.

Food Stations

Imagine walking into a room where several chefs have set up little islands of food: fresh pasta being tossed in a pan with savory tomato sauce, a variety of local oysters being shucked and topped with house made mignonette, tostadas being filled with slow cooked meat with all the toppings you can imagine, (plus whatever else you can dream up).  This style is great for couples who want that wow factor–it gets people talking and creates an exciting buzz around the room. Since stations are spread out, guests are served fairly quickly. To successfully do this you’ll have to have a venue with lots of room so that there is adequate space for each station, but once the room is set up properly, culinary magic can happen.

There are no wrong answers when it comes to picking the type of food service for your wedding, ultimately it has to be the type of food you enjoy that you want to share with your guests. Also, don’t feel limited to these options, there are lots of “off the menu” ideas that we are happy to make come to life: like a whole roasted pig for a couple’s medieval themed wedding or a fried chicken and biscuits dinner for a bride who wants some Southern Charm for her big day. Whatever you choose, we’re excited to put a menu together as unique as you are.