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.




The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Wedding Venues

You are about to host the ultimate party, your wedding! Chances this will be your first time visiting event venues—there will be lots of information to process and learn and our solution is to come armed with a list. Below is a tried and true list of questions that every couple should ask a venue before they book the big day!

Ready to start checking out some spaces? Visit our list of the Fraser Valley’s and Metro Vancouver’s top wedding venues.


  • Does the venue have space for both the reception and ceremony (or is it near where the ceremony will be held)?
  • What is the capacity of the venue?
  • Will any other parties or people have access to the space and are there any other weddings booked at the venue on that date?
  • What items are included in our venue rental (chairs, tables, etc.)
  • What staff is included in our venue rental (ex. Event manager, sound technician, cleaning staff, etc.)
  • Will we have an onsite event manager on the day of our wedding? If so may we meet that person?


  • How much is the venue rental and what hours are included?
  • What deposits are required to book the date?
  • What is the payment schedule?
  • Are there any other costs—gratuity, cleaning, staffing, overtime, etc.
  • What is the cancellation policy?


  • May we source our own vendors or do we have to use a preferred list?
  • When may the vendors access the venue?
  • Where is load in/load our for vendors
  • Are there noise restrictions for band/DJ?
  • Is there a sound system or equipment for the DJ and band?
  • Is there parking for vans/large trucks vendors?
  • May we arrange pick up of vendor items that need to be left behind (ex. rentals) until the following day?


  • Where can guests park? Is it free?
  • How do guests access the wedding space?
  • Where are the washrooms? Is there coat check?
  • Is there a space for the bride/wedding party to get ready?
  • Who is responsible for set up/tear down of tables and chairs?
  • Are there preferred rates at nearby hotels for out of town guests?
  • Is the site handicap accessible?
  • If there is an outdoor space, what happens when it rains? Is there any tenting or coverage provided?

Food and Drink

  • Is there an in-house caterer or may we source our own?
  • May we source our own liquor? Is there a corkage fee?
  • Who needs to provide a Special Occasion License?
  • Is there a food and beverage minimum spend (if using in-house catering?)

Happy site visiting!

Q&A with our Catering Events Manager

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Our Catering Events Manager, Christina was interview by our friends at Glass Slipper Event Planning. She could have talked for hours about selecting a menu, organizing the big day and (her favourite topic) planning the perfect bar. Check out her Q&A below, and get to know us better.

Question: What’s your business name and tell us a bit about yourself?

Answer: We are The Black Radish Catering Co., we run our kitchen along side our sister restaurant The Fat Cow and Oyster Bar, allowing us to work with suppliers to source high quality ingredients, produce restaurant quality food and offer a high level of service at every event we work on. The common piece of feedback we get from our clients is that people are still talking about how amazing the food was. Planning, creating and serving amazing food for our clients is what drives our business.

Q:  What products/services do you offer?

A: We offer everything you need to have a great wedding. We start with food and work closely with our clients execute our menus to their liking. We also really love doing things outside the box—like the bride and groom who wanted freshly fried chicken and biscuits as their wedding meal, or the couple that wanted a mac and cheese bar as their midnight snack. Our Executive Chef, Chris, really knows how to have fun with food and make an unforgettable meal.

We pair this with our bar service, where we bring the liquid fun the party. From helping our clients select local wines (we love Kalala Organic Winery and Hillside Estates), sharing our favourite craft beers (shout out to 4 Winds and Parallel 49) or coming up with a unique signature cocktail Our bar manager Elliott has a knack for remembering people’s drinks (and telling dad jokes in the process).

Next come service, our manager Emmy, works with our team every night at the restaurant and that makes things run so smoothly when we work on a wedding. Our team know how to work together, they’ve nailed the art of reading a room and know how to anticipate needs.

Finally, we make this all come together with planning. Our Catering Events Manager Christina (armed with her excel spread sheets, check lists and contact list of event planning vendors), works closely with our brides and grooms to make sure that all of these elements come together seamlessly to make for a perfect day.

Q: What inspired you to start your business?

A: We opened our restaurant The Fat Cow and Oyster Bar in 2012, and we quickly developed a loyal group of regular customers who wanted our food beyond the restaurant: they wanted us to cater their weddings, cocktail parties, galas and more. Thanks to this demand, we now run The Black Radish Catering Co. so we can share our food in lots if different ways.

Q: What is one thing that sets your business apart from other similar businesses/services?

A: The first thing that sets us apart is our planning. For a lot of couples, the food and drinks are the most important element of their wedding so we know that this requires a lot of attention. Christina joined our team as our Catering Events Manager in 2015: she’s planned awards ceremonies for 500+ people, food tasting events (where she had to answer to celebrity chefs like Virkam Vij and Rob Feenie) and weddings. With this background she is able to guide our couples though what can be a stressful process, and make it efficient and fun.

The second thing is that with our restaurant The Fat Cow and Oyster Bar, we are constantly cooking many of the dishes or working with the ingredients that we use with our catering menus. This means that our food is made fresh and with restaurant quality ingredients with the expertise of a chef who is in the kitchen full time.

Q: What is your most popular product/service?

For traditional weddings its our deluxe family style menu because we offer a great selection of crowd pleasing dishes that suit even the pickiest eaters and can be customized for various dietary restrictions. This option also includes passed canape service so guests can enjoy some tasty bites before dinner. Plus, there something so special about the family style service is extra meaningful at weddings, its interactive so dishes are passed around and guests served each other, it really adds to a love filled, family focused day!

For non-traditional weddings (think: cocktail receptions), our cheese and meat platters are a hit. We combine this with passed canapes like The Fat Cow Slider and mini chicken pot pies, and this sets the tone for a laid back and fun party.

A: Where can people find your products/services?

Our headquarters are at  in 201st and 96th in Langley, our catering team spends Saturdays before we open for dinner meeting and offering tastings for our clients (bonus: with our fully stocked bar, we can test out signature cocktails give you samples of beer or wine that you may want to serve your guests).

We offering catering throughout Metro Vancouver (from Chilliwack to Vancouver and everywhere in between) and we’ve worked in a variety of venues, from Community Halls, upscale heritage buildings to private residences. We can produce great food anywhere.

Q: Any additional information brides should know about your product/services?

A: We want brides to know that we understand how overwhelming getting married can be, and we’re here to help them through that process. We know providing excellent catering is so much more than bringing food and getting your guest count. We will walk you through the details, provide you with a tasting to make sure you LOVE the meal you are serving and ultimately make sure on the day of your wedding, we deliver a memorable and fun meal that your guests will be talking about long after the reception is over.

Q: What are some tips you could offer brides when looking for vendors of your specific type of service/product?

A: There are three questions we think are important:

  1. What type of planning support do you provide? Make sure your caterer provides you with checklists, deadlines and task lists to ensure that you get all the details they will need. It’s important that you have the resources you need to provide them with the information to make your meal a success.
  2. What rentals are included? Make sure you have a clear understanding of who is providing things like, tables, linens and chairs. It’s worth your while to rely on the expertise of your cater to take care of sourcing and set up of these items.
  3. If you care about the food (think: you don’t want to serve a rubber chicken dinner), it’s good to ask where the food comes from (who are their suppliers, how often do they get their meat/seafood in fresh)? Does anything they serve come pre-packed, pre-cooked or frozen? For us, to ensure the quality and integrity of our food, we know our suppliers and have all meats and fish come in fresh for each event we work on. The difference this makes with the quality of the food we are serving is the reason brides, grooms and guests tell us, “that was the best wedding food ever!”


Fraser Valley and Metro Vancouver Venues

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We’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite venues in the Langley and Metro Vancouver. From elegant and romantic to sleek and modern to charming and rustic (and everything in between), these spots will all guarantee to set a fun and memorable tone for your big day (all you need to do is add the food and drinks!)

Looking to do something unique? We host weddings at our sister restaurant The Fat Cow and Oyster Bar


Fort Langley Community Hall

Beautiful heritage building complete with charming gardens, an elegant ball room and a stage for your entertainment.

9167 Glover Road Fort Langley


Murrayville Hall

A timeless heritage space with beautiful chandeliers to set an elegant tone.

21667 48th Avenue, Langley, British Columbia


Backyard Vineyards

Home to award-winning wines featuring a beautiful covered gazebo for guests to dine and mingle outside, as well as cozy tasting room with a wine bar perfect for cocktail parties.

3033 – 232nd Street, Langley, BC


Willoughby Community Hall

A bright space with lots of natural light, high ceilings and hardwood floors. A great spot to host casual and rustic wedding receptions.

8280 208th St., Langley



John MS Lecky UBC Boat House

A fully floating venue on the Fraser River with views of the North Shore mountains. A newly renovated bright and modern space with lots of great equipment, amenities and resources.

7277 River Road, Richmond, BC



The Permanent 

A fully restored former Bank of Canada Building (complete with a vault!) seamlessly pairs the classic with the contemporary with original stained glass, heritage bar and state of the art equipment.

330 West Pender St., Vancouver


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.