Broke-Ass Category: Caterers & Cake Vendors

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Affiliate Disclaimer NewOne of the main requirements that Russel and I had when it came to choosing a venue was the ability to choose any caterer/food option we wanted. There were several reasons for this: 1) You can’t have a carnival wedding without fun carnival food and I don’t think most traditional caterers are down with all fried everything; 2) We knew that a lot of companies were likely going to cost more than we were willing/able to spend. I want to feed my guests awesome and delicious food, but I don’t want to go (more) broke doing it. We wanted to be able to research every available option and choose what was right for us.

Etsy bomobob ferris wheel carnival photograph

Photograph available from Etsy seller bomobob

Just a few weeks after we decided to go all-in on our theme, the Holmes County Fair happened to be going on. The timing was pretty perfect, and we were able to walk around and see the different vendors and their options and prices. We sampled a lot of goodies and made a list of what we liked best. We gathered information for the stands we loved and contacted them over the next few weeks so we could see if they would even be interested in doing a wedding — and if our preferred menu was feasible. We got super lucky, because both vendors we talked to seemed excited about the idea and were more than happy to work with us on creating a great dinner.

Our menu:

Shredded beef sandwiches, sausages with peppers and onions, corn dogs, french fries, onion rings, ice cream, funnel cakes and chocolate-dipped cheesecake. I mean …*insert heart-eye emoji here*

Yeah, it’s a lot of fried goodness, but there are also a couple things that aren’t submerged in oil, so I feel good about it. I also feel fantastic about the price. For $12-$15/person, we’re getting all of that yumminess. It even includes dessert — hells yeah! We are getting a small cake for us to cut, but unless someone is dying for a slice, it’s really just there to look pretty and provide us with a stale, frozen anniversary tradition next year. Truth be told, we don’t have a firm price or even a contract in place, because we will be paying at the end of the night when they tally up how much food we went through. We’re totally fine with that since it’s exactly what we want.

This year’s fair kicks off Saturday, so we will be making the trip again so we can try the food one more time, and also see all of the amazing progress at the fairgrounds. Being the first ever wedding at the fairgrounds is scary, but this will be a trial run for the food stands which is super helpful. When they arrive to set up the night before our big day, they will know exactly what they are doing. Bonus!

All in all, I totally suggest looking into food stands or trucks as an option for a wedding or event. We are really happy we went with what we really wanted, and I think it’s going to pay off.

Have you made any wedding decisions that are super outside the box? Share in the comments!


  • 6/20

    Sponsored Post DisclaimerCatering Your Own Wedding Do It on the Cheap with Sam's Club

    Original photo: Shaina Sheaff Photography

    So you’ve decided to tackle the wedding food on your own (or a very gracious friend with mad skillz has stepped up to the plate). Go you! It’s a great way to save some money and add a very personalized touch … but it can be a helluva task. Timing, preparation, serving and not to mention cost … the biggest cost, of course, is making sure you have enough food for all your guests — which unless you’re having an itty-bitty party, is no small task.

    But it’s not impossible. Especially not if you get your food in bulk from Sam’s Club. The membership warehouse is a great place to stock up on large quantities of food — think rolls, meats, spices, dairy, produce and more — without splashing down a ton of money per head. I recently coordinated a wedding that one of my ultra-foodie friends had offered to cater. He roped in a few of our other homies (I would normally be part of this crew, but I had other important duties) for prep, and two pounds of garlic, eight pounds of onions, 15 pounds of cabbage and oh, so much more later, there was a huge spread of food to feed 100 guests (with both veg and carnivore options). Total cost? $420 — $300 of which was spent at Sam’s Club. And that includes the chafing dishes, serving utensils and warming pans.

    Catering Your Own Wedding? Do It on the Cheap with Sam's Club|| Photo by Shaina Sheaff Photography

    Photo: Shaina Sheaff Photography

    When you splash down cash on catering, you’re paying a lot for labor as well — likely also things like uniforms, service fees, gratuity, etc. But when you decide to cater your wedding yourself (or together, with friends), you can save a huge chunk on these things, and even more when you head to Sam’s Club to get all the ingredients and other goodies.

    Bringing in your own booze? Sam’s Club has that corner covered, too — get bulk beer and wine for significantly less than you’d pay at your local liquor store, and hang on to the leftovers for future cookouts and other celebrations. And don’t think you’re stuck with run-of-the-mill yellow beers — Sam’s Club has a wide assortment of domestic and imported brews and a whole helluva lot of bubbly options for you Champagne lovers (aren’t we all?).

  • 4/5

    Something that we value is shopping local or independent retailers when we’re able. We love supporting the Milwaukee economy and I’ve sort of made it a personal wedding mission. Obviously, most people’s wedding photographers or florists are local, but I thought I’d share a rundown of how we’re supporting local or other independent vendors elsewhere. Dress: While Maggie Sottero is an international designer, I was…

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    Welcome to another episode of Broke-Ass Advice! Today's question is about what to serve guests at a casual reception: I love your website. Not just this one, but all of your blogs. So helpful and inspirational. While I was reading your book, I continually would read passages out loud to my fiance and say, finally, someone who gets it! We are paying for our wedding…

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    Image: Persimmon Images During my venue visit, I found out that their pastry chef doesn't do cake. This was annoying because I had not planned on having to find a separate vendor for this, but now I do. Being that my venue is a few hours from home, it's not practical to use a bakery close to home which is a bummer since, like with…

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    Dear Liz,  The second deposit for my venue is due next week, and when I looked at the contract and thought about what we want to happen that day, I'm starting to freak out. Our wedding is next month, we're getting married at 5pm, and the music has to be off by 10pm, so we can be totally out by 11pm. With the ceremony, cocktail…

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    Photo: Andie Freeman Photography Dear Liz, My fiancé and I are in the very beginning of planning our wedding. Naturally, we started with the venue hunt. But now we have a small problem. I  found a beautiful venue, it barely needs decoration, and it's sooo unique. However, they  only have one exclusive caterer, and they don't impress me. With our budget we would only be able to afford a…

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    You may remember my telling you that English weddings tend to be boozy affairs. And by that I mean that most people measure the success of a wedding on just how trollied they were by the end of the night. Credit Trollied" is English slang, meaning "very drunk." It does not necessarily require a "trolley" (for US readers, we mean "cart"), although this does sometimes happen…

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