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11 Backyard Wedding Menu Ideas on a Budget

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Many couples have a hard time deciding on their backyard wedding menu, which is entirely understandable. The decision gets even more difficult when you are on a budget.

The good news is there are several different menu ideas that may just fit the bill for your wedding. The following are 11 backyard wedding menu ideas on a budget.


Barbeque is a great and simple, budget-friendly menu idea for a backyard wedding, especially if you live in the south. Many couples know someone who can make great barbeque without being a restaurant or caterer.

Assorted delicious grilled meat and bratwurst with vegetables over the coals on a barbecue on rustic wooden background

Pork or beef barbeque is easy to make either in a crockpot or smoker. You can cook barbeque the day before the wedding and buy all the ingredients in bulk for a relatively low price.

Side Ideas

You or your family can make easy sides like potato salad, macaroni salad, hushpuppies, slaw, yeast rolls, and baked beans. Many local barbeque restaurants offer families these side options and are usually much less expensive than a professional wedding caterer.

Taco Bar

Another great low-cost backyard wedding menu idea is a taco bar. Taco bars are a winner with most wedding guests, and you can let them make individual taco concoctions.

Wedding Taco Bar

You can offer both beef and chicken options and soft and crunchy taco shells. Include topping options like lettuce, sour cream, cheese, hot sauce, guacamole, salsa, and more.

A backyard wedding taco bar is a relatively inexpensive menu option for couples on a budget. The ingredients are all sold at local grocery stores and are available in bulk at stores like Sam’s and Costco.

Side Ideas

Taco bar side ideas include nacho chips, grilled corn on the cob, sauteed vegetables, and rice.  

Grilled Chicken

A tried-and-true backyard wedding menu idea is grilled chicken, especially for couples on a budget. Chicken breasts or strips are available in bulk at most grocery stores, and sides are easy to make.

Grilled Chicken tobacco on cutting board over dark wooden background, top view

Most people have grills; if you do not, you can easily borrow one from a friend. Someone can prepare the sides the night before, marinate and grill the chicken shortly before the wedding, and everything will be ready for hungry guests when the time comes.

Side Ideas

Mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, green beans, and yeast rolls are great and inexpensive sides for this menu idea. You can make these sides yourself or ask family members to help.


A quick and somewhat inexpensive menu idea for a backyard wedding is pizza. Most pizzerias offer discounts for pizzas purchased in bulk.

Tasty fresh oven pizza on a dark concrete background

While it may seem like a higher upfront cost, pizza is a budget-friendly option when you realize that it is literally the only food option you need.

You can order several different options, so there is something for everyone. The pizzeria may even offer to keep the pizzas warm or leave pizza warmers with you until the wedding reception begins.

Side Ideas

You can opt for breadsticks or chips as a side if you really want them, but the pizza can be the lone star of the show.

Casserole Potluck

A great budget-friendly, family backyard wedding idea is to do a casserole potluck.

Most people love the casseroles their friends and family make anyway, so why not have them as food for your wedding reception? It fits in with backyard wedding aesthetics and is often one of the best foods you will ever eat.

Chicken and mushroom casserole in a clay pot

Even if you must pitch in money-wise to pay or help pay for the ingredient, you will usually still come out on top budget-wise. Compared to a professional caterer, casserole potlucks start looking like a fantastic menu option.

Side Ideas

Get your family and friends to pitch in and help prepare several different casseroles and sides for the potluck. Sides like green beans, mashed potatoes, baked beans, potato salad, macaroni, and cheese are staples at potlucks.


You cannot argue against lasagna being a great choice for a backyard wedding reception menu. Although lasagna can be somewhat expensive to make, if you purchase the ingredients in bulk, you will still usually stay within budget.

Classic Lasagna with bolognese sauce. Flat lay. Top view

Ask family and friends to pitch in on preparing the lasagna for your backyard wedding. It is relatively easy to prepare in bulk, and you can even make meatless options if needed.

Side Ideas

Garlic bread is a great side option with lasagna, and it is straightforward and inexpensive to make. You can also include a small salad bar with lettuce, cheese, croutons, bacon bits, and dressings.   

Hamburgers and Hotdogs

You can always keep it simple for your backyard wedding menu and just have hamburgers and hotdogs. The ingredients are easy to find at local groceries and available to buy in bulk, saving couples tons of money in the process.

Wedding buffet with various snacks and burgers in nature.

If you have the option of hamburgers or hotdogs, guests can usually find something they can eat and enjoy, even if they are on a low-carb diet.

Side Ideas

You can opt for budget-friendly sides like chips, potato salad, macaroni, and cheese. The simpler the side options, the better it will be for all involved.

Chilli Beans

Chilli beans are another backyard wedding menu idea for couples on a budget. The ingredients are inexpensive, and you can make the meal in bulk.

Chilli beans are easy to make and easy to serve. You can include sides like cornbread or rolls.

Hot stew with chick peas beans, soy meat and chili peppers

You can make a chili bean bar with toppings like cheddar cheese, sour cream, chives, and more. If you want, you opt for ground chicken in place of ground beef or leave the meat out completely for a vegetarian option.

Side Ideas

Barbeque bread, cornbread, or other bread varieties make great side options for chili beans. Rice is another great choice as many guests enjoy mixing it with chili beans.

Pasta Bar

Although this idea may not have been on your radar, pasta bars at backyard weddings are a great low-cost menu option. You can purchase pasta in bulk at local groceries and sauces like marinara and alfredo.

Buffet dinner at a wedding reception with pasta and toppings

You can include several different pasta and sauce options as well as toppings like grilled chicken slices, parmesan cheese, meatballs, and mushrooms. Even though you may not have thought of it, this option is relatively inexpensive if you buy in bulk.

Most wedding guests love pasta, but you can also include zucchini spirals as a non-pasta option for those who do not enjoy or want to eat pasta.  

Side Ideas

Garlic bread, salads, and sauteed vegetables are all fantastic side options for a pasta bar reception menu for a backyard wedding.

Salad and Baked Potato Bar

Another tasty menu idea for a backyard wedding for couples on a budget is a simple salad and baked potato bar. Not every wedding reception needs meat to be the center of attention.

Salad bar

For this menu idea, simply buy salad and potato ingredients in bulk and make the dressings yourself. You can include toppings like butter, sour cream, croutons, bacon bits, cheese, black olives, onions, eggs, diced ham, and more.

The good news is that baked potato toppings are the same as a salad topping, minus the sour cream and butter. You can have someone prepare the baked potatoes an hour or so before the wedding and keep them warm by wrapping them in tin foil and placing them in a cooler without ice.

Side Ideas

Yeast rolls, garlic bread, and macaroni salad are all side options for a salad and baked potato bar. These are all relatively inexpensive and will fit almost any budget.

Appetizer Medley

Depending on the time of day your backyard wedding will take place, one excellent menu idea is a simple appetizer medley. Think baby and wedding shower foods like mini sandwiches, meatballs, mini corndogs, mozzarella sticks, macaroni salad, pinwheel rolls, vegetable trays, fruit, and cheese.

appetizers on a wooden board

All these ingredients can be purchased in bulk and are generally inexpensive. This allows you to keep things simple, under budget, and easy to prepare.

Charcuterie boards are trendy right now, so why miss out on the opportunity to have one at your wedding reception? Even with lots of different appetizer options, you should still come in under budget and less expensive than a professional wedding caterer.

Side Ideas

There are not many side ideas for an appetizer medley, but you can include a variety of dips and crackers to go along with the various food items.

Final Thoughts

Planning a backyard wedding menu is not easy, especially if you want to stay within budget. The more open you are to ideas, the easier it is to decide on an inexpensive menu idea that you and your betrothed will love. With the help of your family and friends, you can make any of the ideas on this list yourself and have the backyard wedding of your dreams.


I used my experience with backyard weddings and the following source in writing this article.