Q. I'd prefer to save money by serving only one entrée, since my fiancé and I have a limited budget. Is this considered acceptable?
A. It's fine to offer your guests just one option for the main course. When selecting it, though, steer clear of more exotic fare, such as sushi or venison, in favor of proven crowd-pleasers or seasonal. In lieu of providing separate vegetarian fare, consider hearty side dishes, such as a fancy pasta salad or sautéed vegetables, so nonmeat eaters won't leave hungry.
Whatever you decide, remember you'll probably never please everyone. Of course, you might also go another route altogether: A buffet can be an affordable alternative to a served meal.
I agree with Peggy that it's certainly considered allowable to present your guests with one entree, but I'd take it even further and say that when I attend a wedding, I actually prefer it when the bride and groom select one main course for their guests. Of couse, picky-eaters, vegetarians, children and all those with any dietary restrictions should be prepared for in advance, and a good wedding planner, caterer and/or reception venue will be able to do so, as well as deal with any guests that request different entree on the spot with ease.
I actually think this way creates a more elegant atmosphere. It avoids the sometime confusion caused by guests who don't remember what dish they checked off when they received the invitation six weeks prior, and as well as seeing placecards marked with meal designators like a "C" or "V", of which I am not a fan.
I think in general, a good event should leave the guests with no questions or confusion. They need to experience nothing but excellent service, without seeing all the tricks and efforts behind it. And truthfully, I don't even like those entree selection cards that come inside most invitations! A line to check off "Beef" or "Chicken" is never going to sound appetizing and won't give the full menu justice.
For our wedding a year and a half ago my husband and I selected a dish for everyone (in accordance with Peggy's advice, a scrumptious but non-exotic entree). We went through the guest list and made plans for all those friends we knew with dietary restrictions (a vegetarian here, a vegetarian there) and everyone was taken care of. We didn't anticipate one of the younger attendees wanting something a little more kid-friendly and the excellent waitstaff at our hotel-venue provided him with a children's meal in no time.