Save Money On Your Wedding Reception

November 10, 2011

7 Ways To Save Money On Your Wedding Reception

The average American wedding costs around $30,000! When any bride takes a look at the cost of entertainment, food, the cake, and more, it’s not hard to see where those thousands go. However, it’s perfectly possible to have a beautiful, fun wedding reception without plunking down your life savings. Here are a few tips to save money on your wedding reception:

Save money on your wedding reception.

Do you really want Uncle Charlie at your wedding? Image credit: daryl_mitchell, Flickr.com.

1. Trim the guest list.
This is the simplest, easiest way to save money on your wedding reception. The number of guests you have to cut depends on how much you need to trim your budget; if your cost per head is $50, downsizing from 200 guests to 150 saves you $2,500! If you’re worried about insulting someone, go with a close friends and family only reception and visit with other guests afterwards, perhaps by throwing a small dinner party.

2. Simplify your decorations.
Decorations for a wedding reception can get pricey, so simplifying what you use can ease the strain on your wallet. This can be done in a number of ways. Use bigger tables so you need fewer centerpieces and tablecloths. Consider purchasing local in-season flowers and greenery. You can even try out non-floral decorations like candles or lanterns, which can be bought in bulk from a range of suppliers for as little as $1 apiece.

3. Don’t leave an unnecessary paper trail.
You’ve already shelled out a lot of cash for beautiful invitations and ceremony programs, so you don’t need to keep spending on unnecessary paper items for the reception. This can include menus, table numbers, escort cards, and more. Menus are overkill at a buffet dinner or simple hors d’oeuvres affairs, but if you really want one, consider placing a single sign near the reception entrance announcing the options. Have your favors double as escort cards by attaching a small tag with each guest’s name and table.

4. Plan for hidden costs.
“Hidden costs” are any costs that you don’t immediately think of, but which appear on your bill later and can completely blow your budget. They may be service charges, bottle-opening fees, gratuities, and cake-cutting fees. Before you sign a contract with your vendors, ask about these fees and make sure you can afford them.

5. Consider a mid-week reception.
Saturday weddings are popular but expensive. Just like hotels and vacation venues, booking an event in the middle of the week can shave a lot of cash off your bill. The same is true for weddings around major holidays and even peak times of the day. Just make sure you let your guests know well ahead of time so they can request enough time off from work.

Save money on your wedding reception.

Do you really need all of this? Image credit: D.L., Flickr.com

6. Don’t serve a full bar.
Open bars can get pricey when you’re charged by the bottle. Instead of having an open bar at your reception, go for one or two signature drinks, or skip the alcohol altogether. If you still want an open bar but need to save money, consider closing the bar for an hour sometime during the reception, such as during the hor’s d’oeuvres or while guests are seated during dinner.

7. Use some elbow grease.
With some careful planning, DIY-ing your wedding can save a lot of money. What you make or do yourself depends on your own abilities and how much help you have, but the possibilities are limitless. Make your own centerpieces, favors, wedding album, and more. This also works for saving money on the ceremony.

Whatever your budget, you can have a great wedding. Just follow these tips and use your own ingenuity to save money on your wedding reception. But don’t forget the most important part – enjoy your wedding no matter what!

One thought on “Save Money On Your Wedding Reception

  1. thefrugallery

    Don’t forget that having a buffet meal vs. plated can save HUGE amounts of money. It may not be as elegant, but years from now, your guests will not remember the food from the weddig, they will remember the happy couple!

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