This week we will talk about wedding reception. Tips, trends and some warm recommendations for the happy couple.
Wedding Reception Ideas:
As the saying goes, location is everything. In this case, the location can save you a bundle. Instead of booking the ballroom of an exclusive hotel or other "must-have" location, look for something a little different and unique. You'll be surprised at how many locations are free or very low-cost. Look into gardens, vineyards, museums, church halls, hotel banquet rooms or even the home of a friend or family member. You may also be able to find restaurants in your area that specialize in affordable wedding receptions. When comparing prices, be sure to keep in mind that "free" locations require you to rent chairs, tables and more, so there is some cost involved. Sometimes it turns out to be more budget friendly to rent an inexpensive hall that provides those things for you.
Limit Your Guest List
It's tempting to invite your 50th cousin twice removed, and it's easy to give in and let family members invite people who said hello to you back in kindergarten, but for the sake of your budget, you must be firm with your guest list. Stick to inviting the people you are truly close to and you'll save hundreds on the cost of food and drink at your wedding reception.
Let them Eat Cake
Your wedding cake can average $5 per serving and up, easily taking a big bite out of your budget. You may want to consider ordering a small display cake, and also ordering a sheet cake to serve to your guests. It's much more cost effective, and your guests probably won't even think twice about it. And don't forget to ask around. Chances are, you or your fiancé have an acquaintance that creates beautiful wedding cakes and charges next to nothing.
Family members are usually more than happy to help prepare food for your reception. Many foods such as roast beef, ham and lasagna are easy to prepare ahead of time in large quantities. And if you're preparing the food yourself, buying in bulk (wholesale clubs, etc) saves you lots of money. Potlucks are also enjoying a degree of renewed popularity. Ask family members to provide some of the food, and then invite guests to bring a dish in lieu of a gift. Simply slip a note into the invitation altering guests of this option.
To Drink or not to Drink
Alcohol also raises the cost of your wedding reception. Consider having only limited drinks available. Of course, if you have a morning or early afternoon wedding, alcohol isn't usually necessary. And some venues don't allow alcohol at all, so this point wouldn't even be an issue. Be sure to check on this at the locations you're considering.
With a little creativity (lights, candles, faux plants and trees), anyplace can be transformed into a beautiful reception location. Remember, your guests are there to celebrate with you, not critique the crystal chandeliers (or lack thereof). And there are scores of table decorations you can make yourself that are quite affordable. Don't be shy about family and friends to pitch in on making the decorations and decorating for the reception. Most times, they're more than happy to help.
Save yourself $1000 or more by foregoing a live band. If you ask around, you probably have a family member, friend, or friend of a friend who does wedding DJ duties (or at least has a killer sound system) and would be willing to take charge of the music - usually for little or no cost. Your guests just want to dance and have fun, and it's not that important to them exactly where the music is coming from
There are so many details to attend to when planning a wedding reception. Where does the punch bowl come from? What about the silverware? And the coffee pot ? If the location does not provide these things for you, and you're not using a caterer, there's nothing wrong with renting these items or borrowing them from friends or family members. There's no need to invest in a punch bowl - unless you think you'll get more use out of it. Besides, you can always buy one down the road when you need it, but do it when you budget isn't so tight. All of these little incidentals really add up, so take advantage of other people's willingness to help.
Don't let your wedding reception bury you under a mountain of debt. With a little resourcefulness and creativity, you can create a beautiful - and affordable - wedding reception filled with memories that will last a lifetime.
7 Different Ways to Serve Wedding Reception Food
Make the Wedding Decor Beautiful
You might be enthralled by the beautiful view, but find out what their dishes, tablecloths, and silver look like. If you're having a formal wedding, you won't want heavy pottery dishes, styrofoam cups, and cheap stainless flatware. The chairs may be of the folding plastic variety and you envision delicate silver chivari chairs.
Reserve the Wedding Reception Site for the Whole Day
You're spending lots of time ([probably months!) and money (lots!) to create your perfect wedding day. Don't be in a hurry to have it over. If it's available and financially feasible, arrange to reserve your site for the whole day. Then you won't have to rush through your festivities to clear out for another party. You'll have time to get everything ready, take pictures, relax, and enjoy your party.
Adding special touches at every turn will contribute to the beautiful memories of your wedding day. Here are some details to arrange ahead.
Arrange the Tables for Ease of Conversation
At a wedding reception, decorated round tables usually work best for guests. Long banquet tables look impressive, but it's hard for guests to talk with each other. For the wedding party, arrange to have a U-shaped table with the bride and groom at the head. Then guests can approach the happy couple for conversation and the bridal party will still be able to chat easily.
Add Drama and Sparkle to Your Wedding Reception with Candles
All candles do not burn the same way or time. If you're having a short cocktail reception, small votive candles will work fine. But if you're having a dinner or luncheon, followed by dancing, you'll need tall tapers or large pillar candles. It's a good idea to test the burning time of any candles you're thinking of using to be sure they'll last through your party.
Provide a Schedule for Your Guests
If you or your wedding coordinator has every minute planned out, it would be thoughtful to prepare a printed wedding and reception schedule for your guests so they don't miss any important events. Include the approximate for the arrival of the bride and groom, cake cutting, special toasts to the bride and groom, picture taking, tossing of the bride's bouquet and garter, and the first dance for the happy couple.
Getting everything organized ahead of time for the wedding reception will help the celebration go on without a hitch. Plan the wedding decor, carry it through to the reception, and the rest will take care of itself.
See you on the next post.