Don’t Get Stuck Paying $25 a Plate – Great Cheap Wedding Reception Ideas

It’s no surprise that the cost of your wedding reception is supposed to be half of your budget-once you start researching venues and gathering prices, you see right away that wedding reception venues are meant to clear out an excited bride’s wallet. You don’t have to go that route! There are some awesome cheap wedding reception ideas that can save you a lot of money.

o If you want to save the most money possible, rule out any venue that requires you to use their in-house caterer. This will always be more expensive than price shopping-independent caterers are more responsive to their customers’ needs and are more willing to work with your budget.

o In the event that you really want to have your reception at a hotel or banquet hall that uses an in-house caterer, consider booking a “party”, not a “wedding reception”. Many people have booked a party, then called and booked a wedding for the same night, same amount of guests, and same amount of food. In just about every case, the price quote for a wedding reception was considerably higher than a party price quote-for no reason other than the fact that it was a wedding! Be careful if you do this-at some point, they’ll realize it’s a wedding, and you have to think if it’s worth it to you possibly getting charged more once they figure it out.

o Compare, compare, compare! Look at as many different caterers’ menus as you can-you’ll get the best idea for pricing in your area and have a bargaining ground to start with.

o If there’s a certain restaurant or type of food you love, even if it’s not traditional wedding food, check it out! My wedding reception was catered by Qdoba-hardly typical wedding food, but everyone loved it and it was a lot cheaper than a regular caterer.

o Some reception halls and reception venues don’t require that your food be from a licensed food distributor. If you have a large church family or group of friends that love to cook, think about doing a potluck-homemade food is delicious and most of the times, better than restaurant food. You will save lots of money and everyone will get to contribute to your wedding!

Although this may seem like a more difficult way of planning your reception, it will be worth the money you save! Another perk is that your guests will notice the individuality present in your wedding and remember it forever.

Wedding Reception Ideas For The Budget Minded Bride

Even though you may be planning your wedding on a strict budget, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on having the reception you’ve always dreamed of. Here are a few tips and ideas to remember when it’s time to begin thinking of budget-friendly wedding reception ideas.

Book as early as possible to get the best rates, and be sure to bargain shop for prices before settling on a location for the wedding reception. Inquire about their down payment and refund policies, and make certain you know all of the extra, or additional costs well ahead of time.

Choose an off time of year, such as in the winter, usually during January or March, to find the best prices on everything from caterers, reception venues, and honeymoon costs. Likewise, getting married on a day of the week such as Monday or Friday will be considerably cheaper than the usual Saturday or Sunday affairs.

Alcohol will usually drive the price of a wedding reception right through the roof, unless of course you either eliminate it altogether, have a “beer or wine only” affair, or provide all of your own liquor instead of being charged by the venue or caterers. Another option considered to be perfectly acceptable at hotels or banquet halls is having a cash bar instead of an open bar.

Forget the traditional banquet hall and instead find a church or recreation hall, or your local community center, many of which charge prices that are considerably lower than other venues.

Depending on the number of tables at the reception, it may be a bit expensive to have disposable cameras at each table. Instead, include small, decorative note cards on every other table, along with a few pens for friends and family to record their well wishes for the happy couple. Be sure to add a small sign at each table asking guests to please write their thoughts or words of wisdom for the newlyweds on the cards that will soon be paired with photos from the disposable cameras.

Decorations don’t have to cost an arm and a leg to be beautiful. Visit your local craft store, as well as the area dollar stores to find a dizzying array of decorative possibilities, including tulle, which can be used to decorate just about anything. Dollar stores have a variety of candles, mirrors, and small decorative items that will easily turn any location into one that’s fit for a day of love and enchantment.

If possible, include a “kids only” area for those guests under a certain age to play and have fun. This is one of the most helpful wedding reception ideas of all, especially if there are any parents in the wedding party. Recruit the help of a teenage friend or relative to keep the kids under control, and be sure to provide plenty of distractions, such as coloring books and crayons, puzzles, books, and a variety of games. If you’re lucky enough to have access to a separate room, splurge and bring along a television, some fun movies and cartoons, or a few video games to keep the little ones entertained throughout the evening.

To save money on food, choose an appetizer only reception, which is usually held between the hours of 4 and 7PM, or a tea reception, serving only finger sandwiches, cake, coffee, and tea between 2 and 5PM, or a brunch or breakfast reception which would follow a wedding held during the late morning hours.

Wedding Reception Ideas – Frequently Asked Questions

If you are looking for wedding reception ideas then you need to consider many important questions. The frequently asked questions below will help you address whether your wedding reception should be formal or casual, indoor or outdoor, and the steps you will need to take in planning the actual details. After you have finished reading this article you should be well prepared to tackle planning your wedding reception.

Should My Reception Be Formal or Casual?

Part of the answer to this question will relate to how formal your wedding ceremony was. If you are going to be married in a church with a traditional ceremony, then you may want to have a classic, or formal reception. Conversely, for civic ceremonies or non-traditional wedding ceremonies the requirement for having a formal wedding reception is not as important. If you choose a formal reception, then you will most likely feature a classic white on white color palette, including the floral bouquets, table linens, and cake. Casual receptions might be much more flexible and even include costumed theme parties or outdoor barbecues.

Indoor versus Outdoor Wedding Reception?

Typically the main problem with an outdoor wedding reception will be the unpredictability of the weather. If you live in a climate where rain, snow, or high winds are very common then you might seriously consider having the reception inside. Even in the best climates, planning an outdoor wedding reception will require some extra management such as clipping down tablecloths and protecting the food and seating areas from pests and birds flying overhead. That said, an outdoor wedding in a rustic setting such as an orchard or vineyard can be absolutely beautiful. Traditionally, indoor wedding receptions are held in a banquet hall with elaborate decorations and catered food and beverages. By selecting an indoor venue right away your time will be free to plan the actual details of the reception rather than worrying about contingency plans if things don’t go as planned.

How Big Should My Guest List Be?

It is important to know early on how many guests you will have at the reception, so you can plan for enough seating, food, and drink. Typically you will need about 25-30 square feet of space for each guest to accommodate room for the tables and chairs and easy mobility without feeling crowded. Start with a rough idea of what the cost per plate will be to serve each guest and find a number that fits comfortably in your overall budget. Once you have a number in mind, you can list all of your possible guests in order of priority, and then cut those lowest on the list until you reach the proper list size.

As you can see, there are a number of important frequently asked questions to answer when you are searching for wedding reception ideas. You need to know how formal or informal the reception will be, which is based on the formality of your ceremony. You will also need to choose a proper venue for the reception, either indoors or outdoors. Finally, you need to determine how many guests will be at the reception itself.