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.
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