The most expensive part about a wedding is usually the reception. Many couples are trying some very creative ideas to keep the expense of a nice reception to a minimum. Here are some ideas I have heard in the past couple of months and some that I looked into for some of my clients.
You may not realize it, but a lot of caterers and facilities have great discounts for Friday and Sunday receptions (not to mention receptions in the middle of the week!) Often, they book their Saturdays very far in advance, but are just dying for the Friday and Sunday business. A great way to cut off a large chunk of your budget would be to get married on a Friday evening or a Sunday afternoon. Ask your caterer or reception facility what kind of discounts they offer for the flexible bride.
A great time of year for a Sunday wedding is Memorial Day weekend or Labor Day weekend. That way, you can get married on Sunday, but for the majority of your guests, it is like a Saturday – because they don’t have to work on Monday. Plus, this gives your guests extra travel time or visiting time. You can plan a gift opening for Monday and see your distant relatives again. If you are close to an Aunt or Uncle, you could even ask them to host this for you to reduce your (and your parent’s) stress. Keep in mind that a lot of families plan vacations and camping trips for three day weekends so you might lose some attendees.
Something that is gaining a lot of popularity is the brunch reception. Couples are getting married in the AM and following it with an intimate brunch. Don’t be fooled, though. If you want to be extravagant, you can spend just as much money on a brunch as you can on a dinner. If you choose to make the menu light however, this can significantly reduce your costs.
Also gaining popularity is an hors d’oeuvres reception. A lot of fancy bite-sized sandwiches, mushrooms, and shrimp is less expensive than an entire meal. This works especially well for evening weddings. There is something romantic about getting married when the lights are low. If your church just happens to have a nice hall in it, or grassy area outside, you could get married at 8:00 PM (indoors or out) and invite your guests to remain for some mingling or dancing.
Another great idea, is to check out public parks and attractions in your area. Here in the Seattle area, when you are looking for a reception venue, the possibilities for uniqueness are endless! Woodland park Zoo? Beaches? Country clubs? These ideas are exciting to me because they are so different. Plus, they were very inexpensive! They usually require the hiring of a caterer, but the small facility costs would have been worth it. Call your parks office, or a city administrator for more information.
Ultimately this article was to serve as a reminder that if you are planning a wedding reception… you can have an incredible event, without killing your bankroll. Be creative…