When planning a wedding, the reception can make it incredibly difficult to stay within your budget.
Let’s face it–some of us have really big families or lots of friends that we want to celebrate with. But as the guest list gets bigger, so does the cost.
Here are a few easy ways to cut costs on your reception without cutting the size of the guest list.
Consider Having an Earlier Reception
Although evening receptions are the go-to for elegant celebrations, they tend to cost more. Daytime receptions are often more affordable because the fare is lighter, they’re usually shorter, and guests will likely consume less liquor earlier in the day.
Serve a Signature Drink
Instead of providing a full open bar, serve up a custom-made cocktail. Not only will cutting the fully-stocked bar save you money, but a signature drink is another great way to make your wedding day as unique as you are. Provide a few other options, especially non-alcoholic beverages for people (and kids!) who don’t drink, and call it a day.
Skip the Liquor
If you’d rather not limit your guests to just a signature cocktail, consider limiting the bar options to only wine and beer. Keep an eye out for sales at grocery stores, wine shops, and warehouse clubs, and then buy the wine and beer in bulk ahead of time. You will likely need to pay your caterer a corkage fee to pour it, but it’ll come out much cheaper than purchasing alcoholic beverages through them.
Consider Your Dining Options
Having servers bring out meals to your seated guests is nice, but it will definitely cost more. To save money, opt for a fun buffet option (hello, brunch buffet!), or serve family-style, where diners can help themselves from serving dishes brought to the table.
Have Two Cakes
It doesn’t sound like it, but having two cakes can wind up being cheaper than just one. Instead of having a large, tiered wedding cake to serve all of your guests, opt for two separate cakes instead. Order a small fancy one for display and the cake-cutting ceremony, and order a large sheet cake for guests. The sheet cake can be less elaborately decorated, and gets sliced up in the kitchen.
When choosing your decorations and bouquet, it’s always best to opt for in-season flowers. Most popular flowers will be available year-round, but many can wind up more expensive when they’re out of season. Ask your florist for recommendations before deciding.
Centerpieces Don’t Have to Be Flowers
Sure, floral arrangements make beautiful centerpieces, but it can start to add up if you have a lot of tables. Opt for other materials, and you could wind up saving a ton of money. For instance, we floated faux pearls in vases of water that were wrapped with twine. Twigs, flower petals, plastic gems, sand, or even whole pineapples are all non-traditional materials that could end up saving you a lot.