Getting hitched isn’t cheap, and for most weddings, the reception is typically the biggest expense. Your wedding is one of the most important days of your life, and one you want to remember. However, there’s no need to go into debt. It’s possible to have a beautiful memorable wedding reception, regardless of your budget. If you don’t want to sink boatloads of money into a single (although very special) day, here are some useful tips for planning the wedding reception of your dreams at a price you can afford.
It’s best not to rush into spending right at the start of your wedding planning. Figure out the reception theme, colour and general layout before you start shopping. This will help you avoid costly mistakes. More importantly, once you’ve found a reception venue within your price range, stop looking and make a deposit payment right away to secure it.
Think Outside the Box for Reception Venues
Professional wedding planners agree that the venue eats up almost half of the wedding budget. Consider hosting the reception at home or outside to cut back on expenses. An outdoor ceremony in a venue with sentimental value eliminates the need for an over the-top venue. Heavy rain or scorching heat can put a damper on your day, so remember to plan for the weather if you do decide on an outdoor event.
Save on Reception Food
Besides the actual venue, food and drinks can also eat right into your wedding budget.
Even if your reception offers a full menu, you can still create a budget-friendly wedding reception menu for even more savings. Keep in mind that the cheapest option for drinks at receptions is to serve non-alcoholic beverages. However, you can add some variety with one type of beer, one champagne brand and a mixed cocktail.
Keep Track of your Guest List
When it comes to reception guest lists, less is sometimes more. Every guest is an expense and with each addition, you’re only driving up the overall cost of your wedding reception.
Consider hosting a smaller, more intimate reception with close family members and friends in attendance. Another way to cut your guest list is to invite more guests to the actual ceremony while you host a smaller reception.
Plan Low-Cost Entertainment
Amazing entertainment at your reception doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. With a little creativity, you can find a cheap alternative to a band or a wedding DJ. Make your own playlist on an iPod or mp3 player and connect it to the central sound system at your reception venue. Other fun and low-cost things to try include wedding reception games such as bride and groom trivia. Be sure to ask a friend or sibling to lead the games so that you can relax and have fun at your reception.
Most of all, congratulations! Don’t stress too much, and remember that your wedding is about the two of you and your life together. Create a plan using these tips and stick to it, and you’ll be able to have a great reception without emptying your life savings.