Ideas & Advice

Top 10 Ways to Save on Wedding Reception Costs

You set a wedding budget but as those unforeseen costs creep in, you may become dangerously close to exceeding that predetermined amount. We’ve got 10 tips to help you stay true to that all-too-important number.

Embrace the Off-Season

Just because everyone else you know is getting married in June and September, doesn’t mean you have to. Not to mention the fact that your friends will thank you for giving them a weekend off during “wedding season.” Get creative and plan a winter wedding or exchange vows in March to help cure those early-spring blues. People will be thrilled for an excuse to celebrate during those quiet months, and the venues and vendors will often offer discounts since they don’t usually book that time of year.

Think Outside the Banquet Hall Box

Barns and backyards are definitely cheaper than banquet halls. Even though you’ve dreamed of a reception at the Plaza Hotel since you were a little girl, you can do a lot with a beautiful field or rustic barn as your backdrop.

Be Ruthless with Your Guest List

We know it’s not easy, but making the hard cuts to your guest list will make a huge impression on your overall budget. Consider cutting coworkers, children, and plus ones that are not spouses or fiancés. This will help you make an impact without causing unrest.

Hire an Expert

We know it might sound crazy, but spending the money on a great wedding planner can increase your savings so substantially in other areas (while also decreasing your stress level) that it may just be worth every penny. An event planning professional can utilize his or her wholesale accounts, recommend great vendors that fit within your budget, and help you make money-saving decisions at every turn.

Simplify the Stationery

When it comes to menus and favor tags, rather than having one per place setting, consider cutting paper and printing costs by creating large posters or chalkboards that communicate the same information.

Something Borrowed

There is nothing wrong with hand-me-downs. Reach out to your newly married friends to see what they still have kicking around from their wedding. Reinvent their ball jars by covering them with lace or dipping them in gold paint. Don’t be afraid to even reuse their pillar and votive candles, which can be extremely expensive. No one will notice as long as you ask the venue to be sure they are lit when people arrive.

Host a Breakfast Reception

Consider a sunrise wedding with a morning reception. Breakfast foods, like omelets, bagels, and doughnuts, are much less expensive than serving a full dinner. And it would be appropriate to serve mimosas and coffee rather than having a full bar, which will result in huge savings.

Forgo the Favors

Sure, matchboxes and koozies are awesome, but there’s no need to go over your budget just to be sure your guests have a takeaway. Throw a great party, and the memories from the dance floor will be all the favor your guests need.

Streamline Your Bar

Even though your grandfather likes his gin and tonic at 5 p.m. each day,doesn’t mean he has to have one at your wedding. Skip the full bar and provide wine, beer, and one signature cocktail. It’s your day, which means it’s your decision, and no one will complain when your other details are that much cooler because you saved big on the bar tab.

Cut Out the Cake

Any way you slice it, wedding cakes are expensive. Consider cupcakes, cookies, or even doughnuts as an alternative to an expensive and elaborate wedding cake. Or simply size it down: A small six- or eight-inch cutting cake that’s surrounded by delicious desserts will be just as satisfying as a giant four-tiered confection.