|Your Reception Site - Plan a Priceless Wedding Reception on a Budget
The reception site is indisputably the most important piece of the wedding planning puzzle. Like no other aspect, the location sets the tone for the day. When all is said and done, everyone will remember the backdrop of your special occasion. However, a large chunk of your wedding budget will go towards the venue, so you’ll need to choose wisely. Keep reading for tips on how to book a memorable reception site that’s high on style and easy on the purse strings.
Banish the Rental Fee
A large portion of your wedding reception budget will go towards food and beverage costs – that’s unavoidable. But many facilities slap on an exhorbiant rental fee just to host your event at the location (that’s before you spend the first dime on catering). You can avoid this extra cost by shopping around and comparing rental fees. Many facilities – often just as scenic – charge little or no rental fee on top of your catering bill (you’ll have to use the on-site caterers, but the cost is usually competitive).
Snub Saturdays and Summers
Saturday nights in June command big bucks. Instead, be a little flexible with your date and time, and enjoy big savings. Most reception sites offer a discounted rate for dates that are not as high in demand (vendors too!). A January wedding can be equally as romantic and beautiful, and an afternoon or weekday celebration can be just as fun.
A general rule of thumb – less formal venues tend to lend themselves to more affordable affairs – which is good news for you. Stuffy weddings are over anyway. A truly awe-inspiring wedding does not have to be black tie. A simple yet elegant beach or garden wedding can be equally chic, and it lends itself to steel drums instead of a 10 piece orchestra, a casual buffet or barbeque instead of a 5 course meal, and simpler wedding attire - all of which can save some serious cash in your wedding budget.
Beat the Clock
Trimming an hour off of your reception time will reduce any facility rental fee, along with many other costs associated with your reception – such as transportation and entertainment. Trust us, your guests will be none the wiser and may actually be grateful for the extra time to unwind.
Believe it or not – many wedding reception sites will let you bring your own alcohol – which can lead to extensive savings on your bar tab! Liquor store prices are always less, and you can usually return any unopened bottles for a full refund after the wedding. When prospecting potential reception sites, ask whether stocking your own bar is a possibility.
If your reception is set to take place indoors during daylight hours, be sure that the site has plenty of floor-to-ceiling windows to let in the sunlight. Finding a site that embodies natural lighting will eliminate the need (and cost) of any additional lighting.
Get it in Writing
No matter how careful your calculations, you may find a huge balance between what you anticipated spending and the actual cost of hosting your event at your chosen facility. Hidden fees can accumulate if you are not careful. Avoid any confusion by requesting an itemized list of fees for your specific event. Make sure every item you have discussed or requested is accounted for before signing on the dotted line.
For an itemized list of typical facility fees and costs that you can take with you when reviewing potential reception sites, please visit and download our Reception Site Checklist
For more articles and advice to help you plan your wedding, visit our complete Wedding Planning Guide