Complete Wedding Budget Guide – Part 2: The Reception

Check out the other parts of this 7 part wedding budget guide at the links below:

Complete Wedding Budget Guide – Part 1: The Wedding Dress
Complete Wedding Budget Guide – Part 2: The Reception
Complete Wedding Budget Guide – Part 3: The Cake

The reception is a big part of your wedding day. It takes a lot of planning and organising and can take a huge chunk out of your budget.

In fact, it’s estimated that the average couple will spend around half of their entire wedding budget on the reception alone – that is often as much as $14,000!

Since your wedding reception will devour so much of your entire budget, it’s one of the best areas of your wedding to make substantial savings. Actually, you’ll find that you can slash as much as half off the cost of your reception if you make a few simple changes to your plans.

To help you to make these savings, I’ve put a little plan together for you. This plan will show you how to make savings in 3 key areas of your wedding reception:

  • The timing of your wedding
  • The food you serve
  • The drinks you provide

The Timing Of Your Wedding

Did you know that the day of the week you choose for your wedding, and the time of year you choose for your wedding, can have a huge impact on the cost of your reception? If you know how to use this to your advantage, and you know the correct time of year and day of the week to have your wedding, you can make substantial savings.

First of all, let’s take a look at the time of year you have your wedding, and how it affects the cost of your reception.

Time Of Year

Most couples want sunshine on their wedding day, so choose a spring or summer date. Venues, caterers, hotels etc charge higher prices during these months. But choose a date out of season, between October and February (excluding holidays) and prices can be as much as 50% less.

Choose an unusual date like Friday 13th or April 1st. Dates such as these are not popular with some couples, and can often mean big savings on venues, and from caterers and suppliers. You can also often find photographers, DJs, and live bands willing to give reduced rates on these not so popular dates.

Okay, so that covers the time of year to get married to make big savings on your wedding reception. Now let’s take a look at the day of the week you get married, because that makes a big difference too.

Day Of The Week

Everyone wants to have their wedding reception on a Saturday night. This means some venues get booked up a year in advance. And it also means you pay a premium for a Saturday night.

Getting married on a week day is one of the easiest ways to save money. There will be a great choice of venues available and once again caterers, photographers and bands will be willing to negotiate and offer discounted prices.

Monday is often the cheapest day of the week for all the costs associated with your wedding reception, so make sure you look into the possibility of a Monday wedding if you’re trying to save money.

The Food You Serve

The food you serve your guests will make up a big chunk of your reception costs, but thankfully, if you know a few tricks there are great savings to be made.The 3 areas where you can save the most money are:

  • The Guest List
  • The Menu
  • The Drinks

The Guest List

When you’re trying to save money on your wedding reception, it’s worth remembering that every guest you invite costs you money, so be strict and only invite the people that are really special to you

As nice as it might be to invite everyone you know to your reception, you need to be realistic. If you’re trying to make savings, cutting the numbers of those you invite to your reception is a simple and instant way to save a lot of money.

Imagine you’re inviting 100 people to your reception and you’re paying $100 per head. That’s $10,000. Now imagine that you cut that number in half and only invite 50 people to your reception.

You just saved $5,000!

So go through your guest list again and ask yourself if everyone on that list needs to be there, and start cutting names. The more money you need to save, the more ruthless you’ll need to be.

The Menu

A smaller guest list means you can enjoy a more relaxed and informal wedding. And this makes planning the menu for the reception very easy. It’s also a great chance to save money.

Having a smaller reception means you really don’t need to follow the tradition of a sit-down multi- course meal. Why not give your guests a buffet?

Just think for a minute of all the advantages:

  • No seating plan to arrange!
  • Guests can sit wherever they like
  • No need to ask in advance about special dietary requirements
  • Everyone can find something they like
  • Guests can enjoy a a varied selection of savoury and sweet foods

The Drinks

Providing drinks for guests the whole evening can be a very expensive business, but there are a few ways you can save money here.

For instance – did you know that cava is around 80% cheaper than champagne?

And although it’s usual to welcome guests to your reception by offering them a drink, it doesn’t have to be champagne. Will anyone really mind if you give them a glass of cava or sparkling wine? I don’t think so. And don’t forget to offer a non-alcoholic option.

These drinks can also be offered if you are having speeches and toasts.

Provide a keg of beer, some soft drinks and a cash bar. If guests want something other than beer, they can purchase it from the cash bar.

Check Out The Previous Part Of This Wedding Budget Guide:
Complete Wedding Budget Guide – Part 1: The Wedding Dress

Check Out The Next Part Of This Wedding Budget Guide:
Complete Wedding Budget Guide – Part 3: The Cake

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