After almost 30 years of helping bridal couples plan their weddings, I’ve refined the following ideas as the easiest and most common ways to keep costs under control:
- Invite fewer guests. It sounds silly, but this one choice can have the single largest impact on your total budget. Caterers charge by the person for food plus you may need to rent additional equipment for larger groups. Often, having fewer guests will mean that you are able to choose a nicer menu that would be beyond your budget for a larger group.
- Schedule your wedding for a very early afternoon. An afternoon reception is usually shorter than an evening reception, resulting in lower staff costs. It is perfectly acceptable to offer only light appetizers or a light lunch for an afternoon reception. Guests will expect a meal to be served at evening receptions.
- Have your wedding during the week. Saturdays are the most popular days for weddings and venue rates are always highest on weekends. Most locations offer lower rental rates on Fridays or Sundays. Caterers and other vendors often will charge less for receptions held on weekdays.
- Pick a date during the off season. Most weddings are held May through September. Have your wedding during the slow season when venue rates are usually lower. Many wedding vendors offer lower prices or other incentives during their slow season as well.
- Choose a location that includes tables and chairs in the rental rate. Having to rent your own tables and chairs can add substantially to your total bill.
- Choose a location and caterer that will allow you to provide your own alcoholic beverages. Clubs and other locations that provide liquor service make a substantial amount of their profit on alcohol sales. Providing your own beverages can save a great deal of money. Check with your caterer to see if they allow you to bring your own beverages and if they charge corkage fees.
- Hire a disc jockey rather than a band. Disc jockeys will play any type of music you want – at a much lower rate than a band.
- Have your friends and family set up and decorate the hall. Friends will offer to help you with your wedding – let them!
- Use disposable serving items instead of china & glass. Not only are China and glassware more expensive than disposables, their use also requires additional staff for set up, bussing and dishwashing.
By choosing one or several of the above money saving ideas, you can reduce the total costs for your wedding reception.
My most important piece of advice is saved for last: decide what’s most important to you about your reception and allow enough in your budget to accomplish that dream. Make less costly choices on items that are not as important to you.
Your wedding day should be joyous and stress-free. Once you’ve made your choices, relax and have a wonderful day!