How to Save on Wedding Receptions

Save Without Sacrificing

The wedding reception is traditionally the most expensive aspect of a wedding. A traditional sit-down dinner can cost a couple up to $100 per plate and that's not even figuring in the evening's entertainment, drinks and wedding cake on top.

Marrying couples are looking to save anyway they can on their wedding reception, so we've put together a helpful list of money-saving tips to keep in mind when planning your wedding reception.

  • Keep the guest list small and intimate - you'll enjoy spending your wedding reception with your dearest friends and relatives, more than you will with distant relatives and long-lost friends.
  • Get married on a Friday or Sunday - when reception venues and caterers can be booked for half the price. If your wedding reception is on Sunday you will cut your bar tab in half because many guests will leave earlier because they'll have to work the following day.
  • Pay for only one venue - by hosting your wedding ceremony and wedding reception at the same venue. This will also be appreciated by out-of-town guests who aren't familiar with the area.
  • Supply your own alcohol from a liquor wholesaler (check with your reception venue beforehand to see if this is allowed). Or ask the bartender, in advance, to make an alcoholic punch and call it by your last name (The Jones Punch, especially effective if many family members there have the same last name) or simply "Newlywed Punch." The bartender can then serve it in a fancy glass and you can pay by the punchbowl instead of by the glassmuch cheaper and guests think it's a special drink.
  • Instead of a sit-down dinner or dinner buffet, host a wedding breakfast, brunch, luncheon, tea reception or a cocktail reception with hor d' oeuvres.
  • If your heart is set on a full dinner, serve less pricey pasta or chicken dinners rather then more expensive entrees like beef tenderloin and seafood.
  • Order one small decorated wedding cake for display and a large sheet cake to cut and serve from the kitchen.
  • Make your own wedding cake or order a plain cake or cupcakes and decorate them with fresh flowers yourself.
  • Serve your wedding cake as the dessert.
  • Instead of hiring professionals - hire a friend or student to perform your reception music, take your wedding photographyy, bake your wedding cake, put together your wedding flowers and do your hair and makeup for half the price.
  • Serve homemade wine, beer and punch at your reception or just have the bar open during the cocktail hour before dinner.
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