The reception bit
Hurrah - you've reached the Wedding Paaaaarty! You can really let your imagination run wild for the Wedding Reception: bucking broncos, fireworks, pig roasts....and then you realise that you're five times over your Wedding budget. Upsetting, isn't it?
The scale of your wedding reception is probably the greatest single factor in determining the overall expense of your wedding. From the food to the entertainment to the table decorations, costs can add up really quickly.
For advice on how to save money on all aspects of your Wedding Reception from catering to cheap flower ideas, pick one of the categories on the left of the page.
Alternatively, read on for some general tips for lowering the costs of your Wedding Reception:
For Richer -
- An obvious one, but one of the most important - for every guest invited to the wedding breakfast, you'll be having to shell out about an extra £20 - 75 per head (depending on the cost of your catering). Can you cut costs by not inviting children? (They will be too young to mind and the parents will be thankful of a night off). Or why don't you agree not to invite friends that you haven't seen for more than two years?
- Choose flowers that are in season as these will be far cheaper, or raid your friends and family's gardens - this can be particularly useful for greenery.
- Hiring topiary is a great, yet relatively cheap way of making a big impact.
- Use candles or balloons to create the atmosphere rather than flowers.
- Do you really need canapes, starters, mains, dessert, petit fours, wedding cake AND a midnight buffet? Guests will be far more up for getting onto the dancefloor and partying until the early hours if they're not stuffed to the bone. I'd suggest having canapes but not starters - that way guests will have a delicious distraction when the photos are bring taken, yet don't get too full to get on the dancefloor later.
- Can your wedding cake double up as dessert? This works particularly well if you go for a French-style wedding cake (croquembouche) which is profiteroles piled high into a big pyramid. Or cut costs dramatically by making your own wedding cake from rounds of cheese and asking a friend to decorate it?
We had a beautiful "cheese" cake for our wedding and it only cost £120, rather than the enormous £600 that some cakemakers charge. (The top layer was a babybel!). My sister in law dressed it with ivy from the garden and figs bought cheaply from the supermarket.
For Poorer -
- Simply can't afford a photographer? Don't worry! Do you have a reliable pair of friends you can ask to take your wedding photos? One of my friends had the great idea of leaving out a pile of stamped addressed envelopes at the reception for guests post back copies of their snaps on CD in. Obviously, if you choose this route, it's a good idea to prewarn guests in the invite information so they remember to bring their cameras.
- Have a buffet at your wedding reception. You'll save on the cost of waiters as you won't need as many.
- Desperate to have wedding favours but on a low budget? How about these ideas:
- I bought heart-shaped pink lollies for the guests, they worked out at just 15p each from Mrs Kibble's sweetshop. We added name tags to these on pink ribbon so they could double up as name places. They looked great and felt like an original addition to the day.
- Similar to the above, my sister-in-law put a pink lady apple in her guests' dinner places each with a leaf-shaped label showing the guest's name. This looked hugely impressive, particularly with her pink and green colour theme.
- Another wedding favour that doubles up as a placename could be a pretty flat stone collected from the beach - use a glitter or calligraphy pen to write the guest's name onto each stone.
- One friend gave out little packets of seeds to the guests - it's rather lovely to think of your guests being able to look onto their flowerbeds in years to come and be reminded of your special day.
- Serve Cava instead of Champagne. The overwhelming majority of guests won't be able to tell the difference and so what if they do! Plus you'll save an enormous 80% on the bill. Prosecco is also a good alternative.
- Ask guests to send through their favourite songs with their RSVP then put together a democratic playlist (although you can obviously vet this!). Load them onto an ipod that can be plugged into speakers. Better than a dodgy DJ and a fraction of the cost!