Cheap Wedding Reception Ideas
Plan a cheap wedding reception without sacrificing class by cutting costs on food and alcohol and creating unique wedding favors at home.
Wedding receptions can be costly adventures. It's not unusual to find moderate wedding receptions for an average of 150 guests running more than $10,000. Rest assured, however, that expense isn't a necessity when planning a wedding reception. With an ounce of creativity and a healthy dose of frugality, you can entertain some fairly cheap wedding reception ideas. And cheap needn't be defined as tacky. A tasteful wedding reception doesn't have to break the bank.
Location, Location, Location
The first step in planning a cheap wedding reception involves finding a place to hold it, where the cost is minimal or--even better--non-existent. If the bride or groom, or even a family member or friend has a home or backyard where the reception could be held, this will immediately reduce your overall costs.
Some churches rent their gathering halls for wedding receptions, and are far more likely to do so if you're a member, or are planning on getting married in their church. Ask about the cost of renting a church hall if you belong to a church. If not, ask friends and family members about the expense involved in renting a function room in their church. The cost of such a rental is usually significantly less than renting a function room from a catering company or hotel.
Many public parks or beaches will allow guests to set up receptions, provided they behave responsibly and clean up after themselves. If you live in a region where a park or beach is a consideration, call the town or city hall where it is located and ask about rules for wedding receptions.
Food and Drink
Food and drink is an enormous portion of the wedding reception expense. There are a few key opportunities in this area, however, where cutting costs is simple. For example, rather than serving a fancy hot meal, set up a simple buffet instead, and prepare most of the foods yourself; enlisting the help of family and friends. Serving finger sandwiches, potato salad and a selection of fresh vegetable platters and fruits will cost significantly less than a sit-down served meal.
Don't serve alcohol. This will cut the food and drink portion of your wedding reception bill in half; maybe even more. Liquor is expensive, and requires the presence of a bartender or knowledgeable person to mix the drinks. It also causes some concerns about liability. Alleviate all of these issues and write it off as one more way to pull off a cheap wedding reception.
Most wedding receptions hire a DJ or some sort of live music for dancing and entertaining purposes. This can take another large chunk of reception funds that can easily be avoided. Call your local college and ask if there is a campus DJ who'd like to make a few extra dollars. You'll likely find someone who is fairly experienced and very willing to conform to the way you'd like things done. Call local high schools and find out if their music departments have quartets or musical trios capable of providing light music for dinner and dancing. You'll pay significantly less than if hiring a professional, and you'll also be giving some novice performers the opportunity for a paying gig.