Often the most expensive thing in your wedding planning is covering the cost of food. It’s not necessary to feed the masses. If you are on a small budget for your wedding and don’t want to carry a lot of debt after the wedding and really need to plan something that is affordable, a great way to save some bucks is to have your wedding in the afternoon – say around 2 p.m. – and have a cake and punch reception. Usually the time of day will dictate the type of reception. Mid afternoon is the best time – sometime between lunch and dinner. Forgo full dinner service.
Decide whether you will have a choice of non-alcoholic and alcoholic punch or no alcohol at all. You could serve a signature drink, such as punch or a favorite cocktail, instead of providing a full bar.
A cake and punch reception usually also includes coffee and perhaps tea, individual sodas instead of punch if you prefer, but that costs a little more. Desserts can include pies, cakes, doughnuts, cookies, pastries, brownies, etc. Another option, which can be combined with a normal dessert reception is a sundae bar. In this type of reception, you serve bowls of ice cream (usually vanilla) and let your guests choose their topping. If you want to add some fruit and vege trays for munching, do it. It’s YOUR wedding. Have fun with it. Do it the way you want it to be.
An afternoon wedding eliminates the need to serve lunch or dinner. Having cake and punch also frees up extra cash and allows you to be more creative with other expenditures you may have. Add a small combo for dancing.
Call it a reception with a “Dessert & Dancing” theme. There is some debate on whether it’s a good idea to add a line on your invitation stating what type of reception is occurring. Some examples of this are: “Cake and Punch Reception to Follow Ceremony,” or “Celebrate our wedding with a “Dessert & Dancing” reception theme immediately after the ceremony.”
Take most of your wedding photos before the wedding and after the ceremony, go directly to the reception for cake and punch. It’s a time for celebration. Non-traditional – to say the least. But controversial? I doubt it. Most guests understand the tremendous planning and expense occurred when planning a wedding when you have to feed 150 to 200 guests. A sit down dinner cost big bucks. You don’t have to spend a fortune to have a wonderful, memorable wedding.
Have your cake baker make your wedding cake the focal point of the room. Don’t skimp. Go fancy. Add some creative lighting to the cake table, candles for center pieces always looks romantic. Sprinkle flower pedals around the cake and each table.
You can cut cake costs further, if necessary, by having a very small decorative and/or stacked cake, and supplementing the servings with additional sheet cake in the same flavor.
Here’s another idea. You can avoid the high cost of professional bakeries by having your friends and family involved. Make a list of the most popular kinds of cake and ask close friends and family members to volunteer to bake one or two of them and bring it to the reception.
Hiring professionals, of course, accounts for a great chunk of many wedding budgets and is a better idea. As a professional myself, and speaking for the many fine wedding professionals I know, this is often money very well spent. Choose your professionals with care.
IMPORTANT: Plan to do something special with the money you save by having a Cake and Punch Reception.
Copyright © 2012 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s “romantic” Wedding Ceremony. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 470 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.
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