Larry’s NOTE: Here are a few money saving tips about receptions from the article, “101 Ways to Save Thousands on Your Wedding!” Use some of these creative and often non-traditional ideas to cut costs so you can better afford someone whose fee may be out of range without cuts to the budget elsewhere. It’s about reassigning priorities when it comes to who you want to hire and what you can afford. Always hire the best vendor you can afford.
Have a lunch or an afternoon tea reception instead of a sit-down dinner. Guests tend to drink less during the day, so you’ll save on liquor costs.
If you prefer an evening reception, but still want to stick to a budget, consider a desserts-only reception. Specify on the invitation that you will be serving desserts, so that guests don’t expect a full meal. Offer a delicious array of sweets: pastries, pies, mousses and a dramatic flaming treat like Bananas Foster. To accompany, serve champagne or prosecco and specialty coffees and teas.
Another increasingly popular choice is the cocktail party reception. Event planner Harriette Rose Katz notes that you’ll save thousands on food and decorations; after all, you can forgo big floral arrangements for your tables and adorn small cocktail tables with candles and modest bunches of blooms.
Hand pass hors d’oeuvres like mini hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches and mini quiches. On a multi-tiered table offer finger foods like Italian breads, olives, artichoke hearts and cheeses (at room temperature), finger fruits and salads.
Consider a chic wine-tasting reception. Guests can sample from an array of small dishes at food stations, each matched with a special wine. Printed cards can explain the pairing.
For savings of up to 20 percent, consider family-style dishes: platters of pasta or sliced meat that guests can pass around.
Beware the buffet option. It won’t necessarily cost less than a sit-down dinner because you have to supply more food than you would for a plated meal. Do a cost comparison before you make a decision.
Consider a modified DIY approach: One groom’s cousin baked enchiladas, and the couple ordered more food from local Mexican stores. Hint: Don’t make the wedding meal yourselves — that’s too DIY for your own sanity!
Less is more. The more elaborate the arrangements at your reception, the higher your bill. For simple elegance, consider a few roses, tulips or even orchids submerged in water. Rose petals floating in water in clear bowls are pleasing to look at, too. Be sure to use all kinds of candles to good advantage: Place votives, pillar candles or tapers between floral arrangements and create a stylish look on a shoestring. Must you place flowers on tables? Of course not. Pick one focal point – perhaps the entrance or the front corners of the room – and place just one gorgeous arrangement there.
Trim your bar tab. Cut out the bubbly; guests can toast with whatever they’re drinking. Don’t forget to have some inexpensive (non-alcoholic) drinks on hand. Consider fresh lemonade in tall, sugar-rimmed glasses for a warm-weather wedding or sparkling water with colorful wedges of orange, lemon or lime. Eliminate shots or any drinks that make use of a number of liquors – these all raise your bar tab and aren’t necessary for guests to have fun.
Close the open bar an hour early and offer coffee. You’ll save hundreds of dollars; even better, guests will have a chance to sober up before they head out to the road.
Consider cupcakes. These save money because they require less intricate decoration. Have a dessert buffet. Mini pastries and other tiny sweets are crowd-pleasers. Save money by having only a small cake for your cake cutting.
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