A wedding reception is an integral part of any wedding celebration. Even if you want to say your vows with only a couple of witnesses present, the reception is where your friends and family have the opportunity to come together and celebrate your union as man and wife. Like any good party, a wedding reception takes careful planning, but if you don’t have much money to play with, it is hard not to end up with a cheap reception that looks, well, cheap! So if you want a great reception, but can’t afford to push the boat out, here are a few wedding reception ideas to help you celebrate in style.
Prune the Guest List
The easiest way to cut the cost of a wedding reception is to avoid inviting too many people. It may sound a bit harsh if you both have large extended families and hundreds of friends, but when money is tight, you need to be ruthless and cull any unnecessary guests.
Make a list and then sit down and go through that list together. Only invite close family members and friends whom you see regularly. Ask yourself: do you really need to invite your work colleagues, boss, personal trainer, and postman? If the answer is ‘no’, scrub them off the list and stop feeling guilty. These people will understand, and Dream Wedding has some great ideas to keep people involved even if they won’t be attending the ceremony.
Celebrate at Home
Instead of booking a fancy hotel, opt for a smaller venue or have your wedding reception at home. If the garden is large enough, hire a marquee and beg, borrow and requisition tables and chairs. It is possible to find a reasonably sized marquee for a lot less than the cost of hiring a large function room in a hotel or similar, and if you decorate it imaginatively, the end result will be fabulous.
Plan a Buffet
A sit down meal is an expensive way to feed your guests. The cost of waiters and waitresses will bump up the price per person a great deal, so to save money, opt for a wedding buffet instead. If you decide to have your wedding reception at home or outdoors, prepare the food yourself (with some help from family and friends). Pick up cheap nibbles and make some snacks – it will be a lot cheaper than hiring a caterer.
Why pay a DJ or band to come and play at your wedding reception when you probably have tens of thousands of songs on your iPod? Create some playlists that have a special meaning to you and plug them into a sound system. Failing that, buy some compilation CDs and borrow a karaoke machine to get the party started.
Make Your Own Decorations
Instead of paying a fortune for flowers, make your own decorative table displays instead. Pick up some dried flowers or collect wild flowers and tie them with ribbons. Look for glass jars from car boot sales and use them as vases. There are many ways to decorate a room or marquee – the only limit is your imagination!
A cheap wedding reception can still be super stylish and any money you save can be spent on the honeymoon.