How to save on your wedding venue and reception

It is hard to get away from the fact that the venue and reception is often the biggest portion of your wedding budget.
Seating and feeding all your guests, as well as providing entertainment and beverages, can eat up to 60% of the total wedding budget.

In this post you’ll find clever ways for ensuring that you don’t spend more than necessary whilst having the wedding of your dreams!

A common budget mistake is to try to create a classy-looking wedding on the cheap, but you do actually end up risking having a cheap-looking wedding.

What makes a wedding great is something you can’t add on with paraphernalia: it is the setting, the atmosphere and the excitement round the wedding couple; in other words the wedding at large.

What is remembered about your wedding is not the smaller details, the size of your cake or color of the cutlery. It will not even be the designer name of your reception dress!

Define what the essentials and the non-essentials are, and focus your spending around the elements that are meaningful to you. Placing them in high impact areas also means you get more value for your money.

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If you follow our advise, your guests wont need to endure sub-standard shrimp canapés or be burdened with a mass produced favor which will go into a dark drawer for the next decade. Instead let them remember your wedding for it’s authentic and awesome atmosphere.

We ensure you you’ll still have a beautiful and decadent wedding day, without unnecessarily spending money on excessive things that you realize were pointless afterwards.

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Save on wedding venue

  1. Hosting a wedding in a barn, warehouse or a backyard might seem like a wonderful idea, but if you are on a budget, do bear in mind that every single chair, fork and perhaps even toilets will have to be hired, transported an managed, adding extra costs and effort.
  2. If you want to wow but save, have the ceremony in the epic place of your dreams (warehouse, barn, forest, ruin, greenhouse), then head to the more convenient reception venue after. (Transport might be an extra expense to be considered!)
  3. Don’t underestimate the convenience of choosing a venue which does weddings often, as you can hand everything over to the professionals and just be concerned with having a great time.
  4. Choosing a venue which is already set up to be a venue, is likely to save you bucks in the end. If everything you need is already there, the other costs won’t be as many than having to set up from scratch.
  5. Find a venue which is already impressive in some way or simply naturally beautiful. That way your wedding wont need too much extra decorations as the place is already stunning.
  6. Ultimately, the quickest and most fool-proof way to save money on the venue fee is to plan a daytime or weekday wedding, which means you can still have venue and the wedding reception of your dreams.
  7. Likewise, an off season wedding date (any month except for summer) will be half the costs to organize as your venue and every other vendor often drastically reduce their rates.
  8. Affordable: Weddings on any day other than Saturday, in any season other than summer.

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Catering

  1. Reduce expenses in the reception part of the day by skipping the formal sit down starter and instead serve from opulent grazing tables consisting of charcuterie , tapas and fruits in colorful displays. Inexpensive foods such as breads, cheese, dips and vegetable dishes will go a long way.
  2. Grazing tables will thus replace the waitered canapee trays as guests can pick themselves. This also extends mingling hour and will give guests something to do whilst you are taking photos. Win-win!
  3. It is not necessarily cheaper to serve a buffet for mains. More food will have to be made as to not risk running out and it is harder for the chefs to estimate how much guests will eat. Also consider the fact that guests will have to wait and queue in order to get food. Overcome this issue by having many smaller food stations for a interactive eating experience.
  4. If you have chosen a day time wedding, the sit down meal can be scratched all together in favor of stations
  5. If you want the sit down experience, family serving style is a good compromise as guests help themselves at the tables, so that minimal serving staff is required, and plates won’t need to be prepared individually.
  6. Always have a chat to your caterer about how to make the menu more affordable. Reducing exotic and out-of-season ingredients is the easiest.
  7. “Junk” food such as pizza, burgers, BBQ and tacos are inexpensive and can be made with a modernized freshness that appeal to all.
  8. Indian, Mexican and Mediterrean cusisines are filled with vegetables and beans and are easy to prepare in bulk, and a lot more fun than the standard beef and potato dish.
  9. For the best of all worlds, choose a grazing style starter, family serve sit down dinner to end with a dessert buffet, using filling and delicious seasonal foods. This will give sense of opulence and everybody loves a feast!

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Alcohol

  1. Aside from venue and catering, the bar is a huge cost for your reception. You don’t want to resort to a cash bar ideally as it is a party killer. Consider simply just serving beer and wine at the tables, and leaving in at that.
  2. If you do have a bar, prepare batches of His and Hers signature cocktails which can be served from jugs. Make them in advance with a lot of flavor and vodka or gin that you bought in bulk. Serve with a sprig of herbs or fruit for a crafty and colorful touch.
  3. Instead of hiring in a bar, set up a table and have a couple of catering staff making sure the table is filled with already poured glasses. Alternatively serve Pimms or Sangria from glass drinks dispensers. This way guests can easily help themselves. The barrel or bathtub filled with ice and beer bottles will also the a hit.
  4. If you do want to stock spirits, select only a few bottles of the more affordable varieties. You could decanter them for a more elegant flair.
  5. For toasting, your guests will be blissfully unaware whether it is
    imported champagne or sparkling wine. Save the vintage champagne for the head table when toasting for your future happiness!
  6. Consider the amount of money you will save on alcohol if planning a Sunday or a daytime wedding. If you choose a morning or daytime wedding, the alcohol question will naturally be much less bothersome in the budget.

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Table setting

  1. Think twice before renting the designer tableware – it might be as much as $2 a piece. Same goes for colored glassware and other fanciness.
  2. If you want the designer look, keep it for the head table only, and standard stuff elsewhere.
  3. You could easily leave out table runners, charger plates and luxury color matched napkins. A minimal look is stylish, and white standard napkin will do just fine!
  4. For the menus, you won’t need to print one per guest. 1 per 2 is fine – or even just one mounted in a frame for each round table. If you have buffet serving style, a large menu sign by the queue is enough!
  5. Skip the chair covers for guests, and decorate your own chair how you want.
  6. Wooden tables will not necessarily need to be covered by linen; it is beautiful to just decorate with candles and flowers.
  7. An expense that could be spared is rented draping on the walls. If the hall is too bare for your taste, find leafy branches or fairy lights and attach to the walls instead.
  8. A good place to hang some fabric is your ceremony arch. Less flowers would be required if decorated it this way.
  9. Don’t think everything has to match in style and color. This opens opportunities to borrowing, foraging, thriftiness and making do with what you already got.

Centerpieces

  1. Too much clutter makes the eating experience crowded. For this reason you can keep the centerpieces small so your guests can see each other across the table.
  2. Simple flower arrangements, foliage and candles will give the wedding tables the understated elegance that everyone adores.
  3. Look around in your own house, or borrow pieces from family or friends for trinkets that can become part of the centerpieces.
  4. If you are planning to buy decor, only buy stuff that is easy to sell again after. Charity shops are a great place to find inexpensive glass vases, votives and candlesticks.
  5. Use nature for a Scandinavian inspired look. In the forest you’ll find interesting looking pieces of wood that you can cover with moss or spray paint.
  6. In your vegetable market, you’ll find beautiful pomegranates, artichokes, pears or pumpkins that can be eaten afterwards or donated to a soup kitchen.

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Cake and dessert

  1. The cake is an anticipated part of the day so you shouldn’t skip it completely. But there are ways to make it cost you less, without missing out on tradition or elegance.
  2. Order a simple white cake with no adornments. A white cake is timeless and elegant and will never go out of style. Add your own flowers or fruits – this way you’ll save money on decoration as well as giving it your own personalized touch.
  3. Instead of serving the main cake to everyone, you can order a small cake for cutting, and have your baker bulk bake the same-flavor cake
    in a pan, and serve it only filled as opposed to frosted.
  4. If you also offer a dessert table, the slice of cake doesn’t need to be large, just symbolic.
  5. If you like another dessert more than cake, you can use that instead – just arrange it as a tower for a cake like effect. This works well for cookies, shortbread and brownies (all which could be homemade!)
  6. For the dessert table, ask all the baking enthusiasts in your families to bake their favorite pie or pudding and bring for all to enjoy.
  7. Leave the candy bar out of the picture. Not only is candy expensive, no one actually likes it either.
  8. The cheese wheel has been popular at weddings, but it is not particularly budget friendly. Usually lots is left uneaten, which is wasteful. Rather serve a selection of smaller cheeses along with biscuits and fruit.

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Furniture and rentals

  1. Hiring is a sure way to burn a hole in the pocket. Try to avoid it as much as possible.
  2. To provide a cozy lounge area, ask around to borrow a few couches and coffee tables from friends and friends.
  3. Borrowing, or buying to re-sell makes economic sense, and whichever route you choose, keeping it simple is the way to go.
  4. As much as possible, say no to decor items that will only be used once.
  5. Again, if your venue is hosting weddings on a regular basis, you probably won’t need to worry about bringing in your own rentals and furniture

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Guests

  1. The undoubtedly most efficient way to reduce the wedding cost is to invite less guests. Bear in mind that a guest at an average wedding guest cost $100 dollars each to seat, feed and provide space for.
  2. If you want an elegant feel to your wedding without overspending, choose a smaller, intimate wedding. Find a smaller venue and reduce the size of the dance floor so it won’t feel empty. You’ll get to chat to each guest for more than just a quick hug, and more money left for your honeymoon or other priorities.
  3. As harsh as it might sound, your wedding shouldn’t be seen as a high-school reunion. Be frank with who is really important to invite, and keep your wedding guest list to the nucleus of people that are significant.
  4. Inviting all Facebook friends, work colleagues and exes and their stepmum + every member of your extended families to your wedding is not necessary. In fact, it could get pretty awkward.
  5. A general guideline is to not invite friends you haven’t seen in the last year, close family you haven’t seen in 3 years and extended family 5 years.
  6. Plus ones: you are not obliged to invite friends plus ones. Boyfriends/ girlfriends on a case by case basis. A guideline is that if they have been dating for more than 6 months, invite if your budget allows, or if you really think your friend wont come otherwise. Married couples will naturally be invited together.

Related:
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Gifts

  1. It is more than OK to leave favors out, especially the s.k ceremony favors.
  2. Rather give nothing as opposed to a gimmick
  3. If you feel deeply obliged, create a food gift such as a bag of tea, cookie or popcorn to eat on the way home. These are easy and inexpensive to produce, and also the most appreciated!
  4. You could also hand make something for a loving and personal touch
  5. Combine the escort card or table name card holder with a favor for a 2-in-1 bonus
  6. You don’t need to buy a gift for every member of your wedding party and family. Write them a letter instead to express your love and gratitude.
  7. BTW, they all got to come to your wedding and help you on the journey to get married – a pretty nice gift hey!

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