My favorite aspect of a wedding is the reception.  Now don’t get me wrong, I am a true sucker for love and adore the sanctity of the marriage ceremony.  But, there is just something about the celebratory spirit of the reception that enlightens me!  Unfortunately, this is also the aspect of the wedding that enlightens couples on how much they really should set aside for their budget.  The costs of food, lighting, entertainment and rentals (i.e. linen) can really become costly.

Many of my couples ask me how they can minimize their costs without minimizing the overall reception experience.  So, I have compiled  a list of  tips that I have shared with brides that are more budget-conscious that may be able to help a couple in their wedding planning.

1. Have an extended cocktail party instead of a seated dinner.                                                                     The main purpose of the reception is for the bride and groom to be able to receive their guests.  A formal seated dinner can sometimes take away from the purpose, not to mention that it is more costly.  Opt for a variety of cocktails and appetizers throughout the evening.  The guests will not only stay interested in the multiple offerings, but it will also give them more time to mix and mingle.

2. Serve dainty cupcakes in place of a fancy wedding cake.                                                                             Now, I know that some of you are looking at the screen in awe right now, but a wedding cake is not necessary for a wedding.  Cupcake designs have really evolved over the years and with the invention of the cupcake tree, you can still have the tiered presentation of the traditional wedding cake.  I have used cupcakes trees for weddings and saved the top tier for a miniature cake that the couple can still cut during the ceremony.

3. Limit the selection of alcohol that will be offered.                                                                                                                                                        Guests tend to drink more when there is an unlimited selection to choose from.

4. Use floor decals instead of Gobo lighting for the dance floor.                                                                                                                               A lot of my brides express how they must have a customized monogram on the dance floor, but when they start evaluating their budget more they tend to really question this cost.  The good thing is that there is an alternative.  I have used floor decals or many events including weddings.  They provide the same effect as the gobo but are much cheaper.  My favorite vendor of floor decals is Ten23 Designs.  The options that they provide to clients are limitless.

5. Have your wedding during off-peak seasons                                                                                                                                                                     May and June are the busiest months for weddings and depending upon your geographic location it may extend well into August.  Venues know this and take full advantage.  Their fees can be up to 20% more during these months.  You may want to consider having your wedding during the fall or winter.

There are so many more tips that your planner can share with you regarding ways to economize for your wedding reception, without skimping on style.  Remember, the ultimate goal for the day is to share with family and friends what is to become a memorable union.

Make it Memorable!