When you've organised, paid for, and participated in your wedding ceremony, you will want your reception to run as smoothly (and as cheaply!) as possible. To assist you with your planning, some of these tips (provided by Gregory Pennington) could help…
Choose an inexpensive wedding venue
Venues that are tailored specifically towards weddings can be expensive, and will typically charge you per head for your reception. Many venues also insist on providing the catering, sometimes tying you in with their preferred catering company.
It may therefore be cheaper to choose an alternative type of venue to hold your reception. You could look into local pubs, village halls or even (if the weather allows) holding your reception outdoors in a marquee! This will mean that you are in charge of the suppliers that you use and this can give you more control over where you are spending your wedding reception budget.
Not everyone expects a three-course sit-down meal when they are guests at a wedding reception. It's likely that a tasteful buffet, with a wide variety of foods and some more filling options will be a great cost saving solution.
Your guests will be able to serve themselves (which cuts down on the cost of having waiting staff) and they will be able to take as much or as little food as they like. It doesn't have to all be cold dishes either; you could ask your family and friends to chip in to make a large pots of curry, chile or pasta dishes to share on the buffet table.
Skip the free bar
Having a free bar is a wonderful and very generous gesture, but most of your guests will come fully prepared to pay for their drinks. If having a free bar is really important to you, consider limiting it to a certain timespan - or a certain number of beverages per guest.
If you are going to be having a lot of guests at your reception, it is quite likely that at least one of them will know of a good wedding band or DJ. Why not make the most of this and find out if you can set up a discounted rate for the entertainment? Or even better, perhaps one of your close friends is a talented entertainer and would be able to provide their services as their wedding gift to you! It is always worth asking…
Limit your guest list
It’s easy to get carried away when drawing up your guest list for your evening reception. This is the time to be super strict with yourself and really only invite the people that you want to be there. It’s too easy to end up inviting your Mum’s best friend’s hairdresser, or perhaps some acquaintances who you went to school with but wouldn’t really class as friends... It’s your party, so only invite the people who you want to celebrate with!
If you have any relatives or friends who would have to go well out of their way to make it to your reception, consider setting up a Skype account. That way you can say hello and they'll get to see you on your wedding day - without actually having to be there!
With a bit of creativity and some organised forward planning, you will be able to throw a great wedding reception for your friends and family. Let us know what you will be doing to make your wedding budget stretch further at your reception!