Post # 1
I know this is a little unorthodox, but being that I am 1300 miles away from NJ with no plans to visit before the wedding, I thought I would ask you all for a little advice.
I need to find a CHEAP reception site in or around Belmar, Seaside Heights, Spring Lake, or Ocean NJ that we could move the reception (and possibly the ceremony) to. I have been planning this wedding for 6 months, have over $4000 invested, and now I’m being told by several people (including my fiance and my dad) that I’m spending waaay too much. No one had a problem when I told them how much the wedding would cost back in March when I started putting down deposits and signing contracts, but now apparently it’s all my fault and I need to fix it. (sorry for that little vent!)
Anyway, like I said, I have deposits everywhere, so eloping–which is what my fiance wants–would mean a loss of all that money we have already invested, so it seems kind of silly to me. My hope is that I can find somewhere else in Belmar or the surrounding area, to have the reception. I have given our current venue a $500 deposit for the venue, which includes the ceremony ($500 itself) as well as the cocktail hour and reception (which comes out to around $60/person x 100 people = $6000). If we can totally change up the vibe and have the reception in a park (and grill burgers and hot dogs), or another restaurant (I almost don’t care if we have to go to pizza hut), then maybe I can still have an actual wedding instead of being left with running to the courthouse, minus all our friends and family.
Do you have any ideas or suggestions? I don’t mind losing that $500 deposit if we can save several grand by having the event elsewhere.
Post # 3
Have you considered a punch and cake reception instead of a full cocktale hour and meal?
Post # 4
I’m not sure where you live now, but you should tell your dad and your fiance that $60 per person is a pretty sweet deal in NJ.
Post # 5
We are doing a Cocktail Reception which is half the price per head than a sit down dinner. Sometimes people get stressed about money when all they need are options. Try to put forward this option without any other suggestions (like Pizza Hut) and see if they light up and seem relieved.
The cocktail reception consists of servers walking around with hors d’oeuvres, a couple of platters on a buffet table (put wedding cupcakes/cake in the middle), add bridal bouquets for decoration. The estimated cost per person is $25 for food. Have a cash bar so that they can purchase their own drinks (still better than Pizza Hut). Our reception minimum is $2450 and all our food and ALL drinks purchased (even if it’s the guest who buys it) goes into the minimum so we won’t have to pay that full amount. Candles for decor with some flowers (candles, candles, candles) is cheaper than lots of decor everywhere.
Post # 6
I agree with EmeraldR. I live just outside of Philly, and we are paying $100 per person, for our Sunday wedding (day of the week that is generally less expensive)- and that is considered a steal in the PA/NJ area. In this area, our wedding is considered a “budget” wedding.
I don’t get why you feel like you need to change your entire wedding because of what everyone else is telling you. You indicated that YOU are the one who invested the money and put down the deposits- are any of the people who are offering you this advice paying for anything?
With all due respect, I think they may not know what they’re talking about. Wedding costs depend on many different factors- location, time of year, day of week, etc.. Some people really have NO concept of just how much weddings cost nowadays. My own mother thought we were paying $50 per person- because that’s what my sister paid SEVEN YEARS AGO! Hello! 🙂
I wouldn’t change anything and would keep the wedding plans as they are- unless YOU are uncomfortable with what you’re paying and YOU feel you should make these changes.
Post # 7
ooph. good luck. i am getting married at Water’s Edge in Sea Bright for $105 a head.. one of the less expensive i saw. however, i didnt look at prices of cocktail parties. how many people are you talking? we are doing the rehearsal at Rooney’s in Long Branch and we are doing a cocktail party for that for I think $30 a person. It is right on the water, very pretty. McCloone’s on Long Branch in Pier Village has a nice upstairs room. Their dinner receptions were around $100 but it might be worth looking into their cocktail receptions. I’ve heard different reviews about Ocean Place resort.. but they have kind of different options like jersey shore BBQs and clam bakes that could be kind of fun yet a little less than paying for a full blown several course dinner…
Other places I looked at was The Breakers (i was unimpressed and it was not cheap) and Branches (huge ballroom).
Post # 8
Cocktail receptions down the shore are more expensive than regular dinner receptions. Our wedding is at McLoone’s – a sit down dinner is $99, but a cocktail reception or buffet is $125. It was similar at the other places we looked. So I wouldn’t count on that as a way to cut costs.
But yeah – your dad and FI are nuts if they think $60/head in NJ is expensive. I would get quotes from all the venues nearby to show them so they can see that they’re the ones being unreasonable.
Post # 9
If it helps at all, you may want to sit down with the two of them and walk through the budget/pricing you showed them at the beginning, back in March. If those prices were fine then, has anything changed up to now?
I think that a lot of weddings go a little bit over budget because of unexpected expenses, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. For a wedding in NJ, you found a great deal. Sounds like your menfolk may need a rendezvous with reality.
Post # 10
I agree with what a lot of others have already said. 60 pp is very reasonable for the area. Is it possible they just have sticker shock??
Post # 11
As many of the others have said, 60. per person is very reasonable in NJ; even though May 22d is not technically “In Season” I officiate at many, many weddings that are just before or just after memorial day and labor day because the weather is still great and the beach permits for ceremonies are easier to get. Don’t expect any bargains anywhere; you already have one. (I wonder if your venue does off premise catering; would they consider catering a more casual reception in a park down there?
Is it possible that you can curtail your number of guests? That is really the easiest way to trim a budget. Maybe you don’t need limos or favors or other things that no one would even notice.
When all is said and done though, you seem to have a reasonable budget and you’ve obviously planned ahead. I say stick with it; save money where you can and have a great day. I think I”m officiating in Sea Bright that day, so I’ll wave to ya!
Post # 12
@EmeraldR: Totally agree with Emerald!!! the cheapest I’ve seen so far is $120 and that’s at an average place.
Post # 13
$60/head is a STEAL in New Jersey. If I were you I’d call up a few other places and have them e-mail/fax you pricing. Print all this out and show it to your Dad and FI. Show them how you snagged one hell of a bargain. Chances are they don’t realize how insanely priced it is here and how amazing you are to get such a great deal.
If they want a “full” wedding (ceremony, reception, dinner, open bar, etc) then this is the price you pay. Tell your dad, ‘Well, we could always elope….” that’ll probably shut him up real quick.
I say stick with the venues you already picked – you won’t find a better deal. Cut out flowers (maybe do cute paper flowers if you are crafty) – if not just do candle centerpieces. Cut out limos and all that stuff. Hire a cheap photographer and cheap hair/make-up team – unless you can do that on your own. Skip the dj/band and have a friend act as your MC/i-pod master. Did you get your dress yet? If not head to OnceWed.com and find a preowned version of the one you want.
Post # 14
What IS your budget? Start there and work backwards. What do they consider reasonable. If you brough it down to $45 a head, say, would they be OK wit that. Know first want they want because if you do bring it down, but its not enough, you will still be in the same boat.
Post # 15
Advice for any couple trying to stretch their budget dollars in the PA/NJ area.
1. Cut down the guest list. Rule of thumb if you have not had a meal with a potential guest in the last year, cut them!
2. Consider any of the following: brunch, dessert and champagne only reception, reduction of alcoholic beverages to one bride’s choice, one groom’s choice, and think eco-friendly chic. No cut flowers, (too costly and wasteful). Subsitute interesting (borrowed) glassware, chandlesticks, collectibles, even potted herbs. Want outside but not the cost of the beach? Find a beautiful park setting near a lake. File for permits, have cover available in case it rains, and serve some great downhome BBQ. Change it up and make it less of a cookie cutter expense and more casual fun!
3. Daytime vs. night event. Intimate vs. grand. Fun and casual rather than formal and filet. Remember, its a party for you and your guests. Think outside of the venue norms and pick the foods you enjoy most.