Post # 1
I am having a large wedding. For the past 6 months I’ve argued with family trying to get them to lower the guest list and its not worth the fight anymore. We are going to invite 500 people to our wedding. We got a venue large enough to accommodate our guests, but I need advice on how to save money on basically everything else (i.e how much cake do I get – wedding cake vs. sheet cake, etc.)! Is there anyone here who has had a large wedding (400+ guests) that would be willing to talk to me about some ways to limit costs? Lowering the guest count is not an option in this case, unfortunately. The wedding is in Washington, DC.
Post # 2
I saw the comment about buffets in your duplicate thread. At most US venues, buffet is more expensive than a plated or family style dinner. We found family style to be less expensive at our venue.
Post # 4
I mean if your family is insisting on 500 guests you can insist they pay for them. It’s only reasonable.
Otherwise, it’s the catering that costs the most. Doing a lunch or breakfast will cut it the most, or maybe buffet or passed apps. But 500 people is never going to be cheap.
Post # 5
The comment on the other thread did a good job of covering a lot. I wouldn’t do a buffet with that size crowd though, regardless of cost. You could consider doing the wedding during the off-peak season or not on a Saturday which could save you a lot of money.
Rather than getting a bridal gown you can buy a white gown from a department store for a fraction of the cost. If having a very bridal-style gown is important to you, look at stores like David’s Bridal when they’re having sales or find an outlet bridal store.
Look online to buy second-hand decor from other brides who are looking to sell their gently used items.
DIY what you can. You might want to consider centerpieces that aren’t fresh florals. For stationery, purchase professionally designed printables but print yourself.
The things your guests will remember most are the food/beverage and music/entertainment. I would focus on those things first and see what the rest of your budget allows for.
Post # 6
- Wedding: December 2018 - City, State
Have it on a Friday 😂 hopefully a bunch will RSVP no?
Good luck Bee that’s an insane number will you get a chance to greet everyone?
Post # 7
Welp the thread I commented on got closed.
If you do go for buffet, I’d have each table numbered and have the MC call out “Tables 6-10 May not get their food” to prevent a stampede at the buffet! I’ve been to ginormous weddings and if it’s executed like this and your crowd is the type to listen, it’ll work out just fine.
Post # 8
really?? I’m in the US too and have never come across a catering company that charge less for plated or family style! Might be a regional thing I guess but plated requires a lot more wait staff, presentation detailing per plate, and more work in general so I’m surprised it’d be cheaper anywhere!
Well rehardless OP, just go for the cheapest option at your venue! None of them have a major con so just opt for the economical choice and roll with it.
Post # 9
I’m inviting close to 300 people, which isn’t that much compared to you, but it’s big enough that I can give you SOMEWHAT helpful advice!
Sheet cakes are always cheaper than tiered cakes. We are having a medium-sized tier cake for appearances, and then making a sheet cake of the same recipe as well. At our bakery, tiered cakes are around $400 for the size we wanted, but the sheet cake was literally just $80. It will be enough cake to feed everyone, and it’s still less than $500! I suggest you go that route, rather than a ten-layer, five-foot-wide cake lol
I agree with PPs about the dinner. Easily cut costs by having a cheaper-style dinner. Buffet and sit-down were exactly the same price at our venue, so we went with sit-down because that’s more aesthetically attractive to me.
Are you having an open bar? If you can just go with unlimited beer/wine, you will save around $10,000 if your venue is priced like ours. Have cash for hard liquor, and save that money!
Post # 10
If the family is insisting on that many people they can certainly help pay for it. But be careful…they might want more say than just # of guests.
Buffet is not a good idea for 500 guests. Can you imagine all those people waiting in line? Nope bee, plated is the way to go in this situation. Like pp’s said food & entertainment are what people are going to remember. Its also going to be your biggest expense. So you diy where you can, reduce the amount of flowers you use or cut them out entirely. They’re easily substituted. Lower your budget on dresses, have a smaller wedding party. There’s a number of things you can do. You’re just going to have to get a bit creative. Researching starts now.
Post # 11
I gave up real flowers, limo, hotel for wedding night, fancy invitations, hair/makeup trial, pricy dress.
Post # 12
I would get a small cake for you and your DH to cut and then sheet cake for everyone else.
If you are hosting the bar, I would just do beer and wine and maybe a signature cocktail. No hard liquor.
With sites like Vistaprint, there is no need to spend a ton on invitations. Save money there.
I would do a small wedding party to cut down on bouquets and bouts. Plus gifts for the wedding party.
But I also agree that if your parents are insisting on these many guests, they better be chipping in!
Post # 13
the food costs go up with buffet as people overserve themselves.
Post # 14
I don’t even think its logical to have a 500 person wedding as a plated dinner. Thats insane. I’ve been several very large south asian weddings and only 1 was plated (and it was the smallest at 350). And everything was cold by the time we got it. All the rest were buffets. Indian food is super easy to serve buffet style. Its a lot easier to have a few pans warm in the oven to replace than trying to individually plate the dishes.
Generally tables are more simple. The most recent one I went to had table cloth with a colourful overlay, 2 bottles of wine in the center, water glasses and wine glasses. Servers came by to pour water/wine and take away dirty plates but that was about it. They probably got away with a lot less servers because of this. This wedding also did cupcakes instead of cake, I’m not aware of the price breakdown but I think they just really wanted cupcakes lol.
Good luck bee!
Post # 15
yeah I’m Pakistani and have attended many Southeast Asian weddings that are 300 all the way to 600 guests. I’ve only ever attended one plated wedding which was 150 people. Buffets have always worked out well when table numbers are designated every few minutes. The nightmare buffets are when all 300+ people are told all at once to go get food.