Post # 1
Bees, I really need your advice on this one…
We live in Louisville, Kentucky. Our wedding is in Florida and we’ve invited approximately 70 of our closest friends and family. Since we couldn’t invite everyone that we’d like to celebrate with, we’re having a reception/ party in Louisville the month following the wedding. The guestlist is around 200 people, including guests of guests and the party will take place on a Sunday, from 3pm – 7pm. (My soon-to-be-husband works at a Nightclub on Fri/ Sat and wants his friends that work with him to be able to attend, so we had to have it on a Sunday.) Some, but not all, of the guests are drinkers, but taking into considersation the time and day of the party….
Would you, if forced to choose, opt for more food rather than paying for beer & wine? Or would you have less food in order to provide alcoholic beverages for the guests?
The truth of the matter is this: We, after having paid for a wedding, honeymoon, and open bar reception in Florida, cannot afford to do the same in Louisville, especially for three times the number of guests.
I only have about $2,000, $2,500 maximum to spend on food/ drink.
OR I could cancel my candy buffet and save approximately $875 and put that towards the food/ drink bill?
Post # 3
I say cancel the candy bar and use that money for your other party. It’s a lovely (we’re having one too) but ultimately unneccesary expense and that money can be better spend on food and drink.
Also, since your party is from 3pm-7pm, I don’t think you need tons of food since it’s after lunch and before dinner, people have the chance to eat a full meal on either side of your event so desserts and apps should be all you need.
Post # 4
First, I don’t like at home receptions when you have a Destination Wedding wedding – I feel like that is something you give up with you have a Destination Wedding and kind of comes off as gift-grabby. Why not call it a welcome home party where no gifts are involved and no wedding related stuff is involved?
However, if you insist on having a reception, I think doing it on Sunday is going to seriously limit your guest list with other guests besides his friends due to people having to go to work the next day, etc. Can his friends take off one Saturday to attend?
And why the crap is your candy bar almost $900?? I would completely NOT have a candy bar if it cost that much. That is a total waste in my opinion. Spend the valuable money elsewhere (i.e. food). Is your guest list full of drinkers? If not then I would spend more on food than drinks, especially considering the time of day.
Post # 5
In our extended family, having a party back home is seen as a kind and thoughtful way to celebrate the special occasion without having everyone buy plane tickets. Also, since there is no ceremony that day, no one is obligated to buy a gift, so I don’t think it’s gift-grabby either.
I’d say get rid of the candy buffet. Food and drink are more important than anything else in my eyes for a satisfying party.
Post # 6
My family is more into food and around here cash bars are the norm so i say go for good food!
And i am doing a Destination Wedding & hometown reception so obvs i love that idea!
Post # 7
What kind of reception were you thinkin gof having back in Louisville? Would it be appetizers and drinks or are you think of making the food yourselves?
Definitely nix the candy buffet. Do you think that you can accomodate food and drinks for 200 people at only $2900 – $3500? I’m not sure what pricing is like in Louisville but to have something catered for that many people would probably cost more than that. You could feasibly do some sort of bbq get together (which you could prepare on your own w/the help of your family) and make it work. You can also try to cut the number of people on your guest list to help make this budget as well.
Post # 8
@laydox: Thanks for the advice! I have definitely decided to cancel the candy buffet after calling the vendors where I purchased the jars/ scoops and finding out they are return-able. I plan to do apps and cake. How many apps and how many pieces per person should I plan for?
@shaydenise: We are not gift-grabby people and have made it quite clear that we do not expect gifts at this party… which we have called a “celebration” instead of a reception to ensure that people know what is and is not expected. While you are entitled to your opinion, and I did ask for help, I did not expect such a negative tone in a response. Your entire response is kind of condescending, save for the very last sentence. Perhaps you should have kept to just that.
Having said that… Candy is expensive. As are the jars, scoops, boxes, and tags required to complete the candy buffet. A candy buffet for 200- 250 is expected to cost this much as far as my research and pricing had shown.
@Michelleez: Thanks! Congratulations on your Destination Wedding AND your home reception! I think it’s important to celebrate with everyone, even if you are limited in the number of guests at the actual wedding. 🙂
@Bunny22: Like laydox said, since we’re having the party right between lunch and dinner, we plan to serve only appetizers and can definitely accomplish that within the price range after canceling the candy buffet.
Thank you everybody!
Post # 9
I say cancel the candy bar.
Post # 10
@ Vonnegurl: I completely agree with your response! Thank you!
Post # 11
I agree that food & drink should take priority over candy bar (though they are fun!). As far prioritizing food or drink, ideally of course open bar and plenty of food, but since everyone eats and not everyone drinks, I would say guarantee there is enough food before booze. Maybe with your candy bar savings you can make it all work. Sounds fun!!
PS – hometown receptions/celebrations are NOT gift-grabby, they are totally fun
Post # 12
What do you all think about having a cap on alcohol so that we can offer out guests some paid drinks without breaking the bank? Maybe tell the bartender that we’ll pay for the first $1,000 – $1,500 worth of drinks, then switch to a cash bar?
Post # 13
I think that’s a good idea — basically, any free drinks are better than no free drinks! It’s a great way to get the party started. The only problem with that set-up is that guests would have no clue as to when it would switch to cash bar & they might be caught off guard (a money cap isn’t exactly something that is easy to announce). A lot of people have an open bar for a set amount of time and announce the timeframe to guests. You can figure out an estimation of what the bar tab would be for different lengths of time, what you can afford, and just set it up that. Seems like that would be a good way to give your guests some free drinks, stay within your budget, and let your guests know what the score is as far as what they’ll have to pay for. For example, first two hours open bar, then cash bar after that.
Post # 14
@Marinara: How many drinks per hour would you budget? I like that idea… I’m just worried about a few greedy guests hoarding multiple drinks to save for later. I don’t want to seem cheap, but this is expensive stuff!
Post # 15
I would definately cancel the candy bar if you’re spending that much on it. Since you’re doing it as a later sunday reception, you could consider setting it up as heavy hors d’ourvres set up at stations (fruit/fountain station- which would be a cool alternative to the candy bar, sandwich station, chilled shrimp station, meat and cheese station, etc) Guests would have a lot to choose from, it would cut down on cost per plate and you would be able to do lots of different kinds of foods and also pay for the liquor, which is unusual for people to have to pay for the beer.
Post # 16
I think you should just get some kegs of beer and bottles of wine. Maybe do a specialty drink that is self-serve, so you don’t have to have a bar tender. I don’t think you need to do a full bar.
I also want to say that if something was scheduled from 3-7, I’d expect to eat a meal unless it was specified only snacks would be served. So make sure you have enough food, or specify. But be careful because aps and hors douevres can be really expensive! You should definitely at least get a quote for a meal to compare.
So I guess I’m voting for spend some money on a limited amount of inexpensive alcohol, and make sure to have enough food 🙂
What type of venue is it? What overall feel are you going for?