(Closed) Reception or no reception?

posted 8 years ago in Money
Post # 3
447 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

Well – what do YOU want?  And if it’s your family who are so set on a reception, are they willing to help you pay for it?

I wouldn’t dismiss a restaurant reception so quickly – it’s a relatively easy and affordable way to do something that’s nice without looking or feeling cheap.  What makes you think it’s tacky?  Ask around at every restaurant in town – you might be surprised at the deals you can find.  My boss just had a restaurant reception for about 40 people and spent under $2k – and this is in NYC, which is expensive.  A lot of restaurants that wouldn’t otherwise fill every table on a Friday or Saturday night are often willing to cut you a deal, since you’re guaranteeing them a full house.

Personally I think it’s really important to have a wedding that you can afford – and it seems like you do too.  Do not let your family pressure you into spending half your savings on a wedding reception.  It’s great that they’re so excited but have them help you with the stuff that you actually want (dress shopping?) and not worry too much about anything you’ll cut out.

Good luck!

Post # 4
3461 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

Afternoon cake & punch reception?  Lunch reception?  Find a halfway point between 30 and 100?  Friday night reception?

A friend of mine catered her reception at a local hall with Costco and the like food (lasagna/salad) with ipod for music.  I had spent several hundred dollars to fly out for the reception (the wedding was Mormon, and thus I was not able to attend it as a non-Mormon…nor were any of her side including her mother, as she had converted), but I didn’t mind.  I knew she didn’t want to go in debt for the one day that they were paying for themselves.  We had a lovely time leading up to the day shopping and make treats for it.

Just make it clear to your family this is a joint decision!  Don’t let your husband take flak for a mutual decision.

Post # 5
772 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

We are in a similar situation–have the money to pay cash for a traditional wedding, but can’t stand the thought of that much money going to one day, and just don’t feel it is very “us”.  We are pretty intentional with our money, and only spend it on the things we really value.  Sounds like you are the same way. While many of our friends really valued having a big, traditional wedding, it is just not for us.

We are considering a cake and punch reception,  a restaurant “happy hour” with appetizers and drinks, or a morning tea/brunch.  We don’t want to spend more than 2-3k, and we are comfortable self catering if we can find a venue that will let us do that. We want to have around 85 people in Southern California.

We are still in very early planning stages, but plan on emphasizing to naysayers that we want to have a marriage, not a wedding.  Most of our friends and family will be supportive because we are a bit non traditional anyway, but it is so important not to go into debt, and to be intentional with your choices.  I know these are both hard to do, so make sure you stick to your decision and do what is right for you and your fiance!


Post # 6
134 posts
Blushing bee

Maybe you can have a very simple reception. Plan it for a non meal time. Offer cracker and cheese platters, crudite, fruit platters, and wedding cake. Have water, soda, iced tea and lemonade. This way you can have a casual, inexpensive reception with all of your guests. Just because it’s inexpensive doesn’t mean it’s tacky. DIY a few floral arrangments, maybe rent some nice linens and china instead of using paper and plastic. It would still be considerably less than a sit down dinner with an open bar and all the extras.

Post # 7
5110 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: November 2011

what do you want.. if your worried about being money savvy you can do a reception for less than 7000 banquet syle we are doing one for under 3k but thats for 112 guest … your guest list is really the thing that determines it.. but its up to you.. i think that there should ve one just as a thank you for being a part of our special day..

another way to cut costs is do a brunch reception, dont do open bar just a select things like beer and wine, you could do just  a dessert reception or light fair depending on what time its held. 

Post # 8
244 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

just don’t do anything you will regret….will you regret not having the part 20 years from now? If you’re worried about money, keep it simple. We’re having ours on a friday night (most venues and vendors only charge half price for fridays, and sometimes less on other weekdays) and are only having a “desert and champagne” reception because it’s so late in the evening (ceremony isn’t even until 9pm) plus, it will be very short b/c its so long (only till midnight). There are lots of ways to save money…instead of a huge wedding cake, have a small one just for you two and then get a grocery store sheet cake to be cut in the kitchen and brought out for guests. Ask your aunts and cousins and grandma’s to make cookies and pies, etc, for a more varied desert. Only serve one or two types of alcohol (beer and wine for instance) and then limit other options to water, punch, coffee and soda. You can do really cheap and simple decorations without spending an arm and a leg…DollarTree has a really good website with ideas for cheap decorations ($1 for real glass vases!!) Don’t forgoe the celebration just because of money though…I think you would regret it later down the road!

Post # 9
17 posts
  • Wedding: May 2012

I am going through the same thing right now. The way I see it, you are getting married and that’s the big picture. Do you want a marriage or a wedding. If you can’t afford to do a full on reception, DON’T! I’ve seen so many of my friends unhappy at all the money they are spending for a “party”.

A few ideas we had, were to do an early morning wedding and then do breakfast or brunch after the ceremony. It’s amazing the ideas we came up with and how cheap they can be! It makes it more intimate as well.

We thought of a destination wedding just a few hours north of where we live to the coast and have a coastal wedding, but that way not everyone will want to drive up there and only close family and friends will really come (this seems mean, but it kind of makes sense).

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