(Closed) This wedding is going to hell in a handbasket…need advice! NEW JERSEY

posted 8 years ago in New Jersey – North Central New Jersey
Post # 3
7975 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

Have you considered a punch and cake reception instead of a full cocktale hour and meal?

Post # 4
690 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

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
2 posts
  • Wedding: October 2010


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.

Good luck!!!

Post # 6
937 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

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
713 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2010

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
90 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

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 Fiance 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
690 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

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
2788 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2011

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
1 posts

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
2 posts
  • Wedding: November 2013

@EmeraldR: Totally agree with Emerald!!! the cheapest I’ve seen so far is $120 and that’s at an average place.

Post # 13
1876 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

$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 Fiance. 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
4824 posts
Honey bee

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
3 posts
  • Wedding: May 2011

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.

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