Sunday, February 21, 2016

The (Super) Low-Budget Wedding Reception

You may have started out with what you thought was a reasonable wedding budget, but quickly discovered that it wasn't enough, leaving you raiding your savings to make up the shortfall. But you can have a low budget wedding without demolishing your savings or leaving you drowning in debt.

Firstly, planning the wedding yourselves will save you a huge chunk of cash. Hiring a wedding planner or coordinator can be very expensive, so ask yourselves if they can achieve anything that you yourselves cannot. Keeping a record of all your wedding planning will also make for a lovely family keepsake in years to come. You can gain huge satisfaction from the fact that you have created your dream wedding, from favors to flowers & cake to catering, all yourselves.

Producing a super-low budget wedding can take time & energy & a lot of creativity on your part, but you will reap the rewards when you realize the huge amount of money you have saved. This can then be invested in something more permanent in your lives, such as a house deposit or new car.

Having a lower budget doesn't mean that your costs will break any different to having a pricier 'do'. There will still be scope to save money in every element of your wedding, but in order to do this you must do one thing - avoid the grand, formal wedding.

So where do you begin to cut costs? Firstly you should realize what the most important part of the day is to you both. This should be the ceremony & the actual 'getting married' part. If it isn't then I would seriously think about whether or not getting married is right for you both! One way you could reduce costs quite significantly is to forgo the wedding reception & instead have an intimate dinner party with family & friends after a simple civil ceremony. Plan to renew your wedding vows in the future & at a time when you could afford a larger, more formal affair. Renewing your vows is a po[censored] r trend at the moment & it would be a very romantic way to mark a milestone or anniversary in your relationship. I would suggest you seriously consider this, particularly if you are footing the entire wedding bill yourselves & the idea of beginning married life saddled with debt horrifies you.

However, for many their wedding is the biggest day of their lives & they want to splurge on a big day. So if you're budget is saying ginger beer rather than fine champagne then you will need to conjure up some magic if you don't want to break your budget. If you're prepared to try every trick in the book then here's an idea that could save you a fortune.

Focus on the Venue

An extravagant wedding reception will break your budget on its own, if you are not careful & rein your idea in. One of the most obvious ways to save money would be to edit the guest list down. You may also discover that your choice of venue will cost you a hefty sum, especially when all the essential 'extras' are added to the bill. Take some time to find & secure a venue that is free or as good as (after taking into account rental costs for chairs, tables etc).

Examples of a 'free' location would be your home or if that isn't big enough, that of a family member or close friend. Another option would be hiring a church or community hall. These are usually very cheap to rent & can provide you with adequate kitchen facilities for preparing & serving food.

Ask around local eateries & see if they will offer a low cost wedding reception package. These could include food & a limited amount of beverage, or rental of a function room with the option of a reception package.

Your venue will the key to saving a large portion of your budget, so it will pay to thoroughly research all your options. Ask family & friends for recommendations, check out the internet & local press. Look at unusual venues such as gardens, museums & vineyards as they may be able to offer you a low cost reception package.

Keep a record of all your findings, including the venue, package options & cost. This way you will be able to work out which venue will offer you the best package for your money. Remember, the cheapest option may not be the best. Paying a little extra could get you twice as much as the cheapest option was offering.

Beating the Biggest Budget-Buster of All

Sadly, in today's world the mention of one of two words is likely to push costs sky high - they are wedding & baby. Commercialism is a massive part of the wedding industry today, with the majority of vendors hiking their prices for weddings because they assume you will naturally want to spend a huge amount of cash for such a special occasion. Often this means that you will actually be paying over the odds for something. Test my theory out by contacting a large venue & asking about their wedding reception packages, then ring back & ask about packages for a milestone birthday party. I bet the packages are virtually identical with the exception of the price!

An example of this is the catering for your wedding. The cost of feeding your guests can be more than the hire of the venue itself, so getting a good deal here & cutting the cost down is really a must.

However, a few ham sandwiches & [censored] tail sausages will not suffice. Your guests will more likely leave before the speeches & will slate your wedding day for all eternity! One solution for those with a minute budget is to throw a potluck reception. In essence you ask your guests to bring along a dish instead of a wedding gift. It may sound absurd, but a potluck reception was once quite the done thing & is more traditional than the bride & groom forking out for expensive catering & 3 course menus. They are also the best way to throw a fabulous party & have your guests leave feeling sustained.

If you are somewhat embarrassed about asking your guests to 'feed themselves' then dress it up as the 'Old Time, Traditional Wedding Celebration'. This naturally suits a potluck reception & no-one would think to question it.

Continue the theme in your decorations, flowers & favors, look to the 1920's, 30's or 50's which are all in vogue at the moment, but fit the traditional theme nicely.

So how do you go about asking your guests to bring a dish with them? Well, you could slip a note in with the invitation, such as this:

Our reception will be an "Old Time Traditional Celebration" with a potluck dinner.

____ Please check here if you would like to bring a dish for the reception in place of a wedding gift.

We kindly request a call for dish suggestions.

Ask them to call you & let you know what dish they plan to bring. This way you will still have some say over the menu & can avoid any over duplicating on dishes. Incidentally, no one is obliged to parti[censored] te but you could be surprised by how many will. It is also likely that many of your guests will go to town & will create some fabulous, unusual & extravagant dishes to grace your tables. You may also find an element of competition arising between guests, as to who produces the best & most talked about dish on the day! Just make sure it doesn't get out of hand!

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