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Wedding on a Budget - The Reception

Homemade Centerpieces
Homemade Centerpieces
Kristen Raves - Facebook

The reception is one of the harder places to cut costs.  Let's face it, people want to eat and drink and do both in excess.  Your guests are there to have a good time and not critique the food you chose for your special day. Here are a few tips, hints and suggestions for planning your wedding reception venue.

  1. The Venue.  A key factor to remember when choosing your venue is that it fits your personality.  You don't have to pick some place stuffy and expensive just because it's your wedding day.  Choose a place that suits you as a couple.  Remember, the quote that these places give you to rent their site is just a jumping off point.  Don't settle and keep negotiating until you get what you want.  If they won't come down on the rental fee then ask if they will throw in a free champagne toast or appetizers to help you out.  Of course, they want to fill their space so they are willing to do whatever it takes for you to book your reception with them.  A few great places around Indianapolis that are easy on your budget are The Music Mill, Woodwind Golf Club, Oak Hill Mansion and The Montage.  Also, if you are willing to have your wedding on a Friday or Sunday it will be half the price of a Saturday.
  2. The Food/Drinks.  Trying to save money when it comes to the food and drinks can be a little more tricky.  If you opt for a buffet style meal and skip the hors d'oeuvres you will save yourself a bundle.  Sometimes the venues will allow you to use an outside caterer so if they do give you the option make sure you shop around to find the best deal.  If you chose to do an open bar most places will charge you per head even if 100 of your guests are kids.  See if they are willing to do a per key or per bottle fee and that can save you quite a bit.  Also, if you stick to beer and wine and have a cash liquor bar that can help your budget as well.
  3. The Music.  With the invention of the iPod, music became a whole lot cheaper.  If you have a friend who is willing to MC for you, just go ahead and use your iPod for the evenings music.  You can even send an email to your guests asking them to send you their top 5 favorite songs and add those to the mix.  If you want to use a band or a DJ instead just remember everything is negotiable.  Of course, if you are doing a Friday or Sunday wedding you can get them for next to nothing. 
  4. The Centerpieces.  Most people will not remember what your centerpieces looked like so don't worry about spending tons of money on them.  A new trend in weddings is having a small cake be the centerpiece.  They can be decorated differently and if you make them yourself (or have a family member do it) it can save you a fortune.  Other ideas for centerpieces include hitting up your local Walmart or Hobby Lobby and buying vases for $0.50 and putting candles, ornaments, coffee beans or photos in them.  If you play your cards right, you could spend less than $50 on your centerpieces.
  5. The Details.  Very few people give favors anymore.  If you decide to do so, just remember they can cost you $200 plus.  A way to cut costs is ordering in bulk from places like Oriental Trading or Favor Warehouse.  Additionally, it is no longer customary to give your guests who are from out of town a gift bag when they check into the hotel.  It is a nice gesture though, so if you are going to do it remember to stick to buying in bulk and keeping it simple.

The thing to remember when it comes to weddings is that everything is negotiable.  Do not settle for less.  Remain calm and refrain from becoming a bridezilla and people are more likely to give you great deals.  Stay tuned for our next blog Wedding On A Budget - The Honeymoon. 

Read more about weddings from the Indianapolis Bridal Examiner.


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