The most common tips for saving money on your reception are include reducing your guest list, not serving alcohol, having it on a weekday/morning, serving only appetizers and so on. I don’t know about you, but none of these were appealing or realistic when I was planning my wedding. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find reception venues that don’t cost an arm and a leg. Regardless of your ultimate decision make sure you research site fees, food and drink minimums and hidden fees (linen rentals, cake cutting, corkage, clean up, etc.)
Public Parks/Beaches/Gardens: Great outdoor reception venues can be found in public locations. The main issue to consider here is that you will likely have to bring in everything from a DJ to the silverware. This can add up and if you aren’t careful, end up costing more than you expect. Another benefit to these locations is that they are inherently beautiful and therefore require less decorations than some other locations.
Restaurants: There is no doubt that restaurants can be expensive reception venues, but not all of them. One major benefit of having your reception at a restaurant is that the food and alcohol is all taken care of in one place. Restaurants that are advertising on wedding sites are likely to be expensive. Your best bet is a venue that will rent space for receptions without it being a major focus of their restaurant. Try going to a local place you love and asking them if they host private parties. If you can get away with not saying its a wedding, you may be able to save even more. Unfair as it is, places tend to charge more for weddings than parties.
Destination Weddings: This type of wedding usually has significantly less guests and therefore less costs. Resorts often have all-inclusive packages which allow you to avoid the wedding planner expense. Sandals Resorts has “weddingmoons” that include everything you will need for the wedding, including a consultant that can assist with any legal requirements. If you don’t go for an all-inclusive option, you should consider a wedding planner that is local to the area. Wedding planners are sometimes willing to work within your budget by offering services for only the day of the even for a much lower fee.
Rent a House: Depending on where you are planning to have your wedding and the number of guests, it may be worth looking into a house rental as an option for reception venues. You will have to bring in most things, like food, a DJ, tables, chairs, etc. But there are some built-in benefits, like refrigerators, bathrooms, bedrooms and so on. Save money by getting alcohol at places like Beverages & More which has promotions like the penny sale. Be sure to read the contract carefully and consider wedding insurance.
Learn more about reception venues.