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How To Do A Wedding Reception On A Budget

Drape Lights To Transform Your Reception Space

How to Throw a Wedding on a Budget

Wedding lighting is undoubtedly one of the most underrated elements. Its amazing how lighting can truly transform a spacea huge plus when decorating on a budget. Whether your wedding reception will be taking place outside or inside, you can instantly add elegant and warm touches by strategically hanging twinkle lights.

Images by Liz Osban. See more of this real wedding here.

Prioritise What’s Important To You

Even if you have a strict budget, you dont have to scrimp on everything. Take the time to think about what is most important to you and prioritise those things, then aim to cut costs on the less important elements. Perhaps you have always dreamed of that designer wedding dress but arent as bothered about the cake, or you want to spend more on that unique wedding venue that doesnt require any extra decorations. With some savvy planning you can still create your perfect day on a budget.

Get Your Marriage Started On Solid Financial Footing

  • Best Jewelry Insurance Companies
  • Planning a wedding starts with setting a budget. For many couples, it’s also their first experience of making complicated financial decisions together. And these days, it’s couplesnot parentswho generally do the heavy lifting when it comes to paying for weddings and the events around them.

    Having a plan for spending can keep you from wasting money unnecessarily or racking up excessive debt to get married. Knowing what to include in a wedding budget and how to save the money youll need can help you start newlywed life on the right financial footing.

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    Host Your Dream Wedding Without Blowing The Budget

    The average wedding in the UK now costs around £24,000, so its no wonder many couples are looking for ways to cut costs on their big day.

    RELATED: 34 high street wedding dresses that look more expensive than they are

    From your wedding dress to the venue and decorations, there are many simple ways to save money when wedding planning, so you can pull off your dream day without getting into debt. Read on for our 17 ways to plan a wedding on a budget

    Wedding planner, £9.19,


    How Much Does A Wedding Ceremony Venue Cost

    Everything You Need to Do if You

    Some couples choose to have their wedding ceremony and reception in separate locations. A wedding ceremony is shorter than a reception and doesnt include catering, so the cost of a ceremony venue is typically cheaper than wedding reception prices. In the U.S., the average starting site fee for wedding ceremonies is $600.

    You May Like: A Practical Wedding Budget Spreadsheet

    What Impacts A Wedding Venues Prices

    There are many factors that can drive wedding venue prices up or down, including:

    • Location: Wedding venues located in major cities tend to cost more than those in more rural areas. In fact, the most expensive places to get married in the country are big cities, like New York City, San Francisco, and Boston.
    • Wedding date: Its true, the wedding date you choose can have an impact on your wedding venue cost. If you want to get married on a Saturday night during peak season, youll likely pay more than a weekday wedding during an off-peak time of year. Many venues offer discounts for weddings during low season or on a weekday.
    • Size:The more guests you invite, the more money youll spend. Larger venues that accommodate more people will cost more than smaller venues with lower capacities. If your venue includes catering, youll pay per person, so a large number of a guests means a higher wedding venue cost.
    • Whats included: For some venues, youll pay a site fee and then have to hire an outside caterer, rental company, and all other vendors. Other venues are all-inclusive and have an in-house vendor and other vendors. While theres no rule that all-inclusive venues always cost less, you may be able to find some savings on your wedding reception prices if your venue has in-house vendors.

    Set Up A Free Website For Your Wedding

    You can create a free personalised website for your wedding, using GettingMarried.co.uk, a wedding website provider. This will help you update guests about your big day, let you keep track of RSVPs, set up a gift list and guest book, and share photos after your wedding.

    There are free templates to customise your website’s design, and tools to help you share your timetable, seating plan, travel tips and even add an FAQ section. These make Getting Married popular with forumites, and former MSE Sally used it to set up a website for her wedding.

    We saved money on invites by creating a website with all the details of our wedding it meant we could keep the paper invites short and sweet.– Former MSE Sally

    It’s worth noting, however, that Getting Married is owned by a wedding gift list company . So although you can create a website for free, it does encourage you to set up a Prezola gift list. This is completely optional, and you can add a link to another site instead, if you already have a gift list elsewhere.

    You’ll usually need to pay for a premium subscription if you want to set up a honeymoon fund or create an option for cash gifts although this is currently free if you sign up for Prezola.

    Recommended Reading: Venue Comparison Spreadsheet

    Bonus Tip #4 Stick To Your Wedding Budget Religiously

    If youre on a limited budget, its critical to plan your wedding budget ahead of time and stick to it. Making a wedding budget ahead of time will help you spend less. You could be tempted to buy things that arent necessary for your wedding, but a budget will remind you to spend on the things that are. Having a wedding budget handy is a terrific strategy to have a wedding reception on budget.

    Putting it all together

    So these are the ways to plan a wedding reception on budget. Apart from these, there are numerous additional ways to create a low-budget wedding reception that includes all of the components you like.

    Furthermore, whether youre planning a luxurious wedding or a low-budget wedding, the goal is to enjoy every moment of it. Because your wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime occasion, it is critical that you enjoy your wedding reception to the fullest. Do not be concerned From the moment you walk in the door until the moment you leave, enjoy every moment of your wedding reception. Never forget that this is the moment youve been waiting for from a long time. So, make the most of it and enjoy every bit of it to make wonderful memories of your BIG DAY!

    Happy Wedding

    American Visionary Arts Museum


    The American Visionary Arts Museum offers multiple dreamy locations throughout the property to host a beautiful wedding. The Sculpture Barn & Wildflower Garden provides room for 130 guests, complete with outdoor garden space for a ceremony or the use of a stunning marble spiral staircase as a backdrop. Hoping for a restaurant setting instead? The on-property restaurant also boasts an outdoor terrace for ceremonies. Choose from a variety of space options, ranging from $750 to $9,000 to accommodate any guest list and budget.

    Also Check: Addressing Wedding Invitations Family

    The Basic Courthouse Elopement

    If your budget is $100, you could spend your money like this:

    $25 to $100 Here in Nashville, the fee for a marriage license clocks in at $99.50. And $60 of that can be waived if the couple completes a premarital counseling course within the last yearhello savings!

    If your budget is $3,500, you could spend your money like this:

    Venue: $0 for your future in-laws backyardFood and beverages: $750 for drinks and a buffet prepared by friends and familyAttire: $200 for a dress $200 for a suit rentalFlowers: $0 for wildflowers you picked for a bridal bouquet, bridesmaids bouquets, and boutonnieres $1,500 for a tent, dance floor, table and chair rentals, lighting, and DIY centerpiecesWedding Planning: $0 for an aunt willing to chip in and coordinate the day-of details $500 for a talented friend or amateur via CraigslistEntertainment: $75 for a speaker rental $0 for a great playlistDessert: $50 to $200 for a cutting cake, cupcakes, or pies from a bakeryInvitations: $50, DIY

    If your budget is $7,000, you could spend your money like this:

    Go Halfway On Your Wedding Catering

    If preparing the entire meal by yourself sounds too overwhelming, which in most cases it could be, then consider going halfway.

    Hire a professional caterer to prepare some of the dishes you serve, perhaps an attractive main course.

    Then round out the menu with your own favourite side dishes and appetizers.

    I love this idea because you can save money and still prepare your favourite foods for your guests.

    You can prepare the appetizers, the side dishes and the late-night snack.

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    Minimize The Size Of Your Guest List

    A smaller guest list means a lower-cost wedding for so many reasons. You book a smaller venue . You also have a more modest cost for food, beverages, service, tables and table settings, linens, and invitations.

    There are positives to big and small weddings, but because youre opting for a small one, lets focus on those! Smaller weddings allow you to relax and enjoy the day with your nearest and dearest, rather than a sprawling guest list that includes your mothers book club besties. And while you love your friends from work, theyll understand that you are keeping the event intimate.

    Some experts suggest making a guest list and cutting it by 20 percent, and then cutting it by another 20 percent. Others start at zero, add parents, siblings, grandparents, and then a couple of close friends apieceand then shut down the list to new additions without exceptions.

    Youll probably need to talk with friends and extended family who arent on the guest list no matter where you draw the line. Most people will understand if you dont have the budget for a large wedding.

    Host A Backyard Wedding On A Budget

    How Much Does a Wedding Planner Cost?

    The neat thing about working with a small budget is that it encourages you to step outside the box and take creative leaps of faith. Whether its diving into the world of DIY, or brainstorming delicious recipes to feed a crowd for example. Youll discover loads of ways to save money while creating a unique and unforgettable backyard wedding.

    Keep reading for some ideas to get you started.

    Read Also: Wedding Planning Spreadsheet Template

    Keep The Centerpiece Small

    A centerpiece is really just to fill the middle of the table. Once everyone is sitting down with drinks and food, theres not much room left anyway.

    Small and simple centerpieces dont get in the way and are cheaper. If you get something thats tall and extravagant, guests cant see the people on the other side of the table!

    Have The Wedding Budget Talk

    Everyone paying for the event needs to sit down and look at the total wedding budget. This might be your first experience budgeting with your future spouse as a team. What a priceless experience! Learning to talk openly and honestly about how much you can spendand how much youre willing to spendon your wedding is going to lay the groundwork for wonderful budget date nights once youre married!

    As uncomfortable as this budget talk might be, just rememberits a heck of a lot easier than still paying for your wedding day on your fifth anniversary!

    When I say budget here, Im not just talking about how much money you can spend totalIm talking about how much you should spend in each specific area.

    I suggest breaking the total wedding budget into categories and figuring out what percentage to devote to each:

    Reception: 55%Dress and Tux: 8%Miscellaneous/Cushion: 5%

    These arent set numbers thats just the ratio Winston and I used. You should set your ratios based on whats important to you. Maybe youre willing to splurge on photos, but flowers dont really matter to you. If you care more about one area than another, change up the percentages.

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    Be Prepared For Alterations

    You may need to make some alterations, but you can lessen the amount you need. Get a wedding dress that ties in the back instead of one that zips. That way if youre trying to lose weight, you dont have to worry about the dress not fitting properly.

    In fact, the only thing I altered to my dress was adding a bustle.

    Use White Christmas Lights

    How to Decorate a Wedding Reception on a Budget

    Many people use white Christmas lights on their back porches as a simple and elegant decoration. And these lights can make a beautiful addition to any wedding reception venue! They can be hung from the ceiling, around tables, around the cake, or in potted plants. If you don’t want to use Christmas lights, consider lanterns instead.

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    Think About Preparing Dessert And Food Items By Yourself

    This may sound weird, but it is possible to prepare food and dessert for wedding guests at home. If some of your family members are good at cooking, there will be no issue at all. Just decide the menu and assign dishes to your family members.

    For instance, if your mom can make amazing cupcakes, you dont need to spend a hefty amount while purchasing an expensive wedding cake. Similarly, by cooking other food items at your home, you can make your dream wedding more affordable.

    In fact, it happens to be one of the most feasible DIY wedding ideas on a budget. Food prepared at home is delicious and healthy. Moreover, when you prepare food for your guests, it is a sign of your affection towards them. This will surely give a unique touch to your wedding.

    Book Your Event Outside Of Peak Season

    You can save money on all types of wedding services by having your event outside of peak season. Its basic supply and demandif not as many brides and grooms are looking to say I do, youre more likely to find venues and vendors willing to negotiate prices to get your business.

    And thats not only true for seasons. You could also get a deal if youre willing to have a mid-morning or early afternoon ceremony instead of an early evening affair. Consider getting hitched at 11 am, for example, and following it up with a backyard BBQ-style reception.

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    Know Where The Money For Your Wedding Is Coming From

    In 2018, nearly 10 percent of couples paid for their wedding entirely on their own. About another 10 percent had it entirely paid for them. Most couplesthe 80 percent in the middlehad a mix of contributors. Sit down with all the financial stakeholders to establish who is contributing what.

    Kindly establish boundaries at this point too. If your soon-to-be F.I.L. is contributing, it doesnt mean he can add endless names to the guest listthat will quickly undermine your low-cost goal.

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