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Wedding Receptions on a Budget

Wedding Reception Ideas: Budget and Creativity are the Keys to Success

When the big day is scheduled and a well meaning circle of family and friends come up with dozens of wedding reception ideas, remember this is a party for the bride and groom. The reception needs to be thematically linked to the marriage ceremony and they both should reflect the the bridge’s vision. However, this wedding reception guideline could change if one of the parents is actually footing the bill and has their heart set on contributing to the event.

Which brings up the second important point to consider when specifying your wedding guidelines: budget.

Wedding Reception Budget Considerations

Much of the budgetary consideration hinges upon how many people will attend. A smaller attendance figure may allow for a full dinner, while a big open invitation reception may necessitate hors d’oeuvres or finger food only.

Simple AppetizersShould you not serve dinner, be sure to schedule the event early enough in the afternoon so it can conclude by dinner time and people can break up into groups and go out for dinner on their own.

Another big expense is alcohol. Traditional etiquette maintains that an open bar is required, but there are ways to regulate this without offending any of the party drinkers in the crowd. If a full dinner is on the schedule, serve wine, beer and champagne through dinner, but change from open bar for hard drinks to host bar (guests pay for drinks) as soon as the champagne toast is complete right before dinner.

Decorating the reception can be a lot of fun especially if there is a lot of help available. If the reception is held at a hotel and they take care of the food and drinks, they will probably also minimally decorate the tables and entrance. Rented halls and gymnasiums definitely present the greatest challenge to tastefully carry a theme from the wedding ceremony. An outdoor reception just needs table decorations and a big tent.

Reception Decorating

Entrance – flank the doorway with floral arrangements on rented columns or a flowered arch

Gift Table – place some framed pictures of the bride and groom along with wedding favors and perhaps some chocolates

Tables/Centerpieces – each dining table needs something, a glass bowl of colored water with floating candles and rose petals is nice. Fill a ceramic pot to overflowing with flowers and ribbons and surround it with small sacks of potpourri for the guests to take home.

Walls – definitely a challenge in a dull room, but try hanging lengths of contrasting colors of tulle or gauze gathered with a bow at the top.

Chairs – tie a bow of tulle or gauze to the back

Buffet Table – skirt to the floor and raise a platform with bricks or books covered with a solid color cloth under each platter of food and scatter blossoms around

Cake Table and Cake – skirt the table and place some candles and a vase of flowers for an elegant touch

These are just a few basic wedding reception ideas to perhaps stimulate the imagination.

See Fun Wedding Table Centerpiece Ideas

About the Author

Curtis McCoscoCurtis McCosco lives on the island of Kauai, Hawaii with his wife of over 20 years, KatRama Brooks. Together they own and operate Rainbow Weddings on Kauai. A professional wedding photographer for over 15 years, he is also a video documentarian, writer, and masseur. A practicing Buddhist, he also does Qigong on a daily basis.View all posts by Curtis McCosco

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