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20 Money Saving Wedding Reception Tips

You may need to control your wedding reception budget, but you still want to go in style on your wedding day.  There are many ways to cut the less significant items and still maintain the regal experience.  The two most important items to invest in are the food and the entertainment, and even here, there are ways to tweak the budget to extend your buying power. 

1. Wedding Cake:  Save on the wedding cake by buying a small round cake and then renting a two or three tier plastic cake base from a rental center.  Place the real cake on top for the cake cutting.  Then go to a supermarket and purchase an inexpensive sheet cake to serve the guests.  This alone could save you hundreds of dollars.

2. Party Rentals: Handle the rentals yourself.  Get your rentals directly from a rental company rather than through your caterer. You can avoid the middle man.

3. Catering: Avoid selecting the most expensive menu items. Items such as shrimp, lobster, crab and beef are more expensive than chicken or pasta.  Serve less expensive hors d’oeuvres. Avoid serving hors d’oeuvres that are labor intensive or use expensive ingredients.  Have buffet food served by the caterer’s staff, rather than have guests pile food, much of which will remain uneaten, on their plates themselves. This will help also avoid the embarrassment of running out of food-the nightmare of every hostess.

4. Guest List:  Cut guest list. Reduce the size of your guest list, consider eliminating dates and children of friends, business associates and casual acquaintances.

5. Plates & Utensils: Use disposable plates. Using paper plates, along with plastic cups and utensils, may be less expensive than renting china, glasses and silverware. Check rental prices in your area; don’t forget to allow for breakage.

6. Off-Season Rates: You will save yourself an enormous amount of money if you get married during the off-season months of January, February, March and November.  Saturday's are the busiest day for weddings, so have your wedding on a weeknight or a Sunday. When there is less demand vendors will often be willing to give you a better rate. 

7. Floral ArrangementsSilk flowers save you a lot of money and they're already preserved. The Bride can have fresh flowers, but there really isn't any need for everyone else to go fresh.  If you're using flowers in your centerpieces, decorations or large altar arrangements, go with silk. Would be nice if your guests could actually use the centerpieces that they just won again. You could re-use the decorations and larger arrangements at home.

8. Invitations:  To make your invitations more personal and less expensive, do them yourself. There are a number of paper stores and websites available where you can find original ideas and ways to make your own invitations.  Stationery stores now sell printed paper meant to use in a home printer as invitations.

9. Wedding Photography:  A great idea and one that many are using now is, putting a disposable camera on every table at the reception. Then you'll only need to book your photographer for the church, photo location and maybe to take a few detailed shots at the reception venue.

10. Wedding Dress:  When you're purchasing your wedding dress, order the dress in your current size. Don't order a smaller size anticipating to lose weight. It's always easier (and LESS EXPENSIVE) to take in a dress rather than letting it out.  Choose a simpler style with less beading, lace and detail. If you really want more beads and sequins, they can always be added later by a seamstress or by a friend or relative who sews.  *If you're buying your wedding dress and bridesmaids' attire from a bridal shop, purchase all the dresses from the same shop. They'll usually give you a pretty good discount off the dresses or free alterations.

11.  Centerpieces: Choose a smaller floral centerpiece. Then, add ribbons, candles and/or mirror plates to make your centerpiece look larger and more elaborate.

12. Guest List: Keep it limited to close relatives and friends. Don't invite anyone you haven't talked to in five years. Don't feel obligated to invite non-live-in boyfriends or girlfriends. Avoid feeling pressure to invite all your work colleagues. To avoid unexpected guests, be sure to make it clear in your invitations that seating is limited to names listed. If you want an adult only wedding (no children), don't feel apologetic for making that clear in your invitations either. Your true friends and caring family will make other arrangements for their children, and will refrain from extending extra invitations themselves.  Remember, every time you write down a name on your invitation list, you're increasing your budget by a significant chunk. 

13. Limousines:  Hire two limos rather than one.  This may sound silly, but many couples find out the hard way that hiring just one limo for the entire day, can often run into more money than simply hiring two. If you hire a limo company simply to pick you up and drop you off prior to the ceremony, let them leave, and pay for another limo to come back and pick you up after the ceremony and take you to the reception, you don't have to pay for the waiting period in between. You can save a lot of money simply by not paying for a limo to sit and wait for your ceremony to be over.

14.  Decorations:  Check your local party supply store and ask a clerk for ideas and tips. You'll be amazed at how much money you will save, and you just might find it a fun thing to do. Have a special day set aside when you, your relatives, and friends can get together and make center pieces, party favors, etc. Using candy as part of wedding favors is always a treat for your guests, and if you buy candy in bulk you'll save money.

15.  Ceremony Location:  Save money on your ceremony simply by holding it in the Martel Roberge Function Center's gazebo.  In case of inclement weather, your function room can serve as a back-up location. 

16. Honeymoon:  Avoid booking the honeymoon package at a major resort. You'll often save hundreds -- even thousands -- of dollars. While many couples opt for "all-inclusive" deals, take a look at what you're really getting. Will you really drink and eat enough to make it worth it? What if you want to travel off the resort? You'll only be adding additional costs. Is that bottle of champagne on the sunset cruise really worth the extra $150 you might spend? Compare costs and see whether being in the "honeymoon" class will really save you money -- or cost more.

17. Wedding Attendants:  The fewer attendants you have standing up for you at your wedding, the less expensive it will be to pay for dresses, tuxes, etc. Also, eliminating the flower girl and the ring bearer will cut the expense of your wedding considerably.

18. Wedding Rings:  Study your information on stones before you walk into a jeweler. Be informed and let the jeweler know what you want. Buy what you can afford. We have all heard the suggestion of paying two months salary for the engagement ring. Remember, it is just that…a suggestion. 

19.  Accommodations:  Would you like to make the visit easier for out of town guests?  Consider reserving a block of rooms at a nearby hotel or motel. Most offer discounts when a block of rooms are reserved. However you will most likely be asked to leave a deposit on your credit card to hold them. Also ask what number of rooms will fall below your reserved block and therefore make you ineligible for the discounted rate. GET THIS IN WRITING!! Also, make sure you find out what the cancellation policy is. Usually it is 24 hrs prior to day of arrival. Choose a local location, or one nearby.

20. Wedding Entertainment:  You can save on entertainment by hiring a DJ rather than a band.  A good DJ can make or break the party, so don't hire the cheapest one you find and think that you somehow beat the system.  Get one who is also a polished MC (Master of Ceremonies) so that he can run all of your wedding formalities well and interact with the audience and get them involved.  For a great celebration you need to hire top notch professional entertainer.

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