Choosing a reception venue is a big part of creating your wedding vision and one of the most important choices. Whether it be a hotel ballroom or a tented party in your backyard, it reflects the tone that you are seeking for your special day. It will also have an impact on the size of your guest list.
As you work toward finding the venue, keep in mind what may also be required to create the feel you would like. Typically, a hotel venue will include linens and china in their rental fee, whereas, a banquet hall or tented facility will have expenses to rent tables, chairs and any other piece of equipment necessary to make your day complete.
What about reception style?
You may choose a cocktail reception or a plated dinner. At a cocktail reception, many couples feel the need to still do a four hour party which is not necessary. The typical cocktail reception lasts two to two and one half hours. Here you can control the amount of alcohol which is consumed as well as limiting the amount of food required.
If you choose to do a buffet, remember to make it double sided, and realize costs may go up as more food is needed.
Some couples are opting for a combo of both types of events which offer waiter passed drinks and canapes with the addition of several stations. No matter which type of reception style you choose, please do have a chair for every guest. Nobody likes to stand for even a short time.
A more formal wedding requires a plated, sit-down meal service. Wine is usually served with dinner, with an open bar for most of the 4 to 5 hour party.
Tips to consider when planning a wedding reception within budget:
People tend to take less food when it is being passed by wait staff.
Although difficult to do, cut the guest list from the beginning to keep within your budget.
You may want to consider a morning ceremony followed by a brunch. This will allow you to offer a specialty drink instead of incurring alcohol costs. Of course, if you prefer bar service, think about serving only wine and beer, or creating a fun signature drink to be served.
Consider hiring a professional planner who has a wealth of ideas on how you can minimize costs without sacrificing your style.