Are you planning for an upcoming wedding? Are you and your spouse having a hard time budgeting for everything? Although weddings can be costly affairs, they don't have to be. Here are some ways to save money on your reception and wedding catering bill:
Serve limited alcohol: At an average cost of around $25 per person for an open bar, this could be more than you're paying per person for the reception meal. To save money, consider having the bar open for only the first hour or two of the reception. This will allow people to have a drink or two while they wait for the festivities to begin. Once the food and dancing start, fewer people will be interested in drinks so an open bar isn't needed. To save even more money, consider skipping the open bar entirely. Instead, have your catering company serve an assortment of non-alcoholic beverages. For example, you could have several types of ice cream and fresh fruits available for people to make their own shakes, slushies and smoothies.
Provide your own appetizers: Your guests probably won't care much whether you serve them beautifully elegant canapes or a more simple offering of fruit and cheese cubes. Your guests will probably remember the catered meal that they are served more than the appetizers that they ate beforehand. By providing your own simple appetizers, you'll be able to shave a significant percent off your wedding catering bill.
Opt for a non-traditional dessert: A large and traditional wedding cake is, as you have no doubt already discovered, almost prohibitively expensive. If your heart is set on having a wedding cake, consider opting for a cake that is just one or two tiers. Have your local bakery make cupcakes in your wedding colors and stack these around your wedding cake. You may also opt to forgo cake entirely and instead have a sweets bar set up. Fill inexpensive plastic punch bowls with bulk chocolate candy, licorice and other types of sweets. Your guests will still be able to satisfy their sweet tooth and you can save money over the cost of a six- or seven-tier wedding cake.
Do set up and clean up yourself: Although setting up and cleaning up for your own wedding reception may not sound like much fun, talk to your wedding catering company about how much money this might save you. Because the catering company employees will be spending less time at your reception, they may be able to cater an additional wedding that day. Ask the catering company if this will entitle you to a further discount on your bill. If you decide to go this route, ask your guests to assist by stacking their own chairs when they leave or by dropping off their empty plates at a particular table.