Looking to plan a wedding reception on a budget? Are you unsure how to make it all work with the savings you’ve got? Or better yet, are you finding yourself going through your list of wedding reception expenses and wondering how things added up so quickly? Don’t fret; you aren’t alone.
Reception expenses are one of the most fraught about wedding topics in the industry; cake costs, music, décor and food can all carry a hefty price tag and can take you from keeping things under to control to completely out of control faster than your wedding party can do the electric slide. There is a lot of pressure to spend money in all of these areas in order to produce the event you’ve had in your head since you were 10. Finding ways to host a cheap wedding reception but still make it classy and memorable seems to be on all of our radar. Never fear; your Utah wedding DJ, Opus Productions is here to shed some light on where to focus and to help keep your money in your wallet and your parents’ stress at a manageable level. Let’s start with the obvious:
Quality vs Cost
There is an old adage: You get what you pay for. Never was that more accurate than in the wedding business. Prices on all of your wedding reception necessities can range from dollar-store cheap to Ritz Carlton expensive and everywhere in between. Knowing that you can basically fill your needs at any price point, you’ll want to consider and identify what is most important to you and allocate the larger budgets to those items. For example:
When I got married, I knew I wanted a cake. Seems obvious, right? But when I put a pencil to it, I only sort of wanted a cake. It wasn’t going to be the center piece of our reception, we weren’t going to serve it to our guests and, in all wedding taboo-ness, I didn’t even think I’d save the topper for our first anniversary. (I’d rather have fresh cake and there are bakeries EVERYWHERE). The cake was a place I felt like I could contribute to a cheap wedding reception.
On the flip side, I was sure I wanted dancing. A lot of dancing. Dancing and music are at the core of who we are as a couple and we could really portray our personalities through our music choices. A simple playlist on an iPod wouldn’t cut it – we wanted flexibility to dance when we wanted and to what we wanted and needed crowd interaction and someone to keep the even flowing so a DJ was a must.
Knowing these two things, we went a fairly unconventional route and got a nice, small cake from a local bakery and put it on a table in the corner. We didn’t want to totally shun the tradition (you may choose to do that with some things) but didn’t want it to be a big deal. I spent a very minimal portion of our budget on the cake – we left out the 24 karat gold dust and the Swarovski crystal.
We took what we saved on the cake and spent a little extra on the Salt Lake City DJ; we got the lighting we wanted and found a DJ that would deliver what we needed. It turned out perfect. . . for us.
The important thing here is to identify what is critical for YOUR celebration – identify the things that are important, the atmosphere you want to have and what you would reasonably need to spend to achieve that. Don’t be afraid to make concessions on things that aren’t that important to you or your vision and spend the money on things that are critical. . . or pocket the extra. Nobody said that a cheap wedding reception couldn’t be booming with elegance and class.
Don’t be afraid to get DIY-ish. Are there centerpieces that you can make yourself? Is there décor that you can bring in from your own private stash rather than rent? Look around and find pieces that represent you and bring them in as décor. Don’t be afraid to use flower vases that you already have on hand (because we all know that your man brings you flowers once a week, right?!) and turn them into fantastic table centerpieces. There are fantastic tutorials online about painting glass and making small but impactful decorations with things you already have around the house. Some items to think about:
- Christmas trees make awesome winter wedding décor
- Christmas lights
- Toys/trinkets (like traveling? How cool to use cameras, vintage planes or cars or maps as part of your décor?)
Know a great baker? You could save a TON of money on cake or other reception goodies by engaging friends and family to assist in making your wedding fare; it’s a great way to contribute to your bottom line and gives them a great out for a wedding gift. Be sure to set expectations and be clear on what your vision is so that while you are saving money, you are still getting what you want.
We wouldn’t be a DJ business if we didn’t make a plug for these guys. . . Don’t overlook your music/entertainment budget. You may be thinking that a DJ can be replaced with a properly wired iPod or other streaming device but we are here to tell you that they can’t. If you are planning to have music and/or dancing, a DJ is critical to making the music fluid, keeping the event moving and timing your special events (cake cutting, garter toss, first dance, etc.) so they happen just as you had hoped. The good news is that you don’t need to break the bank for an excellent DJ; Opus Productions has been helping brides plan their budget wedding receptions for over ten years and can customize your services without sacrificing quality.
We hope this list of cheap wedding reception ideas will be helpful when planning your big day. Take the time to find areas to cut budget corners and still plan the incredible (albeit economical) event of your dreams!