Reception ideas to think about
Whether you already know that
you want to be married in the church where you were baptized or you're
scouring the city for a creative new locale, there are a few key things to
consider before you sign on the dotted line.
Make sure both the ceremony and reception sites are completely accessible
for everyone you have invited to your wedding. It's your job to ensure that
Grandma has equal opportunity to enjoy the day as much as anyone else. This
means there should alternatives to stairs, wide hallways, and fully
accessible bathrooms. Ask if the sites are in compliance with the Americans
with Disabilities Act.
Find out exactly how early you may arrive to get ready. When looking at
reception sites, find out how early your caterer and decorator can begin
working. And while you're at it, be sure to find out exactly when you will
need to call it a night - and if that's negotiable.
Whether it's a grand synagogue or a quaint seaside chapel, a naturally
beautiful location might be a little more expensive at first glance, but it
almost always pays off in terms of money, time and stress.
If you're planning any part of the wedding out-of-doors, make sure you have
a good back-up in case of rain. The back-up should be written in the
contract so that it cannot be promised as a back-up to someone else as well.
It is basic, but easily forgotten: make sure there's enough room for all
your guests. When looking at a reception site, make sure you're talking
about the seating capacity. Also be sure to ask how the seating
capacity will change once a dance floor is added. While you're on the
subject of seating, find out if the locale you are considering provides the
tables and chairs and, if so, if they are included in the cost you're
Find out for certain how many parking spaces are available for your guests,
and where those spaces are located. If necessary, make arrangements for
extra parking - you wouldn't want someone to miss your grand entrance
because they were searching for a parking spot!
Ask if you can bring in any caterer or if the site works with just a few
"preferred" caterers - or even just one. Also check if the kitchen at the
reception hall is a full kitchen, where everything can be cooked, or if it
is actually just a facility for keeping food warm before serving it. If you
are having your reception in a private banquet hall of a restaurant, find
out if there will be a separate chef and staff for your event. This will
ensure that your service won't be affected by the regular business of the
Check the Calendar
Before you sign a contract, make sure that your wedding date doesn't
conflict with any other big events - like your cousin's high school
graduation, a religious holiday or a local festival.
One final note: make sure you are clear on exactly what's included
and get it all in writing!
Creating A Budget
Is money no object when it comes to your
wedding? Are you one of the very few (and very lucky) people who has an
unlimited supply of funds just waiting to be spent on the wedding of a
lifetime? Great! Skip this article. If you're like most people these days,
though, you'll need to create a budget to ensure that you allocate money to
the things that are most important to you.
The first step is to do just that - figure out what's most important to you.
Be sure to read "Aaaack! Where Do I Start?" and use our priorities worksheet
to figure this out. You'll also need to ask yourself, "How Formal Should My
Wedding Be?" Then, talking with your parents, you'll determine exactly how
you are going to afford it. The amounts to allocate will help you determine
the number of guests you can invite, the location of your reception, the
food you will serve, the flowers on display and many other elements of the
In general, whoever is paying for the reception should have the lion's share of
the decision-making power - although it's important that everyone is happy with
the outcome. Of course, these days it is not uncommon for both sets of parents
(as well as the bride and groom) to help pay for the wedding, so the decision
really must be a joint one.
Number of Guests
The number of wedding guests greatly defines the cost of the reception, so
putting together your guest list is often one of the most difficult parts of
planning your wedding, since you may feel that you have to limit the number of
friends and family you can invite. For this reason, the size of your wedding is
one of the first things you should to establish.
Time of Year
The month in which you choose to have a wedding has a significant impact on the
cost, because ceremony and reception sites, as well as photographers and
musicians, are often more expensive during "peak wedding months" (May, June,
August, September and October). Selecting an off-season date will usually afford
Note that December is not considered an off-season month, because Saturday
evenings in December are generally reserved for holiday parties. Most hotels
will refuse to negotiate prices during these prime dates and may require a
minimum budget be met to reserve the space.
Day of the Week
The day of the week is another determining factor in overall cost. Clearly,
weekends are the overwhelming choice to hold a wedding, with Saturday being the
most popular day. By choosing either Friday evening or Sunday to tie the knot,
not only will you have an easier time booking ceremony and reception sites, but
you can also save money. Limousine services, musicians and DJs may offer
discounts for weddings held on Friday or Sunday - if they don't offer,
negotiate! You hold the power, since it's likely you are the only party
interested in their services for that date.
Restaurants and caterers may reduce prices for rehearsal dinners held on a
Thursday evening or another weekday night, since their facilities are less busy.
They will welcome the business and their wait staff will be more attentive to
your party on these slower nights.
Time of Day
The time of day that your reception is scheduled will also affect the cost.
Hotels and reception facilities sometimes limit reception times to fit into
their timetable. For example, they set aside 12:00 noon until 5:00 p.m. for
afternoon receptions, and 6:00 p.m. until 12:00 midnight for evening receptions.
Most hotels discourage and even charge extra to host a reception that blends
into both time segments. So, when researching reception sites, make sure you
inquire about their reception policies to avoid any unforeseen expenses.
If you select a luncheon reception and there is one set price for lunch and
dinner, try to negotiate reduced prices on food and beverages for holding a
The menu also affects cost. Contrary to what you might expect, a sit-down meal
is frequently the most economical choice in comparison to dinner buffets,
station receptions and heavy hors d'oeuvres. Inevitably, the biggest cost factor
is the type of food you select. Many hotels supply reception packages ranging
from basic chicken dinners to elaborate hors d'oeuvre parties. If you are
interested in creating your own reception menu and are holding the reception at
a facility that allows off-premise caterers, a seasoned catering professional
can tailor a menu to your specific tastes and budget.
One of largest costs for your reception will be the bar tab. If you host a bar
for the full reception, it's not uncommon for the cost to equal or even exceed
the meal cost. Often you can elect (or negotiate) an "open bar" package, which
sets a fixed hourly cost per person, regardless of the amount consumed. The
advantage of an open bar is having a fixed cost to factor into your budget.
Another misconception is that you can save a lot of money by serving only beer,
wine and soda. Quite often the reduced cost is only $1 to $2 per person. The
reason is many people will drink more beer and wine than mixed drinks. To save
money on an open bar, close the bar during dinner and reopen after the meal.
This way you will have bar coverage at the time it is needed most.
Many people also think that they will save money by purchasing their own wine
and champagne for the event, rather than using the caterer's wine list. Although
you might think you're saving $2 or $3 per bottle, you will often be charged a
"corkage fee" which almost always makes it more expensive. Another downside: if
your don't drink as much as you expect, you're stuck with cases and cases of
wine. Carefully evaluate the corkage fee and how much you expect your group to
consume before you do this - and, if you do, be sure to get the corkage fee
written in the contract.
The clear-cut cost-saving measure when selecting music is to hire a disc jockey
for the reception versus a band. Using a DJ means more variety in the music
played; plus, DJs play songs by the actual recording artists, so the music is
One of the easiest ways to save money on floral arrangements and bouquets is to
select flowers that are naturally blooming at the time of your wedding. Tulips,
for example, bloom in spring, so ordering them for an October wedding is an
extremely costly request. See Floral Notes or more information on when popular
flowers are in bloom.
Another smart move is to hire a florist who works out of his/her home rather
than using a flower shop. A home-based florist can do everything a shop owner
can, and you'll save money because overhead costs (like rent) are not a part of
In today's computer age, you can create lovely invitations using a home
computer. Many stationery stores carry blank wedding invitations with
appropriate graphics and borders, including response cards and envelopes. Simply
add the appropriate wording and print them on a color or black and white
Be careful, though: many papers do not absorb the ink or toner from a home
printer well enough. Buy just one invitation, print it and mail it to
yourself to be sure your invitations won't smear in the mail.
By incorporating some of these suggestions in your wedding plans, you'll save
money without your guests feeling you have skimped on your most important day.
One last tip: sign up for a credit card that earns you frequent flier miles, and
charge all your expenses to it - you could easily earn enough miles for a free
flight for your
Oahu beach Weddings
such as a park
wedding theme. Remember it’s your
wedding day it should express you and your fiancés style or interest
and maybe even a special place you shared together.