How to host your wedding reception on a budget

Food at your reception

“How can we budget for reception food and music / entertainment?” is one of the most frequently asked questions. That’s because the reception is the most expensive part of your wedding. However, you can plan it within your budget and have a memorable event.

You must be very particular when choosing the location for your wedding reception. It should be appropriate and fit with your wedding reception plan and budget. It does not have to be a traditional salon. How about celebrating your wedding in a historic home, park, museum, fairground, public gardens, on the beach, etc.?

You also need to know if the place provides you with all of your furniture and dining needs. Otherwise, you must calculate the rental rates.

When choosing a wedding venue, choose a slow period and a Friday evening, Sunday afternoon, or weekday, when the caterers are not busy. By doing so, you will be able to negotiate the best deals with suppliers.

To attend or not?

You may not need a catering service. If you invite some good cooks to your wedding, you can ask them to prepare their favorite recipes for your reception. Also, if you invite some good bakers, ask if they could make sweets and desserts or maybe even your wedding cake. You will save money and they will be honored to ask you for it. In fact, they will probably be happy to serve as well. Otherwise, serve a buffet or hire some college kids to serve it. Now how about having a barbecue, serving just hors d’oeuvres, sandwiches, or presenting a beautiful dessert table?

If you have your reception staffed, you should consider the following:

  • Number of invites,

  • Time of the day

  • How the food will be served. It will be:

    • soft drinks only?

    • dessert alone?

    • Light snack?

    • sandwiches and sandwiches?

    • one sitting,

    • A buffet?

Pub – Will:

  • Do you serve alcohol?

  • do the bartenders serve alcohol?

  • do you offer open bar?

  • do you or your guests pay for the drinks?

  • only champagne, wine and beer are served and instead of not having an open bar with hard liquor.

Ideas, suggestions and information on

“How to save on wedding food”.

There’s a huge price difference between a light brunch, a five-course meal, and everything in between.

Here are some tips you can check out to fit your budget.

  • Provide an early brunch or lunch. It serves fruits and vegetables, salads, eggs, cheeses, cold cuts, pastries, coffee, tea and cold drinks, buffet style.

  • Have a late sandwich and salad for lunch and you’ll just need to add a few drinks, fruit, and dessert.

  • If you like, you can still serve it as a buffet or as a sit-down meal.

  • For a reception dinner, you can serve a buffet or a sit-down dinner. A catered dinner is by far the most expensive option.

Should you ask for favors?

Don’t be afraid to ask for favors. Most of the time, you will find that people will be honored to be asked to contribute their talents and connections to their special day.

When I got married, my brother’s best friend who is a DJ was more than happy to provide his services as a wedding gift for me and my boyfriend.

You can also borrow accessories from a friend or family member. I borrowed the veil and the tiara. Something as simple as a headpiece, a veil, or jewelry can be very expensive when purchased new. You will have a lot of “something new” items but you need “something borrowed”. So, look for someone who has an accessory tucked away in their closet and who will be more than happy to lend it to you as your “something borrowed”.

What You Can Do About Music and Entertainment

The budget for wedding music can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars to almost free. What you need to decide when it comes to music / entertainment is what fits your personalities and is within your budget. You must decide if you want to:

  • musical wedding entertainment,

  • a disc jockey,

  • a wedding entertainer,

  • a wedding singer,

  • recorded music or music from the internet,

  • instrumental music,

  • A quartet, solo guitarist, harpist, violinist etc.

Check with local colleges and universities and find out if they have a music department. If so, ask if there are students in the music program who will be able to perform at your wedding.


We thank Meredith from Phoenix, AZ, who sent us the following information on how she is saving money on wedding music while helping the local high school band in their fundraising efforts.

She writes:

“I’m getting married and I’ll pay for it myself. So I had to cut costs like you can’t imagine! One thing that was very important to me and my fiance is music. We were both in the band and choir at school. high school. And I love music to this day. Unfortunately, having a string quartet was too expensive and I forgot about the live band or even a DJ at our reception, so I had an idea.

I was in a jazz band in high school and we were really good, winning all kinds of awards and things like that. High school bands are always looking for fundraisers, so we approached my high school jazz band director to play at our reception. We worked hard to pay them, but it was significantly lower than getting a professional band. And, the school usually already has uniforms, just request it as part of the package.

Thank you for your website, it has been a great help. Wish it was printable.

Meredith from Phoenix, AZ

Ask guests to share their musical, entertainment, and even storytelling talents.

Don’t overlook your guests. If you invited singers, let them sing. Have them sing solo or in a group during the ceremony and / or reception.

Also, you may know someone, even a teenager, who would be willing to “take over” the recorded music. There are also quite a few music channels that you can use on the internet. If you can have the music loud enough to dance, you can have free musical entertainment.

Good friends and family are often eager to contribute to your wedding. You will save money and know that your wedding needs will be cared for with love and care.

Transportation, Decorations and Flowers

Ask your friends to be your driver and save. Instead of a limo, rent a luxury car and have a friend drive it. Ask your friends to help you decorate the reception room, arrange flowers, etc.


Have a positive attitude, we can do. Be optimistic about your wedding planning and about your special day itself.

If something goes wrong, how it can happen, keep in mind that things that went wrong will become things remembered. You will laugh at them later and throughout your married life. So, have fun as you share the happiest day of your life with the friends and family who love you and rejoice with you.

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