For most couples that are planning a wedding deciding what style of reception to have comes down to one main concern – budget. Traditional wedding receptions can be beautiful, impressive and memorable, but often expensive. Being creative with your dollars, however, can lead to an equally beautiful, impressive and memorable reception. Talk to your caterer about creative, exciting and budget-friendly events. They can offer a wealth of experience and knowledge to help make your wedding reception beautiful and one of a kind. Here are some suggestions on creating innovative, yet budget-friendly wedding receptions:
Cocktail Party: This informal style of reception often gives more “bang for your buck,” plus your guests have more time to mingle and socialize and can spend less time waiting at their assigned tables. Throw in some live-action chef stations (ie: mashed potato bar, carved meats table, sushi rolling station and homemade pasta) with butlered and stationary hors d’hoeuvres – less dishes, less cutlery and often more fun.
Dessert Reception: Get married after dark and offer your guests a decadent dessert and cheese buffet. If you do not plan on hosting the wedding until after 7:30 in the evening, you can do pictures before the ceremony and go directly to dessert and dancing. Butlered and stationary options could include dark chocolate pudding spoons, cheesecake nibbles, individual petit fours, miniature gourmet cookies and chocolate martinis. A cost-effective way to dazzle your guests and fulfill any sweet tooth on-site.
Social Tea: For an afternoon reception, offer your guests unique sandwiches, fresh market vegetable crudités, fruit, lemonade and sparkling punch with an array of assorted sweets. Serve these with assorted iced teas and coffees. Decorate with elegant flowers and simple linens and you have a wonderful reception. You will be married at 2:00 pm and your honeymoon will start by 6:00 pm!Backyard or Beach BBQ: If you are getting married in the summer, opt for a backyard or beach barbeque with sweet corn, assorted grilled items, salads and simple shortcakes with seasonal fruit or an ice cream cone bar for dessert. This menu lends itself well to disposable or compostable plates and cutlery – budget and eco-friendly.
Picnic: For the perfect setting, pick a local park (check for permits) and seat guests on scattered gingham blankets with their very own picnic baskets. Include a bottle of wine or lemonade, assorted cold meats or sandwiches, smoked salmon with all the fixings, salads and sweets. Guests can pick up a blanket, choose a basket and find a place to sit under a tree or a spot to bask in the sun. Many of these ideas can be implemented on a small or large scale, so you can keep your budget on track no matter how big the guest list. When choosing a caterer, be up front and realistic about your budget. Ask about the styles of wedding receptions they have catered and about any upcoming trends in the market. Your caterer should be one of your biggest resources when planning your wedding reception.