Ways to save money on a wedding reception include choosing an alternative venue, changing the schedule, using DIY projects, keeping food simple and prioritizing. Couples also save money by doubling up on services such as using the same venue or the same band for both the ceremony and the reception.
The venue itself is often a large part of the wedding reception budget. Opting for an alternative venue such as a park, backyard, museum, or bed and breakfast may result in lower rental fees. Another way to get the venue for less is to hold the wedding during the off-season or schedule it for a weekday. Venues often charge less at times when demand is lower.
Another scheduling factor is the time of day. Holding the reception in the afternoon means the couple doesn't need to serve a full meal. Keeping the reception short also saves money and lets the couple get away with light refreshments. Couples serving a meal may find that buffet service is often cheaper than plated meals.
Tackling as much of the reception work as possible without the service of professionals makes the reception more affordable. Decorations are a major area that allow for self-made projects. A candy bar for dessert instead of a traditional wedding cake is another way to save money.
Spending the reception budget on things the couple really wants makes the day special. Splurging in some areas while using basics in others helps stay within budget.