• Elizabeth Nelson

4 Cost Saving Tips for Your Reception

The tasty noms are always worth it, but sometimes there simply isn't the budget for those perfectly delectable appetizers. But have no fear, there are ways to cut costs that may lead to finding just enough extra pennies for one mouth watering appetizer.

If you are like me, a major foodie, one of the high priorities for my wedding is that the food has to be amazing. I'm talking, talk about it till the end of time, your mouth starts watering the moment you think back on the dinner, amazing!


However, I don't have a money tree in my backyard or a golden egg laying goose. So I have to make my pennies and cents work for me to get as close to my dream as possible! Have no fear, there are ways to save some money at your reception in order to get those delectable tasty treats!


Let's start off with some hard hitting numbers first. I've mentioned the average cost of weddings recently, which is sitting right around $33,000. I know. Join me in picking your jaw off the floor and we will move on.


When it comes to food, the average person will cost $68 a plate according to recent studies. In my home state of Arizona, that number is closer to $100, so it will vary depending on where you are getting married.


Now that we confirmed what we all already know to be true, weddings are expensive, let's talk about those cost saving tip's so that you can afford the delicious, tasty noms for your wedding day!


Think about timing

If you are flexible with your schedule, play around with different times of the day to host your wedding. If you want to host a sit down meal, research shows that brunch is cheaper than dinner and can still be wonderfully tasty. Two words, Mimosa Bar. Your meal can still be elegant and tasty even if it is served in the morning.


If you are very flexible and want to play outside of the norms, think about hosting a mid day wedding. Having your reception around 3pm will up the chances that your guests have already eaten lunch and wont be as demanding of a full sit down meal. With venues and caterers who are up for it, you can "save between 40%-60% on catering", according to Denise and Alan Fields who wrote up Bridal Bargains. Pass out some delicious hors d'oeuvres, some fun signature drinks and some cake, and your guests will be good to go!


Be aware of your season

If you are getting married in the winter, but want tropical fruits and veg for a salad, you will guarantee a higher ticket dish. It helps to think about what will be in season when you are getting married and how to "shop" for the best fresh food within that time frame.


Also, it has been found that, similar to a venues peak and off peak seasons, the same occurrence happens with catering. Because there are certain times of the year when there is a high number of weddings happening, catering companies may charge extra for their services to accommodate for the higher demand.


Similar to the timing of day you wish to host your wedding, if you are flexible with when you would like to get married, check in with what seasons could be financially healthier for you and your soon to be spouse.


Is it a banquet or a wedding?

What do I mean by this? Well, like most things wedding, there seems to be an up-charge simply because the phrase "wedding" is placed in front of any given word. When you get down to picking a catering company, you might find that they offer "banquet" dinners and you will see that the pricing will be drastically different. A banquet might run $30-$50 per person, whereas their wedding menu will run $75-$100+ per person.


If you are sitting here scratching your head at those numbers and trying to figure out why they are so different, it is simply because the term wedding is used in one of them and the other not. When you break it down, what is the difference between a banquet and a wedding? There are people coming together and food being served at each. So why the crazy prices? Because it is a wedding and the wedding industry is known for inflating prices.


But, you don't have to succumb to their greed. You may know the saying, "if you don't ask, the answer is always no". So in this case, it never hurts to bring up your financial concerns with your catering company. If they offer banquet menus, ask them about using it instead. Some companies will say you can use them on Friday's and Sunday's but not Saturday or that some items wont be included.


The answer may be no, but it never hurts to haggle and be upfront about your budget.


Doing things your self

If it wont add stress to your planning, go down the path of DIY. Pass of the passed hors d'oeuvres and set up a good old fashion cheese plate, or grazing board. Maybe some of your favorite local treats or bread and olive oil! Your guests can snack on their own time before the reception.


Not only does this help cut the cost of your overall food costs, but it also cuts done on the amount of labor hours you will have to pay to hand out food.


Another DIY is to cut the cake yourself. A lot, and I do mean A LOT of venues and catering places will charge to have your cake cut and plated. Up to $7 per slice. That's a lot when you think about how many pieces of cake sit out and don't actually get eaten for one reason or another.


Go the route of having a small ceremonial cake that the two of you cut for the photos or video and then have out cup cakes or an assortment of tasty delights for your guest to pick and choose from.


The DIY option is great, but do make sure that you have communicated with your venue about their policies. Some venues do not allow outside food to be brought on property or they have preferred vendors for you to choose from. But again, if you don't ask, it's always no. There is always a way to work with vendors to come to an agreement.


At the end of the day, it all comes down to what is important to you and your soon to be spouse. If food is the number one priority, follow these 4 ways to help cut costs, but also cut costs throughout your budget. Spend a little less on flowers or decorations. Find deals on dresses and wedding attire or get the hook up with a friend for wedding planning. There is always a way to work in what you find to be most important!!


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Phoenix, Arizona  elizabeth@nelsoncinematic.com  480-268-5795

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