• Images
  • Text
  • Find a Couple + Registry
GO
Reception Ideas

Reception cost too much for my budget?

We have a budget of $20,000 with some room for expansion. Going with one of the packages at our venue, which includes full open bar, we're paying a little over $12,000, which includes ceremony fee, reception fee, catering, and open bar for 75 people. We also have the venue for the whole weekend, so we can do a rehearsal dinner and farewell brunch there if we so choose (though catering for the RD and brunch isn't included obviously)

Is this too much? We can cut the full bar to just beer and wine, which will cut the cost down some. But I'm just not sure if this is too much. We haven't booked a photographer yet, but the one I'm considering $2500 and the DJ we want is about $2000. We're going to do minimal flowers because we're doing a holiday theme and we have tons of decorations already. I already bought my dress, which came out of my own account and not our wedding budget. Wedding party gifts will probably run about $1000.

Any thoughts? I can do the math obviously, but I just don't know if I'm forgetting little things that will put us way over budget.

Re: Reception cost too much for my budget?

  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Well typically about 50-60% of your budget should go towards the reception (meaning food, booze, venue fee) so $12,000 sounds about right.

    Other costs besides the one's you listed would be any paper products (invites, programs, STDs, stamps), favors (if you are having them, definitely not a requirement), linens (unless your venue includes those), tips for your vendors, cake, rings, and officiant.

    InLoveInQueensLiatris2010PrettyGirlLost
  • One other question, we have the option of paying for the open bar by consumption rather than upfront. Anyone have horror stories about that? My Fi and I don't want to get slammed with a huge bill at the end of the night when we could have pre-paid and not worried about a bill at the end.
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited October 2015
    One other question, we have the option of paying for the open bar by consumption rather than upfront. Anyone have horror stories about that? My Fi and I don't want to get slammed with a huge bill at the end of the night when we could have pre-paid and not worried about a bill at the end.
    It really depends on your guests.  For our wedding we knew that the majority of our guests were partiers so paying for an open bar was just financially (in our minds anyways) better then consumption.  But if you feel like most of your guests may only have one or two drinks then consumption could be a good option.

    But like you, paying up front was nice because then I didn't have to worry about what that bar bill may be at the end of the night.  And since I will never know just how many drinks were drunk to see if a consumption bar would have been better, I am not really regretting my choice, you know.

  • Save-the-dates and invites we're doing on Vistaprint to save money and linens and tableware is provided by the venue. We have to get the cake and rings, thanks for the reminder. About the tips, if our venue bill comes with 20% gratuity added on, does that mean that we don't have to tip wait staff/bartender since that's included? Or do we still tip them?

    Officiant money is already set aside. The majority of our guests will be traveling since we have family and friends all over the country so we were thinking of welcome bags instead of favors though we haven't made up our minds for sure yet. Same with rehearsal dinner. We might just do a welcome dinner for everyone instead of a RD.
  • missa011missa011 member
    Fourth Anniversary 100 Love Its 100 Comments Name Dropper
    edited October 2015

    Honestly I think this sounds good. (I know you can do math just laying this out because I think better visually).

    Reception: 12000
    DJ: 2000
    Photographer: 2500

    This is 16500. You said you could stretch your budget, so let's say you really could manage 21000. This still leaves you with 4500. If you do minimal flowers, let's say you have 3500 left. Use wedding paper divas or vistaprint to print your own STDs/invites. Nix favors (or, my friend just put a sticker with their names and wedding date that they printed themselves on Hersey kisses, a little time consuming but cheap). Let's say you could do all this for 700. You're still left with 2800 for officiant/tips/etc.

    Obviously none of this is exact but since you're already spending the most on something that your guests will appreciate, the rest can be less. For me photographer was the most important vendor after food and drink, so it's fair to spend more on that than everything else, IMO.

    GL!


    Edit: I see you're already printing your own invites and have $ for the officiant, so you are golden! I agree welcome bags seem a better use of money if you have OOT guests.

  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Save-the-dates and invites we're doing on Vistaprint to save money and linens and tableware is provided by the venue. We have to get the cake and rings, thanks for the reminder. About the tips, if our venue bill comes with 20% gratuity added on, does that mean that we don't have to tip wait staff/bartender since that's included? Or do we still tip them?

    Officiant money is already set aside. The majority of our guests will be traveling since we have family and friends all over the country so we were thinking of welcome bags instead of favors though we haven't made up our minds for sure yet. Same with rehearsal dinner. We might just do a welcome dinner for everyone instead of a RD.
    I would talk to your venue POC and see what they say.  See who that gratuity actually goes to.  You are always welcome to tip more if you find the service they gave you to be excellent.

    I think welcome bags in place of favors would be nice and same with the welcome dinner.  Are you going to do the rehearsal the same day as the dinner or another day?  If you do it another day you have to host something (even if it is just pizza and beer) for anyone that came.  Or you could nix the rehearsal all together, or just let it be you and your FI running through the ceremony with your officiant.

    And I have heard nothing but great things about Vistaprint so I don't think you will be disappointed with what you get.

  • Thanks guys.

    Regarding the rehearsal, since we have the venue all weekend, I'm thinking we could do a quick run-through on Friday night, then host a welcome dinner for everyone, including the wedding party that came to the rehearsal dinner.
    Maggie0829
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers

    Thanks guys.

    Regarding the rehearsal, since we have the venue all weekend, I'm thinking we could do a quick run-through on Friday night, then host a welcome dinner for everyone, including the wedding party that came to the rehearsal dinner.

    I think that sounds like an excellent plan!

  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Thanks guys.

    Regarding the rehearsal, since we have the venue all weekend, I'm thinking we could do a quick run-through on Friday night, then host a welcome dinner for everyone, including the wedding party that came to the rehearsal dinner.
    Remember, any SO's of your wedding party must also be hosted at the rehearsal dinner too! 


    image
    MesmrEwe
  • levioosa said:
    Thanks guys.

    Regarding the rehearsal, since we have the venue all weekend, I'm thinking we could do a quick run-through on Friday night, then host a welcome dinner for everyone, including the wedding party that came to the rehearsal dinner.
    Remember, any SO's of your wedding party must also be hosted at the rehearsal dinner too! 
    I figured that was implied when I said "everyone."
  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    levioosa said:
    Thanks guys.

    Regarding the rehearsal, since we have the venue all weekend, I'm thinking we could do a quick run-through on Friday night, then host a welcome dinner for everyone, including the wedding party that came to the rehearsal dinner.
    Remember, any SO's of your wedding party must also be hosted at the rehearsal dinner too! 
    I figured that was implied when I said "everyone."
    You would be surprised what some brides think.  


    image
    MesmrEwe[Deleted User]
  • Regarding the consumption bar, we did one for our RD. Worked fine, but we don't have a huge drinking crowd.

    For our wedding, the caterer offered a consumption-like option... We paid for bottles and then whatever bottles didn't get opened, they caterer bought back. There were a few exceptions because they were unique types of alcohol they don't usually stock - like the wine we drank on our engagement trip and some special scotch and whiskey.
    *********************************************************************************

    image
  • IMO - Given all that you get - the $12,000 is within reason because of the two additional days and add-ons which would otherwise be nickels and dimes.  Is cake also included?  Obviously, you know your group best when it comes to drinking, but paid in advance covers you (8 sodas into a cousin over the course of the evening starts to add up LOL), but once people know everything is covered, their drinking habits change (top shelf vs. rail, mixers, long islands, sure, have that extra soda, etc.) especially if you tell people it's hosted ahead of time they come prepared. 

    I would skip STD's, they're really an unnecessary add-on.  Having a good photographer is worth every penny.  DJ seems a bit on the steep side, but it also depends on what they include in the package.  Flowers can be a spectrum yet still be nice. Cake - didn't mention if it's included or not, but something to factor. 

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • Cake is not included. How much does a DJ usually cost? The one we liked was 5 hours of entertainment and uplighting. Without lighting, it's $1500. As for STDs, I wanted to do these since the majority of the guests will be traveling from all over the U.S. and the wedding is around a major holiday. I want to give them the dates way ahead of time so they can save up for airfare and hotel.
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Cake is not included. How much does a DJ usually cost? The one we liked was 5 hours of entertainment and uplighting. Without lighting, it's $1500. As for STDs, I wanted to do these since the majority of the guests will be traveling from all over the U.S. and the wedding is around a major holiday. I want to give them the dates way ahead of time so they can save up for airfare and hotel.
    This is really a regional thing.  Maybe check your local board in regards to prices.

    MesmrEwe
  • scribe95 said:
    Also, don't forget your dress! And attendant gifts. 
    Those were accounted for in my original post.

  • One other question, we have the option of paying for the open bar by consumption rather than upfront. Anyone have horror stories about that? My Fi and I don't want to get slammed with a huge bill at the end of the night when we could have pre-paid and not worried about a bill at the end.

    To the bolded-I wish we had this option.  Our venue was by consumption for our open bar.  I think this is because the bartenders "pad" the final tab.  We had to estimate our open bar tab and pre pay the estimated amount.  We had to pay any amount it went over by, of course.
    Since our families aren't huge drinkers, we estimated that our bar cost would be 3k, and we thought this estimate was on the high side.  Well, our final tab was 6k.  We had the money to cover it, so it was fine, but we really weren't expecting it to be that much.  A lot of our friends w kids had sitters for the night, so they were having a lot of fun (which I was really happy about).
    Bottom line-pay a flat cost per person for the open bar.

This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards