Photo: Austin Gros
Once you set your budget, it's time to make some tough calls. You'll have to weigh all of the wedding musts in your mind for what is an absolute and what can give. Sometimes, a dinner reception for the amount of guests you want to host is just a bit too pricey. It's totally understandable, a plated, full meal can up the cost by hundreds. If you're considering alternative reception and food options due to a strict budget, read this first.
Can I hold an evening reception with just hors d'oeurves, cocktails and cake?
You can, but just know that you're guests will be hungry and will most likely leave your party angry. Of course, you should never spend beyond your means, but there are plenty of alternative options that will help you save some cash while still keeping your guest's bellies full and happy. First, consider cutting down the guest list. If that's an impossibility, reconsider the time of your wedding — is it really necessary to throw an evening reception? People love brunch parties, and they often run for a lot less than a more formal chicken, fish, and steak dinner. A luncheon, too, will lower the cost of catering. Serving the meal buffet-style is a more affordable option as well. If you're stuck on the appetizer, cocktail, and cake combination, just be sure to hold it at an earlier hour and make sure to denote on your invitations that it will be a cake reception only. That way, between the ceremony and reception, guests can run out and grab a bite to eat.