Wedding Reception on a Tight Budget

My son recently became engaged to a woman from another state. They plan a formal ceremony in that state, however we want to throw a "NJ" reception the following weekend for our NJ family. We must keep the cost down because the bride's family has offered to pay for both and are on a tight budget (as we are, too). Any creative ideas? The guest count will probably be approx 60 - 75 max. No sitdown dinner is necessary, but a festive/nice atmosphere with food will be required.


By ee926 from NJ (North)

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January 19, 20110 found this helpful

You do what you can afford to do. Decorations can be limited to balloon bouguets and a few silk flowers and pillar candles on the bridal table. Hang a few crepe paper streamers from the ceiling. You don't need a dance. Loud music makes it hard for people to visit. For food all that is absolutely necessary is cake, coffee, tea, and punch. If you think more is necessary, use small size buns and make some kind of meat spread for them, or have a couple slow cookers with sloppy joes in them and a plate of buns beside the cookers, then a couple kinds of chips and pickles. That should be plenty. The trick to keeping the food expense down is to have the event between meal times, so that guests won't expect a meal.

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January 20, 20110 found this helpful

If you did a 2pm or a 7pm reception you could just have hors d'oevres, cake, and beverages.

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January 24, 20110 found this helpful

As an professional wedding planner of over 10 years I think a cocktail style reception would be perfect. If you have the space this could be done at home. Rent hyboy tables (they are inexpensive) and use buffet stations to allow guests to nibble, mingle & dance. Create a sweetheart table for the bridal couple.


Opt for heavier hors d'oevres, cream/cheese soups and use sauces. Dress up your food choices by paying close attention to their presentation. If you want to scale back on cake, opt for a cupcake tree, with a small cake on top to be cut by the couple.

If you want to serve alcohol, opt for a couple of signature drinks in the wedding colors. Look for recipes that only call for one alcohol and use mixers for the rest. Again, use the appropriate glasses and dress them up with colored sugar around the rim, or accent with fruit, edible flowers, charms, etc.

Make sure to carry over the wedding couples wedding colors into your decor. Renting lines for the tables is well worth the money. Simple arrangements or candles are large enough for the hyboy cocktail tables. Scattered arrangements on pedestals around the room will bring warmth to the atmosphere. Use inexpensive floor spot lights to create drama. If you will be outside, consider hung paper lanterns in the wedding colors.


Make sure to have a small bouquet for the bride and a boutonniere for the groom. Encourage them to wear their formal attire or a more causal version. Provide boutonnieres and corsages for parents.

For additional seating opt to create some lounge areas, by using your existing furniture, or rent simple benches. Slipcovers are a great way to bring all the colors together.

I hope this information helps. For more ideas just email me. Congratulations and best wishes in your planning.

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