Getting married is not cheap! But we’re guessing the most important thing isn’t how much you spend. It’s about who you’re spending your life with! If you’re on a budget, we have some thrifty and creative ideas to help you plan a wedding for under $1,000.
Wedding Reception Ideas
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Your Wedding Reception: A Time to Celebrate!
I now pronounce you husband and wife... now let's party! The ceremony was the intimate, legal and official part of your wedding, and now it's time to have fun at your wedding reception. It's the time to let loose, relax, and celebrate the most important day of your life with friends and family. GigSalad is here to help you plan the perfect wedding reception by guiding you through wedding bands, caterers, wedding photographers and more.
Set a budget and start planning!
As you start to plan your reception, the first thing you'll need to determine is your budget. How much will you spend on the ceremony, and how much will be spent on the reception? Do you want to spend more of your budget on wedding entertainment or on decorations, wedding favors or flowers? As you start to planning and hiring services, the budget might need to be tweaked. You might find a wedding reception band you love that is out of your budget, so you may need to cut back on the flowers or food so you can afford the band. If you are planning on a budget, then you'll need to be willing to compromise because things add up surprisingly quickly. Your budget may also play a big factor in choosing where the wedding will take place. Are you going to rent out a hall or venue of some sort? Or do you have a unique outdoor location in mind, such as the beach, a backyard or a country club? If you do plan an outdoor reception, then keep the weather mind. Have tents set up or have an alternative indoor location ready in case of rain or other inclement weather.
Setting the mood with the perfect decor
Decorations will set the mood of your wedding reception. The level of elegance you are striving for can be shown in your centerpieces and floral arrangements. You may want to hire a florist to handle the centerpieces for you, and any other floral arrangements you might have set up at the reception. You can use the same florist you used for the flowers at the ceremony as well. If the venue you are using does not provide all the necessary equipment for dinner, you may have to contact a rental company to provide extra tables, chairs, linens and necessary tableware. Many people also tie in wedding favors to their decor, so that your guests may take home something to remember your special day. Favors such as little keepsake boxes of candy or a small candle that matches the wedding decor. Scatter some Hershey Kisses or mints on the tables, and have the wrappers personalized with you and your fiance's initials or date of the wedding. Some people also choose to personalize the napkins as well with the bride and groom's names and wedding date for an extra touch.
Raise your glass to the bride and groom!
As it is with most parties, the food is a very important part of a wedding reception. Both your budget and time of the reception should factor into your menu choices. If your reception is going to take place in between meals then you don't need to feel obligated to provide a meal, but you should at least offer hors d'oeuvres, fruit trays or desserts. If your reception will fall at a meal time then your budget will be the key factor in deciding how to handle the menu. The most expensive option would be to actually have a sit-down dinner with servers and multiple courses. This can be very classy and elegant, but if it is out of your price range then you could also set up a buffet with simple finger foods. Find a caterer to help you make these decisions and help choose the best menu that fits your budget. And of course the most important piece of food at your reception will be your beautiful wedding cake! Wedding cakes should be elegant and tie into your wedding theme/colors. Some people also choose to have a special groom's cake designed. This is a cake that is usually shaped into something of interest to the groom, like a sports team or hobby. The design is usually kept a secret from the groom until he sees it at the reception. The last piece of the menu is beverages! If your caterer does not provide bar services, you may want to hire a bartender. Some people opt to have an open bar or cash bar at the reception. Or if you are going to have servers, they can keep champagne glasses full or bring around small complimentary cocktails.
Dance the night away
The first dance, father/daughter dance, dollar dances, wedding party dance...there are a lot of traditions that take place on the dance floor. So you want to find the perfect music for your reception. The first thing you will want to decide is if you want to hire a live band to play or just bring in a Wedding DJ to handle all the music. If you choose to bring in a live band, you need to figure out what kind you and your fiance like best. Do you want a wedding band that plays country, jazz, acoustic or just a party band that plays a variety of music? Another fun idea that is a little different would be to hire a tribute band or impersonator to come and perform. There are tributes out there to fit a variety of tastes from Frank Sinatra impersonators to Beatles Tribute Bands to Elvis Impersonators! You could choose someone that both you and your fiance love, or pick one your fiance is crazy about and not tell them and make it a surprise! If your wedding ceremony and reception follows a cultural tradition, then you may want to hire world music of that culture to play.
Memories to last a lifetime
While the majority of your wedding photographs will be the ones taken during the ceremony and with your wedding party before or after the ceremony, you will still want to have a photographer present at the reception to catch the important moments like the first dance, the toasts, cutting the cake, etc. It is also nice for them to catch the candid moments. Those will be the most fun for you, your fiance and all your friends and family involved to look at later. There are a couple of fun things you can do with pictures in addition to the professional photographer. You can leave disposable cameras on the tables at the reception so that the guests can take pictures of themselves, their friends and their surroundings. Then they leave them behind and you get them printed and get to see your wedding from several points of view! You could also set up a video or photo booth. A video booth could be for your guests to leave you a personal congratulatory message or share a fun memory, or you can set up a photo booth for your guests to take candid shots to take home for themselves and for you to keep for your albums. Just like with your photographer, if you hired a videographer for the ceremony you might want them to stick around through the reception as well so that you can have someone capturing all the moments that you might not catch because you will be busy enjoying the celebration.
Because there are so many different things to do for a reception, it may be in your best interest to hire a wedding planner to do it for you, or at least help you. If you cannot afford a wedding planner, then recruit friends and family to assist with the planning and executing. And of course GigSalad is also here to help you! We'll be your one-stop shop for all your planning needs so your wedding reception will be the perfect ending to one of the most important days of your life!