Still trying to find ways to keep this whole wedding from sending you straight into bankruptcy? Didn't find enough here or here to satisfy your budgetary needs? No worries, we get it. Just because you've figured out the plan up to the "I Do's," you aren't finished yet. Frankly, the after-party can easily be the most expensive part of the whole affair. That's why Manly Bands is back again to help with more wedding planning tips and tricks. Today: The Reception.
TIP #1: How Much Can These People Eat, AKA: Pros & Cons of Hiring a Caterer
After all of the big-time feels that come with your family and friends seeing you two tie the knot, the first questions will undoubtedly be "Where's the food, and where's the booze?" This is the natural progression of things, and what manly host throws the party of a lifetime without food and drinks? Certainly not you, Bronan the Conqueror.
The question you'll be asking then is "What/How the %#^* do I feed them all?"
Yes, you could easily hire a caterer to handle all your grubbing needs. They have all the equipment to cook/transport/serve/clean up a massive tasty feast. And maybe, with some economically selected appetizers, and going buffet style rather than plated, it could be reasonable...
Then again, it may not be... See, they are going to ask for an estimated headcount of guests to cook for, even if you aren't sure exactly how many people are actually attending. And at $20-$50 per person, that won't only be expensive, it can become excessive if some folks can't make it.
If your venue allows for outside food/drink, the DIY approach, despite being a bit of work, more than makes up for it in cost-efficiency. Plates/napkins/plasticware/service gear can all be picked up, in bulk quantities, for far less than you expect. And while it will cost a few hundred dollars to get all the food needed to cook for your guests, don't forget, catering for just 100 people (guests and wedding party combined) can add up to between $2000 and $5000. A fair amount of prep work will lie ahead in the days before the wedding, but you can make it work.
Homemade pizzas, a self-service deli spread, a taco and baked potato bar... the choice is yours. Having a summer wedding? Got a buddy who didn't make the cut for the wedding party, but you still feel like including them? Got a good-sized grill? Summer cookout anybody? You can feed your guests good stuff on the cheap. Just roll up your sleeves.
TIP #2: Bottoms Up! AKA: Pros & Cons of Buying Your Own Booze
If you don't plan on having booze at your wedding, you can pretty much skip this next part... BAH HA HA! If you are reading this blog, I highly doubt that thought ever crossed your mind. Even if you and your spouse-to-be aren't party animals, you have some in your stable, and hence, will have some at your wedding. Booze, in moderation, is a great additive to any celebration, and your wedding is no exception.
Problem is, booze also isn't cheap, and providing enough for everyone can get pricey. Regardless of what service (or lack thereof) your venue offers, your best bet is to buy your own (again, if the venue allows outside food/drink.). Pick up a few cases of beer every week or two, a bottle of liquor here or there, a few bottle of wine each grocery shopping trip until you have enough.
The Wedding Alcohol Calculator is a great tool for determining how much of what beverage you need to get. Plug in how many of each type of drinker you are estimating, how many drinks you want to plan for, and what you expect to pay per alcohol item. Click calculate. Your shopping list will pop up, along with an estimated cost. Try to keep it to 3-4 types of beer, the "big three" of liquor (vodka, rum, whiskey), and 3-4 types of wine, then shop accordingly. Just get a few tubs and some ice for the beer, and some cups for the wine and liquor drinks... And don't forget soda/tea/lemonade for the non-drinkers.
If you must use in-house booze, maybe just pick a couple signature drinks, and have your guests pay for anything extra.
We'll get to the bartender in the next post.
TIP #3: Rocking Out with Your Rooster Exposed, AKA: DJ vs. Band
Last time, I wanted to say "Don't plan for an outside ceremony," but I didn't. This time, I'm going for it: Don't hire a band for your wedding!
Yes, bands are awesome. The energy, the talent, it is a great time seeing a band live. It may be the thing you and your spouse-to-be love doing the most in your regular lives...
But it is not the thing for your wedding. I'm sorry, but no. There is just so much more you get with a DJ over a band, it is a no-brainer.
Bands, no matter how talented, have a limited selection of songs to perform; a good DJ will have a much larger library to play from. Bands are meant to take all the attention in the room they perform in; DJ music is meant to be in the background. And a quality DJ can offer up a spare mic for announcement/speech purposes, not to mention other perks, which we will get to next post.
(Here is where your talented friends get to shine... Who needs live music!)
While you steel yourself for the work ahead, check out the Steel Collection. See you next time, when we offer up more money-saving tips!