If you intend to get married in the next year or so, you probably understand how easy it can be to overreach your budget – especially when running through all of the details hashed out on your wedding planning checklist. The cost of even a simple banquet hall and a caterer can add up to several thousand dollars, and that’s before you offer your guests wine, beer, or mixed drinks.
One way to rein in your wedding budget without losing any of that magical “big day” magic is to host the event at your home or at the house of a loved one. There are certain advantages to doing so – here are some fun ways to make it happen and make your experience unforgettable!
Advantages to Hosting Your Reception at Home
Having your wedding reception at home offers a myriad of advantages in addition to lowering the cost. For instance, you’ll get to have your wedding celebration at a venue which holds sentimental value for you and/or your fiancé, such as a grandparent’s home where you spent fun-filled summer vacations as a student. Plus you’ll also be able to control more of the variables, such as the indoor temperature, which outside vendors to use, and the flow of the event.
And if you end up choosing your own home, you’ll be able to remember the event fondly whenever you sit in the backyard or gaze across the lawn. You can also get a jump on the preparations and the decorating, since you don’t have to wait for the hall to be available to you.
10 Ways to Save Big With an At-Home Wedding
While hosting the reception at your home will save you a hall rental bill and possibly the cost of a caterer, you can still spend thousands if you’re not careful. Follow these tips and save some major cash (so you can spend it on your honeymoon, set up your home, or even funnel it into a college fund for your future children).
1. Make It a Potluck
Don’t snub the idea of having your friends and family members bring dishes to the wedding. This strategy is a huge money saver, plus you’ll be able to enjoy a variety of food on your big day. Not to mention, people close to you can get in on the wedding action. Make sure to discuss what each person will bring, however, to avoid ending up with five pans of fried potatoes and no entree.
2. Cook & Bake in Advance
Cooking the food for your reception may sound overwhelming, and it very well could be if you aren’t prepared. However, with a little advanced planning you’ll be able to save fistfuls of cash by baking and freezing cookies, cupcakes, appetizers and other edibles.
3. Consider Cupcakes Instead of a Tiered Cake
Fancy and fun wedding cakes can eat up a large chunk of your reception budget (which is okay if your heart is set on having one). If you’re feeling flexible on desserts, consider having cupcakes instead. You can display them on a tiered stand for a similarly imposing effect. Some cupcake bakeries will even supply the stands if you ask for them!
4. Limit the Alcohol Choices to Beer and Wine
Your guests will still fully enjoy your reception if you only serve beer and wine – leave the liquor and cocktails for another night. Not only will this slash the price of booze substantially, but you won’t be left with a dozen or more opened bottles of vodka and whiskey that you may never use.
If providing tasty and nuptial-themed wedding cocktails is a goal of yours, try having a couple signature ones for your guests to get them in the spirit!
5. Tap Into Your Local Grocery Store’s Services
Most grocery stores have floral departments and bakeries. These shops can be a great place to find flowers for your centerpieces, as well as any baked goods you may need. The biggest bonus here is the price, of course – which should be noticeably lower than independent businesses.
6. Accept Help in Lieu of a Gift
Don’t dismiss offers of help out of pride or modesty. Having a friend or family member serve food, park cars, bartend, or spin tunes can be a great gift.
7. Hire a DJ Instead of a Band
Speaking of music, a good DJ can keep the good times rolling without the steep price-tag of a live band. In addition, hiring a DJ means that you get to hear all of the songs you want to hear; not just the ones that the band is able to play. Cut even more money from your wedding budget by creating your own playlist and acting as your own DJ.
8. Use Vintage Tablecloths or Sheets Instead of Expensive Linen
Scour second-hand stores and estate sales for an eclectic collection of vintage tablecloths to use at your reception. Or, go monochromatic by covering your tables with single-color twin sheets from one of the big box stores.
9. Hand Out Disposable Cameras
Have your guests help create memories of your reception by giving them disposable cameras with which to take candid shots. They can of course still use their cell phones, but by giving them the cameras to leave with you, you’ll be able to review photos before posting any to social media. Plus, they make nice mementos of your special day to keep in a scrapbook!
10. Enlist Your Neighbors
If you’re planning a large, outdoor event, it’s polite (and smart) to get your neighbors on board early. Ask if you can use their freezer, driveway and other facilities to help accommodate your guests.
Having a wedding reception that you’ll remember fondly for the rest of your life doesn’t have to break your wedding budget. Make your reception more personal (and affordable) by hosting the event at your home or the home of a friend or family member. Limit your financial burden by having guests bring a dish, cooking some or all of the food yourself, and/or hiring a DJ for the music instead of a full band.
Have you attended a wedding at a friend’s house, or even held your own at your home? We’d love to hear from you! Also, feel free to scope out our Facebook and Pinterest pages if you’re in the mood for more inspired photos and content!