There are many ways to host a reception. A traditional cake and sweets table for a desserts-only reception is just one idea that is easy on the budget.
Remember, the reception costs are always the biggest item in the wedding budget, directly proportional to the number of guests. Therefore, cutting the guest list is by far the easiest solution for a couple on a tight budget.
Other things to consider:
Change the time of the reception. The time of day will also influence the cost of the reception. A morning brunch will be less expensive than dinner, for example. A mid-afternoon reception featuring tea or a gourmet coffee bar, finger sandwiches, pastries, and sweets is a nice option as your guests will not expect a full meal at this time. Or consider a romantic candle light ceremony later in the evening offering a wonderful wedding cake and the same assortment of delicious pastries and beverages as you may prefer. Such an event can be quite elegant, cost effective, and easy to assemble from local bakeries or homemade treats.
Have a shorter reception. Limiting the hours of your reception is another way to cut costs, saving on site fees, beverages, musicians or DJ, and wait-staff.
Sample the house wine or liquors. If they are to your liking, you will save over the cost of premium brands. Consider comfort foods such as pasta. Everyone loves them. The addition of a few choice ingredients such as wild mushrooms and a pretty garnish can make the dish special.
Ask about “portion control”. Your caterer can reduce the size of an expensive entree and save you some money while still providing what you want.
Don’t feel that you need to offer a selection of entrees. Select a menu with universal appeal. If there is someone on your guest list with allergies or other dietary considerations, have something prepared just for this individual. You should also consider the children at the reception. A less expensive children’s plate may be more appropriate fare for youngsters and can save a little on catering costs.
“I really wanted my favorite foods at my reception. It sounds funny, but several caterers only had fad foods that I didn’t particularly like. We decided to have our favorite ethnic restaurant prepare the food and we just arranged the buffet. Yum! I’m so glad we made this choice, and it was, after all, a lot cheaper than a catered affair.” — V.Belosie
Considering food allergies when planning your menu?
Here is a link to information about figuring out how many Hors d’oeuvres to serve.