Planning for a wedding is much more than just planning a wedding ceremony. You also have an entire wedding reception to plan and it’s where a majority of your time, energy, money, and resources will go – especially compared to the overall cost of the wedding ceremony itself. 

Although we all want to have the best performers, the best food, and the best atmosphere during the wedding reception, it often comes at a price – a price most couples aren’t willing to cough up. With that being said, couples are often looking for ways to save money with their reception.

The good news is you can save money while planning the wedding day of your dreams on a small budget. It might take a little more creativity, a little more work, and a little more time than other weddings, but it’s all worth it in the end when you begin your happily ever after. Better yet, we’re here to help!

How to Plan a Wedding Reception On a Small Budget

Planning a wedding reception on a small budget requires you to put your thinking cap on as there are several obstacles coming your way. Don’t worry, it’s nothing that’s going to stop you and just means you’ll have to make some sacrifices along the way – but we’ll get through it without having to spend a lot of money on a wedding planner.

In fact, this entire wedding planning process is going to make your engagement that much more memorable. It’ll be a great bonding moment between you, your significant other, and anyone else that’s involved with the planning process. The more thought you put into your wedding, the sweeter it will be. 

With that said, you’re likely trying to figure out how to plan a wedding reception on a small budget. Although every wedding is unique and different in its own way, there are several steps that we feel are most prominent when finding ways to save money with your wedding reception.

Let’s take a look!

Step One: Understand Your Wedding Budget

Before you can start planning anything, you need to have an honest and open conversation with your significant other about your budget. Securing your budget right out the gate makes all your decisions from this point forward much easier. It gives you a sense of direction and guidance.

Step Two: Ask for Help

Once you secure your personal budget, don’t be afraid to ask parents and grandparents for help. Chances are they want to help and are willing to do whatever possible to help. That doesn’t always mean helping in the form of cash, but a family member, friend, and anyone else that’s part of your wedding party can help you save on wedding costs in other ways too.

Step Three: Be Patient

If you’re truly looking to save money, being patient is usually the best thing you can do. Most venues and vendors are going to charge extra for quick turnovers – and those expenses can add up quickly. As much as you want to get married immediately, it’s not always cheap. 

Step Four: Consider an Off-Season Wedding

In addition to stretching out your engagement, you can save money by planning your dream wedding during the colder months. The ‘wedding offseason’ generally spans from December to March. This is when venues are looking to fill as many spots as possible, so prices are usually cheap.

Step Five: Finding the Right Venue

Speaking of venues, it’s one of the biggest expenses when planning a wedding, but it’s also where you can save a lot of money. For example, you don’t have to choose a big, elegant venue if your budget doesn’t allow for it. Instead, you can do it in a park or even your own backyard!

Step Six: Finding the Right Music

Music is another major wedding expense that doesn’t have to break the bank. It might be nice to have a well-known musician perform, but search around for local talent – they’re cheaper and your wedding guests will still enjoy it. You can also see if any of your family members want to DJ or maintain a playlist at the reception.

Step Seven: Finding the Right Food & Drinks

A wedding reception isn’t complete without food and drinks. Instead of hiring a catering service or bartenders, do the shopping and cooking yourself. You can also ask your friends and family if they want to cook anything.

Wait for alcohol and other drinks to go on sale, then stock up. If you’re purchasing your own alcohol, keep in mind that you’ll need liquor liability insurance. The more guests you have, the more expensive it gets. In this case, the right venue will actually save you money.

Step Eight: Finding the Right Photographer

There are so many young, creative, and bright photographers out there waiting for an opportunity to showcase their skills. In fact, some of the best ones are those that don’t have hundreds of reviews. Don’t break the bank on something that you can find for much cheaper.

Step Nine: Determine the Number of Guests

The amount of guests you entertain plays an important role in your budget. Between the amount of food you need, the number of drinks you need, the amount of seating you need, and the amount of space you need, knowing the number of guests will make it easier to budget it all. Remember, a small wedding means lots of savings.

Step Ten: DIY Photo Booth

This is something that adds a unique touch to your ceremony and/or reception, but it can also be done with a very little budget. Let your imagination run wild, make sure it matches the overall theme of the wedding, and make sure it’s located where everyone will see it and utilize it!

Step Eleven: Low-Cost Reception Activities

If you want to make sure your guests have a grand time, it’s always good to provide a number of fun activities at the reception. It can be something as simple as cornhole or whatever other lawn games your family enjoys. It won’t break the bank and will add to the experience. 

Step Twelve: DIY Decorations

Finally, we have the decorations – both for the ceremony and reception. As much as you might want to go all-out with the decorations and wedding flowers, it’s not always necessary. If you do want to use something expensive, make sure it’s something you can resell once you’re done with it. 

Contact Secret Window Events Today!

If you’re looking for the perfect, budget-friendly wedding venues that fit your budget in the Colorado area, you’ve come to the right place. Contact Secret Window Events and schedule your tour today. We have a number of different packages designed to meet any budget – we can’t wait to welcome you!