Ceremony & Reception
One way to save money here is to have ceremony and reception in the same place. If you are having a civil ceremony this is fairly easy to do. If you are having a church wedding sometimes the church has an attached hall where you can bring in a caterer and hold your reception. A word of warning about church halls: they may put a lot of restrictions on what you can do there...some don't allow cocktails or dancing!
If you can't have both in the same location you can still save money. For a summer wedding you can hold the reception or ceremony in a local park. There will be a fee for this but not as high as a hotel or Victorian Mansion! The downside of this option is that if the weather is bad you need a back-up plan. Another thrifty location is the local Elks or Knights of Columbus or VFW hall. This is what we did and the price was only $50 for as long as we needed it (Ron is a member so we got it for half price...it's $100 for non members which is still a great deal!).
A third idea is to have it in your or a family member's backyard. This can, however, cost more than you think due to the necessity of renting (or buying) tables and chairs, dishes, etc.
The following list tells you what you might need to spend for an "at home" wedding. Prices were taken from a Taylor Rental flyer in 2000. Prices are probably higher now:
We added up the amounts for a hypothetical wedding with 80 guests to give you an idea of the total you might pay. All amounts are based on the cheapest alternative.
- Tent, table and chairs $431.00
- Add dance floor $531.00
- Add sides to tent $681.00
- Add 2 sani cans $861.00
- Add heater, tank & propane $957.00
- Add China $1057.00
- Add flatware $1157.00
- Add glassware (2 glasses pp) $1203.00
Besides these items you would also probably want tablecloths and napkins, serving pieces, etc. which are also available for rent. For comparison purposes, when we rented the VFW hall for $100 tables, chairs, air conditioning (we got married in June...a cold weather event would include heat) and bathrooms were all included in the price.