Reception...You Get What You Pay For!

August 18, 2018

Everyone knows that weddings are expensive! The average wedding in the United States for 2017 costs $25,764, not including the honeymoon! So, unless your father is 'Daddy Moneybags' or you are financially LOADED, you are probably looking to save money on your big day! Well, we write these blogs to help you to have a fantastic wedding day. So, these are the places you should AVOID cutting costs from in your budget! 


Unless your family member or friend is a trained professional, do not entrust this special day to them. As planners, we have had a client's inexperienced aunt or uncle ask to officiate a wedding in a different state only to find out they had no idea how to determine the legalities of performing in a separate state. An experienced officiant knows how to ensure a wedding's legality and where to find that information if they don't know. It is not the planner's job to tell the officiant what to do...just to work together with planning a smooth ceremony! Or, sure your cousin has been the DJ at a few parties, but do they really know how to read a crowd to keep the party up and dancing all night. Can they smoothly announce the wedding party names or handle the tradition announcements, if needed? A professional can handle these with no issues! Let the professionals take charge on your special day and let your friends and family stay on the guest list!


Cash bars or no bars should be avoided! We cringe when a client suggests this, unless they are ministers are having the reception in a religious setting. Otherwise, it is very tacky! It is more often to cut the budget than not being drinkers themselves. If your funds are limited, stick to wine and beer and maybe a simple signature drink.  Doing this is the easiest way to end the party really early.



Don't forget the cocktail hour! In between the wedding and the reception, that hour that your guests are waiting for your photos to be taken is a very important time! There should be appetizers as well as drinks. Only serving drinks will produce some pretty intoxicated guests by the time the reception occurs...drinks with no food on your stomach never works! This is a time for guests to mingle and talk to people they may not have seen in a long time! A little food to tide them over will make your guests very happy! Also, have adequate quantities...order enough food so that when the people at the end of the line get the table there is still food there! An experienced caterer will assist you with that!


If the ceremony and reception are in the same place but different rooms, rent the extra chairs to cover the second room. Unless your venue is very experienced with this switch-up set up, this is much too time-consuming. To have a day that runs smoothly, each location...the ceremony site, the cocktail location, and the reception...should be completely set up when the wedding begins! If this can not be avoided, hire a switch-up crew...definitely don't ask guests to take a chair with them! 


Stay away from potluck receptions or caterers with very little experience. The food is something that can make or break a reception! Too little or tasteless food is a definite no-no! An experienced caterer knows how much staff is needed for a wedding reception...they will have your bar, your cocktail site, and your reception meal fully covered with just the right amount of staff. Make sure there is staff to clear dirty dishes away from the reception tables after the meal. If you don't hire a staff, ask your hostesses to assist in doing this. When the dancing starts, the tables should be cleared!


No servers for the meal, no set up staff, or cleanup staff are a recipe for disaster. The toasts will be a frantic time of running around trying to fill glasses and making sure everyone has a drink for the toast without adequate staff. Professionals know how much staff is needed to keep everything flowing smoothly! Without servers for the meal, the food will usually run out faster because guests will take too much. Also, don't forget to hire or designate a significant amount of people to help you set up the reception and to clean up afterwards. There is nothing worst than seeing a bride and groom or mother and dad run around cleaning up the reception room (in a non-hotel environment). Everyone should be able to enjoy the day and not tire themselves out! Ask friends to help out ahead of time!


Foregoing a trained, professional planner does not work. Have you noticed that everyone is popping up and calling themselves a wedding planner? It must be the easiest job in the world, RIGHT! Yes, we are very biased on this topic! But, it is not fair to actual, trained event managers/wedding planners or the couples who are entrusting their special day to novices. As I was coincidentally reading an article on this subject recently, it eluded to the Oprah episode where she would have said here: "Now YOU are a Planner, and YOU are a Planner, EVERYBODY is a PLANNER!!! As planners, we have acquired certifications or knowledge through substantial training in event planning. Also, if your venue comes with a planner, that planner works for the venue not you. Who will create your vendors' timeline, attend to your guests' need or manage your vendors?...that is not the venue planner's job. At the very least, get a day-of coordinator, they will start working with you about two months ahead of time. The normal fee for day-of coordinators is between $1750 to $4000. If anyone charges less than that, they have no or little experience...RUN!!!

Not hiring a professional makeup artist or hair stylist should be avoided. You are probably paying a lot of money for that wedding photo package (if you're hiring an experienced photographer) and you want to look your best. Pictures last forever! Professional makeup artist use different makeup techniques and brands that will last throughout your entire day. Your photos will look amazing with a reputable artist! It's also a great pampering gift to give to yourself and your bridal attendants! Even if you are a professional artist or stylist, it's about YOUR SPECIAL DAY...GET PAMPERED!!!


Not hiring a videographer will be a huge regret.

As we said in an earlier blog, this is one regret that a lot of couples express. Couples often go through the wedding in a daze...a video is your chance to see all the little moments that you may not have been able to remember or see! A lot of times your photographer can recommend a great videographer or may have a videographer package of their own that can be combined for you! Pictures are great, but in years to come you will enjoy watching your older relatives celebrating with you, your first dance, and the pure happiness of your wedding day!


Follow these suggestions and don't skimp in these areas...and your wedding day will be memorable for you and your guests! Have fun!!!






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