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Brilliant Wedding Pages June 16, 2003

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 Volume 8      Issue 2
How To Begin Wedding Planning - Part Two

Reception Budget

In our last article. "How to Begin Wedding Planning - Part One" we talked about where to begin now that you're engaged.  Hopefully, by now, you have your guest list all compiled and ready to go and you are looking forward to the next step - making a reception budget.

Who looks forward to writing a budget?  I don't know, but, hopefully you are at least looking forward to moving on to the next step in your wedding planning?!?  In order to make the reception portion of your budget, there are several things you need to consider:

  1. The style of your wedding
  2. The number of guests
  3. Type of beverages at your reception

1. The Style of Your Wedding
This ranges from formal to informal and everything in- between.  Typically, a formal wedding will be more expensive than an informal wedding.  This is because formal weddings tend to be larger as well as sit-down 3-5 course meals.

2. The Number of Guests
Obviously, the more guests you have, the more your cost will be.  You can lower this cost by spending less per guest, but if you planned on having a formal wedding you may have to change to a less formal wedding.

3. Type of Beverages Served
Some halls will have packages that include a per guest fee for the beverages and others will charge by the total amount consumed which is figured out at the end of the night.  What can make a difference in the cost of your reception is whether you choose to serve premium liquors, house liquors, just wine and beer, or no alcohol at all (in order from most expensive to least expensive).  (See our CEB on "Alcohol at Wedding Receptions" for more helpful tips.)

The national average for the cost of a wedding reception is around $8500 (or about $45/guest).  If you know that this is completely out of the question for your wedding, changing some of the options listed above will be a quick way to significantly reduce your costs.  A small, informal wedding, with punch and soda will be much less expensive than a large, formal wedding, with premium liquor served.  Keep in mind, though, that it is not unheard of for people to spend $30,000 on their reception alone, nor is it unheard of for a reception to cost a couple of hundred dollars.  You have to decide what is right and best for you.  (See also our CEB on "Save on Your Wedding Reception Hall Costs".)

Now that you have that information, and with the guest list you have compiled, you can begin crunching some numbers to figure out an estimate for your reception budget.  A formal wedding will probably cost more than $45/person and an informal reception would probably cost less than $45/person.  You will see quickly how the numbers on the guest list affect the estimated cost of your reception.  And, now you can have a better hold on whether you are going to need to cut some people from your list or not.

Planning a reception budget may not be the most fun part of planning your wedding, but having this ready before you look at reception halls (the next step) will help you out in your upcoming decisions.  Watch for our next CEB issue on finding wedding reception halls in 2 weeks!

Till then, best wishes!

Kelly Kons


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