Reception Reception Ideas: 5 Money Saving Alternatives
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Reception Ideas: 5 Money Saving Alternatives

Are you looking to preserve your budget but still have an amazing celebration for your wedding day? Here are five alternative wedding receptions that are fun to incorporate into your wedding planning, but won’t break the bank.

Barbecue—Guests will be delighted to celebrate your wedding with this fun-loving party. You can celebrate casually with traditional fare including ribs, chicken and potato salad, or dress up your barbecue with grilled tenderloin, and chicken kabobs.If you are in a location that permits fire pits, consider preparing s’mores for dessert and hire an old-fashioned storyteller for post dinner entertainment.

Dessert Reception—If you love dessert, nothing would be sweeter than to invite your guests to join in a decadent dessert wedding reception. Make sure you have your ceremony later than the regular dinner hour and be sure to indicate on your invitation that the reception is desert only.

For something really special, have a chef attended cherries jubilee, bananas foster or crepes Suzette station. These are all less expensive alternatives to a full dinner. For a bit of whimsy, add a “make your own sundae” bar. Serve coffee, cappuccino, espresso and tea to accompany the desserts. By avoiding alcohol, you will save a lot of money, but no one will miss the open bar with a wonderful coffee station.

Breakfast Wedding Reception —Are you an early riser? Celebrate your nuptials at sunrise and follow up with a planned breakfast reception. Traditional breakfast items can be supplemented with some fun “action stations” like omelet stations or pancake stations. Give oatmeal a new twist and have your chef create an oatmeal creme brulee. You can limit your bar by doing mimosas and kir royals. If you can put a bit more money into your reception, a Bloody Mary station is great fun. Guests are given the traditional Bloody Mary, but on the station there are all sorts of things your guests can put in their drink like blue cheese stuffed olives, shrimp,scallops, celery, and sour cream.

Mexican Fiesta Wedding Reception —A Mariachi Band or Flamenco guitar will likely get your guests dancing, and if that doesn’t work Tequila cocktails certainly will. For the cocktail hour, have a salsa and guacamole bar. Offer your guests steamed shrimp, boiled egg,chopped red pepper, chopped cucumber, chopped tomato, chopped onion, diced chicken and tomatillos to customize their guacamole. Entrees can include traditional Mexican favorites from childhood like tacos and burritos. Adding a rice dish is also an inexpensive and filling option. Don’t forget the Mexican Wedding Cookies!

Picnic on the Lawn Wedding Reception
—Fill up beautiful picnic baskets with breads, cheeses, fruit and a bottle of wine per couple. Give each guest a checkered blanket and have them layout on the lawn. You can plan for a harpist or string quartet to add to the mood. For an even greater dollar stretching idea, give the baskets away as your wedding favor!

Remember, most often, breakfast costs less than brunch or lunch, and dinner is typically the most costly. Some locations may offer discounts for off-peak times like Friday or Sunday or times during the day other than dinner.

Susan Southerland is the premier wedding expert for Perfect Wedding Guide. For more money-saving tips, visit her wedding planning wedding blog.