Wedding Ideas for an Informal Reception on a Budget

Written by scott damon
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Wedding Ideas for an Informal Reception on a Budget
Holding a wedding at the beach can provide a free location. (Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Getting married can be an expensive proposition. While the ceremony can be as cheap as the cost of the marriage license, the wedding reception can add up quickly by the time you feed and provide entertainment for your guests. By holding an informal reception you can cut down on many costs typically associated with more formal affairs.

Happy Hour

Many bars and restaurants offer a happy hour with discounted food and drinks. Find these locations in your area and determine when the happy hour is offered. Typically happy hour is held for a few hours between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. during the week. However, some locations also hold happy hour on the weekends. For an informal reception for a wedding that is not very large, call the restaurant ahead of time and tell them around the time you will be in for the reception. You can even preorder appetizers so they will be waiting for guests when you arrive.

The Great Outdoors

One of the largest costs associated with planning a wedding is securing a location for the reception. Mansions, halls, and wedding venue sites can cost upwards of £3,250 or more for the day. Instead, contact your local federal and state parks and see what their guidelines are for hosting a wedding reception. Generally just a reservation fee is needed. Then you will have access to the park activities and surroundings. For a wedding on the water find a park on a lake or beach.


One way to feed your guests but still keep costs down is to have a potluck wedding reception. Create a theme or menu and then assign different dishes to close family members. For instance, if you want to have a barbecue reception, you can provide the ribs (since they are probably the most expensive), while other family members can make coleslaw, macaroni, corn bread, fried green tomatoes and baked beans.

Champagne and Chocolate

You can dress up your informal wedding reception while still keeping costs down by offering just a couple of items. For instance, offer a champagne and chocolate or champagne and dessert party. You can purchase the desserts or make them yourself. Figure a glass or two of champagne per person attending the party. Some liquor stores or supermarkets give discounts for buying six bottles or a case. Then chill the champagne, place the chocolate on platters and serve your guests.

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