Wedding on a Budget: How to Throw a Frugal (But Fun) Reception Party

Not everyone wants to spend thousands on a wedding and that’s okay! It’s okay to value marriage itself more than the wedding festivities, but that doesn’t mean you have to skimp on having a great time at your wedding reception.

The best news is that you can throw a killer wedding reception on a frugal budget. The average cost of a wedding in 2023 ranges from $16,000 to over $46,000 depending upon where you live in United States. By being frugal on your wedding day, you can easily avoid falling under this category.

Depending on your budget, creativity, and willingness to be frugal you can accomplish planning a wedding reception for a lot less.

Read on to learn how to throw a wedding reception on a budget while still having one heck of a party.

Wedding on a Budget: Tips for Planning the Reception on a Tight Budget

  1. Choose a Budget-Friendly Venue

The biggest expense to consider when planning your reception is the venue itself. Formal venues can cost high dollar amounts, so try to opt for non-traditional venues instead. An event center, a banquet hall/restaurant, or a private club will be your best options when trying to save some money.

An even better venue is a free one! Ask friends and relatives if they know of or own a place where you could hold your wedding reception. Keep in mind, even a barn big enough to the host the party will do!

If you can plan your big day for months with ideal weather then this could save you money as well. An outdoor wedding in someone’s backyard or in a free public park could also save you big.

  1. Music Selection

When considering how music will be available on your big day on a budget, opt for speakers and a playlist. Ask around to see if any has speakers that are loud enough to use for the day.

Standing speakers are always a great option for outdoor parties and weddings on a budget.

Create a playlist for the big day in advance so no one needs to individually select each song one after the other. Not creating a playlist in advance with enough songs could be a bummer for you and your guests.

Hired musicians will cost more than renting or borrowing speakers, but if you know someone who is willing to play for free, then that’s great too! And if they aren’t willing to play at for wedding absolutely free, then maybe they would consider offering you a discounted rate, well because, you and the groom are awesome.

Ask around to see if your friends and family know of any musicians who would be willing to play for free or at a discounted rate.

To learn more about selecting the right music for your big day, read more here.

  1. Food and Drink

Ever heard of BYOF? Yep, that’s “Bring Your Own Food!”

In your wedding invitation, ask guests to bring a large portion of a specific part of the meal. For example, some guests could bring the dessert, others the main course, or an appetizer.

This potluck style food selection is super budget-friendly and also creates a homey feel at your wedding. Your guests who love cooking for others will also enjoy contributing to your big day with their special dish. If you feel hesitant to ask your guests to bring food, then encourage them to bring the dish instead of a wedding gift.

This will likely save them money as well!

If you have a healthier budget for food, then consider hiring a caterer to bring items like barbeque sandwiches, potato salad, and cornbread. Family-owned restaurants nearby may also be a great option to explore.

Ask guests to also bring their favorite drinks to the wedding. Bringing these drinks in bulk is even better. Aim to provide guests with at least bottled water in case they decide to not bring any other drinks. It’s important to keep your guests hydrated so they can dance the night away!

  1. Decorations

Better find someone crafty and quick! Hopefully, your maid of honor will be willing to fill this role!

Have a pre-wedding crafting part with your friends, family, and bridesmaids. Purchase the materials for your wedding decor in bulk in order to reduce the price. Print out instructions for producing each decoration, and voila!

Low-budget decor options include mason jars wrapped with twine, hand-painted burlap signs, and jars filled with marbles and flowers. Purchase flowers in bulk or opt for fake flowers to save more. Baby’s breath is also an inexpensive and elegant option to complete your wedding day decor.

Consider also purchasing items from thrift stores or borrowing decor from other newlyweds.

You’ll also need seating at your wedding reception. The most cost-effective way to meet this expense is by renting from the venue or renting from a third-party. Purchasing each chair and table individually, even at a thrift store, will not only cause a big headache on your big day but will also cost more overall.

  1. Limit the Guest List

The more guests in attendance the higher the cost. Consider limiting the guest list to family and close friends only.

If you want to have another wedding reception or party at a later date to accommodate more guests, then consider letting people know this in advance. No one wants to hurt other people’s feelings by not inviting them, but offering to have a cookout, large dinner, or party at a later date will make people feel better.

However, if you follow all of the other tips listed then the guest list may not be a huge concern. Especially if guests are willing to pitch in by bringing their own food, drink, and helping with the decor! In that case, the more, the merrier!

Ready to Plan Your Wedding on a Budget?

Follow these tips in to plan your wedding on a budget and you can expect to have a great time on your big day while saving a buck. Weddings are about love, unity, and fun. They don’t always need to break the bank for the sentiment and fun to remain.

If you plan on being a wedding guest in the near future, then check out our blog post detailing what to wear and what not to wear to a wedding.

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