How To Save Money On Your Wedding Reception

You want your wedding day to be a day you’ll always remember. But you probably don’t want to spend the next 2 years paying for it.

Thankfully weddings are becoming much more personalised occasions. Couples are choosing to allocate their hard-earned wages to the things that matter the most to them.

If you’re looking for ways to save a bit of the budget on your wedding reception, I’ve written down a few tips to help reduce a few of the costs:

Save Money On Your Wedding Reception

Supply Your Own Wine

Some venues may allow you to bring your own wine. Our venue did, so we went to a supermarket and purchased our wine from there. Not only did it save us around €20 per bottle of wine, we also had fun testing out different wines before we decided which ones to buy.

Limit What Drinks You Offer

Gone are the days where every wedding has an open bar. Your guests are there to celebrate with you. But you shouldn’t feel like you need to supply them with so much alcohol that they will be crawling home at the end of the night. Consider putting a curfew on the bar and only paying for drinks until a pre-arranged time like until the end of dinner. Or let your guests know that you will pay for beer, wine and soft drinks, but that any other drinks will need to be paid for. Most people understand that weddings are expensive, and won’t mind as long they know in advance.

Wedding Day Wine

Skip the Champagne

If you are having a drinks reception after the ceremony, consider a cheaper alternative to champagne, like Cava or Prosecco. Most people won’t know the difference anyway. And why open more bottles of champagne for the dinner speeches when most people have a glass of wine in their hand already.

Destination Wedding Who Pays?

Serve a local, seasonal menu

Ask your wedding planner or venue what the traditional dishes of the area are and what can be sourced locally to save costs (and your carbon footprint).

Plates of mixed salad in for Bec & Dan's Mayrhofen wedding

Double favours with place settings

If you want to have favours and place settings, why not combine them? Your guests get a personalised memento of your wedding day.

Ibiza wedding reception table decorations

Serve your wedding cake as dessert

At one wedding I attended, there was so much food served during dinner (including dessert) that when the couple cut the cake and shared it around, most people could only manage a couple of bites. So much expensive wedding cake was wasted because the guests were too full to eat it. Why not finish dinner with the cutting of the cake, and serve that as your dessert?

Susanne & Georg's cake made by one of their wedding guests Judith photographed by Wild Connections Photography

Swap an expensive tiered cake for a dessert buffet or cupcakes

When you ask many couples after their wedding what they felt was their biggest waste of money, a lot of them will say it was the cake. Whilst a four-tiered, ombre cake is absolutely stunning, it’s often wheeled out of the kitchen just before it’s cut, then taken away, divided up and devoured. Tiered cakes with intricate details are works of art. And that doesn’t come cheaply. Consider having a single tier cake to cut and a buffet of cupcakes and other cheaper cakes and desserts.

Cas Mila Ibiza Wedding Cake & Cupcakes

Make your own photobooth

If you own an iPad or a small camera and tripod (and you trust your wedding guests), you can save money on hiring a photobooth by creating a “photo corner” in your venue. Download a photobooth app, make some fun props, and hey-presto. A budget-friendly photobooth. Alternatively, a Polaroid or other instant film camera can be a fun alternative to a guest book.

Use an iPod for background music

I love live music. But having it for the whole wedding day can quickly bring up the costs. Whilst it’s nice to have music during the drinks reception and dinner, most people are chatting and not really listening to the music. An iPod with a playlist created especially for you, and a set of portable speakers are a much cheaper alternative to hiring a DJ or band. You can even collect song requests from your guests in advance to involve them in the process. You can still hire a band or DJ for the evening party but you won’t need them for as many hours.


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