Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Makings of a Reception

As I mentioned in my last post, the budget I was hoping to stick to has gone out the window. With the photography cost and my estimate of the rental costs, I'm up to $7,000! Yikes! And that doesn't include food, all the little details, stationery, bouquets, decor and so on. (I am not including the cost of my dress in the budget because I already had the money to cover that cost...thank goodness!)

So to continue on with the dreaded budget talk I'm going to share with you how I'm trying to be as cost effective as possible when it comes to the reception.
1) I will not be renting enough tables to allow everyone to sit down at the reception. Every wedding I've ever been to, there are always guests who prefer to stand during the reception thus leaving tables unused. (Maybe this is because I've never been to one with a sit down meal?)
2) I am not renting china, glassware, flatware, etc.
3) I am not getting custom printed napkins.
4) We are not having a sit down meal.
5) We will not be having large elaborate centerpieces.

Now to elaborate a little on these things...
Because we are not renting tableware, I have purchased plasticware. Yes you read correctly, I said plastic. Sam's Club has some very good quality and pretty good looking plastic plates, cups and forks so that's what I went with.
These are the plates we will be using. The larger for the food we will be serving and the smaller for the cake. Cost breakdown:
Dinner plates (40 count pkg.): $8.82
Total Cost: $52.92
Cake plates (70 count pkg.): $8.24
Total Cost: $24.72

These are the forks we will be using.
Cost breakdown (300 count box): $8.68
Quantity:2 (we'll have way more than we need)
Total Cost: $17.36

And these are the cups we will be using.
Cost breakdown (200 count pkg.):$7.48
Total Cost: $7.48

As much as I would love to be able to afford some pretty custom printed napkins with our names and the wedding date on them, it's just not in the budget. However if at all possible, I still wanted to be able to use purple napkins. And I found just the napkins I was looking for at a great price and the exact color! Where? Dollar Tree. Don't underestimate the power of dollar stores....especially Dollar Tree because they're a true dollar store.

These are the napkins we will be having at the reception. I purchased 13" Lunch Napkins as well as 10" Beverage Napkins. Both will be in the purple color shown here. Cost breakdown:
13" Lunch Napkins: $1.00
Quantity: 12
10" Beverage Napkins: $1.00
Quantity: 12
Total Cost: $24.00

Because we are not having a sit down meal and the reception will not be held during a "meal time", we are opting to serve finger food/hors d'oeuvers. So what's on the menu? As of right now, this is what we have:
-Fruit Salad with fresh strawberries, pineapple, grapes, cantaloupe, raspberries and kiwi
-Cheese tray
-Rolled meats: turkey and ham, possibly chicken
-Fresh mini rolls
-Sausage Balls
-Vegetable trays with fresh carrots, celery, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, cauliflower and ranch dip
-Relish trays with: sweet pickles, dill pickles, green olives, black olives
And to drink we will have:
-Grape punch (Still looking for recipes. Will be served in a punch bowl.)
-Ice cold water (Served in the dispenser below with round slices of lemon in the water.)
-Raspberry Tea or Peach (I'm still undecided about what kind. This tea will have caffeine for those that would like it and will be served in the dispenser below with either fresh raspberries or peaches in the tea.)
As far as the actual food costs go...I won't know exact numbers until the time comes to purchase the food. However, I'm estimating that it will be somewhere around $500-$600.

The only serving ware items I've bought for the reception are:
-a package of round basic serving trays with lids
-Two 2.5 Gallon Drink Dispensers (This was a little bit of a splurge but they will eliminate the need to have some prepare drinks for the guests and enable the guests to help themselves. And they can be used after the wedding or sold.)
Cost breakdown: $39.99 each
Quantity: 2
Total Cost (including shipping & tax): $97.38

-2 Fifth Avenue Crystal Portico Cracker & Dip trays (Not included in the budget because I bought them months ago when Belk had a 50% off sale.)

-2 Fifth Avenue Crystal Portico 3-tier Buffet Servers (Not included in the budget because I bought them months ago when Belk had a 50% off sale.)

-1 round crystal punch bowl (for punch) purchased at a local Antique Mall that included 9 cups (The cups won't be used for the wedding. But the bowl and cups can be used or sold after the wedding.)
Total Cost: $22.00
(Source: yours truly - not sure why it looks green, I assure you it's not!)

-1 square punch bowl (for the fruit salad) purchased at a local Antique Mall for $12.50 that included 11 cups and 11 hangers (The cups won't be used for the wedding but this punch bowl will have a place in our home because it matches the shape of our square dishes.)
Total Cost: $12.50
(Source: yours truly)

As I mentioned before, I made all the centerpieces for our tables myself. I decided to make more than we will need for the dining tables so we can use them to decorate the food, cake and gift table and anywhere else I like.
Cost breakdown (per centerpiece): $7.33
Quantity: 24
Total Cost: $175.92
(Source: yours truly)

The only other decor we will have at the reception will be balloons. Now I know some people have mixed feelings about balloons and weddings. However, I assure you they will not be used in a tacky or cheesy way. There will be no balloon arches or shapes at our wedding!
I'm not entirely sure how I'll use the balloons yet. My mom and I talked about blowing them up without helium and hanging them on silver curling ribbon from the top of the tent using different lengths of ribbon to give a staggered affect. That's most likely what we'll do to avoid the $80 rental fee of a helium tank. But I have no idea how we would secure them to the tent (tie them to the frame? tape them? would they hold, would we be allowed to tape?) because I don't know what the underside will look like as far as the frame goes but we'll figure something out. I couldn't find a good picture of what I'm envisioning so you'll have to take this (<--) one and use your imagination. I think it would be a cool effect if we can swing it. (Source)

-2 packs of Lavender Purple Pearlized Balloons
Cost breakdown: $6.99 (72 pack)
Quantity: 2
Total Cost: $13.98 (plus shipping)

-2 packs of White Pearlized Balloons
Cost breakdown: $6.99 (72 pack)
Quantity: 2
Total Cost: $13.98 (plus shipping)

-1 spool of Metallic Silver Curling Ribbon (100 yards)
Total Cost: $1.89 (plus shipping)

So the grand total for the reception at this time is: $1011.21 (estimating the food costs at $600). Not too shabby in my opinion. And I'm pretty sure that covers everything we'll need (except for the cake)!

In what ways are you keeping the cost down for your reception?

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