How to Calculate Wedding Reception Costs How to Calculate Wedding Reception Costs

What You'll Need

A wedding reception isn’t a cheap affair. A proper wedding reception in a good venue, with a sit-down meal and entertainment, is going to cost quite a lot of money. Long before the event, you need to figure out the costs of the wedding reception in order to be able to properly budget for it.

Step 1 - Venue

The first step is to locate a venue for the wedding reception. This will need to be booked well in advance, especially if the wedding is happening in the spring or summer, which are the most popular times.

Decide what type of venue you want. Country clubs are popular, but very expensive. Decide just how much you have to spend on the reception and then allow 50 per cent of it for the venue. This could put the country club outside your financial range. If so, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

There are function rooms in every community, and they can often better value for money.  They’re not as swanky and you won’t be surrounded by a golf course, but if they’re in hotels, then there are rooms available for out of town guests. Again, you’ll need to book it well in advance, and whatever place you book, you’ll need to pay a deposit, which will be at least 10 per cent of the total hire price.

Step 2 - Food

Before you can find out how much the catering is likely to cost, you have to know how many people will be attending the wedding reception. This is because a caterer will calculate the cost per plate.

Decide what type of meal will be served. Will it be hot or cold? How many courses? Will there be wine? You’ll also need enough champagne for the toast of the bride and groom.

Talk to a number of caterers to obtain estimates. You should obtain reviews and recommendations before contacting any caterer. You can find these from websites or other friends who’ve had catered events. Depending on the money you have to spend, you might need to amend your meal plans.

Step 3 - Entertainment

Once the formal process of the wedding reception has ended, you’ll want entertainment for all the guests. This can either be a live band of some kind or a DJ. In general a DJ will cost less, and you’ll have a greater choice over the type of music to be played. That said, there are bands that specialize in playing weddings. Once you’ve decided on the type of entertainment, then call around and obtain more information and pricing, in order to see what fits in your budget.

Step 4 - Wedding Cake

No wedding reception is complete without a wedding cake. Beware, however, that a good cake can be expensive. If you have a good, experienced baker in the family you can save money if she volunteers and can do a good job. If not, decide on how big a cake, how you want it decorated, and call around specialists to obtain prices.

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