Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wedding Recap: The Party

Yesterday I told you all about the clothes, and today I'll quickly recap my wedding reception and how I made it all fairly affordable but still very 'me'.

The Food
For food, I faced the challenge of serving lunch for 150 for very little money.  I priced lots of caterers but quickly found that the cheapest route (with the level of service I needed) would be to go through a restaurant instead.  Compared to $13 per person, I paid $8 for a choice of meat, 2 sides, salad, rolls and iced tea.  We still managed to have an open bar, but served wine and beer since it was a daytime event.  We were able to purchase our own drinks and bring them to the venue, and got some good deals by simply making friends with the owners of our local wine/beer store.  We let them know how much we planned to buy and then got really some good prices on cases of wine and beer - they even special ordered our choice of Shiner Bock and threw in all the ice we needed.  Had we not asked for a deal, we would have paid a lot more.  (I also learned to have a little more red wine on hand than white and never assume anyone is going ask for a Miller Light when there's Shiner to be had)

The Cake
I loved our cake and how it actually looked edible.  I'm not a big fan of fondant, which is a good thing when you're on a budget because bakeries charge a premium for it.  We went with a buttercream frosting and ordered a 12" two-layer cake for display and cutting and then supplemented it with three flavors of sheet cake (we got three half sheets) for our guests to pick from.  We decided against having a grooms cake because they tend to cost almost as much as the bride's cake and lead to lots of leftovers.  I got our cake topper from the Mudcards shop on Etsy and it now lives on our bookshelf.  The flowers were from Hobby Lobby.

The Favors
As I mentioned last month, I made my own candy buffet to serve as wedding favors.  It was a big hit and I wouldn't do anything differently except buy more Reese's Pieces and Gummy worms and fewer Hershey Kisses.  It was true that the guests tended to fill the bags provided, so if you build your own buffet for a party, make sure you have enough candy for everyone to fill whatever container you provide. (Those little Chinese takeout boxes hold a lot of candy... beware)

The Flowers
I'm incredibly lucky to have a sister in law who can arrange flowers.  However, if you're not blessed with a family florist, you can still skip the professionals if you're willing to have simple arrangements and buy flowers from a wholesaler.  I opted to primarily use white hydrangeas, which are in season and take up a lot of space (so you need fewer of them!).  Combined with my Dollar Tree glass vases and ribbon, My centerpiece arrangements rang in at about $5 each.  The bridesmaids carried a similar bouquet (1-2 more stems) and mine was a mix of white and green flowers and berries.

The Music
Unfortunately, my budget didn't allow for a band or deejay.  Thank goodness for iTunes.  I made playlists for cocktails, eating, bouquet/garter toss, and dancing and then asked a friend to monitor the computer and make the necessary announcements during the reception.  In the end, I think he did as well as most deejays (except I liked every single song!) but would love to have had a live band.  If you're making your own playlists, here are screen shots of what worked well for us.  I tried to include songs for all ages and tastes.



For bouquet and garter toss, we played "You are the Best Thing" by Ray LaMontagne (the intro is really fun) and our first dance song was "Lucky" by Jason Mraz/Colbie Caillat.  For our ceremony recessional, we had the chorus of "You & Me" by Dave Matthews

The Photos
Finally, I can't say how glad we are that we had a photo booth at our reception.  I'm now the proud owner of a scrap book full of photos of our guests and pages they decorated for us.  It's way more interesting than a guest book! Everyone had a great time playing around and taking silly pictures.

I have tons more information I could share, but unless you all want to hear about my system of labeled bins and task lists, I'll save it for emails to anyone who's interested.  Feel free to shoot me a note if you want to know about any particular vendors or how I managed to stay organized.   


  1. Congratulations!! The candy buffet idea is awesome!

  2. Wow sounds like you had a beautiful wedding! I love the candy buffet and the photo booth idea!! My BFF's song was Lucky too :)



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