If you are trying to organise a big wedding on a limited budget, a good way to save a lot of money without compromising on the end result, is to be smart with your evening reception.
Invite a small number of guests to your wedding day (close family and friends – the most important people in your life) and then invite a much larger number to your evening reception. With full wedding reception costs per head running at €70 – €125, and evening reception costs per head at say €20, spread over 100 people, that’s a significant saving!
However, you don’t want your evening guests to feel like they are the poor relations, so here are some suggestions:-
Rule number one; Never, ever let your evening guests wait in another room if your wedding lunch is running late. It’s a guaranteed way to upset them and make them feel like 2nd best. Bear in mind that many of your evening guests will have had to travel a certain distance to come to the venue, may have booked a hotel nearby, bought an outfit for the occasion and have a wedding present for you, so you must treat them with consideration and respect. Always build in to your timetable an extra 30-45 minutes between the anticipated end of your wedding lunch and the expected arrival time for your evening guests. If you think your wedding lunch will finish at 8pm, invite evening guests from 8:30-9.00 pm.
Greet each evening guest as they arrive with a glass of champagne or sparkling wine. It will make them feel part of your wedding celebration right from the start. If you can, also give them a small bag of wedding favours to let them know that you really appreciate their coming to your wedding celebration.
Ask your groomsmen and bridesmaids to introduce new comers to your other guests. It can be a bit intimidating joining a party half-way through, so make sure that you have a team on hand to help all your guests mingle and have a good time.
If you can, save the cutting of the cake until your evening guests have arrived (not possible if you are planning to serve the wedding cake as a dessert). It allows them share a special moment with you.
The Bride & Groom should try and personally greet each new evening guest, either as they arrive or during the evening. It’s important to acknowledge them.
Provide food! If you’re inviting extra guests in the evening, you must look after them and serve them food. A buffet-style evening meal is ideal, and won’t add significantly to the cost,
Ensure that the entertainment you plan will get all of your guests on to the dance floor! And consider something like releasing Chinese lanterns or lighting candles, to make everyone feel part of your special day.
Always send a thank you note to all of your guests, including your evening guests.