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Inexpensive Wedding Reception Ideas

Category Reception
Weddings can easily get expensive very quickly. Help keep the cost of your wedding down by planning an inexpensive wedding reception. This is a guide about inexpensive wedding reception ideas.


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 1 found this helpful
September 16, 2010

Is it okay to just have a ceremony, then punch and cake, with maybe veggie trays, fruit, and a champagne toast afterwards? I am considering this instead of a full on reception. There would be no dancing, sit down meal, etc. I want to just have something simple and inexpensive. Cake, punch, veggie trays, and fruit, with music playing?


By Ashley


September 18, 20102 found this helpful
Best Answer

It is absolutely fine to do this! That is what a reception is actually for. A few munchies, and people congratulating and visiting with the new bride and groom! I have a great way to display veggies, or cupcakes, or candies that is on the cheap side as well. I am attaching a picture below. This turned out gorgeous! I used E6000 glue to put it together. Make sure it dries for 24 hours before moving it. :/ Trust me!

We took a 22" round mirror purchased from IKEA ($15), then purchased 1 smaller mirror (18") from HL, then two clear glass rounds (12", 10") from HL as well. They were on sale so they were like $3 each. We purchased the "piers" (candle holders) from dollar tree for a dollar a piece. (The taller ones) we needed 3, then the very short candle holders crystal type for 2 for $1 at dollar tree (4 of these) for the bottom half. HTH

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September 20, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

Absolutely! Do what YOU want to do and can afford to do. Remember that the wedding is one day, and the beginning of a new phase of your life. Don't mortgage the future for one day.

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September 16, 20100 found this helpful

I am getting married on September 19th and we don't have a lot of money not to mention that my fiance got laid off from work. I am trying to plan an inexpensive wedding reception that doesn't look tacky. Please help me with any and all ideas that you may have. I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks all.

By Sunshyne77 from East Chicago, IN


Inexpensive Wedding Reception Ideas

The Shriners in our town have a pavilion with kitchen and bathrooms and I think it cost me like $200. from like 8am till midnight. You could check with local groups in your area. (04/07/2009)


By wvrdnkwmn

Inexpensive Wedding Reception Ideas

My daughter-in-law had hers at her church, where she is an active member, and the ladies there helped so much! Her theme was simple, Camo and Flowers. It wasn't tacky, a lot of mason jars with inexpensive artificial daisies, greenery, tables covered with cheap camo netting and fabric. She used hunting themed decor like, toy guns, and ammo, "No Hunting" signs, stuffed (toy) animals like deer, raccoons, real deer antlers, etc. She wore camo Crocs under her gown, the bridesmaids had dresses of sage green and tan, and the men wore camo vests and ties with their tuxes. The food was simple, with everyone, including church members, family, etc. bringing a "potluck" dish, or chips, dips, sodas, etc. The church was decorated very simply, but nicely as well, with the same type of flowers, inexpensive candles, and a lot of green/brown/tan netting and ribbons to decorate the pews. (04/07/2009)


By fatboyslimsmom

Inexpensive Wedding Reception Ideas

I'm not a gardener, but could you have friends grow flowers to use in decorating and for your bouquet? Probably not zinnias, but I'm sure there are yard flowers that would work. Good luck.

By tennesue

Inexpensive Wedding Reception Ideas

We did this for a dance at the Vet's club one year. Get grapevine from a wooded area and let dry out for a month. Clean off the dry leaves. Hang the grapevine across the ceiling with string or thin wire, but let it hang down a ways. Put white Xmas lights throughout the grapevine. Cut out different size stars out of tagboard or any thin cardboard. Spray them gold. Hang them up from the grapevine. Punch a hole in the top of the star and tie with thread or string. It will look like the sky with stars when it is lit up. The grapevine is free and you can borrow the lights from friends and relatives. You can use any cardboard, that is free. You can buy the gold paint for $1 at WalMart. Buy string at the Dollar store. It is a little work, but get your wedding party to help you. It will look like fantastic. Good luck! (04/08/2009)


By Judieb

Inexpensive Wedding Reception Ideas

Local parks that have a pond or a lake will rent a pavilion for less than $100, and some are free. Have a family member or friend grill a bunch of food and decorate the tables really prettily. You can gather tables from others to borrow and gather table cloths to match the colors of your wedding.

Surely between both families and friends you can gather several white tablecloths and a few colored ones with tables. That won't cost you a dime. Also, for centerpieces; you can do the same. Gather different flower vases and/or candle votives or holders to match your theme. Each table doesn't have to be alike.

You can even make your own place cards. Print out the guest names with a pretty font on some card stock or bond paper and put them in a paper frame, which you can get a cutter for at a craft or scrap booking store or on line. Use some pretty paper to match your stuff and just place the cards without a frame. It will have simple elegance and everyone will have a party favor to take home. (04/14/2009)

By eth0301

Inexpensive Wedding Reception Ideas

Save and use coupons! It may sound cheap, but it's well worth it in the end, as others will tell you. has weekly coupons ( that you can print on your home computer. Their current coupon is for 40% off any one regular-priced item. Print it off 3 or 4 times, and make several trips, but you get what you need at a price you can afford. You can do this at Michael's and other craft stores as well.

Hobby Lobby has 54 inch wide tulle for decorating for 99 cents/yd. With that coupon, you can get 40 yards of it for $23 bucks. Not bad and you can decorate quite a bit for that amount.

Also with those 40% and 50% off coupons, you could pick up a cake pan set in the baking aisles of the craft stores and make your own wedding cake. If you aren't having a ton of guests, this may be a perfect solution for you. I know they have baking pan sets (I think it's a 14 inch, 10 inch, and 6 nch pan set) for about $35 at both Michael's and Hobby Lobby, so use those coupons and drop that price to $17.50, and make a wedding cake that you will always remember because you made it. With that set (if you save the top layer for your 1st anniversary) should be plenty to feed about 35-50 depending on your slices.

My local Dollar Store has some really pretty tealight candle holders. You'd definitely think they cost more than a dollar each! They also sell bags of tealights for a buck, too.
Shop clearance. You have plenty of time to search those clearance racks of wedding related items. also has tons of videos on decorating for receptions, How tos, cake decorating, etc. Educate yourself now, and you will have a beautiful, inexpensive wedding and reception that will be out of this world.

Now, about those invitations. You can print them from your home computer if you prefer. Originally this was my choice and I purchased a prepackaged box of do-it-yourself invitations for about $20. The box contained just the invitations and plain white envelopes. When I attempted to print them, the first few didn't turn out the way I wanted, plus they weren't always aligned correctly. I ditched that idea and ended up purchasing my invitations, RSVP cards, etc. from ( They have tons of styles to choose from (we choose seaside romance because of the starfish) and you can't beat the price. It cost me $148 for 100 invitations with envelopes (my address printed on the back), plus 100 RSVP cards (with envelopes), plus 50 Reception cards. If your wedding and reception is much smaller, they also advertise some as low as $12.95 for 25 invitations. They look great, are professionally done, and will arrive in less than a week (we were actually amazed at how quickly we got them).

Congratulations, and best wishes! If you need more helpful hints, be specific in your questions (need help decorating tables, table centerpieces, etc.). This site has tons of wonderful ideas! (04/29/2009)

By Brittsmama

Inexpensive Wedding Reception Ideas

Dollar tree has many wedding decor and favors, also by making your bouquet and the bridal party's bouquets you can save as well. The memories will last using silk flowers, even the men's boutonnieres you could make. You can get spa like items as well from Dollar Tree to make gifts for the wedding party. If you know someone who has a nice digital camera and is a good shot with photography you could create many pictures and the cost is less than a pro, I wish you guys all the best. (03/16/2010)

By Kimmie1972

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April 7, 20090 found this helpful

We are getting married on 06/12/09 and having the reception on 06/13/09. I need ideas for a very inexpensive reception, under $2000. My colors are chocolate and teal. It's an outside reception by a pool. Thanks very much.

Melody from Huntsville, AL


Inexpensive Reception Ideas

One of your biggest costs for your wedding reception will be the food, if you plan your reception not at a meal time you will save yourself lots. A pool reception in my mind lends itself to a barbecue with a buffet for salads and you could then have an ice-cream kiosk for dessert. Everyone loves ice cream! Old fashioned ice creams in cones will be much cheaper than a big dessert and you could have lots of fun toppings.

There are lots more cheap reception menu ideas here,

For your decorations have sways of teal draped across the sides with fairy lights to give a sparkle - make sure it is safe with the pool. If you need extra height, fill pots with clay and secure branches into the pot. Cover the pot in chocolate color paint and then hang tea lights/ candles from the branches. (01/28/2009)

By rarara

Inexpensive Reception Ideas

I had a beautiful reception on my parents' deck. My mom and my aunties did all of the food themselves and it was delicious, and much more special to me. The only thing that they didn't make themselves was my cake. My mother bought the cake and assembled the layers at home.
Good luck! (01/28/2009)

By bailegirl

Inexpensive Reception Ideas

Have everything that is cheaper in white, then have a few chocolate and teal touches. Buy large spools of ribbon in your colors and use them to decorate white things. Spray paint bottles or jars with brown spray paint and put white/ivory flowers in them and decorate with teal bows. Tufts of ribbon (wired) can be put in floral arrangements/bouquets.

You'll have a job finding any fresh flowers in teal, but silk ones may be possible. Be careful your teals are all the same; some are greener or bluer. A range of darker and lighter teals will look classier and more natural, especially with the flowers. Take photos with and without flash; it shows up whether your colors are in harmony or not (had same problem with lilac). Generally, having everything precisely matching makes anything slightly off look odd, but if there is a range of intensity in colors, it looks meant and is far more sophisticated.

Love your color scheme; wish I still organized weddings! If you can get paper napkins in chocolate and teal (or a softer aqua that tones in) alternate them at places with ivory/white ones which cost less. If it is a small wedding, you could dye fabric tablecloths and napkins to your color.

By attila

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January 27, 20090 found this helpful

I am trying to put on a second wedding reception. My husband is a sailor who is shipping out for the US Navy.

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December 31, 20080 found this helpful

I was hoping you guys could brainstorm some inexpensive reception ideas. We had a small wedding planned and the service will be quite small, but the guest list keeps growing for the reception.

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