By now we have established a pretty clear look at how to split up most of the budget for your wedding. However, some of the most important parts of your wedding costs are hidden within the reception portion, and really do need to be separated. Some venues may include the cost of food in their fees, however, you will want to make sure if there are additional fees for services such as cake cutting, or bartending. Although venues, or caterers, may have set pricing per person for plated service or buffets, pricing out alcohol can be a bit more challenging. Guests may not remember exactly what they ate or drank at your wedding, but they will certainly remember if it was poor quality or if the bar ran dry! By sticking to the recommended budget percentages, you can easily avoid any food or drink related disasters.
When it comes to food and booze, how much you spend depends on how important these portions of your celebration are to you. For food costs, it is recommended to use between 20% and 39% of your reception budget. If included in the 50% portion of your budget dedicated to your reception, this averages out to be between $2000 and $3900 spent on food, with a $20,000 overall budget. However, some couples will have to pay separately for their food, due to working with a caterer instead of a venue restaurant or in-house chef. These costs may vary slightly based on your venue, as some venues include the meal as a portion of their reception price. The current average of price-per-person for a wedding meal is about $63 in the United States. With the American Foodie culture being a huge influence on weddings, it is no surprise that food is typically the reason weddings go over budget. If $63 per person is way out of your budget, there are several ways to cut food costs, while still having a delicious meal. Shop several caterers in your area, and check out all of their available menu options. Some caterers may offer package deals, or more affordable à la carte options. If you are not glued to having an evening event, consider having a lunch or brunch reception, as pricing for these meals tend to be much less than a full dinner service. Other cost saving options include renting a food truck, restaurant catering, and even self-catering.
If the cost of food has your head spinning, the amount of your budget that is typically spent on drinks may not make you feel any better. Thankfully, this portion of your budget is directly related to your guest list. Couples typically spend between 8-15% of their total budget on alcohol, including beer, wine and liquor. This equates to about $1600 to $3000. If your friends and family not big drinkers, this is the perfect place to make budget cuts. However, if you do plan on having a fully stocked bar for your guests to enjoy, there are several great charts and calculation tools available on Pinterest to ensure you have enough booze for all of your guests. Each venue, bartending service, or liquor store, will price their alcohol differently. Once you have your total amounts for each type of booze you will need, it becomes much easier to figure out how much your total will be for this portion of your budget. If you are looking to not spend too much on drinks, consider offering guests beer and wine, with a cash bar for liquor drinks. You can also save by skipping the traditional drink options, and only serving select specialty cocktails. A bride’s cocktail and a groom’s cocktail are a great way to incorporate your own personal taste into your bar service. If you do take this route, it is highly recommended to have the option of a cash bar for guests who may not have the same drink preferences. If you do plan on having a cash bar, be sure to inform guests before they arrive to ensure they know to bring cash. Other cost saving options include having a brunch reception, where the only alcohol offered is champagne for mimosas, or buying a few kegs and having a beer only bar.
Although food is typically the highest percentage of your wedding budget, your food and booze costs do not need to send you to the poor house. By planning ahead, and taking your guests into consideration, you can easily mold your wedding needs to fit your budget. For some examples of various wedding budget sizes, check out http://apracticalwedding.com/creative-sample-wedding-budgets/ to view potential wedding planning options within your spending limits. The most important thing to remember, as always, is that this is your day! If you want to serve high class hors d’oeuvres, then put that in your budget. If you want to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for your wedding meal, and spend more on your honeymoon than your food budget, do it! Make your wedding budget reflect what you want at your wedding. Thanks for reading, and happy wedding planning!