I am planning to get married at a small church in April next year but am still struggling with ideas on a reception. I’m looking for something a little out of the box but not out of my reach price wise. I would love any ideas no matter how small or how big and crazy.


Posted by jess, 4th November 2014


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  • I was going to have a small wedding at the beach but because my mother over stepped the line, we ended up having it in our backyard at home. I was able to put my children to bed that time my daughter was 2yrs old so it was a bit of a bonus having it at home. if you set your mind to what u want and budget, you can follow the theme throughout. my wedding was $1,000 altogether. instead of a DJ, we had Foxtel music and did check beforehand what kind of music was on, used any flower vase as a lolly buffet, made cards and decorations myself. had a coffee van to come and give what the guest wanted. it was better than just coffee and tea. my son had too much chocolate milkshake. florist stuffed up the flowers orders, so we basically had to run around woolworths coles, gardens to get flowers. there may be a hiccup but always plan B if you need it. Pinterest gives out good ideas, just a matter of researching where to get it. but wish you all the best.



  • How did the wedding reception go?



  • Best wedding we’ve ever been to was a no frills, no fuss (same as our wedding), it was a BBQ under some gumtrees in a park, it was different, relaxed, inexpensive and everyone had the best time. Parks are free so are backyards, the food is simple, it’s very Aussie, you don’t need to hire and pay for a band of caterers, cooks and waiters, just delegate who is in charge of what on the day and you can organise everything else yourself without fuss and in a short period of time. The happy couple didn’t have a church wedding, they were married in the same park by a Celebrant.



  • you can save so much if you delegate tasks to family and friends, you can create your own invitations etc.
    You can save a lot if you have a morning wedding ceremony, and serve delightful finger foods and fruit punch. There is no need to serve alcohol.
    You can save if your wedding reception is at the same place as your ceremony. Your church may have a hall that can be used and decorated for your reception. Catering can be done by family and friends. Music can be provided by family and friends or have CD’s playing softly in the background.
    You may know someone who can make your wedding cake or have instead, a pyramid of cup cakes.
    Some small intimate weddings, the reception is held at a nice restaurant and with the invitations, provide the menu and ask your guests to make their booking and pay for their own meal and you request not gifts. This is becoming rather popular.
    Your wedding gown is a once only worn gown so you may like to save by having it made in a simple yet elegant style by someone you know or you may be able to borrow or buy a pre loved gown. Good Will Stores often have even new gowns donated. The attendants can chose their attire from these options as well. The male attendants can be more casual and still be nicely dressed without the need of wearing a suit. Bouquets can be made from artificial flowers, you can do these yourself. Do your own hair and make up, and for photographs ask guests to take photos and send to you. By setting dates between now and your wedding date you have a list of things you need to have deadlines for. This will save time and you will be well prepared and this will result in a stress free wedding. You can relax and enjoy your special day.
    Wishing you every happiness



  • I had a bbq for my wedding. No issues financially, we could’ve had a massive wedding. But at the time i was thinking differently.
    I don’t really dance and hubby is shy when all the attention is on him… and theres always gossip from the people you invite, whether you spent a fortune or have a tiny budget.

    So i thought why spend all that money on a reception wedding, when we’re going to be all awkward and people are going to talk crap anyway.

    So we invited everyone to a massive park, bbq, meat, chicken, sausages, salads, fruit, cake, drinks, etc… everyone came in neat clothing, so they were pretty dresses, or slacks and a shirt, (so it wasnt jeans n runners even though we were at a park.)

    did my photos there as well , inc with all the people we invited. (we hired a photographer) there was a small lake and a massive weeping willow tree .
    it was so fun, all kids came along, very casual, no one had to worry about babysitters etc.. i loved it. A footy, some soccer balls and me running around in my wedding dress. it was amazing and very laid back.



  • I would have loved to have our wedding in a paddock with marquees and hay bales…plenty of lanterns and tables with white tables clothes. Ahh possibilities are endless. I have found that unless you know people with nice cars, land for photos/ ceremony/ reception, a friend that is a photographer, people you know that do hair and make up, people that are florists….then all of those things pricings are bumped up as you cant get them for next to nothing or ‘mates rates” and threrfore end up with paying full price.



  • There are a few ways to say some dollars.
    1- Have an afternoon tea in a park where you have some food and have the cake cutting there as well as a quick speech and the cake cutting and then head out for dinner just you and hubby (and maybe the bridal party). Tell everyone that you will be at a certain location (pub/club/casino) at a certain time and you would love for them to join you out to party the night away.
    2-If you have access to a large back yard or paddock, just get a spit roast company in as they are quite cheap and do some decent food
    3- Think outside the box to where you can hold the receprion. Don’t look at the large “wedding” venues. Do you have a favourite spot for dinner? Is there a nice pub close by? Some places have a really nice room they can use for functions and block off from the rest of the place. They will generally do cheaper menus. We went to a place we always go for dinner and asked for their price. They started from $28 per person for a 3 course meal. They had some suggested menus, however we looked through, contacted them and said we would like this and this and this how much and they quoted us on that. To reduce the cost a little more, we had already planned a lolly buffet and wedding cake, so we said no dessert and just asked for a couple of fruit platters and cheese platters to be placed on a table next to the lolly buffet. That reduced the cost.

    For drinks, we went for consumption. We selected a light and a heavy beer that was on tap and chose some wines. we then set the tab. we also asked that they serve wine by the glass to the guests, but charge us by the bottles of wine consumed so we didn’t have half drunk bottles around the room. For around 65 people we paid just over $1000 for bar tab. Much cheaper than drink pack.

    Hope that helped a little



  • Did you end up deciding what you were going to do for reception?



  • You can massively reduce costs by having a lunchtime or midweek reception. Smaller money savers are making your own table decorations and favours. Who needs a cake or flowers, you would be amazed how many people would not notice. Don’t buy new suits or shoes or ties, buy a dress that can be reworn or a second hand dress that can be altered. Save your honeymoon for a cheaper time. Your guests can donate money to your honey moon rather than give gifts and don’t invite children.



  • Craft ideas go on eBay! My sister in law had the most amazing table settings and everything and it was cheap. Little bird cages with the battery operated tea lights etc.



  • Do you know anyone that has a bit of land? Put up a big marquee with tables and chairs cheap and easy to decorate. Hope you have a wonderful day



  • A function in a hall and a band are always good and lots of fun.



  • lots of different ideas here – good luck



  • Another thing to think about. A friend of ours had her reception in a hall and had to have a liquor license for it.
    I don’t know how much it cost but I have seen couples get permission to rope off a section in a reserve or botanic garden and have an outdoor reception/party. Don’t know if you call that “out of the box”? Once when we went to the Botanic Gardens in the park opposite there was 3 wedding “reception” a reasonable distance apart. It pays to make sure they aren’t going to top-dress the lawn at that time. I know a couple who made enquiries about using an area in council owned park. When the got there they had to change to a different spot (where there was less sunlight) because a large section had just been top-dressed which meant the top was mainly dirt.



  • Depending on the time of day, you could have morning or afternoon tea. If the church has a hall large enough you may be able to use it. Check though as they may not allow alcohol. We went to a country wedding. They were able to use the church hall and served a variety of finger food, cakes and desserts. Restrict your numbers and decide whether or not you are going to have children there. If they are in the wedding party they should be at the reception. You can’t expect the parents to attend then have to find a babysitter. You have to be prepared that breatfeeding Mums will bring their babies with them. Don’t be dictated to that you have to invite people you rarely see or that you don’t know but your parents or in-laws do, especially if the parents aren’t footing the bill. It is you and your husband- to- be special day. My cousin had her wedding cake made with birthday cake mixture – not wedding and without nuts in it or in the icing due to a nut allergy. It was a lot cheaper that way. I think she bought the top decoration and either put it on herself or got somebody else to help her put it on……A friend of mine drew the design she wanted while she was still at school. When she started looking for a wedding dress year later, she found one exactly the same design with trimmings on it- on sale – cheaper than it would be just for the material alone. (the funny thing was it was advertised as a deb. dress or an evening gown not a wedding dress).
    Some people hire the bridesmaids dresses and mens suits. If they can’t/won’t be worn for anything else it is usually a better option.


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