It’s only taken me two months to gather my thoughts and share our wedding pre-ception party and I mean that in THE most sarcastic way possible. Here’s to hoping it doesn’t take me that long to post wedding pictures and the video after the big day!
Before the many photos lets talk details! I used social media for a ton of the planning aspects. I asked for vendor advice on Facebook and got so much help from fellow moms, brides and friends.
To plan the pre-ception I knew we needed a tent, tables, chairs, table coverings, catering, bathrooms and a bounce house, yes, I refuse to have bored kids at a party. We needed these things to stay on budget so working with family friends, off recommendations and DIYing was the route we went.
Starting off with the tent, tables and chairs. I checked into a few companies but went with a recommendation from our friends and we used C&N Party Rental. They were great to work with, drop off and pick up was done in a timely manner and I was able to add things on and take things off as I got a final count of people coming. We got 80 chairs, 12 banquet tables, 6 high tops, 18 table covers and a 20×40 tent all for $635!
For catering I knew I wanted to go with Dorsey Culinary School. How many of you knew you could use a school to cater your event?! My girlfriend used them for her wedding a few years ago and said the food and service was phenomenal and for an outstanding price. She has great taste so I contacted them right away. Funny story, I found out the catering manager is my 6th grade teachers son, small world! We went with the choice of 4 pass hors d’oeuvres, along with chips and hummus and artichoke dip to start with.
Followed up by an antipasta station that you see below. I was in awe of it really! It was THE biggest cheese and cracker platter you ever saw! I loved how it was basically a antipasta salad bar taken apart to munch on, so clever! For the main dinner we choose Que Pasa Mexicana! In honor of our wedding in Mexico and it being our favorite food; there was a selection of nachos, tacos, or quesadillas and all the toppings.
We also had chicken fingers and mac and cheese, because well kids man, kids. For dessert we did a sweet table dessert station that had mini mousse & tiramisu cups, mini cheesecakes, truffle fruits and chocolate dipped strawberries. I also was dead set on candy bar because my sweet tooth is HUGE. We did the candy bar on our own though because it was much cheaper to do so, plus I got to pick exactly the candy I wanted. I choose to pick candy I actually liked instead of following some color scheme, the last thing I want is candy left over that I’ll never eat because it “went with my colors”, so not practical people!
The catering part for about 85 people was $1762. Breaking that down it was about $20/person for hors d’oeuvres, pasta station dinner and dessert (candy was purchased separately) and to me $20 a person seemed great for all that food! What was also built into this cost was the two chefs that worked the entire function and not only cooked, they passed and replenished food and cleaned up the entire event.
The candy station jars were found at all different dollar stores and Salvation Army’s and the candy was bought on Amazon and at Doc’s Sweets by my mom and Tom (thanks for being so sweet guys, get it! Lord I’m funny) I can’t tell you how much it all was but I want to say under $200, correct me if I’m wrong mother!
Speaking of my mom and Tom, because they were so gracious to let us use their backyard for the party their one rule was no one in the house. We all know that 85 people using the same shitter can get messy and that’s just not something they needed to deal with. We also went by recommendation by my girlfriend that used the cater’ and we used Jay’s Septic Service. We got 2 standard bathrooms and hand washing station for $285. To be honest, we probably could have just used one but yolo 😉
KIDS ACTIVITIES/BOUNCE HOUSE:
Originally we invited 120 people with 20 of them being kids over 2 and I knew I didn’t want them to be bored so a bounce house was always on the list. We also grabbed a bunch of little toys, play dough and coloring things for them to do so their parents had two hands free to eat and drink! We rented the bounce house from Acme Partyworks that Jerek’s sister and wife had used for our nephews birthday before. We made sure to get the one that allowed grownups to go on, because you know, we are children at heart. It was $134 with delivery and pickup and then another $50 for the activities so call it $184 for the kids to give their parents a few hours off. While we anticipated more kids being there it was well worth it to have activities to keep them happy!
All the juice, soda, water, beer, plates, cups, and napkins were all bought at Sams club, Costco and the dollar store. The wine was from Trader joes and the keg at our local liquor store. I have receipts somewhere but it’s almost 1am and I’m sitting on the couch typing this so my best guess is it was all under $500.
Tom had the backyard wired with surround sound so I hooked up my iPhone to a Spotify station and called it a day. I really wasn’t too concerned as long as it was good music. Free, good, music people!
I did a whole post on the flowers because they deserved their own post! If you want to see how I only spent $130 on all the flowers and why you should hire Amy from MI Honeybee Flowers you can read the post here!
My mother is a wiz with a sewing machine. With that being said I showed her my Pinterest board with all the lighting and bunting hung in the trees and tent she went to work. At first I said I don’t care what colors you do so she ordered fall fabric. And then I came in, being a bridezilla for about 5 seconds and changed my mind after she already ordered the fabric. So doing what any mother would do for her favorite daughter, she bought all new fabric and made over 200 feet of fabric bunting. She bought the lights on sale last day after christmas for a few bucks. She then took old barn wood, painted, distressed the parking signs and made us a sign for our house with our last name. I mentioned how great she is right??!!
Odds and ends we picked up through the month were probably about $200 I would say.
HOW WAS THE PLANNING?
I planned a little each week over the last 6ish months. I did research when I had the time but used social media a lot to rely on others for opinions and references. Don’t be afraid to do this either, after all, don’t you want to know first hand about a bad experience!
I commend you if you’ve made it this far, I almost didn’t. Over all, loosely summing everything up we (not including what my mom bought) spent about $3700. Personally I think this s great for a reception for about 85. We will still be have the wedding portion and reception to pay for in Mexico that is for about 25 people. I included all the pricing because I want you to see that things can be done on a budget and still be nice, tasteful and creative. Most people planning a reception aren’t getting away with $3700 just for the booze for their guests!
As for the wedding, we have everything budgeted out to account for flights, the all inclusive resort and wedding reception but you’ll have to wait till April to find out more about that! Thanks for following along on our wedding journey! I’d love to hear any secrets you did to save money on the big day, so leave them in the comments below and thanks again for supporting my family!