In honour of launching our $28 Classic Buffet (hello, affordable!), we had our Catering Events Manager (and expert party planner), Christina put together her list of 20 Money saving ideas for wedding clients.
The big takeaway: prioritize what is most important–do you want to make sure that you serve a delicious and memorable meal (in which case you’ve come to the right place) or have DJ that keeps the party going all night? Spend your money on those elements and then follow our list below for tips and tricks to save some major money as you start the next exciting phase of your life: marriage.
Food and Beverage
- Be honest with your caterer about your budget, often times we can make suggestion for our clients on how to create a unique and affordable menus (like a more casual cocktail style reception or a couple of food stations instead of a traditional meal or buffet).
- Put together a small buffet of platters for cocktail hour rather than passed canapé service
- There are no rules that say that you have to offer your guests a full open bar for the entire reception. Offering your guests complimentary beer and wine and having a cash bar for high balls and cocktails is a great way to keep your costs down.
- If you decide that you want to purchase your own liquor, it’s best to ask the catering company (us!) to provide you with bartenders, streamlining service through one vendor is very time saving (and time is money, right?)
- Ask family and friends to provide a platter of favourite treats and goodies to set up a dessert table, and then add on a few dozen desserts from your caterer to round out the options.
- If your venue has a gorgeous view, cool art deco features or beautiful landscape, let those elements serve as your decoration and keep all other elements clean and simple.
- Flowers (while beautiful) can add up quickly. Earmark your floral budget for bouquets and boutonnieres and find unique centre pieces that speak to you as a couple. We love these options on Pinterest.
- If you really want flowers, but want to keep your cost down, stick to one or two types of monochromatic flowers, or add lots of greenery, then ask your florist to come up with ideas to re-purpose your arrangements from the ceremony to the reception. Again, Pinterest has endless options for ideas.
- Check Craig’s List and second hand stores for cool and unique décor ideas on the cheap.
- If there are brand new things you want, subscribe to Michael’s newsletters. They often have one day sales on frames, vases and candles. (Also they almost always have a 50% off regular priced coupon in their newsletter).
- Have your ceremony and reception in the same location, you’ll save on travel expenses (and it makes things so much more streamlined for your guests)
- While summer is considered wedding season…you can get married any time of the year you choose. During off peak months, you can save money at most venues.
- Don’t get married on a Saturday. Most venues charge a premium for Saturday bookings, look at hosting on a Sunday or week night.
- E-mail your save the dates and save printing and postage costs
- Instead of having guests mail their RSVP back, set up a wedding site like rileygrey.com. For a small fee, it will track your RSVP count, guest’s dietary restrictions , where everyone is staying and even song requests. Bonus: it allow you to communicate with your wedding guests in an easy and streamlined tool
- If your floor plan will allow for it, rent larger tables (meaning that you will need to rent fewer tables, linens and centre pieces).
- Skip escort cards and allow guests to choose their own seats at the table
- Purchase things that you can repurpose again-like really great shoes that can go from wedding to cocktail party, or décor elements that can be used as accents in your home
- Have your photographer capture all the important moments, ceremony, toasts, first dance…and then leave the picture taking to the wedding guests. You’ll get the most fun, candid pictures of your family and friends AND with smart phones it’s easy to share photos using apps like wedpics.com
- Accept help—maybe your mom has an eye for making floral arrangements, or you have a friend who has awesome hand writing, take everyone up on their offer to help you, you’ll save money and those sweet, personalized touches, made with love, really make weddings memorable.
You are about to host the ultimate party, your wedding! Chances this will be your first time visiting event venues—there will be lots of information to process and learn and our solution is to come armed with a list. Below is a tried and true list of questions that every couple should ask a venue before they book the big day!
Ready to start checking out some spaces? Visit our list of the Fraser Valley’s and Metro Vancouver’s top wedding venues.
- Does the venue have space for both the reception and ceremony (or is it near where the ceremony will be held)?
- What is the capacity of the venue?
- Will any other parties or people have access to the space and are there any other weddings booked at the venue on that date?
- What items are included in our venue rental (chairs, tables, etc.)
- What staff is included in our venue rental (ex. Event manager, sound technician, cleaning staff, etc.)
- Will we have an onsite event manager on the day of our wedding? If so may we meet that person?
- How much is the venue rental and what hours are included?
- What deposits are required to book the date?
- What is the payment schedule?
- Are there any other costs—gratuity, cleaning, staffing, overtime, etc.
- What is the cancellation policy?
- May we source our own vendors or do we have to use a preferred list?
- When may the vendors access the venue?
- Where is load in/load our for vendors
- Are there noise restrictions for band/DJ?
- Is there a sound system or equipment for the DJ and band?
- Is there parking for vans/large trucks vendors?
- May we arrange pick up of vendor items that need to be left behind (ex. rentals) until the following day?
- Where can guests park? Is it free?
- How do guests access the wedding space?
- Where are the washrooms? Is there coat check?
- Is there a space for the bride/wedding party to get ready?
- Who is responsible for set up/tear down of tables and chairs?
- Are there preferred rates at nearby hotels for out of town guests?
- Is the site handicap accessible?
- If there is an outdoor space, what happens when it rains? Is there any tenting or coverage provided?
Food and Drink
- Is there an in-house caterer or may we source our own?
- May we source our own liquor? Is there a corkage fee?
- Who needs to provide a Special Occasion License?
- Is there a food and beverage minimum spend (if using in-house catering?)
Happy site visiting!
It’s been a busy December at The Black Radish Catering Co. helping our clients feed their friend, family and colleagues this holiday season! If you didn’t get a chance to dine with us, we invite you to our sister restaurant The Fat Cow and Oyster Bar to feed your loved ones (and yourself!) Check out our list below for last minute ways to eat deliciously for the rest of the holiday season.
Gift Cards to The Fat Cow and Oyster Bar
Ok, we won’t tell you waited until the last minute to shop (it’ll be our secret). There is still time to pop into The Fat Cow and Oyster Bar to buy a gift card. BONUS: spend $100 and get $15 for yourself. You’re welcome.
Christmas Eve Dinner
Join us on December 24th for our Christmas Eve buffet dinner, for $35/ per person The Fat Cow and Oyster Bar will be serving up holiday favourites including our famous turducken, roast ham, season veg, mashed potatoes, dessert AND MORE. Kids under 5 are free and get to pick a toy under the tree. Call us Santa, because we’re feeling extra generous this year–especially since we’ll do the dishes! Call us to book your reservation.
New Year Eve
Ring in 2017 at The Fat Cow and Oyster Bar and dine on your favourite dishes from our dinner menu (Shrimp and lobster mac and cheese anyone?) reservations still available and are perfect if your New Year’s resolution is to eat delicious things and hang out with awesome people. Call us to book today.
Are your holiday plans all booked up? We’ll catch you in 2017—e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started on planning your wedding, private dinner or corporate event.