Now I totally get it. When we started planning our wedding, Ty had one stipulation: the reception had to be a great party. And I was right on board. After all, I typically base how much I enjoyed a wedding according to how much fun I had at the reception.
Just like with our wedding ceremony, we wanted everything to have meaning to us. So we chose to have our reception at our hometown theater, the Empire Arts Center. Dinner was served in the lobby and our dance was set up on the stage, the very same stage that Ty and I performed together on as Linus and Lucy in You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown when we were in 8th grade. (Some day I’ll have to share our love story.)
As for the food, we kept is casual with pizza from our favorite local restaurant, Rhombus Guys, and instead of cake, we indulged in cupcakes from the bakery down the street, Dakota Harvest. This was one of the best decisions we could have made! Because we didn’t have a formal sit down dinner, both Ty and I felt free to roam and mingle with our 150 guests during dinner. This meant that by the time the dance started, we were able to let loose! (Also, leftover cold pizza was just the thing we needed the morning after our wedding!)
Here’s a look at our Reception + Cost Breakdown. If you missed the Ceremony, read about it here. And be on the lookout for the Details coming next!
All photos thanks to Meili Photography + Videography.
Cost Breakdown for Wedding Reception on a Budget
Venue Rental: $550
This was a serious steal. We had full access to the entire theater and its equipment, and because nothing was booked the day prior to our wedding, we were able to go in early and set up.
Even though we weren’t having a formal dinner, we still knew we needed someone to look after the food. Luckily, two of my mom’s co-workers were happy to help!
Linens Rental: $50
Hair dressers know everything, don’t they? My mom’s directed us to a nearby barn event space that was willing to rent us tablecloths, burlap, and other various linens for just $50!
Napkins & Serving Dishes: $74
We bought the “fancy plastic” plates and napkins from Sam’s Club along with some other serving dishes that were used for our apps and salad.
Appetizers, Salad, & Trail Mix Bar: $221
Also from Sam’s Club, we decided to make our own salad to serve with dinner. It was actually super easy to do (not that I did any of it…). We also had strawberries, hummus, veggies, and pretzels available for guests while they waited for dinner to start. Later on in the night, we had a DIY trail mix bar along with popcorn from the theater’s popcorn machine. We stamped each paper bag with the same vintage R stamp we used on our programs.
So how many pizzas do you order for 150 people? 30.
We ordered 1.5 cupcakes per person.
In my experience, almost every wedding in North Dakota has a cash bar. I didn’t even realize this wasn’t the norm everywhere until after we got married. We provided wine we had bought at Trader Joe’s for guests as they arrived at the reception. The cash bar was run by a local bar, Joe Black’s, at no charge to us. And luckily for our guests, most adult beverages cost an average of $3 (one of the perks of living in a small city).
Nearly everything was borrowed from my grandma’s, my mom’s, and True Colors (my first job!) or was a DIY project. Ty even made chandeliers for the stage out of tumbleweeds and Christmas lights! The only decorations we purchased were the engagement photos we printed to put in the theater’s poster windows.
Because the theater was, well, a theater, we were able to use the entire sound system. We bought all of our music via iTunes and had one of our friends be in charge of the music. It was perfect! And it also meant that all of the songs were exactly what we wanted. Tip: If you want everyone up and dancing, keep the slow songs to a minimum! We only had 5.
Total Spent on Wedding Reception: $2,351
- Wedding Ceremony $950 – My Dream Wedding for Under $8K
- Wedding Details $3,268 – My Dream Wedding for Under $8K
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