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Apr 18, 2011 08:09 PM

Wedding on a budget - NEED DESPARATE HELP!

Hi Everyone,

I'm trying to get married this October where I have 200 guests and have about $15000 to spend on the reception as the wedding costs are covered by parents (WHEW!)

Banquet Halls are out of the question!
No cocktail reception
Can be a buffet style or food station style reception

I would love to have it downtown Toronto, but would I be able to afford it, I'm not sure

Your help is appreciated!

Stressed Out Gal

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  1. You should try and do a search on the Frugal Bride (babbling bride forum). At $75pp (including tax and tip)... it might be hard to find a place downtown but def do-able with some research.

    I went to a beautiful reception at the Japanese Cultural Centre a few years back. They brought their own caterers in. The venue is North Toronto but the space was beautiful.

    1. Does this budget include an open bar or beverage service of some sort?

      1. is that 200 confirmed rsvps?
        or just how many u are inviting?

        4 Replies
        1. re: srsone

          200 is confirmed and we yes we would like to include the open bar beverage price in it as well

          1. re: stressedoutgal

            I hate to break this to you, but I don't think you can reasonably expect to have a space, food and open bar for 200 people for 15K. That's $75/person, without taxes and service fees. If you count tax and service, you're looking at more like $55/person. That could probably get you your space and a buffet dinner, but open bar is not really in the cards.

              1. re: stressedoutgal

                Ok, that's going to be a challenge. To do this on your budget, you'll need to find a venue that will allow you to bring in your own beverages with a small corkage fee. If you don't, a big chunk of your budget will be spent on drinks.

                For instance, not everyone drinks, but some people drink much more than others. As a starting point I'd budget for 1 per person per hour of the event. For some crowds this number will be way too low so you have to take into consideration your group.

                Typically a reception will be four to six hours, so split the difference and go with five hours. This means that you need to budget for 1,000 drinks. At a 'retail' cost for non-premium drinks (where you're buying the drinks from the venue) that's $6k - 7K.

                That's almost half your budget before, food, service, rentals, tax and landmark fee's meaning about $40 pp left to cover all of these items. I would expect that your food budget would be about $20 pp and the other $20 pp would cover all of the remaining items.

                There are ways to make things more affordable but it depends on what compromises you're willing to make.

                Would you consider an afternoon wedding? Ppl drink less, eat less, and venues generally cost less.

                Would you consider giving your guests wine for the food portion of the evening and then having a cash bar?

                Would you consider a cocktail reception only?

                All of these options lower your price point but ultimately it comes down to what matter most to you and your partner.

            1. The Steelworker's Hall on Cecil Street (College and Spadina) can be rented out for events. It requires thinking outside the wedding box a bit and some creativity with DIY decor but you get to bring in your own caterer unlike many places that have their preferred vendor lists. I've been to two weddings there and they were a lot of fun. It's the vibe and the guests that will make your wedding, not having the perfect beautiful venue :)

              1. Like someone else suggested - i would recommend an afternoon brunch affair. Food should be less expensive, you could cut out the app portion of the event. The alcohol cost would be less (maybe passed sparkling and mimosas and some mixed drinks).

                1 Reply
                1. re: MeMeMe

                  Another idea is to consider the very reasonable rental for a church hall, especially if you are being married in church - but not necessarily necessary! You can spend $1000/1500 on judicious lighting and draping and bringing in some nice chairs and tables, follow the advice to have an afternoon affair with lavish bar and passed hors d'oeuvres - and everyone will have a swell time and not notice anything but what a wonderful time they are having. Many churches also know of independent caterers who will provide food at a fraction of the big companies.