Did you have a home reception for your wedding?


And if so, what are some things that you should/should not have done? :slight_smile: We’ll be having a home reception at my fiance’s home because 1) I can’t afford a reception that is $30/person if I invite all the big families I know, and 2) I think I can have a much nicer one at home than I could have anywhere else provided I plan it well enough.

We will be having the wedding catered by a local family-owned catering business, and I’ll be renting tables, tableclothes, chairs, etc.

Now I just need ideas on decorations, music, favors, nice touches, etc. As well as things to avoid at all costs… :eek:

So, girls, was choosing a home reception a mistake or the best decision you could have made? :slight_smile:


kevinsgirl :love:

P.S. Any ideas on nice Catholic touches?


I did not have a home reception because I was married on Dec. 30 and it turned out to be two days after one of the biggest multi-State blizzards at the time (I think there have been a couple more since then).

I did have my reception in the basement of the Church though and the Altar Rosary society made the sandwiches etc. and then we all went back to my parents house for more :D. Only a few more people were able to come after.

Now my sister had a home reception and we made everything except the cake! For a month or more before we started making and freezing the sweets and we cooked several large turkeys and a ham, sliced them up and froze them ready to be pulled out, thawed and served. My parents did purchase some really good rolls from one of the grocery stores and then we made the salads the day before (potatoe, cole-slaw). We served it as a buffet and I don’t remember if we used paper plates or not but it was not that hard to do.

I don’t even remember if we rented tables etc. or not but there were not a lot of decorations.

Now something I did for my wedding was take circles of tuille and wrap Jordan Almonds and tied them with ribbon and those were my favors that we handed out at the reception. I did that again for my 25th Wedding Anniversary party too - again at home with some close friends. The legend with Jordon Almonds is if you put them under your pillow you will dream about who will be your future spouse!

Today you can order trays of cold cuts and cheeses to be put out for the reception.

I would also consider having my Wedding at about 7 p.m. on a Saturday night and only serving desserts. This is a bit more cost effective than having to serve a full meal to a large group of people. This also gives you the option of not having to go to Mass the next day so you can party well into the night if you have a permit from the city to do so (there are noise ordinances).

Just some thoughts.

Brenda V.


For favors, how about making hand knotted rosaries (the Rosary Army website has the directions) in your wedding colors?


yes we did, and so did my two sisters. We married on Friday evening after Christmas, and had cake and punch, catered by family friends as their gift to me, at my parent’s home afterward. DH family was incensed we did not have the whole big shmear so they could use it as an occassion to show off to their friends and family (like they did with their other 3 kids, going thousands of dollars into debt, which we then helped pay off).


We had a small reception (55 people) in a local spot because my parents’ house was too small. Yes: we got flak from my husband’s family when they were afraid we were going to serve only champagne and cake (which would have been fine with me) because “you can’t expect people to come 1000 miles and not give them dinner.” Bottom line: a good time was had by all. Nobody went into debt.

GOING INTO DEBT FOR A PARTY IS STUPID!!! It is unspeakably vulgar and goes under the heading of “living beyond your means.” Gag.

The best wedding I have ever been too was done in the groom’s father’s chapel (he’s an Anglican bishop) at their home on a mountain in New Hampshire. The reception was catered by all of us – elegantly, if I say so myself – and a tent, china, glassware, cutlery, tables & chairs were rented for the 24 people who attended. We made floral arrangements from the wildflowers in blossom in the meadow.

Go for it!


We had our reception in the church hall of the Cathedral where we got married and it was really cheap. We chose this because we had over 200 guests, and we had over 200 guests because we wanted to use our wedding as an evangelization opportunity. So, we couldn’t fit over 200 people at either of our parent’s houses. BUT, as someone posted above, rosaries are an EXCELLENT “party favor.” I had connections through a Catholic bookstore I worked for and got about 300 rosaries from Brazil, and I was fortunate enough to be able to bring them with me to World Youth Day in Cologne, so all of our guests got a rosary blessed by the Holy Father, along with a prayer card (printed on a home computer and copied at Kinko’s) explaining what the rosary is and asking for their prayers. It was a great way to keep everyone focused on the sacrament.

I would say to make sure the house you are having your reception at has enough bathrooms for amount of guests you are having, and also parking solutions (depending on where the house is), If you keep everything simple, it will turn out just fine, and people are more likely to remember the joy of you and your fiance than they are most other things. Our wedding day was fantastic…really the best day of my life, so be sure whatever things you choose for the home reception that they aren’t going to stress you out so much that you both won’t be able to relax and rejoice. :thumbsup:


Hey everyone! :wave: Thanks for all the input so far!

About bathrooms: the house has 2 1/2 baths, so hopefully that’ll suffice…

About parking: the house is near a school which has a really nice parking lot that we’re planning on using… :smiley:

About going into debt: not going to do it. I have a budget which I’m sticking to–hence the home reception. Oh, and I got the caterer to agree to $12/person, so I’m saving a lot on the food. It’ll be a luncheon reception, but I decided to go ahead and serve a nice hot lunch (at that price I could do it). We’ll be having something like 2 entrees, sandwich trays, finger food, hot dips, cold dips, fresh fruit and vegetable displays, and punch. And then there will also be champagne (for the toast) and cake.

Lol, ok, now I’m getting hungry…

What did ya’ll do about decorations? Silk or fresh flowers? I’m going back and forth with this one…

And what about bridal party gifts? Did you give your parents a gift?


kevinsgirl :love:


If you have a home reception and have more than 100 ppl you will need bathrooms. As in, porta-potties. Your septic system will not be able to handle all those people at once, plus I wouldn’t want to wait a long time to use a bathroom. I see nothing wrong with home receptions, but bear in mind when you rent all the tables, chairs, tents, etc it sometimes ends up being just as expensive as renting a hall that has all that stuff already. Trust me, I’m in the same position right now.


The wedding advice sites that talked about this pretty much said what Stratus Rose said. Not saying you can’t do it inexpensively, but to have a nice outdoor reception at home is hard.

I’ve been to a really nice reception where it was more of an open-door event, not a “party.” They had appetizers around the house, which wasn’t terribly big. You mixed and mingled, congratulated the couple and the family, and then left. They did have a large, beautiful back yard full of flowers and a pool which made it seem more elegant.


My silk/artificial flowers ended up being somewhat cheaper than real for the varieties I picked (calla lilies, roses), but the big benefit was that I didn’t have to worry about them wilting or bruising or not arriving. I bought it months ahead of time and prepared all the bouquets and arrangements myself, loaded them in the car, and decorated with my family the day before and the morning of.

It was a lot of trouble to decorate the reception hall since we had to go straight to the rehearsal, but if more of our bridesmaids and groomsmen would have made themselves available to help it would not have been such a lot of work for us.

So, it worked great to go with artificial, but not so great to go with decorating ourselves. Def get LOTS of friends to help out with this and plan on RELAXING yourself. Something will come up to keep you busy.


You are absolutely right that it can cost the same… In our case, the church we’re getting married at is in a bad area of town and doesn’t have a nice hall, so we already knew we’d have to look somewhere else. As for the other church hall I looked at, it was a requirement that I be a parishioner–which I wasn’t.

So in our case, we didn’t have that many options. And so far, everything is looking fairly reasonable cost-wise. I also figure that since it’ll be at my fiance’s home, I’ll actually be able to decorate it exactly how I want it with plenty of time before the wedding–not last minute rushing. Hopefully…:rolleyes:

One thing I’d really like to do is order some beautiful bridal-themed prints and frame them. I’ll hang them with those wide satin ribbons you see in magazines and…voila…I’ll have some of the wedding reception hall look. :slight_smile:

Oh, and StratusRose, I loved your wedding ticker…couldn’t resist getting one…although I did choose a different one… :slight_smile:


My wedding reception was at the Officer’s Club at our local Army Base, but my sister’s was at my grandma’s house.

I’m not exactly sure how many people were there, but it was somewhere between 75 and 120. My grandma has 2 bathrooms, and it worked out fine (people mostly used 1 bathroom, we used the other one).

My mom bought tulle in bulk and used it for everything. She also bought a pretty light sage green material for tableclothes (you can rent if it is cheaper). I thought everything was very pretty. The flowers were fake for the reception and real for the Church (At the altar, bride’s bouquet, moh, etc.). With fake flower’s it was easier to prepare the arrangements beforehand. She was married close to Christmas so the house was already decorated for Christmas, that helped. Tables, chairs, etc were rented, food was catered.
Let me see if I remember anything else (lol it was less than 5 yrs ago, gee)


What about music for home receptions? DJ? Band? Musician? Vocalist? Quartet? Symphony? Ok, so maybe I got carried away there… :wink:

Seriously we’re thinking about either getting a MP3 player/Ipod or burning a CD and just using speakers. Has anyone else done this?


Here is a pic of the table where my sister and bro-i-l sat (ignore the chairs, those were the ones we rented for the guests and we hadn’t arranged them all yet I guess.) The table wasn’t completely set up when the pic was taken, but you can get an idea. The tulle in the picture is green, and the flowers are silk. I thought everything looked beautiful, but I don’t think it shows that much in the pic. I can’t find a picture of the whole area though…


If you want to save money go with a DJ or the CD/ipod idea.

We used the least expensive DJ in town and they were EXACTLY what we needed. They took an hour to “interview” us about our tastes, and everything they played could have been hand-picked by me. I think I paid 350 for 4 hours, when some were charging 7 and 8 hundred for 3 hours. A band is a LOT more expensive, but you might be able to find a quartet that is cheaper. Definitely ask around. A music student might be a good option, too!


Um, lifeisbeautiful, that picture DEFINITELY shows how lovely the entire setting was. That looks amazing!


Wow…I love that! Thanks so much for posting the photo! It’s very much what I’d like to do… :slight_smile:

Did ya’ll get the silk flowers from Hobby Lobby?


Yes, I got them from Hobby Lobby during the fall half price off all artificial flowers sale.

I used some of the more expensive almost rubbery type flowers that were $1-2 each, and spent around $50 without any of the trimmings like ribbons, floral tape, and wiring. I did end up with far too many white calla lilies though.

We still have all my decorations if you want me to ask my mom about loaning them out. I have all sorts of the random stuff taking up space in my attic, but I think my mom ended up with most of the nicer arrangements. All of our bows were borrowed.


Sorry, I don’t know where the flowers came from, but here is a list of ideas I had saved when I was looking for centerpieces (my mom ended up having a florist do them for my wedding, but anyways I had liked some of these ideas):
· Make a small centerpiece look larger

Use a mirror. You can rent round, flat mirrors from your local florist or other party supply stores.
· Ask your reception site if they have anything to offer for centerpieces.

Some will include table centerpieces with the rental of your hall at no extra charge. AND – some will even give you a choice, such as a small floral arrangement or hurricane lamps. However, some may not offer this up for free, unless you ask.

  1. Candles - Candles make a very inexpensive table centerpiece and can add romance and elegance to any reception. Try arranging several candles of varying heights. White candles are elegant and coordinate with any wedding decor - or use candles that match your wedding colors.
  2. Hurricane Lamp - For a single candle use a hurricane lamp. They can be rented very inexpensively from your florist or other supply store.

Here are a few tips to decorate your hurricane lamps:
· Add greenery around the base
· Along with your greenery, add in some silk or fresh flowers to add color
· For a little more sparkle, spread some gold confetti on the table around the candle.
5. Helium Balloons - Balloons make a festive centerpiece for a more informal wedding. Talk to your florist or better yet - a company that specializes in balloon decorations.
6. Fresh Cut Flowers - Buy fresh cut flowers from a flower wholesaler or market. You don’t have to be an expert floral designer either – for instance, six fresh cut tulips or white roses look beautiful when simply placed in a small vase. This is a very simple, elegant and inexpensive way to have a floral centerpiece.
7. Favors that Double as Centerpieces - You could also use your favors as your centerpiece. It is referred to as a “break away” centerpiece. Just arrangement them nicely in the center of the table. Round, flat mirrors can be used as a base to place the favors on. The favors can be boxes of candy, votive candles, tiny potted plants, miniature bells, dried flowers…
8. Food Centerpieces - Decorate wicker baskets with ribbon and/or material and put homemade bread or muffins inside. Or use a cheese board with cheese and crackers and garnish with fresh fruit or olives and peppers.
9. Floating Candles - Take miniature candles and float them in a large bowl filled with water. You can also add a few flower or rose petals in the water.
10. Candles and Mirrors
Place a clear candle holder with a candle (matching your color scheme) on top of a small round mirror. Decorate with ivy and flowers.
From another web site:
Planted Miniature Roses
I’m having a summer wedding, so roses will be in season. Instead of paying for roses that will last only a week or so, I am using potted miniature rose bushes. They only cost around $6 each, and I plan to give them away at the end of the evening to special friends and relatives.
Silver Candelabras
We have decided to rent silver candelabras for each table. Each candelabra holds 5 white candles. We are placing each on a square piece of mirror and putting ivy and small white flowers around it.


I love your ticker, very classic!

About the flowers…now if it were up to me, I would use real flowers. You can get lovely bouquets from Safeway, Whole Foods, and other nice supermarkets. I know of many brides who did this and they were just as nice as what a florist could do. I really don’t see the point of hiring one. This is what we are doing, my wedding is going to be in Southern Maryland (where I am from) and there are a lot of Amish and Mennonites down there. My mom is friendly with one Mennonite family and they said that they will start growing my flowers in January. When they’re ready they will cut them and put them in 5 gallon buckets of water. My stepsister will pick them up the day before or day of the wedding and arrange them since she loves to do things like that. It’s like buying flowers wholesale which is what florists do. So check into those two options, whatever you decide to do I’m sure it will be lovely!

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