Reception advice


Ok folks, I’m not very crafty and I don’t really do parties so I’m in need of some opinions on what to do for our wedding reception. It’s been a while since I’ve posted about this, but the date is Dec 22nd and we’re going for an afternoon reception so people can leave early if they need to.

For the favors I’m thinking about buying some little mini buckets (seen here) and putting various things inside such as m&m’s, dried fruit, mixed nuts, and maybe a some with miniature chocolate bottles with alcohol in the center.

For the centerpiece I was thinking about buying some glass bowls (seen here) and putting some river rocks or glass beads in the bottom and floating candles and for others maybe flower pettles and the floating candles. The little favors would be placed around these bowls along with maybe some Christmas ornaments or flowers or maybe something else (I want to mix it up a little so not all the tables will look exactly the same).

Oh, and if I found a lady that would make a 3 tier cathedral length veil for somewhere between $30-40, is that a good deal? To me it seems kind of high considering it’s just a few pieces of material with a white ribbon for trim around the edges, but all the other veils I’ve seen are insanely expensive. Am I just naive and absolutely everything associated with weddings is always outrageously priced?


It’s been 18 mo since my wedding… and yet I still love all things wedding. I’m a craft freak and I loved doing all the wedding decorations for mine!

First, $30-40 is a steal for that length of veil, even if the material is synthetic. What is she making the veil out of and what is she trimming it with? What sort of headpiece does it attach to?

Yes, everything dubbed as “wedding” is 10x as expensive as the same thing bought elsewhere. So, the secret is to source everything from places that don’t sell “wedding” items.

I found all sorts of stuff on the internet for my wedding.

Let me think about some Christmas type decorations and post back again. What colors are you using for dresses, ribbon, etc? What flowers for your bouquet? Also, what’s your budget for centerpieces ($/centerpiece & # of centerpieces) and budget for favors ($/favor & # of favors)?

p.s. Do you know about the Catholic brides forum at Come on over!


Totally overpriced!

I recently read a book on bargain weddings. The authors would call a reception site and get prices for a wedding. They would call again a few hours later and ask about prices for a family reunion. Guess what?! The family reunion prices were lower. (same date, time of day, menu etc) It’s a racket. —KCT


That’s the book Bridal Bargains by Denise & Alan Fields.

I highly recommend that book!


She said it was going to be made out of illusion tulle and would have a comb attached and it’s trimmed with a sort of silver or white shiny ribbon (I don’t sew, is it that obvious :blush: )

I’ve been looking for deals on the internet. Actually I got my dress from a shop online and it was $350 total. My dress has a flower pattern on it and my maid of honor is getting a green dress – sage if you want to get specific. The church’s patron is St. Patrick so I thought green was appropriate, but other than that I really don’t have any specific colors picked out as “mine”. I’m more going for whatever happens to look good together; green, red, gold, pink, brown, whatever. I’m not hard to please as long as the colors don’t look like a rainbow threw up over my decorations.

Well, about those flowers… the church has a ton of poinsettias (yellow and red) that are all over during Christmas so those and some green wreaths will decorate the church. I don’t really know what I want in my bouquet because so many flowers are beautiful. I like amaryllis and orchids and lillies and daisies and roses and anything else that blooms and looks pretty or smells nice. I’ve yet to talk to a florist though so nothing’s decided yet. Oriental lillies have always been my favorite flower since I was a little girl (funny story about my mom breaking one of my favorite plants at the base of the stem one summer and she tried to put it back together… hilarious but of course it didn’t work :rolleyes: ) and those were the main flowers I picked out for my mom’s funeral so I want at least a few of those somewhere.

And yes, I know about that forum. I drop by occasionally to read, but I’ve never registered.


:eek: Maybe when I start looking for a reception hall to book I should say it’s for a family reunion… a brand new family! lol, seriously though, that’s sad. I’m beginning to understand why people would rather just go to the justice of the peace or skip marriage all together and just live with eachother. Sometimes being Catholic has its drawbacks, especially in the pocketbook area :shrug: such is life I suppose, and honestly I wouldn’t have it any other way. Learning to graciously part with my money is something this wedding is going to teach me. Either that or I’ll hurt someone… I’ll let you guys know which happens.


We got our favors from It was a nice religious touch, the items looked nice on the tables (almost like auxiliary centerpieces), and they have such great deals in the clearance section! You just have to watch it like a hawk 'cuz the really good deals sell out super fast.

For me, it was totally worth going with silk/artificial flowers everywhere but the altar. Not only was it cheaper (MUCH cheaper), it was more convenient b/c we didn’t have to worry about things wilting. Of course, since you’re to be wed during the Christmas season, you can mooch off those decorations to the max to keep costs down. Unfortunately, that also means you’ll be a victim of inflated flower prices if you pick anything red or Christmas-related. You might be stuck with red b/c of the poinsettias. You could also try to go with a lot of greens and whites, since sage is a difficult color to coordinate with (at least in my opinion).


we gave out something like this from autom:


That site does have some good deals, and the cross is beautiful vluvski, but a lot of the family is not religious and quite a few are fairly anticatholic (we’ll be lucky if they show up at all) and any gift with religious connotations would be taken badly.


This is what we gave as our favors…because my DH nickname for me was Bee and mine for him was Bear

Explore Emily Perales

**My mom is in the middle of prom season right now but i’ll ask her for some suggestions on flowers…she’s an extremely talented florist:)

As to the buckets are you going to put the items in the bucket and then wrap in tulle, fabric etc? SInce its a Christmas time wedding why don’t you do ornaments for favors instead? It seems to go with your theme more…**


I just threw my first of 5 bridal showers this year last weekend, so I’m trying to keep stuff on a budget.

For our centerpieces I went to Ikea and got vases for 6 bucks (but they looked WAY more expensive) and then I found cute red and white heart shaped vase gems at a craft store and we bought red tulips (200 stems for 250 bucks). For the favors, one of the bridesmaids sisters made truffles and we placed them on pretty glass dishes.

I would stay away from nuts for the favors. You don’t know who has allergies (like myself) and if you put the nuts in one bucket, and then immediately use the same hand to put M&M’s in the next the person could have a reaction (like myself). I’d also double check with the reception hall about the use of candles, in some places they are a big no no.


Yep, someone here recommended it. I bought it on e-bay.



That’s too bad, but I understand completely. There are angels on there, too, but you know what will be well-received. No need to get anyone upset on your wedding day and ruin the event.



We found a really great reception hall that would take care of centerpieces for $1 per table. We still did a lot of decorating ourselves, but we thankful for every last thing we did not have to do.


For centerpieces you could do something with pine bows and Christmas ornaments. You can usually find places to buy the glass colored balls in bulk around Thanksgiving time (craft stores or online craft stores). Fresh pine bows would smell wonderful, and you can attach the bulbs with florist wire and make a pretty centerpiece. Put that on a mirrored square, put a few votive candles around it, and voila. I think it would look really nice.

You could also just put the glass balls in a bowl/vase of some kind-- that looks nice too.

I alternated flowers floating in a bowl (3 gerbera daisy heads) with a pillar candle in a hurricane glass. Half the tables had flowers and half had candles. The reception hall supplied the mirrors, bowls, candles, and hurricanes. So, ask what your reception place includes and you might get a break on having to buy some stuff.

Get the December issue of magazines like Better Homes & Gardens, Woman’s Day, or Country Living, Martha Stewart, etc. They will have a TON of holiday decoration articles and “how to” demonstrations. They’ll probably have centerpieces, place cards, favors-- everything you need for ideas.


I think $30-40 is an exceptionally good price for what you are getting. Illusion with a satin ribbon edging & comb, especially for that length.


Thanks for the plug, 1ke! :slight_smile:

journey137 - stop by and join this time! We have a great bunch of brides, both married and engaged! :thumbsup:



Hi there. I am getting married in 15 days, so I know exactly where you are coming from!

For the favors, I am doing a “candy buffet.” I bought 6 large glass jars from Wal-Mart for about $2.00 each, bought bulk candy (3 chocolate, 3 non-chocolate) from BJs which was about $50, and then bought small pink and brown paper bags (my colors) from Michaels for about $10. I stamped the bags with “Love, Honor, and Cherish” they’re really cute. The favor table will be placed at the exit so people can take them if they want. It’s been my experience that not everyone wants the favors. So this way they can take it or leave it.

The reception is at a plantation. We have to provide just about everything, so if you can afford it I would get a hall where they provide the whole shebang. We didn’t think about things like who is bringing ice, who is taking the trash away, who will set up the favors, who will decorate…so beware.

For the centerpieces I bought small metal pails from Wal-Mart which were about $1.50 apiece. We’re having a local Mennonite woman do the flowers for us. It’s going to cost about $300 for the whole thing, and that’s including my bouquet and the bridesmaid’s bouquets.

Happy Planning! Let me know if you need any advise.


Maria - I can’t wait to hear what she has to say.

1ke - I’m going to write down the fresh pine idea :thumbsup:

Whenever we pick a reception site, I will ask about the candles. Right now we’re thinking about having it in the church hall which definately allows candles – at least I hope so because we just had a chemistry magic show in there for grades 3-5 and we did some fire tricks and nobody complained about flames that were a 1.5 feet tall. The other place we’re thinking about is the Lion’s Club hall and I don’t know their candle policy. I have some friends that had their reception there and it was really cheap to rent it for the entire weekend. The only downside is we have to do everything and supply everything except tables and chairs for both places.

Everyone is being so helpful and making me think about things I most likely wouldn’t have thought about on my own (e.g. nut allergies)… thanks so much guys! :smiley:


without knowing your style I can’t say what the “perfect” decorations are. That being said, I know the dollar stores in my area all have white and ivory wedding candles for a dollar. They also have ribbon and other notions you can use. I got mirror squares(12"x12"), put a candle on top, got some heart confetti and sprinkled it on the mirror and draped some really pretty cloth ribbon (which I had also used for my bouquet) on the mirror too… It turned out really pretty. Also… depending on your style… I used to do decorations for a dinner theater… I have used red checked material, old aluminum watering cans and just local flowers in bloom too… very country but looks really nice. Ummm… gosh it’s been a while since I have done this… How about potpourri? It’s pretty cheap too… especially at dollar stores.

Do you have a theme going on? I see it is near Christmas. Oh the possibilities! Pine cones, evergreen, red and green bows…

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