The average wedding in the United States today costs $25,000.00 (with more being spent in big cities) & statistically, about 46% of this budget is allocated to the reception. It’s a big chunk of change. Also, there are more options than ever as to how you host a reception!
Here are the three main ways we see clients throw a reception.
A classic way to entertain & can be either super elegant or really fun. It’s great for a wedding where you have speeches you want everyone to hear, or you’re getting a fantastic cake you want people to see you cut. It’s basically the easiest way to make sure that everyone pays attention to you when you need it! It also is the best way to deal with tricky family or friend situations, as it’s customary to assign tables (you can even assign places at tables - old school but amazing!), so you can split up anyone that shouldn’t be at the same table. This is also the best way to manage food costs / equipment costs, as you know exactly what you need!
This can be a great way to have a ton of different types of foods or to have an event be a little more casual. Keep in mind that everyone will need to get food from a buffet, so there is a little less management of when people are sitting down / standing up. Typically you need a ton more vessels to display all of the food on the buffet & you need a little more food. You also need a little more space than a seated dinner or a cocktail style event, so that you have room for cocktail area / buffet area & all of the regular dinner tables.
This is a “party” party. A super fun way to celebrate & because of the lack of tradition, you can do funky appetizers, food stations and drink options. Typically you don’t have to provide full seating for everyone at tables. Lounge furniture & bar tables are a fun addition to this type of party. It does mean not everyone will be sitting down at the same time, so things like speeches are a little more non-traditional. Also, you’re grandparents may not love this option, so make sure you create a reserved area with comfortable seating for older guests!
When you find a venue you love, make sure that it can hold the style of event you want. Conversely, if you love a venue, you may have to modify the type of event you have in the space, to make the most of it. Hiring a caterer that is thinking through all of these details is crucial. If you want to talk to any of our team about details here in Chicago, just give us a call!