I was just thinking… we rarely book a reception for the first daughter of a family to be married, but we almost always book the reception for the second daughter. Why? Because most parents believe they will save money by doing it themselves. Funny how that attitude changes when time rolls around for the next daughter!

So, if you have a wedding in your future, there’s no need to lower expectations just because of the economy. Wonderful wedding receptions can be done on a budget. There are many ways to save money and still have a fantastic event.

It is true that many are cutting back on the extravagance, but enjoy their guests and the evening just the same. Your event is not diminished because there are fewer fresh flowers on each table. I’m not sure how many guests will even notice.

Here are my thoughts on controlling budgets:

The first is decorations. This is where reception centers have a strong advantage. Hundreds, if not thousands of dollars can be saved on decorations not to mention the logistical nightmares! Especially at The Manor, there is little need to add decorations. The gardens and the architecture are the star of the show here. Linens, guest tables, display tables, chairs, china, easels and more are already here.

Even costs for table center pieces can be reduced by grouping photos together of the bride and groom that tell the story of the couple. They can even be set around a floating candle or flower. Toss some petals or even Skittles on the table in your colors and you’ll have a great center piece for next to nothing!

Food can be scaled back. No doubt food is important, but have you thought about a less expensive alternative such as an ice cream sundae bar or a soup buffet? These types of offerings may even provide more in the way of casual fun for your guests.

Photography costs can be drastically cut these days. With the advent of the digital photographer, costs for photography have dropped dramatically in the past few years. There are quality photographers out there for under $1000. You will get hundreds of shots. Make sure all your photos will be copyright released. Don’t repay for your photos by buying them off of a Web site. Your Photographer should give them all to you on a disc. Don’t buy a print package. You can print them most anywhere. If you do not have a photographer in mind, I would suggest Jeff Haslam. We only get compliments about his service.

Many guest lists can be trimmed also. It doesn’t need to be dramatic. But possibly by not inviting children or just cutting 10% from your list, you could realize a savings of more than several hundred dollars!

Please don’t spend more than $350 for your wedding cake. Some very elegant cakes are even under $250. Do not pay deposits or delivery charges for you wedding cake. Here we average less than 80 pieces of cake served per night, so do not spend for large cakes or serving cakes. A modest sized three layer cake is plenty.

There, now I have saved you literally thousands. Do you realize that instead of the average cost of a reception (which is around $9000 in Utah), You could have your event at The Manor at Eldredge Square and spend less than $3000! Ask anyone, there is no nicer venue than The Manor, so why pay more?