wedding planning

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First Things First

Wedding Planning Timeline
How Are We Going to Pay for All This?


Spreading the Word

Choosing Wedding Invitations
Wedding Invitation Wording
Wedding Invitation Etiquette


Keeping Your Sanity

Avoiding the Guilt Trap
Advice from the Bride
Top 10 Wedding Stress Busters



Setting the Mood

Finding a Wedding Location
A Guide to Wedding Flowers
Wedding Centerpiece Ideas


Shaping Up

Get in Shape for the Big Day
Online Personal Training


Dressing the Part

Wedding Gown Guide
Proper Groom's Attire
Shop for Wedding Shoes


Oh, Behave!

Wedding Etiquette Tips
Bachelorette Party Ideas
Bachelor Party Ideas


Eat, Drink and Be Married

Wedding Catering Options
A Guide to Wedding Cakes


'Tis Better to Give...

Wedding Favor Ideas
Bridesmaid Gift Ideas
Groomsman Gift Ideas


Making Your Getaway

Destination Weddings
Honeymoon Planning Tips


Beyond the Big Day

Newlywed Cooking Tips
Financial Advice for Newlyweds


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Wedding Catering Options


You have a multitude of options for feeding guests at your wedding reception. For a large crowd, you may choose to hold the event in a hotel or banquet hall and use its in-house catering service. For smaller receptions, it may be possible to have the party at a relative's house and enlist family members to cook up the feast. Here are some typical catering options - prices will vary depending on where and when you hold your reception.



Brunch: A lovely option for couples with modest wedding reception budgets, a wedding brunch allows you to serve your guests a full, delicious meal without paying a premium for prime time.


Hors d'oeuvres Only: If you hold your reception at during the mid-afternoon, serving hors d'oeuvres only is a viable option, as most of your guests won't be expecting a full dinner that early in the day.


Pre-Prepared Buffet: Usually the most cost-effective dinner catering option, a buffet requires less labor costs as your guests will serve themselves. This creates a less formal atmosphere than a sit-down dinner.


Buffet with Carving Stations: This is a little more expensive than a traditional pre-prepared buffet. Feel free to be creative and either supplement or replace traditional ham, turkey and prime rib stations with made-to-order savory crepes or Mongolian barbecue.


Traditional Seated Dinner: Most catering companies allow you to customize your menu - you can stick with a simple salad course and main entrée with wedding cake for dessert, or splurge on a five-course Italian feast. For an additional per guest fee, many caterers will offer passed appetizers to occupy your guests for the 45 minutes to an hour that they wait for the bridal party after the ceremony and before the reception.



Non-Alcoholic Beverages Only: If neither of you are big drinkers, or you simply don't feel comfortable paying a large sum of money so that you guests can inebriate themselves, there's no reason why you should serve alcohol at your reception. Another option is to only offer non-alcoholic beverages until it's time for the champagne toast.


Champagne and/or Wine: A classy and potentially economical choice is to serve only wine and/or champagne with your wedding reception dinner. This may be provided by the caterer, hotel or restaurant, or you can bring your own wine. Keep in mind, however, that many locations charge a hefty corkage fee for outside bottles, so it may make sense to simply go with the house wine.


Open Bar: This can get very expensive; people have a tendency to drink more when someone else is footing the bill. Some locations let you pay for an open bar for only part of the evening, thereby cutting down on the cost. You may also be able to purchase an open bar for the entire event for a fixed per-guest price, or as part of a wedding reception package. It's also possible to find a location that allows you to bring in outside liquor and simply hire a bartender to serve it, which can save you a great deal of money.


Top 5 Planning Tips

1. Get a dedicated credit card for all of your wedding expenses so that you can dispute the charge if a deal falls though.

2 Earn miles toward your honeymoon with a frequent flyer miles credit card from

3. Get the best deal on airfare, hotel and rental cars for your honeymoon through any travel site of your choice.

4. Create your own web page at with information about your wedding date, location, gift registries, and hotels for out-of-town guests.

5. If you plan to take your spouse's name, get a Name Change Kit to ensure you cover everything.

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