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wedding reception costs

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janinegirly

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what is the "average" per head price for wedding receptions? I''m seeing anywhere from $90 - 265. what does that usually include..or what do I have to assume needs to added to that separately? (I''m thinking cake, open bar, flowers, DJ are other things to take care of on top of reception package).
 

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dani13

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I think it depends largely on where in the U.S you live, and of course what kind of places you are looking to host your reception at...its hard to say what the "average" is. If you ask the ladies on here, you are going to get a wide price range, since we are scattered all over the country. For me, (metro NYC area) to have your reception at a decent place with an open bar, you are going to be paying minimum $150 per head, and that is the lower end...some places around here charge $250-300 p/h on a Sat nite during prime season (May-September). Its just insane!!!
 

janinegirly

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thanks..i''m in the nyc metro area as well, but looking at my NJ hometown (one hour out of NYC). There are really only 2 choices: historic inn at $140 p/head but no grounds for photos
. Or high end place with gourmet food ($260-280 p.head) and nice grounds but no real history or accomodations.
Guess I better take a look at both. Anything over $200 seems crazy to me.
 

E B

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I'm curious to know this as well. I just calculated catering, bar and cake costs and it came out to less than $50 a head. I wonder if anything else is included?

Oh, and we're having the wedding in Dallas.

ETA: If I factor in the cost of the reception site (ouch!), it comes out to $78 a person. With decorations, $80/pp.
 

anchor31

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It probably depends on the region and on the venue... Mine will be about $65CAD/head + taxes, and everyting we need is included. Hall, cocktail, grounds for pics (and transportation around the golf course), 4 courses meal + cake cutting and service, and a coordinator.

I'm not sure this helps anyone though, since we're in Quebec...

ETA: I forgot to mention the toast champagne and half botttle of wine per guest during dinner included too.
 

labbielove

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what area of the country are you in?
it varies widely.
i''m in western nys, and even here it can depend on whether you go all inclusive, use just a hall w/separate caterer, etc.

we''re using a living museum as our site so there was a 2K site fee for ceremony&reception, food will be approx $25/head, and then we''re having open bar but it is a cash tab, meaning we pay no "per person" charge but only for what is actually consumed, we anticipate 1500 for total bar tab
so i guess with food & drinks it will be about $40/head.

plus tax & tip of course. ouch.
 

SoonIHope

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Do these include service/tax/gratuity? Because between the two vendors I was considering, one was over $60 more per person, but the higher cost included EVERYTHING so ended up being less overall. Ours is $100 per person in upstate NY but it''s a Vermont vendor. Including all food, open bar, service, tax, gratuity, etc but not a site fee since we''re having it on our own property.
 

Jas12

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I am paying 207/per head and this includes dinner, light apps, 1 cocktail, open bar, venue rental, set up etc. I think this is steep where I am from, but now that I am seeing the costs from the NYC crowd, it doesn''t look so bad ;-)
 

larussel03

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Ours will be about $110-120 per head for reception hall including: 4 course dinner, hors d'oeuvres, invitations, open bar, centerpieces, table linens (although we'll prob upgrade these), cake, chair covers and coordinating sash, champagne toast, day of coordinator and hostess. It's about 1/2 hour or 20 mins outside Boston.

On top of that we're paying separately for DJ, dress, ceremoney flowers, extra decorations for the venue, rings etc etc

ETA: our package includes tax and gratuity
 

dani13

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Janine-

I live 1 hr out of NYC also (in NJ), but, we are getting married in Westchester county, NY, only about 20 miles north of NYC. Since we have family coming from all around, we tried to pick a place right in the middle for everyone (plus, we just fell IN LOVE with our venue once we saw it)!! We are paying $200 p/h (on a Fri night, mind you), and that includes everything. On a Sat my place goes up to over $250 per head. We loved it so much there that we were willing to compromise for a Friday...Sat was just too much!!!
 

TravelingGal

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Ours came out to be about $150 a head, including rental fee, cake and parking (included in fee), 4 rounds of appetizers, main course, wine service with dinner, champagne toast, and full open bar. What killed us was the bar tab...

It''s actually a funny story. We had 50 guests. 20 of them do not drink at ALL. So you think 30 guests in 5 hours...how much damage can they do? I told the coordinator gal we would probably have a $2000 bar tab (they charge regular bar prices for drinks). She looked at me like I was crazy and said I would *maybe* do a thousand dollars, but there was no way in hell we would get to $2000, or she would fall over. I told her, I dunno...had she ever seen asians and australians drink? I polled some Aussie friend''s of TGuy asking how many drinks they''d have in an hour. They said 4 drinks per hour. I said that was crazy! In 5 hour that would be 20 drinks!!!
It was a daytime wedding, for god''s sake.

The only stipulation we had on the open bar was NO SHOTS. We didn''t want to get hammered by everyone insisting we do them. If they wanted them, they could pay for them, and we thought it would totally be a deterrent. Not. Not only did people buy shots, they bought tons of them.

In the end, our bar tab (which did not include the wine) came to $1300. HOWEVER, she told us that $600 in SHOTS were purchased by the guests. We felt horrible! We could have certainly paid for $600 in shots in the end. But my father in law said it was the best thing we did, because if people were willing to drink $600 worth of shots if they had to pay for them, can you imagine the damage that could have been done if they were free?

We may be a legend in that venue btw, because it was quite obvious that we could have easily done $2000 in alcohol with only 30 people whooping it up. I''m not sure if I should be embarrassed or not. But at least I was sober!
 

E B

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Four drinks per hour? No way! Someone who drinks 4 drinks an hour might have a bit of a problem...

I've heard 2 drinks per person per hour, which sounds about right. At least, that's what we're assuming (we're bringing our own beer, wine and liquor in!).
 

TravelingGal

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Date: 12/7/2006 1:27:39 PM
Author: EBree
Four drinks per hour? No way! Someone who drinks 4 drinks an hour might have a bit of a problem...

I''ve heard 2 drinks per person per hour, which sounds about right. At least, that''s what we''re assuming (we''re bringing our own beer, wine and liquor in!).
That''s what I said. The greedy Australian then went back and agreed 4 drinks sounded crazy. He said probably 3-4 drinks in the first hour (including any shots) and then 2 drinks an hour thereafter.

That actually averaged out to be about right....

$2000 bar tab at $6 or so a drink = 333 drinks

Divide that by 30 people and that''s 11 drinks a person. However I know that lots of people didn''t drink 11, so someone made up the difference! And some drinks were definitely more expensive than 6 bucks (they had a full bar so we saw lots of yummy fruity looking things going around).
 

Hudson_Hawk

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Sweet Pea,

Where in the Boston area are you getting married. Those seem like pretty decent rates. My family is from VT/NH while my bfs is all in NJ/NY/RI so MA is a nice 1/2 way point. ( I also live in the Boston area)
 

codex57

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Hmmm, including open bar, I think ours would prolly come out to about $150 a head. Los Angeles area.
 

larussel03

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Date: 12/7/2006 1:46:17 PM
Author: Hudson_Hawk
Sweet Pea,

Where in the Boston area are you getting married. Those seem like pretty decent rates. My family is from VT/NH while my bfs is all in NJ/NY/RI so MA is a nice 1/2 way point. ( I also live in the Boston area)
We're getting married in Roslindale, but the reception is about 20 mins outside boston at the Casa Di Dior in Wilmington. They have great rates and include alot for the price. The open bar is not included in the package, so for everything included in the package wihtout bar it is about 72 or 78 per person (depending on what they order) then another 24 per person for open bar and then additional hors d'oeuvres were factored into my figure (we're doing all cold hors d'oeuvres since it's a 4 course meal, and they supply unlimited cheese/cracker display as well at this time to go with the veggies and fruit we supply). They also offer a smaller room with a 75 person minimum (that goes up to 175 max) which we are using, and a larger room that fits 350.
 

Hudson_Hawk

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Good to know. I actually live right down the road from there, that''s the function place right off I-93, correct?
 

larussel03

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Date: 12/7/2006 3:00:06 PM
Author: Hudson_Hawk
Good to know. I actually live right down the road from there, that''s the function place right off I-93, correct?
Yep, it''s right off I-93. We actually get to use that glassed in atrium that you can see lit up at night with our ballroom b/c it''s adjacent. I compared alot of North Shore reception sites and they were the best by far in terms of price and they''re so nice and respond quickly to all my questions--even though my wedding is a year away!
 

CrownJewel

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janine, did you check Madison Hotel in Morristown and The Manor in West Orange? The Manor has nice grounds for photos. A friend of mine had her wedding there. It was really pretty and they had a delicious raw bar during the cocktail hour. Both have moderate pricing...but I''m not sure what the exact amounts are.
 

Trelala

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Jul 12, 2006
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138
I''m holding our reception in an outdoor garden in the San Francisco Bay Area on a Sunday evening. It''s coming to $120 a head (tip included) for a two entree buffet, passed hor douvres, the rental, the set up, decorations (candles only) and Cosmopolitan martinis. We decided that since it''ll be a Sunday evening, most people won''t drink as much. Plus we can''t really think of that many guests that would drink. So to save money, we decided to serve a signature drink and that''d be it for the alcohol.

Not included in the $120 a head: flowers, DJ, dance floor rental, favors, tax.
 

jesterjigger

Shiny_Rock
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Apr 14, 2006
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Ouch...all I can say is I''m glad I''m not getting married in NJ!!! I lived there the past three years and loved it to death, but my budget definitely doesn''t cover nearly that much per person. Just make sure you''re factoring in whatever gratuity there is that''s automatically added. I went to a friend''s wedding in NJ and she got married on a steamboat, it was the most fun wedding I''ve been to, that''s for sure. Another friend got married just inside the NY border (right before crossing the GW) but that was at a Korean wedding hall, so wouldn''t be an option for you. I''m interested to see what you end up choosing, I wish I was still living in NJ, that''s for sure.
 

flutterby

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at four seasons in las vegas (should be equiv to any large city)

30pp cocktail aps
95pp for 4 course dinner
55pp 5 hour open bar
10.50pp cake
10pp bananas foster station

so....$200pp


I originally booked based on the $95 pp, without thinking how much extra the add ons would be. Yes, the bananas foster station was a waste of money, but i really wanted it!
 

labbielove

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Date: 12/7/2006 11:52:12 AM
Author: albicocca
Do these include service/tax/gratuity? Because between the two vendors I was considering, one was over $60 more per person, but the higher cost included EVERYTHING so ended up being less overall. Ours is $100 per person in upstate NY but it''s a Vermont vendor. Including all food, open bar, service, tax, gratuity, etc but not a site fee since we''re having it on our own property.

albi,
My figure doesn''t include the tax/gratuity, plus if i add the site fee it makes it $60pp, plus i have to do my own centerpieces, etc. Oh- and the chocolate fountain with goodies for dipping that I insist upon!

The catering is coming in much less than a lot of places than we looked, plus I think we''re saving on the bar since we''re doing a cash tab versus per person/per hour type of open bar. we chose that based on our crowd (not heavy drinkers, many nondrinkers,etc.) and on the advice of the caterer.
 

ephemery1

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Our reception site estimated typical cocktail/dinner food costs run about $150 a head, and that''s without alcohol. Factoring in the bar tab, it''s definitely not going to be a cheap night...
 

eleguin

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Date: 12/7/2006 11:31:22 AM
Author: janinegirly
thanks..i''m in the nyc metro area as well, but looking at my NJ hometown (one hour out of NYC). There are really only 2 choices: historic inn at $140 p/head but no grounds for photos
. Or high end place with gourmet food ($260-280 p.head) and nice grounds but no real history or accomodations.
Guess I better take a look at both. Anything over $200 seems crazy to me.

Janine:

There are a lot of choices in NJ actually that are really nice. We spent a weekend looking in NJ before settling on Long Island (mainly b/c most of our guests are in NYC). Here are a few that we visited:

Bridgewater Manor (http://www.bridgewatermanor.com): This was really quaint with an outdoor ceremony area. Price was something like 100 pp with open bar and cake.
The Manor (http://www.themanorrestaurant.com): We both loved it here, but they didn''t have our date. Their outdoor
ceremony area is very colorful with the flowers. They were a bit pricier, I think around $150 pp.

Twin Brooks (http://www.twinbrooks.com): Golf Club type place, around $100 pp.

Olde Mill Inn (http://www.oldemillinn.com/): $135 pp.

Tides Estate (http://www.thetides.com/weddings.asp): really pretty place. I forget how much it was, but it wasn''t exorbitant.

Good luck in finding a reception hall that you love!
 

blushingbride

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Date: 12/7/2006 12:30:50 PM
Author: Dani
Janine-

I live 1 hr out of NYC also (in NJ), but, we are getting married in Westchester county, NY, only about 20 miles north of NYC. Since we have family coming from all around, we tried to pick a place right in the middle for everyone (plus, we just fell IN LOVE with our venue once we saw it)!! We are paying $200 p/h (on a Fri night, mind you), and that includes everything. On a Sat my place goes up to over $250 per head. We loved it so much there that we were willing to compromise for a Friday...Sat was just too much!!!
Dani - I am getting married in Westchester County too - at Castle on the Hudson (we fell in love too
)! I was just curious because we looked a ton of places in that area and they were all beautiful! We are paying $190 - it orginially would cost us $200+ but we cut out a carving station and a main course. Crazy right?
 

dani13

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Date: 12/8/2006 4:14:51 PM
Author: blushingbride


Date: 12/7/2006 12:30:50 PM
Author: Dani
Janine-

I live 1 hr out of NYC also (in NJ), but, we are getting married in Westchester county, NY, only about 20 miles north of NYC. Since we have family coming from all around, we tried to pick a place right in the middle for everyone (plus, we just fell IN LOVE with our venue once we saw it)!! We are paying $200 p/h (on a Fri night, mind you), and that includes everything. On a Sat my place goes up to over $250 per head. We loved it so much there that we were willing to compromise for a Friday...Sat was just too much!!!
Dani - I am getting married in Westchester County too - at Castle on the Hudson (we fell in love too
)! I was just curious because we looked a ton of places in that area and they were all beautiful! We are paying $190 - it orginially would cost us $200+ but we cut out a carving station and a main course. Crazy right?
Blushingbride-

We are getting married at Tappan Hill Mansion...right next door to you!! We didnt look at Castle on the Hudson- I heard that place is beautiful and would love to get to see it sometime...The prices are just insane, but, like I said, we just fell in love once we saw Tappan Hill. And we looked at a TON of places in the metro NY area....
Oh well, what are you going to do? You only do it once, so you have to do it the way you want it..... that's my philosophy!!!!
 

stretch4

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Ours was about $125/person, which included tax and gratuity, open bar, cocktail hour, two separate appetizers, intermezzo, main course, and dessert. It did not include our cake or flowers. FYI, it was in Connecticut (about an hour outside NYC).
 

biblobaggins23

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i have no idea...i haven''t calculated mine yet since i''m in the very very early stages of planning, but in father of the bride it was $250 a head.
 

diamondlove

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I think the venue location will affect the price much more than the regional location since i''m in Texas where people typically have a lower avg (from what I''ve read and a few friends) but due to the location we fell in love with, i''m avging $200pp+ (includes open bar but reasonable drinks pp estimate).
 
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