Chew On This! - Maurisa Glinton
For Richer or Poorer..?
By Chef Maurisa Glynton
Jun 28, 2012 - 1:05:31 PM

Wedding Season! Women are running around like chickens with no heads frantically trying to make last minute decisions. Last minute adjustments, last minute weight loss, last minute changes, last minute expenses. They are single-handedly crafting the perfect day to their perfect men and praying to any god that would listen for a perfect wedding and NO RAIN! And the men that love them are sitting in their own corner rocking and wondering, “Did I propose to the bride of Chucky or what?”

Weddings are not only stressful but they can also be expensive. However, following a basic breakdown can help put a lot of things in perspective. Here’s an example:

Reception (Food & Location): 48%-50%
Ceremony: 2%-3%
Attire: 8%-10%
Flowers: 8%-10%
Entertainment/Music: 8%-10%
Photography/Videography: 10%-12%
Stationery: 2%-3%
Wedding Rings: 2%-3%
Parking/Transportation: 2%-3%
Gifts: 2%-3%
Miscellaneous: 8%
"just-in-case" fund: 5%.

(From )

As you can see the bulk of money spent on a wedding is usually spent on the reception i.e. food, location etc. But in this day and age with the economy being what it is, it is equally important to be practical while still trying to create a memorable reception experience. But how do you stay tasteful while keeping with tradition, pleasing the in-laws and impressing the masses? The truth of the matter is that the traditional wedding isn’t what it used to be, and with that the expectations for the reception have changed as well. People aren’t typically still having the large, lavish weddings that they used to. We no longer have to go from the chapel to the ball room. Couples are getting married in some of the most unlikely of locations. From destination weddings to beach weddings to weddings in a friend’s spacious backyard, it’s all about creating a unique experience full of love and memories.

If you are not afraid to be different and realize that you can still have a very tasteful reception while sticking to a lower and more reasonable budget, then there are numerous ideas that can carry you and your significant other into wedded bliss without breaking the bank. So with that in mind, here are a few ideas to skirt that heavy financial burden associated with a wedding reception.


The Brunch Reception:

A lot of brides opt for a mid afternoon or early evening wedding but opting for an early morning wedding allows you to deal with a different time frame that people are eating. That breakfast/ lunch period we call lunch. This time slot goes well with a smaller guest list in a more intimate setting, an intimate church wedding maybe and allows for the perfect Brunch set up.

This works particularly well if you want to say travel for our honeymoon the same day. As for the menu think Continental Buffet breakfast. Things like muffins and pastries, fruit, cheeses and breads, and fresh squeezed orange juice make for a beautiful minimal setup. And for The Bahamians in us why not include a pot of chicken souse or stew fish with some grits and warm Johnny cake. This type of setup is not only affordable and classy but avoids all the extras like DJ/ Band.


The Beach Reception

More and more people have been taking to the beauty of the beaches to offer that natural allure that you would usually spend on drapery and other decorations in a church or hall. Especially here in the Bahamas we have access to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Finding a Beach location that also has beachside bar such as Nirvana Beach here in Nassau or a Banana Bay in Grand Bahama, is definitely the way to go especially if they allow you to bring in your own caterer. But what better to do on a beach than grill. Pick a few meats to grill up such as chicken and steaks or even chicken kabobs or shrimp skewers, and pair them with some delicious salads. Try fruit salad, and leafy green salads like an artichoke and artisanal lettuce salad, some crab salad and even conch salad can offer a great and delicious island feel. Grilled conch in individual foils, are not only a great island feel but a delicious and sensible way to portion out food. By cutting down on the cost of the location and offering things buffet style, while also using lots of fillers gives you a decadent yet price controlled reception that you can live with and cherish.


The Cocktail Reception:

If you are still looking for something a little more formal, then by all means, the Cocktail Reception is the way to go. You can have as many or as few items as you like and can range from something as simple and delicious as a Tomato Bruschetta with shaved Parmesan to something as decadent and different as Oyster shooters with Caviar. Try having a variety of items that range in price so that you can afford to include some delicacies in small portions, like Lobster bites with a Tarragon Aioli or Prosciutto wrapped Shrimp skewers. Also fancy up a simple dish my presenting it in a different way, for example, Curry Chicken Salad on endive boats as opposed to the normal cracker. You can even throw in a live station where something is prepared right in front of your guests to add to the guest interaction. Have a live guacamole station with Tortilla chips. Or even a conch salad station and serve them in little Chinese Soup spoons. This adds a touch of flair and sophistication as well as monitoring your portions and thus your price point. The possibilities are endless when it comes to this type of set-up, and any good caterer should have a bevy of ideas ready for your consideration.

A Few More Tips:

Skip the Hall. If you have a close friend or relative with an ocean front property or even just a beautiful back yard with a deck or garden, call on them! Use it to your advantage. Assure them that you will take impeccable care of the space and have it thoroughly cleaned up at the receptions conclusion. People keep large yard spaces so landscaped that its natural beauty can save you on some fancy hall with decorations while provide an alluring and charming atmosphere.

Buffet-style vs. Table Service. A lot of people seem to think that Buffet style weddings are tacky, but I totally disagree. Presentation is everything! And if you are on a budget it’s a great way to cut back. When you have table service you have to pay for servers, which can run you an additional 100-200 dollars per server. Also you are now paying the caterer/ chef to stay on sight and thus you must pay them a fee as well. All of these little services add up.

Family-style Dining. I love the idea of Family style eating! Get nice large platters and place the food in the center of the various tables and let the guests pass around the platters and serve themselves. It not only saves you on servers’ fees, but also creates a feeling of family and intimacy amongst your guests.

A Signature Cocktail. Why when you know you have a family of lushes would you choose to have an open bar is beyond me! Instead create a signature drink that will be free to your guests and when it’s gone it’s gone. But you can decide how much that is. Have a cash bar. It’s a wedding, much like a club, when people are having a good time they will buy drinks. So get that DJ cranking the tunes and save yourself the money and the headache.

Your Wedding Day should be a special one, but remember, it is only a DAY! Don’t create expenses for yourself that you are still paying weeks and months down the road. If your guests are truly there to support you and your new step then they should be more than happy with whichever choices you make as regards to food. But as hard as it is (my Bahamians especially) we must not get caught up in trying to show off with lavish food choices that far exceed our budget. We are living in some economically straining times, and there are tons of amazing ways to still have great food while keeping the price point under control. Besides, if you have to worry about what someone will think or say about your food on a day like your Wedding Day, then you may need to reevaluate your guest list- but that is a whole other topic all together… isn’t it?!

About the author: Maurisa Glinton is a Grand Bahamian native. She is an Entrepreneur, Chef and Writer. She has a B.A. in Psychology and Writing, as well as Diplomas in Culinary Arts and Culinary Management. She is a Festival Noel winner and the Head Chef/ Owner of Social Butterfly Catering Services . Evidence of her passion for food and its surrounding culture comes across clearly in her cooking and her writing. Maurisa is also the writer of her own Food Blog, Chez Mo Truth . Maurisa currently resides in Nassau and can be reached at . You can also follow her on Twitter as @ChezMoTruth .


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