Downsizing Your Vegas Wedding Reception Planning

Vegas wedding reception

If you have decided to have a Wedding in Vegas but want to downsize it and have a smaller wedding reception in Las Vegas, we have some helpful tips and advice.  If you have already chosen a ceremony venue and just realized you forgot to plan your Vegas wedding reception for your guests, you may have to move quick and at the last minute to get it sorted in time.

Couples often experience extra guests at the last minute. I often have couples who are try to DIY their Vegas wedding planning and they often ask my advice to help them make a decision. In this article we provide ideas and advice for your edification. There are simple ways you can save your wallet a lot of damage, while simultaneously creating a special day for you and your partner. For some tips to get you started, we have curated some helpful advice below to help you with your Vegas wedding reception planning.

Do you feel overwhelmed with making a last-minute decision and don’t know where to start your wedding reception plans? Trust me, you are not alone! These questions and dilemmas are running through a lot of engaged couples’ minds as they realize they forgot to plan ahead.

With the various effects of the pandemic, most brides, regardless the size of their guest count, have been navigating some roadblocks. Luckily, there are still ways to manifest the perfect, meaningful day within a realistic budget. You won’t even have to forgo too many of your wishes.

Between scheduling out your day, pairing it with the right Las Vegas wedding reception location, and making some necessary cuts, there are simple ways you can save your wallet a lot of hurt while simultaneously creating a special day for you and your partner.

vegas wedding reception planning

Since the rise of the new pandemic paradigm in the world, couples have had to downsize their events from the larger standard receptions they might have originally planned to have. The new lingo specifying the smaller occasions on the rise is either a micro-wedding or a minimony. Most brides, regardless if they are choosing to have a micro wedding, minimony or large-scale wedding, often are confused about the differences.  My experience has been many couples typically don’t know how to stay within a realistic budget and what to expect and plan for. I know because when I ask them what they have allocated for their budget, they often reply they have no idea how to determine what budget they need. They clearly need advice and that is why I have decided to write this article. Hopefully this information will get you one step closer to understanding some ways you may not only save money but some solutions if you are planning your wedding reception in Las Vegas, especially if you have a smaller guest count.

You won’t even have to forgo too many of your wishes to downsize. Between scheduling out your day, pairing it with the right Vegas wedding reception location, and making some necessary budget adjustments, one thing is clear.  You will save money by having a Las Vegas wedding planner assist you on your special day.

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11 Cheap Las Vegas Wedding Venues to consider

Minimony verses micro wedding receptions

Depending on how many guests you want to invite to your ceremony, a micro wedding or a minimony alternative to a large reception are great options to consider. Learn more about the differences between the two alternatives to a traditional wedding.  In the meantime, there is a brief overview of them below for your benefit as well. 

Minimony Wedding
A minimony is smaller than a micro wedding and usually includes 15 or fewer guests. If you have planned a wedding ceremony that involves your closest friends and family, then this is what you are having.

Micro Wedding
A micro wedding is similar to a traditional wedding, because it contains a ceremony, a cocktail hour and a reception. It also contains many of the same customs of a traditional wedding, such as the vows, bride and groom wedding parties and more. 

If you have planned your Vegas wedding to feel traditional, and you have a guest count of 50 or fewer guests you are having a micro wedding.

Las Vegas wedding reception

Large Scale Vegas Wedding Reception Planning

Large scale wedding planning for a wedding reception takes a large budget and for a Las Vegas wedding that typically equates to reserving a budget of between $5,000 on up depending on how upscale the event is. You are better off choosing other options than restaurants for a large-scale wedding unless the venue also accommodates the wedding ceremony as well. 

Advice for Downsizing your Las Vegas Reception

  • Limiting the alcohol selection makes a big difference in your budget allowance

Take a hard look at your beverage list. While it may feel important to include a variety of options for your guests, there are actually plenty of ways to still include some choices on your final menu. To begin, get a feel of what your loved ones are expecting in terms of alcohol. Your guests may love cocktails or wish to have a themed Las Vegas drink within your celebration. If this is the case and you opt for a themed cocktail, you have the flexibility to possibly limit the wine list. On the other hand, if beer is more your speed, satisfy that with a variety of lagers. With the seemingly endless types of beer to choose from, you can handpick some of your favorites. The best part is, the sense of choice isn’t lost with the number of options!  Here is another research link to research wine options to choose for your reception. 

vegas wedding reception champagne glasses

Las Vegas is also the perfect place to keep the party going after the reception. If you keep your alcohol options on the shorter end, you are able to better continue the party to the strip and truly get the Vegas experience. Encourage guests to stay within the same hotel and make a night of it!

Save money by pairing a ceremony wedding package with a smaller reception:

There are a lot of different types of ceremony-only Las Vegas wedding venues with an assortment of different packages you can choose from. Actually, you can get cross eyed considering all the options. We at Custom Las Vegas Weddings have created some affordable and unique options to consider for a variety of ceremony only venues throughout Las Vegas. These ceremony locations range from the Las Vegas strip to scenic choices such as the red rock canyon for a desert wedding and more options. Our Las Vegas wedding packages will satisfy your needs for a variety of tastes and styles, although we tend to gravitate for more scenic outdoor venues as our client’s favorite go to choices.  

In our experience our clients tend to need us to do additional research for them to ensure they stay within budget when they want to add in a Vegas wedding Reception to their planned ceremony only event. This is where the value of hiring a wedding planner in Las Vegas becomes obvious as a money saving essential for clients.

Pair Your Wedding Minimony with a Foodie Tour

Remember, a minimony is a ceremony with 15 people or less.  If you happen to have 12 people or less and you are all foodies we have received raving reviews from our customers who have chosen to have a Foodie Tour after their ceremony. Instead of choosing just one place to have your reception you will have about 3 -4 restaurants to choose from depending on the tour and day your wedding falls on.  It’s an affordable and fun way to experience a variety of food fare in a relaxing, fun and unique environments and sample different choices from an assortment of restaurants.  There are quite a few foodie tours to choose from and we will assist you to plan the total experience.  Visit this page to learn more about our Foodie Tour.

Vegas Foodie minimony reception

Budgeting variables: the venues, receptions and event:

Budgeting: Once you set your limit on what you are willing to spend as your total budget it is easier to get started planning. The value of hiring a Las Vegas wedding planner becomes obvious as it will be a lot easier for you to narrow down an exact budget once your planner provides the price points for comparison. That takes a lot of research to do on your own.  We will cover that in another article for you.

Choosing a Vegas Strip restaurant for your reception:

If you are looking for upscale restaurant locations, and are willing to spend the money for a Las Vegas Strip restaurant for a reception, you may need to limit your spending on the actual ceremony. Making compromises can feel discouraging, but when you decide what is most important to you, it’ll make this process that much easier.

Read This Helpful Advice
9 Las Vegas Restaurants for wedding receptions

DIY Researching for the right after ceremony restaurant

Visit this site for a detailed list of Vegas Restaurants perfect for hosting your wedding

Knowing Your Choices – Consider Downsizing Options

  1. Consider choosing a venue that can also double as your reception. This tends to be easier for you in many ways. Think about it; your guests won’t have to travel from one event to the next. This will save you money and the stress of having to pay for their transport. Many couples who have a limited budget will get their guests to Uber there and maybe get them transport back to the hotel, especially if they have been imbibing.  
  2. Keeping your guest list around 12 – 20 of your closest friends and family will also help. With this option it is easier to double down on a location and still keep the cost of the wedding in budget.
  3. Another great option is to have a mini-reception lunch or appetizer and complimentary champagne toast.

Vegas Wedding Reception Options to Consider

Wedding Ceremony and Reception gems off the beaten track:  Most couples don’t realize they can get good deals at some official wedding reception locations in Las Vegas and make it cheaper to have the ceremony and reception there, even for micro weddings and minimony sized events.  As Las Vegas Wedding planners we know some of the perfect venues to choose.  Just ask us to help you and we will provide the wedding planning services to save you money.

Small Vegas wedding reception

Choosing a Suite to host both events: A great option to capitalize on is to use your own hotel suite as a place for both your ceremony and celebration. Choose a suite with a view of the Vegas strip so you still have the feel of a Vegas destination wedding. With a slightly more expensive suite, you are essentially ridding yourself of the need for two locations. This also doubles as your honeymoon suite and that is an extra bonus. You do have to keep the noise down in  most suites you do have receptions in as they have room occupation limits and noise restrictions in most suites.

Keeping in budget: There are ways to keep your small celebration within your goal budget and as Vegas wedding planners, we help you do just that.

Vegas micro wedding reception


Read This Helpful Advice
How planning a Vegas Wedding Budget Checklist Can Keep You From Losing in Vegas

When planning a wedding reception, be sure to consider all of the preparation that goes into it by visiting our Las Vegas wedding reception planning guide, coming soon.

We spoke to Blue Nile,  the world’s leading online retailer of diamond engagement rings, to share our tips on how to choose the best Las Vegas wedding venue and here are some tips they gave us we are passing on for your benefit.  

1. Think outside the box

If you’re an adventurous couple seeking a non-traditional experience,  Sin City offers plenty of fun, unique wedding options. Some venue alternatives include desert mountains, lakes, old ghost towns, or city reception venues. 

  2. Utilize reviews and social media

Do your research about the venue you plan to use and see what others are saying about it. You’ll find that most couples will be honest about their experiences. Social media is a very helpful tool to gauge the experiences other couples have had, giving a glimpse of photos and stories about the potential venue. Then you can decide if the venue is a good fit for you and your fiancé.

3. Consult a Las Vegas Elopement Wedding Planner

Wedding planners, such as Custom Las Vegas Weddings, are venue matchmakers. Planners can help you sort through the maze of venue choices, making it a less stressful and budget-friendly experience.

Most importantly, cherish this celebration- congratulations!



How planning a Vegas Wedding Budget Checklist Can Keep You From Losing in Vegas

This article will help you think through the essential wedding budget plan for your Vegas wedding. As a wedding planner, I decided I needed to offer a wedding checklist to my clients. Couples often don’t know what is needed or leave out essential details when they plan their wedding.

cost of a Las Vegas wedding

When I ask my couples what their budget is, the response I normally get is silence. I think this is because they don’t think through the essential tips about costs for a Las Vegas wedding and don’t know the costs in Las Vegas until they call a ton of venues and get pricing. If you are a wedding couple and don’t know what you will need, this article will present much-needed information to help you plan your wedding. I admit, this is one of my longer articles but I felt the information was needed as a valuable client resource.

The information in these articles provide Las Vegas wedding budget advice as well as many useful resources to plan your Las Vegas wedding. There are many elements to planning your occasion. You will have to factor in a lot of things you may not have thought of.  What questions do you need to ask yourself to determine the essential needs you may need to pull off a wedding in Las Vegas at any popular Las Vegas wedding venues? 

Read this article to view more inexpensive Vegas wedding ideas. 

Las Vegas is an excellent all in one solution for weddings because it has cornered the market on easy and done for you solutions. Tens of thousands of people flock to the city of lights each year to get married in Vegas, making it a popular choice for those searching for a great location for their wedding day.

There are many wedding planning companies in the United States. East Wind Long Island wedding planners recently contributed an article to us written to help their customers.  They share their expertise, knowledge and experience budgeting for a wedding in Long Island. Click here to read their article, How to get the most from your money when planning your wedding.

Having a wedding in Vegas doesn’t need to be expensive. Vegas is an ideal place for wedding couples who don’t want a massive, typical white wedding with loads of people staring at them. In the past weddings in Las Vegas have been known for being primarily small and intimate affairs. A lot of people prefer it that way but now since Vegas has grown and evolved in many ways, there many more options available than there ever have been to choose a Las Vegas elopement wedding planner for your wedding.

What is the Cost of a Vegas Wedding?Money Tree

With the average wedding in the USA costing a pricey $37,000 in 2018, it is not surprising that many couples are looking for cheaper alternatives for their big day. The trend for couples in 2019 is to set a strict budget and make sure the venue ticks all the boxes.

Typically when couples have a wedding they calculate in everything required for the wedding day itself.  This could include the price of the couple’s chosen honeymoon, which could add thousands on top depending on where they decide to go.

If cost is an issue, getting married in Las Vegas can be a fantastic option. However even people with more money to spend will find a variety of higher-end done for you solutions. People often use Las Vegas as their honeymoon location and wrap the accommodations into the price of their budget. Vegas Strip wedding photography packages and really does become a quick and simple solution. The option to elope to Las Vegas makes creating a budget for your wedding simple.

The Cost of Eloping in Vegas




Last Minute Solution – One reason that couples love to head to places like Las Vegas to get married is that the ceremony can be held at a moment’s notice, making it perfect for people who want to tie the knot quickly, and with minimum fuss.




Eloping in Las Vegas option




If you are considering the option to elope to Las Vegas, it is a great solution for wedding couples. Keeping your guest count under 4 will keep your wedding costs within reason. Las Vegas elopements are simple, and require little planning and very few guests, if any, usually attend.  Cost variation – Wedding ceremonies, to include the space and ceremony can cost as little as $500 here in Vegas. If you have a lot of guests, say 30 – 50 guests, a good budget for eloping in Vegas would be $3000.  This is factoring in options to eat affordably and typically this means eating away from a Las Vegas Strip location or choosing a buffet option. If you decide to step outside the norm and not have a chapel wedding there are options you may not know about. Having an outdoor Las Vegas Wedding experience away from the Vegas Strip is great budget saving idea.  Choosing this option will still enable you to have the most enjoyable stress-free experience and add in embellishments you may have to omit if you choose a Vegas Strip wedding. There are some ideas explored below with links to read about a lot of ideas you might consider to stay in budget and still have a unique wedding in Las Vegas. Here is are two great solutions to have a Las Vegas wedding on a budget and elope in Vegas:




        1. Read this resource article regarding 8 Fun and Simple Ideas for Eloping in Vegas for ideas you probably don’t know about. 











        1. Another great idea is to consider that includes a photographer, limousine and personal event planner.  These ideas provide a great solution for a simple Vegas wedding experience that includes  Vegas Strip wedding photography package ideas.











Built-in Entertainment – Las Vegas is a really fun place to get married as the party never stops! Wedding celebrations can carry on the way into the night, and the following morning, or for days if that’s what you want since Vegas is a 24-hour town!




Essentials List: What are your essential needs? What is most important for you? How much you are willing to spend altogether? What Additional elements do you want to add after essentials?








Wedding Budget Checklist:  I have created a Las Vegas wedding budget checklist info-graphic to help you answer these questions and help you determine what is essential for your wedding here in Vegas. When planning weddings for clients I find many couples can’t really tell me their entire budget.  I think it stems from being confused about what alternative all-in-one solutions are available for weddings to fit their individual needs. Vegas Wedding Budget Checklist Las Vegas Wedding Planning Essentials: Of the many couples I have helped, I have found there are budget essentials they need to know about.  Here are lists of items that may help you decide what is essential for you.
Hotel Accommodations:  Keep in mind often your accommodations may be suitable as a location for your ceremony and reception. There are many travel and hotel package deals on offers advertised on the internet.  If you are researching hotels to be suitable for a ceremony and reception choose wisely as this can be a budget saver. Often times, it’s best to also check the season before you plan.  Be sure to read my informative article on accommodations and Las Vegas seasonal hotel pricing tips for weddings.
Accommodation Options – Vegas resorts offer amazing accommodations that can double for reception space, complete with city views and plenty of room to entertain guests. For those who have very little money having a ceremony at your resort is an excellent solution. This is ideal for couples who would rather have a cheaper ceremony and spend the majority of their budget on celebrating, and their honeymoon.
Venue Choice This is one of the most important considerations. You can’t have a wedding without someplace to hold it. Your venue will determine many things and should be decided first.  There are many options for wedding venues in Las Vegas. Literally, it can make you crossed eyed to try to decide. You need to determine what your Las Vegas wedding budget is before you start planning. Research wisely or use the services of a wedding planner to help you choose venues that are good economical solutions.  If you are on a budget an want click this link for Las Vegas elopement wedding package ideas. 
Wedding attire: You may make your own dress, buy one cheaply online and bring it or rent a tux and gown in Las Vegas.  Renting seems to be the most popular and cost-effective choice for many. Often companies that rent tux and gowns will deliver to your hotel for you or offer transportation services to and from your hotel, complete with tailoring and steaming options for wrinkles. Makeup and Hair: You may opt to do your own hair and makeup or splurge on your wedding day and go to a spa to have the spa vendors pamper you. The other option is to hire a mobile hair and makeup specialist to come to your room and pamper you in your own private accommodations.  Click here to view my recommended Vegas hair and makeup vendors.  
Officiant: Who will perform your ceremony?  How important are their expertise and experience to you? Mobile Ministers and officiants in Las Vegas to come to your location. The price ranges for officiants vary tremendously.  The price quoted you will be based on the officiant’s experience and expertise.    Photographer: There are many excellent Las Vegas photographers to choose from. The prices for photographers vary greatly but the market is flooded with options. Be sure to take your time and ask about the photographer to find out their background, style and what they or the company they work through offers before you hire them and get it in writing. There is a popular trend emerging here in Las Vegas and many destination locations are to release all photo rights. This option saves couples an immense amount of money but not all venue or vendors offer this option. Their styles and pricing vary a great deal.  Be clear on how many photos you want and what style you want for your photos.  Do you require more candid shots or posed shots?  Do you want all your photos in one package price or do you want to buy prints and get the photos later? Do you want extra editing done after the wedding?  Will the printing rights to the photos be released for your own printing options later?  Chapels and casinos often make their money on photos after the wedding. My advice is to think it through carefully before you decide to avoid hidden costs and know the costs up front.
Videographer:  There is many options couple face when planning a video of their wedding. Videographers range in price greatly, depending on your needs.  The simple videos you may get from a chapel will be just that, simple and unedited. You need to decide if you want a video only of the ceremony or if having a reception the cost of determining how many hours you want the video to cover. To keep it cost effective many choose to have the video only of the ceremony.  Then once the decision is made you need to decide if the video should be standard definition or high definition and how you want the video delivered.  cost of getting married in Las Vegas The trend here in Las Vegas for many wedding companies is to deliver the video electronically. However, there is also a trend to supply it on a small disc drive that can go with the couple directly after the ceremony which is great if you are technically savvy.  The downside is it won’t be edited for you if you take it directly. The disc drive option will play directly to your modern TV. So will a Blue Ray disc if you have a Blue Ray player. Most couples decide to have the video edited and special music placed on it. After all, it will be a cherished memory for a lifetime that will be played over and over for many years. I highly recommend capturing your important occasion by getting a video recording of it.  I have cherished my wedding video and am so happy I decided to get it after all. It has many family members who have passed on and are no longer with us so it’s a cherished keepsake to my husband and I. 




How to get married in Las Vegas




To get married in Las Vegas you must acquire a wedding license before the wedding day.  You and your fiancé must visit the Las Vegas Marriage Bureau in person to obtain the license.  This must be done before the wedding and presented to a certified and approved licensed wedding officiant or Minister. The cost is $77 and you need to both present a government-issued photo ID.  You may pre-apply for a license electronically online at the clerk’s website page.  One of the questions I am often asked is, if you get married in Vegas is it legal everywhere?  The answer is yes. When you get married in Las Vegas the legality of your marriage is recognized worldwide.





If you need to know more, here is a resource for you. This page will help you find the answers you need to know regarding the popular question, what are the requirements to get married in Las Vegas?

Flowers: Typically I find brides don’t realize the true cost of flowers. Flowers are seasonal and range in price according to availability and season. With our premade planning services we can make planning for flowers in Las Vegas easy and within your budget.  The florist we work with is full service and offers us a discount as a Las Vegas wedding planning venue. We pass those savings on to you and itemize your services so you know all the charges up front.  Flowers for the larger wedding parties often incur a hefty price tag.  Once again, wedding planners will get you a discount and should pass that discount on to you.

determine your Las Vegas wedding budget

Guest list:  How many people do you want to attend?  There are many other simple options that will reduce your costs when factoring in the amount it will cost to accommodate your guests. Do you want to provide a venue with comfortable seating for your guests or have a simple solution where the guests stand during the ceremony?  What is the cost of sending out invitations and providing party favors, etc.?

Transportation: Will you need to provide transportation for all your guests to get to the ceremony?  What will that transportation consist of?  Will it be a party bus?  Do you need separate limousine service for you and your bridal party? How will the timing of arrival to the location be planned?  Do you want to try to plan it yourself or have a planner help you?  You might consider having the ceremony at your resort to avoid transportation costs.

Vendor Tipping:  I think most people realize the wedding industry standard is to tip vendors at least 20 to 30 percent for their services. It is standard  to give limousine drivers about $20 per hour for their service.  It is wise to figure this in for your vendors, especially the transportation services as they rely on this for income.

las vegas elopement pacakges

Food: If you are providing food to your guests this will be a big factor in your budget. In Las Vegas, you can figure it will be at least $20 to $50 per person for food.  Buffets in Las Vegas are phenomenal and they range from simple to elegant.  My two favorite choices for buffets that may be used for a reception are “the Paris Hotel Buffet” and “the M. Resort Buffet”. One nice aspect about the M buffet is alcohol is part of the price which will save you a lot of money in the end. Some restaurants and even buffets like the M will allow you to deliver a cake from an outside vendor.  Some restaurants’ also let you have the wedding ceremony there if you have a larger party of guests, which may save quite a bit of money. For this reason, to keep costs down, you might consider having the ceremony in the restaurant of your choice.

Cake: The wedding cake has been prized as a focal point of the wedding celebration for many years. The pricing of cake can add up to a bundle.

You may obtain a wedding cake for your wedding in Vegas cheaply in some cases but typically it’s best to use a local bakery rather than a casino bakery. You will save a bundle and they do deliver to your hotel. 

Las Vegas wedding planning

Advise on ordering the cake:  Consider how many people you have attending and then decide what your budget is for the cake.  Cake vendor pricing ranges dramatically from vendor to vendor. Couples eloping typically only need a small one tier cake, although many decide to customize them Vegas style or with their own vision and style. Of course, there are many choices and styles to choose from.  I recommend you make the decisions about the most important items on your list first, like ceremony items, venue, and photographer and then find out how much you have left to spend for the cake.

Alcohol: Providing an open bar is an expensive option. The cost will depend on the venue you choose.  Venues and restaurants on the Las Vegas strip will charge more for alcohol and so will restaurants. Another option is to choose a buffet that includes alcohol in its price.  For instance, the M Resort buffet includes alcohol in their buffet. Another good solution is to offer only 2 drink coupons and champagne for the toasting.

Romantic group dining restaurant for celebrations

Reception Space Casinos and resorts have a variety of reception space available. If you choose to get married at a Casino resort this will be a higher-end choice.  There are many gorgeous ones to choose from in Las Vegas.  My favorite location in Las Vegas is Lake Las Vegas which is actually in Henderson, NV. Of course, most people want to get married on the Las Vegas strip wedding.  Reception space on Las Vegas Boulevard is pricey.  The choices are endless and so is the price range.  A good wedding planner will be able to find solutions to meet your needs. Even a concierge at your hotel will help you but there may be a price for that as well. Once again, it all hinges on your budget.

Entertainment and DJ: These two items will typically be a larger ticket item reserved for the reception room and larger wedding.  Services will be invaluable because music is a large part of the celebration guests expect from a wedding. Las Vegas has a lot of options for entertainment.  You won’t find a lot of other cities that offer as many alternative choices as Las Vegas for a variety of music and entertainment options.  If you opt not to have a large reception hall and DJ you will still have a lot of other options that will be cost effective for your guests.

Las Vegas Wedding Planner:

Las Vegas Wedding planners perform a variety of services and functions. These services range from simple assistance, the day of coordination or full-scale planning for the large affair. There are many wedding planners in Las Vegas to choose from. We at Custom Las Vegas weddings offer simple assistance and day of coordination and specialize in planning for the smaller events to the mid-size customized events.  Our specialty lies in helping couples with home events and small locations or restaurants that allow outside vendors.  Please call or contact us for more information.

At this point, you should have a good idea what elements of your wedding are most essential.

To recap:

1.    Write a list of essential items.
2.    Call vendors to get pricing or hire a planner to get quotes.
3.    Review the quotes and determine what best suits your needs.
4.    Voila, you have your budget and may get on the next stage which is meeting your vendors and signing a contract for services. 

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you want your wedding day to be one that you look back on with happy memories, and ensuring that you organize your budget to include all that you need to make your day special is one way to guarantee that this will happen.

If you need ideas to decide on a Las Vegas wedding venue contact us here.