Saturday, December 15, 2012

10 Reasons to Have your Reception at the LDS Cultural Hall

Here's a novel idea on how to save big on your wedding.

Rethink the location!

In Utah, expect to pay about $3000-$4000 for a venue with a buffet on about 200 guests.  If a sit-down dinner, expect 2-3 times more of the costs.  While this may not seem like a lot, for some people, it is a lot of money to spend on for a few hours.  $3000-$4000 is a decent amount of money to spend on furnishing a 2 bedroom apartment.  Furniture lasts longer than a reception.  

I could say use someone's backyard or marry at the beach.  But this post is to convince those who really want to save money to...USE THE LDS CULTURAL HALL.

This was a good post of the cultural hall wedding.  Read HERE

Cultural Hall?  Ew Alina.  No way.  Not the basketball hoops or court floor....  

Well think of it this way: people are going to the reception for YOU.  Not because of the reception location.  Otherwise, they're not really your friends!

A former work colleague shared with me great insight about his parents.  His family is mega-rich and his dad is a CFO of a huge corporation in UT.  When his parents got married, they had their wedding in a backyard and his mother's dress was $50.  And guess what he said?

"The people you invite will probably spend the same amount on your gift regardless of the location"

Honestly there are so much pros going the LDS Cultural Hall route.  Mainly because you have control as a consumer and avoid the hassles that come with booking a venue to catering

Here are 10 reasons.

1. Tables, chairs, and tablecloths (ivory or white) already stocked.  No need to rent these items.

2. Kids can run around in circles around the cultural hall, you don't need to worry about them knocking over some vase and paying for it. 

3. You can reserve the hall for up to two days. No overtime charges or pressure of setting up within an hour of the event. 

4. No worry about outside elements.

5. LOTS of parking.  No need for valet.  

6. Accessible restrooms already stocked with toilet paper.  Accessible for wheelchair access! 

7. Accessible and decent kitchen to prepare food. 

8. You can bring whatever food you want and save big there.  A lot of the food I've seen offered at reception venues for a 
buffet is really meager and you pay a lot for it.  

9. Can fit groups of 200-500

10. It's free.

Well what are the cons?  There aren't many.  

1. DIY--decorating the cultural hall is tons of work.  A lot of people will skip out and go pay a venue to do this (especially the cleaning up part).  Even if you have no family in the area to help, it is very rare you don't have friends in the area who are willing to come help you out and decorate. You will find out who your real friends are, they will drop everything to come help.  We helped some good friends of ours with decorating their cultural hall reception the night before the ceremony when they had no family in the area, and we even brought our 1 year old in tow.  Were we tired? Yes. Would we do it again? Yes. 

If you are worried about the cleaning up part after the reception...just hire a cleaning service to come help you out after the party's over.  It will cost way less than paying a venue to do it. Most likely a venue outsources their cleaning too.  

2. No lit candles.  But most places won't allow them anyway.  

3. The basketball hoops.  But in the end, seriously, no one cares about them!  People like seeing the cultural hall decorated and want to eat good food. 

Our reception was at a cultural hall and it was great.  I've uploaded our wedding pics so you can get ideas.  It wasn't a fancy reception but it was lovely and happy :).  No matter how big the party is, the end result is the same -- you got married!  And that's what matters!  I have yet to meet anyone that was disappointed for having their wedding at the cultural hall but more people disappointed with their choice of venue (expectations not met, low quality of service, lots of money wasted etc). 

When people get married they need to plan beyond the wedding, and what things can cost after the party is over.  Furniture costs a lot!  Also rent!  

Looking back, I'm glad we chose wisely and saved our money for after the wedding. 

 No need for chair covers.  People just need a place to sit, eat, and talk. 

Even now I don't regret the basketball hoops :) 

Lots of people =FUN


  1. I actually had my reception in a cultural hall. If decorated properly, it can look great. Obviously you are not going to get quite the same look as a reception hall, as you can't really change the way that the outside of the building looks. I am glad that you mentioned the parking. A lot of people came to my reception, and had we been at the reception hall closest to my home, I don't know if everyone would have been able to park.

  2. We need some help! I saw your picture on pinterest and had to check out all the beautiful pictures! My younger sister is having her reception in less then 2 months. It will be in the state of her future husband so we can not see the walls or size before hand. The list of reasons for having your reception in the gym is totally why its a must for a budget! We are worried about how to decorate! We have string lights and lots of lanterns as well but are stumped as to how we will get them up as you did so beautifully! Especially the lights! How did you get them all plugged in and hung? The gym is so high, I see you used the wall acrossed with some wire or string for the lanterns but what about the lights? I cant find answers anywhere! Pleases and Thank yous! You did a great job!

    1. Hi Jessica, thank you so much for the nice compliments. My in-laws and husband did the decorations the day before wedding so I don't know how they got them up. From what he told me, it was a lot of work hanging them up. You do need several extension cords, duct/electrical tape and a step ladder. I do want to mention we were in a cultural hall where it's actually smaller than most, it is not a full basketball court and there is no stage. Easy way to tell is that they have carpet in the hall instead of the basketball floor. We also have friends who did their reception in a cultural hall similar layout to ours last November and we helped them decorate. You want to plan at least 6 hours decorating if you only have 4-5 people helping. They did not hang lights but had a great idea of putting the dance floor in the center of hall and purchased 4 trees with branches, no leaves to put in each corner of the dance floor. They strung lights on all the branches and it turned out so pretty. I did take pictures of that and I will try to upload them so that you have an idea. You are so nice to help your sister out!! If you have more questions I would be happy to do my best to answer.

  3. Your pictures are beautiful! I would love some help! My sister is having her reception in 2 months. We are doing a similar look with sting lights and hanging lanterns. Although we are stumped as to how we will hang them and get all the lights plugged in. Any advice would be welcomed! We have been searching the web high and low for answers! The location is going to be out of state for us all cause it will be where her future husbands family lives. So we can not check out the place before hand. Still if you can give me any direction, I would be sooo Thankful!


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