How to Save Money on a Wedding Receptions Part 2: How to save money on a Banquet Hall Receptions

by: Founder Gayle

Couples who would prefer a  3 to 5 hour celebration with dancing & entertainment often choose Banquet Hall Receptions.  The most expensive venues are inside hotels.  The most affordable venues include city recreation halls and churches. Some caterers, such as Banquet Masters in Pinellas Park & Orange Blossom in St Pete Beach have  space for rent. The average guest count for banquet hall receptions is 100 ct. Most banquet halls are best suited for guest counts over 25 ct.

  1. Hotel banquet halls

When you work with a hotel there will most often be a requirement of booking meals for at least at least 25 guests.  Per person rates can start at $45 per person and go up to $150 per person.. Although some hotels charge a site fee to use their site for the wedding too, the rental fee for a hotel banquet room is waived.  Most hotel banquet halls do not have windows.  Some hotels offer linens, others require you work with an outside vendor.

Couples are also responsible for centerpieces & the entertainment.  Most hotels do not offer the wedding cake so you would bring your own. There will be meal options for plated dinners & buffets. Penny wise couples often choose a brunch reception at a hotel.  These buffets are much less than lunch & dinner receptions.  They can save more money on bar costs by ordering champagne & orange juice (Mimosa’s), rum punch or Bloody Mary’s to save money on bar costs

  1. Recreation center or church banquet halls

Many cities offer spacious recreation centers.  In our area, there are several with intercoastal waterway views.  These include the Clearwater Recreation & Sail Centers & the St. Pete Beach Recreation Center.

Most often couples bring their own food, linens and decorations to recreation hall & church receptions.  They hire entertainers.  D.J.’s are the most popular.  Some recreation centers require you work with approved vendors; others require you purchase event insurance.  Sometimes alcohol is prohibited.  Sometimes you may bring your own.

A very popular church with a banquet hall in our community is The White Chapel in Palm Harbor.   Another popular spot that can serve as both the wedding & reception site is the Sunset Beach Pavilion in Treasure Island. A Guests may dine casually on picnic tables with food you may bring from Publix , Sonny’s BBQ or Carraba’s.  Pot lucks are also popular at this spot.

  1. Floating banquet hall


You may charter a deck or charter an entire dinner cruise.  This includes dinner, entertainment, dancing & a champagne toast.  To receive exclusive seating, there are minimum requirements, starting at 40 guests.  The entire tropical party boat may be chartered with only a minimum of 100 ct on the weekend. This casual experience offers unlimited buffet, beer, wine & rum punch; a champagne toast, dancing & D.J. entertainment.  Small groups are given sections of the dining room.

There are yachts that sail out of Clearwater (for up to 250 guests) & St. Pete Beach (for up to 150 guests) that offer plated dinners with charter minimum requirements & charter fees.  The most impressive & affordable elegant yacht option is a plated 2 hour lunch cruise with entertainment.

To see Dinner Cruise options Click Here

Banquet halls have long been the choice for couples who are seeking a more traditional reception.  Dinner Cruises  & hotels offer more for those who don’t want to do the decorating, extensive reception planning or organizing a meal.  Hotels are the most expensive.  Dinner cruises & other banquet halls are less.

We hope this post has assisted you in planning your wedding reception.    Thank you for taking the time to learn more from our experience & expertise.  See suggestions for saving money on planning a Florida Beach Wedding, a reception in Florida in our past blogs.  Stay tuned for how to save money on cakes and flowers for your Florida Beach Wedding.