Set up/Rentals/Food & Beverages

Set up: 
One of the advantages of having a reception in a hotel ballroom, or specialized wedding hall or restaurant, is that you don’t have to rent tables, chairs, tablecloths, 
napkins, flatware, glasses, etc.  The venue arranges to have everything set up for your (and also cleans it all up in the end).  Of course, the price you pay includes
the room and these amenities, but to many, having a hassle-free day is worth any cost!
If you have your reception anywhere else, you have to figure out a way to get the tables and chairs. If you choose to rent them, the set up (of the tables and chairs 
at least) will be provided by the rental company (the linens, dishes and flatware will be up to you). Of course, renting is an added expense.
You may elect to transport tables and chairs from the stake center/church (be sure to okay it first with whoever is in charge of the building). But this option can 
prove tricky.  You and your fiancé (and your families) will be very busy on your wedding day and the day before (and the day after).  The person enlisted to get
the tables must have a pick-up truck (and even then, may have to make several trips to get everything).
The easiest way to use the ward’s tables and chairs, is to use the cultural hall for the reception.  Even so, you need to find people who are willing to set up and take 
down.  Someone needs to be in charge of putting the tablecloths, napkins, silverware, glasses, and centerpieces on the tables.
(see Bridal Consultants)  
Your meeting house may not have enough tables or chairs for the size of your group, in which case you will have to rent extras or just let people roam around and 
visit and not have seating provided for everyone.
Your relief society most probably has white tablecloths and maybe even napkins.  If they don’t, you’ll have to rent.  You might want to consider renting napkins 
and 90” round tablecloths (which you can put under the white tablecloths you borrow from Relief Society) in your color scheme.  It is not that expensive and the
small price adds a big bang to the overall look of the room when you come in.  (I say that because I assume you will have the napkins and silverware on the tables).
Renting nice drinking glasses is also nicer looking than the plastic glasses available in the ward’s kitchen.  While you are at it, look at the dishes in your ward.  If you 
are not happy with the color, you might want to rent dishes as well.
Just remember, the whole point of having the reception in the cultural hall was to avoid a lot of rentals.  If you start running up too high a tab, you might as well 
think about having your reception at a local wedding venue where you won’t have to rent tablecloths, napkins, dishes, glasses, flatware etc. 
Buffet or served sit down dinner?  The cost of food per person is usually very similar, but with a served sit down, you have to hire staff to serve and that can run the 
bill up considerably.  (A buffet instead of a sit down dinner for 150 would save approximately $2,250). And, let’s face it, our LDS friends aren’t very good at
responding to wedding invitations - They just show up: so trying to plan for a sit down dinner is a nightmare.
 Comb the ward for cooks. Feeding a crowd can prove very expensive... so get resourceful! 
Instead of hiring a pricey caterer, consider your favorite local restaurant.
In-N-Out burgers will caterer your wedding for $7-8 per person.  They’ll make the burgers right there.  It’s fun and moderately inexpensive. Of course, serving a 
meal (even a relatively cheap one) is still a more expensive option.  But that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with only nut cups!
Consider serving heavy appetizers instead of dinner. Or a lighter fare dinner such as a taco bar (or fajita burritos) and a salad bar. 
There is nothing wrong with buying food from Costco or party trays from grocery stores – just, whatever you do, transfer it to decent serving trays.  Do NOT serve 
them in the plastic trays they come in!

You can serve a punch from punch bowls, or you can do like this bride did and have a selection of flavored lemonades (the one on the far left is just water with 
orange slices in it).
 Large tubs of ice filled with a variety of soft drinks is another popular way to go.
 If your wedding is in the fall, you could consider serving hot cider.
 A hot chocolate bar is fun on chilly winter evenings.  Have fun things to put in the hot chocolate, like:  marshmallows, cinnamon sticks,  powdered chocolate and 
whipped cream.