When planning my own wedding reception, I ran through a multitude of different scenarios. I dreamed of a gorgeous outdoor affair with huge white tents and breezy gauze panels everywhere. I toyed with an urban club-like feel with crisp lines and dark, intimate lighting. I probably thought of a hundred different types of parties that would have just the right feel for the biggest day of my life, all while trying to keep things within my modest wedding budget. No matter what type of soiree you are thinking of for your own reception, there are tons of ways to save money so that you have plenty left to splurge on the important things.
Reuse, Reuse, Reuse!
One of the easiest ways to save cash and still keep an elegant look at your reception is to choose décor that serves double duty. Instead of buying additional flowers for my bridal table, I set up clips to hold the girls’ bouquets along the front of the table. Also, consider using your favors as centerpieces; how awesomely elegant would a raised pedestal of chocolate covered strawberries in the center of each table be?
Candles Can Save You Some Cash
Lighting can always make or break the mood of any event, especially wedding receptions. Candles fit into nearly any décor and when purchased from discount stores from Wal-Mart or Hobby Lobby, fit any budget as well. Select a single color and group them in various sizes on mirrored tiles with a few silk blooms, accent crystals, pieces of ribbon around the base, or many other options.
Keep Your Food Menu Under Control
When selecting your food, try to keep yourself under control. While it’s possibly tempting to have twelve different appetizers (seriously, I’ve actually seen it done), try to keep to two or three at most, especially if you are serving a substantial meal. However, if you LOVE tapas (small plate) style eating, consider forgoing the meal and serving five or six different hors d’oeuvres for guests to munch on. This can be much cheaper than a traditional meal, and works great for cocktail-party style receptions.
Everyone Loves Candy!
Another way to get a trendy, high-end look that is growing in popularity and is super-affordable is to use a candy buffet. Select a number of glass display containers (available for a steal at places like Hobby Lobby, Old Time Pottery, or even yard sales and auctions) and set fill with different types of candy as your favors. Select candy based on coordinating colors, theme, or just your favorites! This creates a very interesting and fun area in your reception for your guests to congregate, and insures they will have sweet memories of your big day.
Open Bar Means ‘Open Your Wallet’
Also, as much as guests love to hear those magic words “OPEN BAR”, reconsider if your budget is tight. If you will be serving alcohol at your reception, I always recommend providing at least beer free of charge to your guests, and one or two wines if possible. Opening up the rest of the liquor spread can be pricey however, so consider providing only a signature cocktail along with the beer and wine. A signature cocktail adds a upscale, cosmopolitan flair to any reception with minimal cost and is a fun way to put yet another personal twist on your celebration. Finish the look with a pretty DIY sign advertising the drinks provided.
Natalie Jennings is a wedding coordinator at La Vida Dulce and Chihuahua enthusiast from the southside of Indianapolis, IN