Angela from Manchester, England
Plant inexpensive, easy-to-grow stem and stalk flowers like irises and day lilies to use at the wedding. Ask close friends and family to plant some as well so your flower bounty will be greater by the wedding date.
Don't forget second-hand stores for great finds. This is especially great for more eclectic weddings where not every piece has to match perfectly. Also, don't forget about your local "dollar" stores. Check the party aisles for some unexpected finds.
Need a cake? Search online for a two-ingredient cake. The simplest requires only a can of cola and a cake mix (total under $1.50 per 2-layer cake). Make numerous cakes or one large multi-layered cake. For decorating, DIY (practice now) or hire an artsy relative or friend to do the fancy icing.
Think outside the box on wedding favors. You can do a wide variety of on-the-cheap side favors and none has to match. Do some sachets, some small packs of stationary, some bubble packs, etc. Most of this you can find at the dollar store. And... tulle everything!
Good luck! (01/28/2007)
I cater wedding receptions as a hobby and have done about a dozen of them in the past few years (200 guests each). I did my niece's reception recently and she had requested a chocolate fountain... so I did some research. What I found interesting is that some brides are replacing the traditional wedding cake with the chocolate fountain. It's a big hit, and lots of fun. Messy though, clean up is even messier! The fountain idea is not particularly cheap, but less than a professional wedding cake. She had both. The wedding cake (200 guests) was about $400.
The fountain rented for $100. The Belgium chocolate (a must, in my opinion ... high fat content flows easily) was $50 for 10 pounds. $75 for out-of-season strawberries, supplemented with purchased apple slices from Sam's Club (won't turn dark...and they were a big hit), large marshmallows, pretzel sticks, grapes and skewers.
Leave out the strawberries and grapes, use lots of apple slices, possibly (firm) brownies or cake cubes and you can make an impressive display for about $200. Have one (brave) person designated to watch over it all. A hint: Take a bubble level to make sure the fountain is absolutely straight so it flows evenly.(01/28/2007)
Use the Thriftyfun search for "Tulle and Lights Wedding Decor" for a really pretty display. (01/28/2007)
Make it personal. I like the outdoor wedding -- you could even do an evening ceremony with the small twinkle lights for accent. Hire an aspiring cake-baker to make your cake. Or do it yourself! Butter cream frosting is easy to make and very tasty. You can simply use live flowers (roses, etc, check for toxicity if you are unsure) to decorate it.
We got married in a remade "castle" (former Elk's lodge) and had a "traditional" medieval ceremony -- hand fasting, ceremony, roast boar, sword fight -- and saved quite a bit on money. My sister and I made the wedding party attire very inexpensive and fun. I have worn my wedding dress every year when we attend Renaissance festivals. We printed our own invites (as has been suggested) and made our birdseed holders for guests to toss from as we left the building.
As for table decor - use fresh fruit! It can be laid out at random or placed in second-hand baskets. Guests can snack on it and you can take the rest home for healthy snacks later.(01/31/2007)
I live in the States, but see if you can get a dress from Chadwicks. I got my dress there with a coupon my mom had in her email for around $100 with shipping. (Beautiful ivory, off the shoulder evening dress with no train.) Also try to make as much of the food as possible or just have cake and punch. Depending on when the wedding is try to look for things in "non-wedding" stores and see if you can find them on sale.
Hope this helps. (02/02/2007)
I have a few friends who actually bought white prom dresses for their wedding gowns. They paid $40-$50 for them and one even had a small train! They wore halos in their hair and looked gorgeous! (02/06/2007)
Try the local 4H club County extension Office in the gov. section of the phone book. See if there is a floral class. I used them and got great results. Also try the decorating, cooking and servers. Maybe your decorations could win a prize at the county fair. (04/06/2007)
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