By Hollie from Paducah, KY
First get your venue VFW posts where you can bring in your own food, than keep it simple 2 meats like pulled chicken in broth, or shredded beef, broiled or mashed potateos, and or buns add a veggie. seperate cakes put on a table with boxes under them and cover with a new sheet for hight. Maybe go with wild flowers there free.
First I would suggest talking to friends and family to see what things you could barrow, like tablecloths, serving platters and table decorations. Maybe talk to them also about being able to help serve food, decorate cake, or do the music as a wedding gift to you guys. If you want to find simple table decorations look at the dollar store. As for location, find a cheap spot like someone's backyard or a church building. Also fake flowers are cheaper. Hope this helps.
Think outside the box; just adding "wedding" to the name of any items shoots the price up. A plain white guest book will do, lovely dresses that aren't "bridesmaid" can be found, the same with "wedding" dresses. A white Bible with a single flower and ribbons trailing is a lovely bridal bouquet.
We did a beautiful wedding when all the decorating "flowers" were greens of all kinds clipped from our yards and placed in clear glass vases, etc., the only colored flowers were the the bridal party carried. The high end florist (who did the bridal flowers) was so impressed because it didn't detract from the key flowers and looked very lush.You have a work party of family and friends put them together ahead of time. I have been to totally dessert receptions where the bride and groom baked a number of cakes themselves. Everyone was charmed.
There are so many ways to make your day "yours" and special by staying away from the "traditional" stuff. Aisle ribbons are simple to make and just running/draping plain tulle between pews that are tied at the end of each pew with ribbon is charming and also keeps guest out of there before the wedding. Ushers can release it at end of wedding if you want guests going out that way.
There are so many simple, elegant, cheap things you can do it you just make a plan and follow it. Favors are not necessary. A handmade program can serve two purposes if you feel the need. Some friends made handmade paper covers and included special scriptures and words inside beside the service program and thanks. It was lovely and enough. I could go on and on (as a former wedding coordinator) but you can do it, Keep it simple and elegant.
Have you thought about going informal. Have a big bbq and a barn dance? The food could be done for about $600 - even cheaper if you find a farmer and make a deal. You could have salads, bread/buns and all the trimmings. If you can there make your own beer and wine - pennies compared to retail. As for the favors - I never keep them, a lot of people don't - but if you want to do them I would do mini terra cotta pots with a small plant in them. You could glue beads and ribbons to the pots if you wanted or even paint them.
Silk flowers have really improved and these can be bought in bulk at discount retailers etc. Look for after Christmas sales for plates, napkins etc at huge discounts. Silver, red, green, white, gold etc are all colors that you find on sale - same with candles after the holidays. Center pieces could be tasteful and simple - some clean sand with candles in it with shells, twigs etc. decorating. You can make great mixed CDS for before and during dinner - if you have a handy teen who is keen on music they can download and mix songs right on itunes - maybe you can go for that.
The one thing I would try not to skimp on is photos - even if you just get one or two professional protraits done. If you have a skill maybe you could trade services with a photographer. Think outside the box - it will save you a ton of cash. And congrats!
Also we found vases at walmart after Valentine's day that were really nice marked down to .50 each from $4! We filled them with rocks and put a tea light on top of the rocks for the reception tables. :)
My husband and iIgot married in 08, and we had a limited budget as well. we checked with our local hobby lobby store, they run the bridal stuff 50% off often. I was able to get our guest book for $10, where David's bridal wanted $25. they also carry mints and other favor items. we got our flowers from there too while on 50% off sale, and everyone said they would have never guessed they were fake lol.
Our wedding was in October so as decoration in the church we used fall mums. All of the florists we called about doing bows for the "reserved" pews wanted like $6-8 PER BOW so we asked family members and it turns out my aunt could make them, she only asked us to buy the ribbon, which we also got at hobby lobby on 50% sale LOL!
A friend to took the pictures, we used a ipod for the reception music.
As the person before me posted, Davids bridal has the $99 gowns sale, but when I went they didn't have anything I liked, however since you have a year to plan be sure to check when the "season" ends. sign up for their newsletter and they will send you emails when stuff is on sale. we got our brides maids dresses ordered and like 2 weeks later db sent an email newsletter stating the dresses that were out of season were on sale and guess what! Both dresses were about $50 cheaper! Sometimes when the season is over they will sell the display dresses, however be sure to inspect them if this is the route you take because they may have some minor damage from being tried on so much lol
I hope some of this helps out :)
As far as foods go, it used to be that most people served nothing but cake, coffee, and punch. Most weddings were in the evening after the time when people had already eaten dinner/supper. Some people have taken to adding buns with stacked ham, turkey or beef on them. It isn't necessary to have a big meal. It also isn't necessary to have a dance. There are places where you can rent your gown, or if nothing else most of the time David's Bridal has a good selection of gowns for $99.00.
Buy either fresh or silk flowers and make the bouquets, etc. yourself. I have seen nice weddings where the bride and attendants each carry one long stemmed rose tied with a nice bow. If you aren't getting married until next March, you have plenty of time to scrounge for bargains.
Ask a friend to take the pictures and do the video. It used to be that friends or cousins would serve the lunch, or if you are having the wedding/reception in a church one of the ladies groups might serve the lunch for a donation. If you know somebody that can sing or play an instrument ask them if they would furnish the music.
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