Another thing you can do is have family members help with setting up. Your nieces and nephews think they are playing when making paper mache flowers and folding napkins.
Although these ideas may seems a little too cheap, no one notices that there is anything different and studies have shown that people like when the bride and groom use their own creativity in a wedding!
By Claire Bear from Columbus, OH
Read feedback for this post below. Click here to post feedback.
I can't vouch for the frugality of my daughter's wedding, but I do know it seemed to be a "neighborhood affair." One neighbor's wedding present was the whole hog for the pulled pork, which they served on large croissants. The rest of the food was mostly various chips, cheese cubes and a couple of kinds of hummus (which I think was the most expensive food served, except maybe for the croissants.)
Another group of friends, a classical quintet, provided the wedding music. The reception music was simply a CD player or something of the sort, I think. They designed their own invitations, and I believe they got a deal from the printer who duplicated them.
The party favors were the unique thing I remember best. My daughter and son-in-law found origami patterns online and printed enough of them to allow each of the 150 or so guests to take home their own creation. They cut off the excess paper, rolled each printed page into a small scroll and tied it with a thin ribbon.
Last but not least, the wedding and reception were in my son-in-law's parents' back yard, so there were no rental costs for the venue.
My oldest son took the super-frugal route this past August: they almost eloped, lol! The wedding was at the county courthouse, with a post-wedding lunch at a local Mexican restaurant. Everyone paid their own way. My youngest son's wedding was also in his in-laws' backyard, too, but the reception was in a local party room that used to be a roller skating rink. Subway sandwiches and fruit punch were served. Too bad he forgot his sister's pineapple allergy; she had to request bottled water. Sigh, "pobody's nerfect," I guess. Anyway, I hope this gives you some ideas!
People do notice the difference. engraved invitations are one thing and homemade is another. Do yourself a favor and make them very original and personalized and something that could not come from the professional invitation companies. Just do not fool yourself into thinking no one notices, they do. Just make certain they notice how original and personal and different they are. Don't fool, yourself into thinking no one notices these things they do.
People are willing to help. My family made all the food for my wedding. Pick a few good finger foods that you can make ahead of time and freeze (rolls, meatballs, cheese straws, savory puff pastry twists). You can buy ingredients while they are on sale and stock up. Instead of spending a lot on pictures, have a professional do a few, and then a friend with a good camera take a lot of posed and candid ones.
I had a friend who made her invitations on the computer using cards from an office supply store. They were very classy and you couldn't tell that they weren't professionally done. Have fun!
By Leigh Ann
For the reception, we made CD's with the music we wanted all planned out in order. One for dinner music, one for the bridal party dances and two for dance music for everyone. We borrowed some good sound equipment and put a friend in charge. People can't make music requests this way but, if you think things through, you can play a variety that your guests will appreciate while insuring that you and your new husband actually like all the music.
Make sure to include music that was popular during each generation of your guests. We included more classics and slow songs, along with a few line dances, early on to get things moving and mixed in more and more current music as the evening went on.
A relative took all the pictures for free, as a wedding gift. The food was all prepared by myself and we had family members help with the food tables and two grills going with brats and burgers. My daughter made the music CD for the wedding and reception. Everyone remarked on how beautiful it was.
Don't forget looking on e-bay, they have people on there where you can get the wedding party's essential flowers for $90.00 (buy-it-now). You can even request the colors you like. Favors are also an item that is offered a lot.
If you opt for an outdoor wedding at maybe a free park, try a picnic type reception with rolls, meat, cheeses and things to make sandwiches with maybe salad, fruit salad, potato salad and chips and dip. A great way to save money because you can basically buy this in platters at your local grocery store and make the other things in advance and easily.
We made our own invitations, and fantastic cootie catchers for every table. A friend made our cake, and we decorated our own car with ribbons to save on hiring a Rolls Royce! We had a karaoke machine at the reception so we even made our own entertainment! (Me and Hubby sang to our guests instead of having a first dance!) Sparkling wine can be bought in advance from whichever supermarket has the best offer, and simple favours can be made by dressing candy with ribbon and bows.
Enjoy the preparations, you will love it!
By Julie UK
Editor's Note: Here's a picture of the Cootie Catcher Wedding Favor: http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf977886.tip.html
Another friend took some small painted metal pieces and a romantic magnetic poetry kit and assembled random poems for all the guests. It was fun and memorable. I still have both of these favors on my refrigerator 8 years later.
For my own wedding, we wrote our own vows. I printed these up and tied them with a ribbon along with candy kisses. If you want to see more about my wedding, I have a post about it here.
Have a minimal bridal party. We had our wedding at 11:00 and served a light brunch menu. Almost everything we served came from SAM'S; quiche, deli spirals, frozen fruit, vegetable trays, cheese and crackers, pastry puffs, punch, nuts, plates, napkins, forks, cups. We spent about $250 on everything and served 100+ people.
We used bell placecard holders (off eBay) as favors and took a picture of us to Wal-Mart to copy into wallet size pictures. We then put those in the placecard holders as favors. Everyone loved them!
We also found that sticking with all red roses really cut down our budget. Fresh "in-season" flowers are more expensive than roses! They looked wonderful in pictures and very elegant. Also, don't be afraid to deal with anyone. Tell the florist what you want and what you can spend. Shop around until you find someone who will do it for your price, same thing for the photographer. Everyone we looked at was way out of our budget. But, by having the wedding in the morning, the photographer we chose could still do another wedding that afternoon so he cut us a deal.
Most importantly, make the wedding personal and don't stress. The wedding won't determine your happiness, you as a couple will.
Cake: You can have a beautiful cake for almost nothing. Bake 6-7 cakes and cut them into circles of different sizes, cover with white frosting. Use fresh rose petals matching your color) to decorate the sides of each cake. Use small buds as decoration on a few of the cakes. Place small boxes of different heights on a round table and cover with a satin table cloth (again to match). Place the cakes on the boxes. Place the smallest cake at the tallest level with a cake topper on it. This creates a beautiful cake table.
Favors/Gifts: You can purchase small frames/card holder for about .89 cents each (even less if you order a large quantity). Select a picture of you and your spouse/fiance and convert the picture to black and white. This makes a very sleek gift and table decoration. You can make the pictures on your home computer (get a couple of friends or relatives to cut and put in the frames). You can also get custom glasses printed with your name and date on them. These are great gifts and do not cost that much. Just type personalized glasses and search.
Decorations: You can buy foil and paper table coverings, and placemats, on the internet and at US Lace, that look amazing on the tables.
Just remember that you can just about type discount anything on the internet and find it. I ordered everything, including bulk candy to fill my personalized glasses, online and I did it all for a fraction of what it would have cost me. Also the more work you do, the less $ you have to pay someone.
We started looking for my sister's wedding dress at all the fancy dress shops here in town. Not only did she hate every single one of them, they were all out of her price range. We found a bridal outlet store just out of town. It was great! The people helping us were the owners and were very helpful and interested in helping us, unlike the fancy shops. She paid $300 for her dress. She spent $8 on her veil at Walmart (wedding/craft section) and splurged a little on underthings at Victoria's Secret.
For the bridesmaids we ended up at Dillard's clearance section at the last minute. Her colors were royal blue and silver. Royal blue is amazingly hard to find in the summer. Help your sis pick a color that will be in season when it's time to pick up the ladies' dresses, including the MOMS!
Everything we ordered online ended up being TOO purple (YUCK!). We payed $120 each for 2 dresses, but darn it, they didn't match her royal blue. For dresses off-the-rack, look for darker colors around Christmas and for lighter colors look at Easter!
My daughter was the flower girl and we paid $35 at a little shop in the more Hispanic part of town. Beautiful, simple, elegant, handmade! (White shoes are easiest to find at Easter!)
We downloaded all of the music and burned a CD for both before and during the service. Enya before and classical during. My DH2B (dear husband-to-be) was our "music director". She found a lovely chapel (http://www.amerryoccasion.com) whose owner was also the officiant and caterer and decorator of church and hall, with the hall in the basement of the chapel.
She had an early afternoon wedding so, instead of a dinner reception, we did a late lunch setting and had meat/cheese and fruit/veggie trays along with potato and pasta salads. There was no break between ceremony and reception. (I always hated that break anyway. What a waste of time!)
Our Aunt made the cake and we helped to decorate it. She also helped make the bouquets (fake flowers are cheaper and last longer)! Oh, and she was the hair/makeup person. She is AMAZINGLY talented. Even the photographer was a good deal. He charged $700 for 100 pics (but gave us more than that) and all the negatives! Wedding favors we just used blue tulle and silver ribbon with Hershey's Hugs and Kisses. We spent about $5000.
Add your voice to the conversation.