I'm trying to plan a wedding, and have no idea where to start. I only have $1000 for the entire reception. If anyone has any ideas on what to do, please help me!
LaToya from Chicago, IL
I had the best wedding. I bought my dress and made my own bouquet. We rented the reception hall and bought the cake, one keg of beer and several bottles of champagne for toasts. I had a friend that was a good photographer take a bunch of pictures.
But, as far as food, it was a "potluck". My closest friends brought their favorite hor d'ourves and snacks (mostly my moms friends). The cool thing was, everybody just loves the food and had a wonderful time!
If your friends ask you "What can I do to help?" Say "You can help me decorate the hall, or sweep the hall afterwards or bring a dish of food."
Forget about spending money on flowers for the alter and the actual wedding (besides your bouquet). Save your money for the reception. This is where you'll spend the most time with your friends. My dress wasn't an actual "wedding dress", it was a white prom dress which I got on sale.
You can either use sheets or better yet buy white plastic tablecloths at the dollar store. Buy cups, plates and forks at the dollar store too!
As far as decorations for the tables, buy 10 or so short glass vases at the dollar store with a white candle in each and put clear flattened "marbles" inside the vase and around the candle (all from the Dollar Store). Put one on each table.
Pick 1 or 2 colors for your "theme" colors (I chose blue and white). Have your cake made in these colors and buy some crape paper and balloons in the same colors from the dollar store. A little crape paper goes a LONG way to add color to a room and around tables.
The place you rent should have tables and chairs so you don't have to also rent those. As long as you clean the place up you'll get your deposit back. Move most of the tables along the walls (so people have room to dance) and put your potluck food on these side tables.
Unless you have a friend who's a DJ, record your music ahead of time. Number each CD and write a list with each CD number and track number you want played and when. Have a friend be responsible for the numbered CDs. If you record a few CDs ahead of time with different types of music on them. One for you guys to dance to, one with fast songs, one with slow songs and one that has both. This way, depending on the mood of the crowd, you've got the music covered!
Most all ages like music from the 1970's. You really can't go wrong with the 70's classics. This way both the older generation and the younger generation will both be happy. Throw in several "dance" tracks in to get people up and dancing. Just remember you probably have lots of age groups there, so try to make as many people happy and want to dance as possible. You should have lots of the tunes your family and friends like to dance to and don't forget to include some special songs for your parents, grandparents.
Friends and family won't look back at how much money you spent, they'll just remember how much fun they had. One keg of beer goes a long way. But you'll probably need a "party permit" if you serve alcohol and you will be responsible if someone drinks to0 much and gets into an accident (at least that's how it works in our state). So use care! Make sure to have some punch with NO alcohol too.
I had a beautiful wedding. I purchased an absolutely gorgeus dress from the JC Penny's bridal catalog for only about $300 and the veil was about $50. We married in my parents' backyard, renting chairs from the local funeral home.
As for the reception. We had it on the deck. My Mom and my Aunts made the food. We had 2 different types of punch and lots of finger foods and a beautiful cake.
The cake was actually from the local bakery supply store. My Mom called them up and had them bake the layers. She purchased the pillars and decorations from them and they boxed the layers up and told her how to assemble them at home. My cake was one of the most beautiful I've ever seen!
You can get a lot of wedding decorations at The Dollar Tree or other dollar store. For a center piece at my sister's wedding reception, I used a big, deep clear glass bowl and filled it with pretty gold wrapped bon bons. I weaved tiny strings of "pearls" through it that I had purchased in the crafts department of Wal-Mart, and then I also placed tiny silk roses in her colors throughout (they came on stems, but I cut them off the stems and just used the buds); the only problem with it was that it was TOO pretty. People thought it was just a decoration and didn't eat the bon-bons!
There are lots of ideas out there, and there are even books on the subject. Just go to the library and look up "Weddings" in the card-catalog computer. There should be books on "thrifty wedding ideas" or such topics.
The important thing though is that your entire wedding, including your reception should reflect yours and your husband-to-be's tastes, and be uniquely your own!
I've been married for 32 years and I loved my reception more than the ones that cost thousands of dollars. We made a ham, a turkey, and a roast for sandwiches and all the aunts brought potato salads and baked beans. Like a pot luck or family reunion. The food is homemade! And everyone gets their favorite things.
Thank you for your post. It was very informative and I will be using many of your thoughts. If you don't mind, can you tell me the name of the hall you used? Only if it's in Chicago.
Here in the South, lots of weddings are more like afternoon teas, with punch, nuts, cookies, and the wedding cake. You could easily add finger food and fruit salad. By the way, a new trend is to have fancy cupcakes instead of a traditional tower cake. Several churches will rent their halls cheaply; most have kitchens where friends can fix the food. My sister used a school gymnasium, which we decorated--it even had a stage for the DJ. Both my sister and I got our flowers at a floral outlet. They made all the arrangements and bouquets for about half the price of a florist. Only they didn't deliver, so we had to have someone pick them up. The town we live in has a beautiful park with a gazebo that many use for free. One even has a really fancy and clean enclosed pavillon with a small kitchen area that rents cheaply. Good luck.
My fiance and I are getting married in Dallas and we have paid $2300 for ceremony and reception at a really nice hotel. We are paying for everything and at 26 yrs old we don't have millions...YET! No, but seriously we can't afford to get people full, if we could we would but we opted for a heavy hors de ouvers instead. Also we are getting married on a Sunday and that gave us a price cut. Hope this helps. Congratulations on your engagement and good luck.
You can purchase white paper lanters online really cheap and hang them from white outdoor lights. We did this for our daughters wedding last summer and it turned out beautiful. It had a big impact for very little money.
Food- We did everything ourselves. My mom made tons of brownies and froze them in advance. We cut them into bite sized pieces before we froze them. They were delicious. She also made mexican wedding cake cookies and froze them way in advance. They too were awesome. We used large amounts of grapes from her backyard and other fruits. Large blocks of cheese sliced, french baguette bread sliced really think. Crackers that we bought at the dollar store!! That were really quite good. Check out my website for more photos. www.thestylesisters.net
The Style Sister
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