We are having both the ceremony and reception at my father's house. We do have to rent everything which I gasped at, at first too. But after comparing, it is less costly than having a hall do everything. So the actual site is free.
Flowers: We are using fake ones. At first I was against it but we weighed the pros and cons.
These were the four major factors we chose. The main one for real flowers were plain and simple. They were real. We also added small drops of fragrant oil to give the fake ones a smell.
You can find search online, some places the prices were just as extravagant as real ones. So make sure you search thoroughly. Also if you can order a small sample, that would be recommended so you know the quality. As an added touch, we are tossing fake rose petals over everything under the tent. Just to give a more romantic feeling.
Cake: We are baking different sized round cakes and decorating them with artificial flowers and petals also (no fragrant oil on these) and placing them on stands. How you do the stands is up to you. We bought our clear ones on eBay for about $20.00. However, I do also like the boxes under the fabric idea.
Dress: My dress is going to be handmade by one of my mother's friends. I found a pattern of the dress I had wanted from a bridal store. The store wanted $1,095 for it. I paid $165.00 for the fabric. I will be "tipping" the lady even though she insists that it is an "honor" to make my dress. I think $330 for a dress is a lot better than $1095.
I also have 2 friends who had their heart set on a certain dress, but when they went to the shop, they either saw another one that stood out or the dress they wanted wasn't exactly what they liked on their body. They both had budgeted $60-$90 on their dresses. After trying on different ones to make sure they had "the right one", both of them picked up brand new dresses at an esteemed bridal shop that were part of the $99 sale.
You could also take a plain wedding dress (or any other dress) and add embellishments to make it your own and a little more fancy. As for my bridesmaids, I didn't think it was fair for me to get such a deal on my dress. Prom, homecoming or any other formal dresses are perfect. Most likely, they will wear them again more than a "traditional" bridesmaid dress. Plus, you can find times after prom where the prices are slashed.
I am also making my veil. I lost it when I saw a plain veil I had liked at a bridal shop for $90.00. I made my own, it is a lot simpler than it sounds. I don't sew at all, in fact the first thing I ever put a needle to was my veil. I got everything I needed at Walmart. It cost me $8 dollars for supplies and 2 hours of my time.
Food: We are making everything. Pretty much any appetizer can be made ahead of time and depending on the type, it can either just be set out or warmed up. Since we are having it at my father's, we are just using his oven to warm ours up. Since it is just a warm up, you can put as many pans as you can in there. Pull them out and while you are serving those, heat up some more.
We are still trying to decide on the actual food. Any kind of pasta is good, filling, and cheap. I wanted a little more by having steak, salmon, and chicken, each with a certain side dish. I checked out Schwan's. The average cost of meat and side with roll would be $4.20 per person (cheaper than some McDonald's meals) and a lot cheaper than the $13.00-$19.00 per person cost at the hall we were looking at. I was worried about who was going to cook. I was totally surprised by how many friends and relatives volunteered, seeing this as a way to "be part of the wedding". Now I have to decide exactly who I am going to pick to cook. We don't need 15 cooks. :-)
Music: We are recording our own for all (ceremony, dinner and reception). We held a 50th birthday party for my fiance's mother and used a laptop PC and iPod hooked up to good quality stereo speakers that we hid under tables. It was a lot easier than CD's. Plus you get to choose each song you want played, instead of from a from a DJ or band's play list. I am having my cousin act as "master of ceremonies". She is outgoing and personable.
Invitations, Programs, Etc.: I am printing them off the computer with card stock. You can get this anywhere for a fraction of the cost.
Very creative! Congratulations and best wishes!
We helped cook for a friend's reception. They served lasagna so each of the cooking volunteers made one tray of lasagna (some were meat and some were vegetarian). They were all a little different, but they all tasted great. Served with salad and garlic bread it was a very good meal.
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