Frugal Wedding Ideas
Q. My fiance and I are planning a wedding for spring of 2003. We are working with a tight budget, and would love to get some ideas from The Frugal Life readers on how to go about this major task without depleting our savings. We are planning to have the wedding and reception at a church, which should be relatively inexpensive, and I will be taking our engagement pictures. I’m especially concerned with the cost of catering. Also, I would love to have some creative ideas for gifts for the wedding party (it will be all family members). Thank you in advance for your wonderful ideas!! – Janelle
A. Location: Not to discourage you from having a beautiful church wedding, BUT the donation on using the church facilities is not always cheep…Have you thought about an out door wedding, maybe in a public park or lakeside, these are always inexpensive, you just pay for a permit to be there. Sometimes calling up that family member with the big back yard can work.
Catering: call up your favorite FAMILY owned BBQ. these guys always do it right…or the Family owned Italian Restaurant. Key thing is family owned, these businesses are always honored to do a wedding and their prices show this. When all else fails do a finger food reception.
Honeymoon: stay close, drive and spend your money on fun not food. My husband and I cooked 7 out of the 8 nights on our honeymoon (Canada). This made it possible to rent bikes, go horse back riding, visit hot springs, etc.
gifts: keep it simple, books. each person gets a book that’s right for them. Then make it personal, write something special in the front. Other options for the guys are: pens, money clips, journals, etc. remember this will be the happiest day of your life, SIMPLIFY it and the whole experience will be more enjoyable. e-mail me, we should talk li******@ho*****.com put WEDDING STUFF in the subject much love and blessings, – BB :D
A. My husband & I were on a tight budget for our wedding & were very creative w/expenses. For our wedding party gifts we went to a local winery & had them make labels the said "Thank you for sharing in our special day!" and our names & the date. We included 2 wine glasses (from a dollar store) for everyone & also gave the females candle holders (also from the dollar store). They were lovely bottles that were saved by the wedding party as a remembrance.
Our centerpieces were altar (real inexpensive) wine wrapped in sparkle tissue paper with helium balloons extended from the bottles & sparkles on the tables. For favors, I made grapevine wreath magnets for the women and since my husband loves candy, jellyfish (bought at a discount club)wrapped in mesh for the guys. Don’t purchase a caketopper, borrow the decorations from your baker. Remember…the vows are the most important part of the day! – A frugal bride
A. About the wedding: For the wedding party I gave the bridesmaids pantyhose, and nice earrings. I did this because I let them pick their dresses as long as it was a certain color. I got cameras for each table and had the pictures developed and gave them away with the thank you notes. My husband helped pay for the tuxes for his groomsmen. I hope that helps and spurs on new ideas
My husband and I had a lovely church wedding and reception for 75 people. It cost us $1600. This included everything from my dress to the invitations and $500 of this was for church-related expenses (organists fee, Marriage Encounter classes, use of the reception hall, etc.) We let all invitees know that we didn’t want any wedding gifts but if they wanted to volunteer to help with the wedding in some way, we’d love it! One friend volunteered to provide the candles for the ceremony, several others volunteered to help decorate, one provided the bridal bouquet and flowers, another baked the wedding cake. A groups of friends volunteered to organize a ‘potluck’ reception. I rented tables, dishes, a champagne font and provided the champagne. My friends each brought an elegant desert or finger food for the reception. One sister photographed the wedding. Another babysat all the small children. My brother sang. Different friends were invited to do the readings during the wedding. I asked my two attendants if they had a fancy dress they’d like to use for the wedding. One was burgundy. The other was mint green. So that’s how we decided on the color scheme for wedding decor. Invitations were done on my computer as was the Wedding Program. You get the picture. Everyone commented that it was the neatest wedding they had ever attended … and it was … because they all
had a part in making it happen. On a very personal note, my brother-in-law died of AIDS 7 years ago. The night he died, he kept talking about this wedding. He said he had never felt closer to the family than he did as we all worked together preparing for this wedding. May yours be blessed. – Nancy
A. To the lady having the wedding in Spring of 2003. I saved money for my wedding by making my own centerpieces for the tables, buying pretty and inexpensive tablecloths in two colors, and using deli meats and cheeses and rolls for the meal (along with side salads) from the local grocery store. The nice thing about the deli spread was that people didn’t have to wait until my hubby and I were done taking pictures before they could eat. The centerpieces were simply baskets in different sizes and shapes that we bought on sale and silk flowers that were either damaged or were single flowers that had come loose from their bouquets and were marked way down. Then my friend and I glued the flowers to the baskets with hot glue in various patterns and wrapped inexpensive ribbon around the handles. Then we went to See’s candy, bought some summer chocolates (all pastel colors), and wrapped them in colored Glad plastic wrap and ribbon. We laid the paper tableclothes on the tables with the corners alternating so both colors showed and then put the baskets in the center. The deli food was a big hit as it allowed everyone to serve themselves. We literally saved over $3,000 by doing all this ourselves instead of hiring expensive caterers and decorators. You’ll need to enlist some help in coordinating all of this but it will be worth it! Congratulations on your upcoming marriage! – Tracey W.
A. The best way to save on a wedding is to not invite everyone and their cousin! You are going to pay a caterer based on a per person charge. Fifty people is a lot cheaper than 300. Limit your invitations to your relatives and reasonably close friends. If you’ve not even talked to someone in 10 years, why invite them to your wedding?
Another way to save on catering is to time the reception for lunch-time or ‘tea time’. You’ll pay less per person for this type of event over a dinner. Also, consider doing a buffet-style meal rather than having the plates served to each guest. The caterer I talked to was able to suggest various ways to save; if they are interested in getting your business, they should be willing to help you meet your budget requirements.
On your dress, you can save quite a bit by calling around, particularly if you call more out-of-the-way stores. In Columbus, the dress I wanted was $700; in Orville, the same dress was only $400. A couple hours of driving saved me $300. And if you are at all crafty, make your own veil as it’s actually fairly easy and the materials are pretty cheap – Lisa
A. First off, don’t ask a caterer for prices for a wedding reception, ask for prices for a "family gathering". If possible, never ask for a price on a "wedding" anything. For some reason the price for items associated with a wedding are 25 to 75% higher than they are for a family gathering.
Ask the caterer if you can provide your own cake. Then check out prices at local supermarkets or small bakeries. Supermarket bakeries often do very nice cakes at a considerably cheaper price than the caterer.
Can you skip the caterer entirely and do it on your own? We served cake (white wedding cake from the supermarket), non-alcoholic punch, and sandwiches and salads buffet style at my daughter’s wedding. My daughter’s mother-in-law and I did rolled meat trays with a nicer selection of meats and cheese than offered by a caterer or the supermarket for about 1/2 the cost. Two of her sister-in-laws made salads and two very nice ladies from her mother-in-law’s church served.
If anyone offers to help with something, let them. There used to be a dear lady at my church that would make wedding cakes for church members at cost and they were gorgeous.
Check out various florists for prices or use silks (much cheaper). Try smaller florists or a florist that works out of a market. They may be a lot cheaper.
Check out consignment shops, thrift shops, the local newspaper ads and your relative’s and friends attics for a wedding dress and bridesmaids dresses. A friend of mine was married (second wedding) in her grandmother’s crocheted wedding dress. It had aged from white to a champagne color and was mid calf length on my friend – gorgeous. My daughter gave her wedding dress to friend and they altered it to fit a 3" shorter person and 4 sizes
smaller. Check out the clearance racks at wedding stores for a wedding dress and bridesmaid’s dresses. Look in large department stores for bridesmaid/formal type dresses. Try to pick out a style that is reusable. Bridesmaids dresses do not all have to be the same – I have been to several weddings where either the color or the style or both were different. One was done in fall colors in similar but not identical styles for a late October wedding and one had dresses in shades of palest pink to a dark rose (for the maid of honor) for a June wedding – Mary
A. This is long, but many will appreciate all of these cost cutters, I used to also be a bridal consultant!
In answer to Janelle’s wedding budget question. We had the most impressive wedding most said they ever had been to, & I cut corners evrywhere.
1. Flowers are such a big expense. Your bridemaids can carry a single rose in the color that matches. (This is very elegant) The men can also have a single sweetheart rose bouteneer to match w/ just a little baby’s breath.
Bridal bouquet: Go silk! You can get the base at a place like Walmart, and most Dollar stores or Big Lots have silk flowers. You can add things like pearl sprigs etc. which you will pay a little more for at Walmart, but it makes your less expensive base flowers look nicer. Plus, if you have pre-bridal picts. taken, you can use your actual bouquet in these picts., since it will not wilt.
2. Gifts: If the bridesmaids dresses permit it (neckline) Watch the stores for inexpensive, but nice looking faux pearl strands to go on sale. (you can get them pretty inexpensive) Tell them to wear them in your wedding, and your girls will all match.
Flower girl: I got mine little stuffed bears bride & groom in wedding attire. She loved it!
Men: A money clip can run from $5.00 to $10.00 depending on where you look. You can even start them off w/ a $1.00 in it if you get them cheap enough. You can get your ring bearer a little inexpensive wallet & start him out with a couple dollars.
Sometimes a Dollar General will carry items like this.
3. Catering: Since you are having your wedding at a church, there is usually a group of ladies at churches that help at events in the reception hall or kitchen. If there are, they can help put your food together in the church kitchen for a small fee, or if some family members want to help. We had a wonderful food table (buffet style)
The thing that was the biggest hit was baked potatoes. (it also filled them up) We put out bowls (in pretty ones we found at the $ store) of sour cream & butter, along with baked chicken (easy to make alot when baked) also big cans of green beans & vegies etc. is very easy to throw in a pot to heat at the church.
4. Invitations: I had a friend who bought nice paper & printed her own on her computer if you have a program already for it. You can add your own little pcs. of ribbon tied in a tiny bow etc. to dress them up. ON RSVP you can also put a phone # on it instead of buying stanps for all of them. Let your answering maching pick up for them to leave a message, & write that on the RSVP.
5. Music, unless you have a DJ for free, save money by just playing soft background music on a stereo, unless you want a dance, then if you have the music, there is always someone in the crowd (ask ahead) that want to flip a tape or CD.
6. Bridemaids dresses & bridal gown: JC Penney has an outlet store (you can probably call for info) They also have an outlet catalogue if you call. (I got mine for $10.00 there) The girls were thrilled. (a couple had to be altered as not all sizes are avail. sometimes) Bridal Gown: If you find an inexpensive one.. You can add to it! My train was not as ornate as I wanted, & since the seed pearls & clear sequins are hot glued on.. this is what I did! You can buy a bag of these cheap at Walmart & glue them on any lace or appliques that are on the gown. (you can do the same thing if you make your own veil)
6. Make everything yourself that you can. It is great that you have until spring, you will probably need to work on something every week now until then. Mark beside each item how much it should cost & figure out how much money you can use out of each pay check.. Make your plan & work it & you will save a bundle! – Lora
A. My husband and I were on a very tight budget when we got married, so I utilized that event to pull out all the creative stops. We got married in his parents’ home, and had the reception there too. There were around 80 guests, so the entire house was used! A good friend of ours took all the pictures, and another videotaped the wedding and some of the reception as their present to us. I bought a large, inexpensive scrapbook from a book store with some colored pencils, and a Polaroid camera. My father-in-law caught everyone throughout the night and took their picture. After it was in the scrapbook, the guests wrote messages to us with the colored pencils. Some drew pictures for us, others wrote poetry. It continues to be our favorite memento from the day. Very inexpensive, but very treasured. Best wishes! – Lauren
A. I have heard that many people have gone to caterers and asked if they would be interested in doing the wedding for free in exchange for advertising. In other words, they would cater and you’d make sure that you advertised for them. One couple I read about did the whole wedding this way. From rings, clothes, honeymoon. Everything. They advertised, by handing out cards that included all the vendors and what they provided. – TAS
A. My husband and I were married in a church with a church reception also. My aunt, who is a fabulous cook, catered our reception as our wedding gift!! We had an afternoon wedding (not a sit-down dinner) and had a large table filled with mini rolls, carved roast beef, ham, fruit, cheese, crackers, mini quiche, etc. A friend made the groom’s cake, a caramel sheet cake with frosted grapes on top. Since we were so busy visiting with guests at the reception, my aunt prepared us a small cooler with samples of the food for us to take with us when we left the church!!
The food doesn’t have to be elaborate at all. Just cake and mints for an early afternoon wedding is plenty!
My mother’s friends decorated the fellowship hall for the reception with lots of greenery (borrowed ferns, etc.) as well as the food tables. I remember wooden lattice panels (painted white) placed behind the bride’s and groom’s cakes that acted as a ‘background’. Pretty wreaths were hung from them. We also used greenery at the wedding rather than lots of fresh flowers. I did have one large flower arrangement that we left for them to use in the church on Sunday as the focal arrangement. – Tish
A. The church hall my not be cheaper. Look around for small community halls that rent out. But…Price matching is pretty popular these days. If you can find a cheaper place, the church might negotiate a cheaper price.
You can make most of the decorations yourself if you have a crafty bone or a crafty friend or family member. Buy supplies in bulk and on sale and leave plenty of time to complete them. i.e. off season silk flowers can be purchased for up to 80 percent off if you watch. Same for other decorations. For example if you pick a theme like Christmas in July then buy the stuff in January.
1. Try a local service organization. i.e. Kiwanis or the church ladies for good, less expensive food and service.
2. Cook Turkey/Ham/Roast at the local bakery. Baked potatoes can be done by the oven full and can even be purchased with the foil already on – although it’s cheaper to do that yourself. Most vegetables can be prepared a day or two ahead and served raw with dip. Get your family/good friends to make salads. You can make some items like deserts a month ahead and freeze them. Then get a teen group (with adult supervision) to serve and clean up. Local groups are always looking for some way to make money.
3. Don’t buy the booze. Either go alcohol free or BYOB. Just remember if people are drinking to take the keys while they are still sober and get either some really big gorilla or some really cute little thing (with a really strong stubborn streak) to hang onto them until the owners are really SOBER. If you invite them, and booze is available, you are responsible for every stupid thing they do while they are drunk. Hope this helps!
Have a great wedding and a happy life. – Charlie
Hi again this week. These suggestions are for the young lady planning a frugal wedding.
1. You don’t need to purchase expensive invitations. If you, a family member, or a friend has the greeting card program for your computer, use it with pretty paper for your invitations. If not, you might know someone who knows calligraphy.
2. If you have a local college that has a music program, some kid would love the experience and a little cash to play an instrument or sing for you in church. They’re much cheaper than pro’s, and always extremely talented.
3. Sometimes a caterer is not needed. If you and your family bake well, do it ahead of time. Many cookies freeze well. The buffet need not be fancy. Buy cold cuts and arrange a nice tray. Purchase the breads and rolls. You can make a fancy salad the day before. Your mom and sister or aunt can each make a hot dish. Purchase fresh fruit to make a lovely, edible arrangement, and put out a tray of cheeses. Instead of a pricey tier cake, a little brides cake will do, rounded off with plain sheet cake.
4. Going back to the college, (my husband works at one), hire hotel/restaurant students to serve cake and champagne, set out the food, and clean up.
5. If you must have alcohol at your wedding, cut out the pricey mxed drinks. Opt for beer, wine and soda. Also, sparkling wine and champagne are actually the same thing. The only differences are that champagne comes from only certain region of France, and sparkling wine is cheaper.
6. There are many lovely and inexpensive gifts you can give to your attendants. My absolute favorite is to search through all of your photos to find photos of yourself with each attendant. It doesn’t matter if they’re kid pictures or college pictures. Have each of them blown to 5×7 or 8×10 size, (about $15 each), frame them in inexpensive frames, and you have very personal and much loved presents for each girl for about $20 each. If your budget calls for even less costly gifts, purchase inexpensive pillow cases, (about $5 to $10), and embroider the edges yourself. Quite pretty. But above all, try to give personal gifts. People love them.
7. Wedding favors can be a inexpensive as silk roses with Hershey kisses attached to them, or chocolate bars with glued on, personalized labels made from your computer and slipped over the original labels. ***Congrats & Good Luck*** Maria
A. If you have a tight budget for your wedding you may want to have a potluck reception. We did and asked everyone to bring a dish to share instead of a gift. We spent only for sodas and juice and it was a lovely meal with table cloths, plates, napkins, etc from Target. Vases from the thrift shop filled with flowers from the grocery store make nice center pieces. We also bought several inexpensive disposable cameras and put them on the tables and asked people to take pictures and leave the cameras. When we developed the film at Costco (you can develop them as you can afford it) we had nice candid shots that we would never have gotten from a photographer. – Anne
A. Having just helped my daughter with her wedding in July of 2002, I can attest to one main thing. You can either spend time or you can spend money. We had from mid-May 2001 to mid-July 2002 and feel like we achieved a beautiful wedding at a modest cost. Here are some of our better ideas that I think were very cost effective. Hope you can use some of them:
The dresses – we purchased her $600+ wedding dress at a $99 Memorial day sales at a Bridesmart store. Seems like the store has big sales around holidays that would otherwise draw people away from shopping. Accessories were discounted if bought at the time the dress was purchased. If you sew or have someone to help you like mom, grandma, aunt, or a friend . . .I made three bridesmaid’s dresses and the flower girl’s dress. Hancock Fabrics locally have big sales around all major holidays. Patterns that are $12-15 are $0.99 each, limit 5. Buy the kinds of patterns that have 3-4 sizes on each one so you can fit the dresses.
With fabrics, patterns, thread, zippers, buttons, etc., I spent about $125 for four outfits.
The flowers – Silks were the way for us to go. We live in a rural area but work in the metro area, so we are "in town" everyday.
We were frequent shoppers in Michael’s and Hobby Lobby stores. Michael’s almost weekly have a coupon in the Sunday paper or insert worth 40% or more of single items, and also discount whole lines (like silk flowers 30-50% off, no limit). Hobby Lobby stores (if you have them in your area) are currently discounting all wedding items 50% this week, and this sales will come around periodically.
To get real flowers the week of the wedding when we were taking off work was a bother and the arrangements we made were very pretty. Be sure to make a smaller version of your bouquet to throw so you can keep the original. Michael’s has some cute pre-made silk arrangements that you can get with your coupons for about $5-$6. We also got her Precious Moments cake topper, toast goblets, and cake knife and server there, all with big discounts. Check out everything there because they have almost EVERYTHING!
Invitations – Print them on the computer if you have one, or have a friend or relative help you with it. Card stock is much more inexpensive than engraved and seemed to be well accepted. Again, Michael’s at 40% off, start buying now a package at a time. When we thought we were done with invitations, we added a few names to the list and needed another package. With home printing you can add a few at almost no cost. You can’t do that with regular engraved invitations. HAVE YOUR FRIENDS AND RELATIVES SAVE YOU THEIR COUPONS IF THEY DON’T USE THEM. The savings will really add up. We did Precious Moments theme (usually expensive) and got invitations with envelopes (packages of 20) for $0.30 or less per invitation (depending on the coupons). If you want response cards you can go with plain card stock and envelopes that were about $2.50/25 pcs. on sale. One important thing is watch the weight of your finished mailing so you only need one stamp to mail out the invitations, response cards, etc. With including a stamp on response envelope, the postage was more than the stationery.
It’s a good idea to have one complete sample weighed at the post office to "make sure" so you aren’t getting returned invitations. We made her programs (again on the home computer) on stock paper with Precious Moments wedding couple on it and rolled them and tied with ribbon like a scroll. If you have access to a scanner you can save even more if you want to just add a picture to good quality heavy stock paper.
Paper Warehouse – Our second favorite place, next to Michael’s. Shop there often if you have in your area. ALWAYS check out the clearance aisle. We got a beautiful lacy and sequin covered bridal guest book (over $45 originally) for about $7. Also found a pretty lacey cake topper (over $40) for about $2. We didn’t use it for the cake but it had a place for a picture to be inserted and we put their engagement picture in it and used for a centerpiece on their picture table at the reception. Also got additional stationery items like some lovely thank you notes there in packages of 50 for about a dollar (clearance again). Their clearance items range from 25%-90% off so you need to keep revisiting the store.
Two colors of balloons from here made a really cute arch over their cake and punch table, on sale for 50% off. It does help to rent a helium bottle for this decoration.
Make your own table decorations for the reception. More of those half price silk flowers in small vases that you can pick up inexpensively at dollar stores are really pretty and the vases do not have to be identical. Also, decorate some ivy bowls with lace or trim and add a votive candle.
Tie on some of the extra balloons with curling ribbon and it looks like a hot air balloon. WE also used tulle and balloons outside the church. Very inexpensive decorations and we were able to get everything ready the day before (just didn’t put the balloons out till the morning of). In case of rain, it doesn’t hurt tulle to get wet.
If you watch the seasonal clearance sales you can get some great bargains (depending on your choice of colors, of course). We used silver and pink and white. Check after Christmas sales. WE got several plastic placemats at Wal-Mart for $0.26/pkg of 2 and used them on our food table over a white and clear Christmas plastic table cloth (no one knew it was Christmas) over a twin-size pink bed sheet that I already had. It made a beautiful table for about $2.00. After Valentines Day, you can pick up red and silver candy kisses (for favors), heart and flower shaped pasta (for pasta salads), and lots of decorations that have hearts, flowers, kisses, etc., that don’t say VALENTINES that will make adorable decorations for your wedding.
We also made decorations for the church that looked lovely, but didn’t cost much. Tulle pew bows, buy a bow maker rolls of tulle at Michael’s (with your coupons). We put on both ends of the pews (hang with a little clear packaging tape, you don’t need pew bow hangers) and also on the back row of the church. We also swaged the other entrance of each row of pews and the back row. Looked very pretty and spent less than $20 for bow maker and tulle for 50 bows and had tulle left over. Left over tulle and a few candles (on sales, of course) made a beautiful arrangement on the piano.
Her unity candle was Precious Moments (at 75% off) and we used plain white tapers for the individual candles.
Depending on your food plan, consider having friends and relatives help in the day or two before prepare finger foods that are easy to serve and clean up. Serve buffet style so no one has to spend too much time servings the buffet once the reception has started. Veggie trays can be made pretty inexpensively compared to purchasing readymade and can be made up the day before. I carved a basket out of a watermelon and filled with frozen mixed fruit from Sam’s. 5# of fruit goes a long way. Another ideal we loved was making fruit kabobs. Use you watermelon from the watermelon basket, chunks of canned pineapples, apples and banana (dipped in the juice from the canned pineapples), strawberries, or whatever other fruit is available at the time of your wedding. You will need the apples to hold the other fruit on. Not too expensive and everyone loved them. The easiest thing we did was make Swedish meatballs the morning of the wedding. Frozen meatballs from Sam’s and mushroom soup (5# of meatballs and 2 large cans of mushroom soup) in a large crock pot. Stir occasionally and everyone raved about them. Our cakes were made by the maid of honors mother as a gift. Have you got any talented friends or relative who could do this as a gift? If not and you have to purchase the cake, get a small cake (2 or 3 layers) for the cutting ceremony and pictures and have a larger sheet cake to fill out the total requirement. The cake will be just as good and that will be what everyone remembers. Punch was simple and everyone loved it. Equal parts of raspberry sherbet and Sprite. You can always choose another flavor and if the color is an issue, get pineapple sherbet and add food coloring. I’ve made blue for a baby shower this way.
Hope you can use at least some of these ideas. Have fun planning and start now! – VH
A. We were in the same situation at our wedding. We found an inexpensive way to serve a full dinner *and* save some money. Try asking your favorite restaurant if they would be willing to cater your event. We chose a favorite family-run Mexican restaurant that didn’t usually cater who immediately agreed to do our event because we were their friends. Also, consider having the cake made elsewhere – a small bakery will do a just as good if not better job because they value your business AND they won’t charge an arm and a leg. Good luck and happy wedding! – Sara
A. My suggestions for lowering the costs of a wedding: For the food: Instead of a caterer have a buffet of cold foods : cold cuts, cheese cubes, melon balls, veggies and dip, etc. Get friends and relatives to help with this. You can buy cups, napkins, etc. cheaply from warehouse stores like Cosco and Sam’s club (have a friend with a membership take you if you don’t have one). Or if you’re having a late afternoon or mid morning wedding.. just serve cake, punch, and nuts. For my wedding I purchased a large bakery sheet cake decorated in our wedding colors with our names on it and had a small round wedding topper cake with a bride and groom next to it. For the flowers: make your own bouquets and boutineers from fake flowers, or real ones if you have the skills or time. You’re local library should have how to books on this subject. Only have flowers for those in the wedding party. For my wedding I had a florist do the flowers for my bouquet and boutineer, and single roses tied with ribbons for my attendants. The flowers in the reception hall were bulk purchased wholesale from a florist… mostly carnations and greenery. I bought cheap vases from dollar stores and wal-mart and arranged them myself. For music: find a friend or someone willing to dj for you or borrow some good sound equipment and make cd’s of music you’d like to play. For my wedding we simply played a Frank Sinatra love song cd. Hope that helps. – Jenny
A. The couple planning an inexpensive wedding may want to use this website which I used extensively for my daughter’s recent garden wedding. We had about 70 people for a 6 p.m. buffet dinner. Buffet items: cold smoked meats (beef, honey-baked ham, turkey breast), salads, bread, cheeses, salsas, chips, etc.
For the couple planning a frugal wedding: We planned our wedding in 6 months for less than $1500 for ceremony, reception and dance You mentioned keeping catering costs down, and that you are having a church reception. I don’t know if you are members at the church, but many times the ladies auxiliary or work group will serve your meal for a donation, much cheaper than a caterer, and really good church lady food!
A. You might try to make your own centerpieces, perhaps some type of candle-based items, and use those as gifts to your wedding party/relatives. We made some lovely candles in ivy bowls for my reception. Centerpieces were given to those who came the farthest to the reception, most recently married, longest married, etc. You could give them to your wedding party. Also, you might want to think about single-plate dinners, like a nice chicken w/ a side of rice or potato and a vegetable. There’s less waste so the caterer normally will charge less. I also attended a reception at which dinner was buffet style, but the catering staff dished out the food. This "portion control" is less costly, as well. Otherwise, depending on the size of your wedding, you might want to check out a local grocery store or chain restaurant such as KFC. Many will cater at a lesser cost than a caterer, but soneone will have to coordinate food arrival for the reception. Best Wishes to you for your Spring 2003 Wedding! – Mona
A. It’s very fashionable to have a single flower with baby’s breath or ivy and beautiful ribbons for both the bride and her attendants and it’s also much less expensive than a bouquet – Elisa