As the economy takes a downturn, many couples are looking for ways to scale back on a lavish wedding without sacrificing a special day. Wedding spending is expected to dip slightly this year, in contrast to the 48 percent growth documented from 1999 to 2006. How can you save smart and still host a classy wedding? There are so many ideas, here are just a few from the Eagle Tribune:
- Trim the guest list. Invite only the people you feel close to. “You really don’t need to invite everyone you know or have a party of 20 bridesmaids,” says Maria McBride, an editor at Brides magazine.
- Do-it-yourself invitations. “Paper is cheap and most people have a computer, word processing software and a decent printer already at home, which makes invitations an easy way to save some cash and be creative,” says the owner of DIYBride.com.
- Be your own DJ.Creating your own iPod playlist for the evening saves cash and makes sure you won’t hear the “Funky Chicken” for the third time.
Make it a brunch or a cocktail party. If you want a cheaper menu, switch up the time of day or stick to finger food. (Note that a buffet isn’t always cheaper than a sit-down meal.)
Raise the bar. An open bar is a big expense, even though most guests will stick to champagne and wine. Instead, create a specialty cocktail or two and choose a mid-level wine. Try to work out a deal to return any wine your guests don’t drink.
Use simple flowers. Maria McBride, author of “Party Basics for New Nesters,” suggests spreading an affordable flower like daisies or babies breath everywhere, creating foliage-only centerpieces, or putting small plants into an affordable clay or glazed pot. Or make your own vase out of recycled tin cans or wine bottles.
Create your own centerpieces. Candles or fruit can save money and look pretty in batches. “Mass out votives everywhere, cluster them in groups of 10 — it enhances the mood and it offers the most affordable bang for the buck,” McBride says.
Think rustic. Decor that looks cheap in a hotel ballroom can be charming in a backyard, farm or vineyard. Just pick a spot that specializes in special events, or you’ll be saddled with unfortunate extras, like port-a-potties.
- Forget the favors. It may seem like a small expense, but even cheap trinkets add up when you have a lot of guests. Odds are, there will be no complaints if you skip the favor entirely. Who needs another place-card picture frame or heart-shaped soaps? (If you still want a favor, try something edible like homemade cookies baked by your bridesmaids!)