The reception can easily be the most expensive part of wedding festivities, but if you're on a budget, it doesn't mean you have to give up your dream of a breathtaking reception. Economy-minded couples have learnt to cut corners and make the most of their resources to save money. With a little help from friends and family, you can minimise costs without sacrificing any fun for you or your guests.
Host your reception at an inexpensive location. Often, the reception venue alone is costly, even without considering decor Choosing an inexpensive venue will enable you to focus more of your budget on decor An outdoor reception allows you to take advantage of the natural beauty without having to pay a penny. Many churches offer fellowship halls and other rooms for little or no cost. Don't be afraid to reserve a reception hall, even if it has a few things you don't like. It will likely save you money, and you'll have months to figure out how to cover up any eyesores.
Scatter candles throughout the reception hall. Many stores offer bulk bags of votives or tea lights for just a few dollars, so don't worry about trying to restrain yourself. Use them as centrepieces, on serving tables, around the cake and in the bathrooms.
Get the most out of your flowers. Since they are often pricey, try not to buy any you can't use twice. For example, move flower arrangements from the wedding to the reception site before guests arrive, so you can decorate with them a second time. After the wedding, have your bridesmaids place their bouquets in vases at the centre of the guest tables so they can double as centrepieces.
Give your reception some colour with inexpensive balloon arrangements. While too many balloons tend to give off a birthday party vibe, tasteful groupings of balloons throughout your venue can give it an elegant, celebratory feel. Place small arrangements on guest tables and larger arrangements in the corners of the room as backdrops.
Keep your decorations simple and elegant. Instead of buying gaudy, expensive decor, use everyday things to bring your reception to life. Use yarn and clothespins to hang black and white pictures of the bride and groom. Place single flowers in unique vases from thrift stores or yard sales. Put tea lights inside mason jars with ribbon around the neck. Put bright, fresh fruit in glass cylinders and place them in the centre of the tables. String white Christmas lights around the room and swag inexpensive fabric over tables. The possibilities are endless.
Rent or borrow as much as possible. Start by checking with the contact person for your reception venue. Many churches have spare plants, flower arrangements, table linens and other items you can borrow for the evening. Ask around to see If your friends have spare punch bowls, cake knives, table runners and serving spoons. Check your phone book for a local movie prop rental company that will allow you to rent furniture, rugs, artwork and a plethora of other decor
Turn down the lights. Dim lighting will help disguise any decor that might appear cheap or shoddy in full light. Your guests won't even notice those thrift store vases that looked dingy against your stark white tablecloths. The flower petals that faded a little before the ceremony will still look luxurious scattered throughout the reception hall.