Wednesday, March 5, 2008

WFMW - Wedding advice

So, for this edition of works for me wednesday: backwards edition we are asking questions of our readers and awaiting responses! So please, please dear me, advise me, lend me your knowledge in this matter....

My question is:

What are some great frugal ideas for a backyard wedding?

I'm looking for anything about the wedding or reception. We're marrying on May 3rd in Palm Springs, California (my hometown) at my Grandmother's house. We're 33 and 39 years old so didn't feel the full blowout of a wedding was appropriate. We'd rather use our money elsewhere. So we're seeking great ideas to cut costs without sacrificing taste or style.

So please post any ideas below and I will be eternally grateful!!

Thank you for your help. If you feel the desire to guide others in their quest for answers - go on over to Rocks In My Dryer.


Sarah @ Ordinary Days said...

Go to a cheap store, like Big Lots or Wal-Mart, for simple decorative items. You can find large glass vases to fill with tall candles to light your aisle or to use as centerpieces.
Get a roll of ivory tule (sp?) at a fabric store and use it draped along a fence or hedge to dress it up, or cut squares to use ontop of plainer table cloths.
Hope those help! :)

Meshellyn said...

Make your own (or have a friend) make your invitations and wedding programs.

Buy your flower girl dress after Easter.

I've heard of people icing and decorating a styrofoam wedding cake. You can make it up large and beautiful for a fraction of the cost. Keep part of it real for cutting together, but then serve sliced sheet cake which is much less expensive.

Borrow stuff from family and friends. You don't need your own knife or champagne glasses for the cake table...

Jeni said...

Limit the food you provide. No reason to put on a full-scale meal. We had our wedding in the early afternoon, so we had snacky-type food and fruit and cake. That really helped with the cost.

Find a friend with a green thumb, and have her grow some flowers for you. In Palm Springs, you should be able to decorate with fresh flowers by the beginning of May.

Krista said...

Use mirrors for table decorations, and set candles on top of them. I was at an outdoor dinner once and they had put pieces of broken mirror on the tables with a hurricane candle in the middle...verrrry cool and different!

Sister Honey Bunch said...

I was 34 when I got married! I did do the big she-bang, but on a budget.

Centerpieces: We used small tin buckets (from a hardware store for about 50cents each) and put Gerber Daisies that my mom had a friend grow in his nursery. Super-gorgeous, super-cheap.

I am all about borrowing, and ALL about decorating for whatever season/holiday is close to get good deals on things.

I agree with the tulle commentor above. Looks awesome!

ttelroc said...

I was 34 and DH was 44 when I got married - we did ours on a budget, too. I had a theme - it was "a little asian." By that I mean we used just a few asian items to make the place festive and different. I rented red and yellow table cloths - I had chinese lanterns ($1 each at a party store - the 6" ones) along with a few pieces of thin dried bamboo - tied the lantern to a bamboo piece - all in a tall glass vase that I purchased because I found them cheaper than renting. Also I made crepe paper flowers (from Martha Stewarts site) so I had a few flowers as well in the vases.

For the gift favors - I bought a large box of fortune cookies and put two fortune cookies in a cellophane bag and placed it inside the napkin. The box of fortune cookies was purchased at Gordons food service, but Sams club would have them,too I'm sure -- anyway, it had 250-500 cookies, individually wrapped for $11 -- It was so cost effective and a lovely gift for everyone, PLUS, they got a fortune! lol

I am allergic to flowers, so all of the flowers were handmade crepe paper flowers that were on the tables. My sisters were my brides maids, so I asked them to purchase a red dress for the event, one that they loved. My father wanted to help prepare food so he deep fried two turkeys and grilled pork chops - so we didn't have to pay for meat from the catering service.

That's what I did. This was 7 years ago & people still talk about how much fun they had at our wedding. It was just so fun and casual and the festive colors were a huge hit. Oh and the tule I got was actually netting -- red and yellow netting for a song at the fabric store - I got like 50 yards of it. We had a lot of fun tying it in the trees for our outdoor wedding and reception.

OK, that's all :)

Julienne said...

Thank you all for your comments - they were all so helpful and easy to implement!

Sharon said...

I'm almost embarrassed to post this...I got my wedding cake and groom's cake at the grocery store. I saved so much money. They were both very nice, tasted great, simply cheaper. They had a large selection of styles and tastes.

Louise said...

Avoid anything that is specially made or marketed as "wedding." That automatically increases the prices! Instead, look in the general party areas for decorations.

Most people don't want the give-aways like Jordan almonds or napkins imprinted with your names, so just skip that stuff. The keys to a good party are tasty food, relaxed guests and YOU being happy.

To reduce food costs, schedule an afternoon wedding and just serve finger foods/appetizers and cake. After munching on that stuff, folks won't want a full dinner anyway!

To reduce the cost of a photographer, ask a friend with a little talent to do that job. Be specific with him/her if they aren't a professional. Give them a list of what posed photos you want, such as "One with all my new sisters-in-law and a separate shot of all their husbands." Then put a disposable camera on each table for the guests to take pictures of each other. Encourage kids to use the cameras! I got GREAT shots by my nephew, aged 11. I asked him to only snap photos of people smiling, but NOT looking at him.

Ask a girlfriend with great hair to do your hair and/or makeup. Practice at least one week in advance with her to get a good look.

DJ is usually cheaper than a band. For an afternoon wedding, probably no one will dance, so maybe a local high school/junior college student will play background piano music for fairly cheap. Ask the HS music teacher about his/her best students.

The other suggestions about supermarket cake and simple decorations are wonderful ideas!

Sarah said...

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding.

I got married 5.5 years ago and did it for less than $5,000. Not one of our 100 guests had any idea how little we spent and I have been told that it was one of the most fun weddings ever.

Our biggest cost saver was keeping the guest list small. I know 100 is a lot of people, bit it was mostly all family and a few of our best friends. Having only the people who meant the most to us,kept the cost down, and also removed the pressure to put on a big, fancy show.

People have already given you a lot of great tips. We got married at 1:00 and had a cocktail party reception with an open bar and nice hors devours passed the entire time, no sit down meal(our space wouldn't allow for tables for everyone and a dance floor, so we chose the dance floor!). The hors devours were almost as expensive as a meal, however we saved a lot of money by finding a liquor store that allowed us to buy on consignment. They took everything back that we didn't open.

My sister got married this fall and had an outdoor reception at a farm. The caterer did shish kabob's with chicken, beef and shrimp and then made a lot of Mediteranean type salads. It was wonderful, didn't feel like a
cookout and very inexpensive.

Good luck to you!

TaraB in OK said...

Save on invitations! 99% of them will end up in the garbage.

I made my own programs. They were exactly what I wanted. I had a folding/assembly night with my girlfriends.

I hired a harpist for pre-ceremony and ceremony music and then had my hubby make a "mix-cd" to play at the reception. It was his personal contribution to the event. I think he had fun with it. We still listen to it and call it our "Wedding Soundtrack."

We did an afternoon wedding with nice appetizers and no alcohol.... this was a huge savings. However, there are some nice, cheap wines out there. We like Tisdale Cab-Sav at $3.45 a bottle. They make others, too.

I happen to have a ton of talented friends/family... we bought flowers from a wholesale club (Sam's) and did everything ourselves.

Good luck!
I love weddings! I was 33 when we married.