So with that said, let’s get you pointed in the right direction. You haven’t told me how many guests you wish to have in attendance, and this will of course have major impact on your wedding budget.
On $2000, a formal sit down dinner reception is pretty much out of the question, unless you are dealing with a very small guest list – for example, around 25 people.
I would recommend looking at options like an ‘at home’ reception. This can be done very elegantly in the form of a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception or an outdoor a garden party.
At a garden party, refreshments might consist of tea sandwiches, fruit & vegetable platters, punch, coffee, tea, wine for toasting the bride and groom, and of course wedding cake. With this kind of food, you can DIY it all the way and get helpers to prepare the food. No caterer required.
Other types of affordable diy receptions along similar lines are cake & champagne receptions and stand up receptions.
A stand up reception is similar to a cocktail and hors d’oeuvre reception except that the food selection may go a little beyond simply hors d’oeuvres to include things like lasagna, barbecued chicken , pasta, salads, etc. Food stations are set up and guests help themselves and then mingle with one another as they enjoy their food. Only minimal tables and seating are required – some guests will prefer to stand and mingle, while others will have the option of sitting while they eat. At any of these forms of receptions, if you need to restrict expenses even further, you may limit alcohol to only wine or champagne or an alcoholic punch.
It is possible to host quite a significant number of guests on a very affordable budget at all of the above types of receptions – if you have friends or family members who are willing to pitch in and offer their help in preparing food ahead of time for the event.
The shorter you keep the reception, the more affordable it will be because there will obviously be lower food and beverage consumption, and that means lower costs. Therefore, consider limiting the reception to 2 or 3 hours tops. This duration is very consistent with the types of receptions I have described above.
You can save on entertainment expenses at these types of receptions by creating your own music playlists and using your home sound system.
For photography, again, go DIY. Look to a friend or family member who is good with a camera if a professional photographer is not affordable. Alternatively, check the classified ads in your local paper for freelancers or photography students who do wedding photographer at very low rates. Sometimes you might even find a student who will shoot your wedding for free, just to get the experience and photos to include in their portfolio. Run a Craigslist ad and pitch the idea – you might be surprised at how many replies you receive. If you do end up hiring someone, again, with a short reception, photography expenses will be kept to a minimum as well.
Remember too that the fewer number of attendants you have in your wedding party, the more affordable the wedding will be. You will need to purchase flowers and gifts for each attendant and this can inflate your budget pretty quickly. Fortunately enough, it is now perfectly stylish to keep the size of the wedding party small. Some couples opt for only a maid of honor and best man, so feel free to exercise that option in order to stretch your budget and keep your wedding affordable.
When it comes to the wedding cake, you guessed it – these are pricey too. Again, the solution here is DIY. Is there a friend or family member who has a talent for cake decorating? If not, no worries, because cupcakes are a super-hot trend, and have become really popular for weddings. And anyone can make cupcakes, and this will keep things very affordable as compared to ordering a wedding cake to the tune of several hundred dollars (yes, that’s what they cost…).
Other affordable wedding cake options: look at renting an ornamental cake from a party rental store or bridal boutique in your area. This of course, will just be for show. You will still need a cake for serving, however a much less elaborate slab cake will do just fine, and this will save you a bundle over having a real, multi-tiered cake constructed and decorated. Another popular and elegant option right now is to forego the traditional multi-tiered cake, and opt instead for a series of heart shaped or round single layer cakes which can be displayed clustered together on the cake table. Its wonderful to have each one be a different flavor. Again, think DIY – these can be baked by a friend or family member at home if necessary, in order to maximize the budget and keep your wedding affordable. You can simply adorn each cake with a few silk flowers or real edible flowers (gently placed right atop the icing and then removed just before cutting) if you don’t know anyone who is handy with a cake decorating tube.
Last but not least, there is the matter of wedding stationery – another significant expense. Today a lot of DIY brides make their own wedding invitations as both a cost saving measure and a means of making their wedding more personalized. If you are not quite that crafty, check in at stationery stores or places like Staples and Office Depot for wedding invitation stock that you can run through your home computer. There are some beautiful designs available. More and more couples go this route now, and the prices are extremely affordable.
There are many, many other DIY wedding tips and ideas I could share with you for making your wedding affordable, but this should get your well on your way to planning a gorgeous yet affordable wedding on a very limited budget.
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