Tips for Stretching brides’ dollars

“For a table of up to 12 guests, a single layer of wedding cake with cake flowers does double duty as a centerpiece and dessert. It keeps well on each table for several hours. Once the bride and groom cut their cake from the sweetheart table and say a few words of thanks, each table is given a cake knife for cake, and a guest begins cutting. It saves on centerpieces, and the cake-cutting fee is eliminated. I’ve even had the flavors of the cakes be different at some tables so there is a lot of cake swapping, which just adds to the fun and gets guests mingling.”
– Tobey Dodge, CSEP, The Wedding Connection by Tobey Dodge, Woodland Hills, Calif.

“Have a cocktail reception. This has become more popular and trendy over the past few years, and it saves money. Select a few passed hors d’oeuvres and one or two food stations or displays in place of a buffet or three-course meal. Along with the food, I suggest replacing an open bar with one or two signature cocktails.”
– TiaMarie Swilley, Fabulous Weddings & Events by TiaMarie, Sacramento, Calif.

“When designing the room, I like to put a lot of money into several large, over-the-top statement pieces or centerpieces that are strategically placed in the ballroom and make the rest of the centerpieces much more simple and less expensive. It is a way to get a ‘WOW’ factor, without breaking the bank and budget.”
– Frank J. Andonoplas, MBC™, Frank/Frank Event Design, Chicago

“One—nix the ceremony programs. Unless the keepsake is very important to the bride, they become trash once the ceremony is over. Two—contract the photo booth for two hours. Photo booths don’t need to be open from the start of the reception; open it once the after-dinner events are over and the dance floor is open. Three—use ceremony altar and aisle arrangements as reception décor. Contract the florist to move them once the ceremony is over and portraits at the altar are done.”
– Katherine Hoggard, PBC™, Events by Katherine, Orange, Calif.

“One of the most expensive costs in a wedding is floral. Here are a few tips to stretch a bride’s dollar. Use more greenery than flowers. Swap out costly flowers. Stick to just one or two kinds of flowers. Buy flowers that are in season. Include non-florals in your centerpieces, like lanterns. Order flowers in bulk and have a group of family, friends, and your wedding party help put them together.”
– Priscilla Martinez, Weddings & Beyond, San Diego, Calif.

“Use the venue resources, even if it’s just votive candles that they supply free to the bride. It helps make the table look just a little bit more elegant.”
– Veronica Foster, ABC™, Behind the Scenes, Inc., Greensboro, N.C.

“You want to find a venue for your bride that is really all-inclusive, or at least mostly, so the bride can go to one place and find all she needs: catering, a photographer, a designer. If the venue already has great relationships with other venues, that also is less work for the bride.”
– Cindy Schwarz, Aolani Catamaran Weddings, San Diego, Calif.

“Some couples would like to have a video of their day, but the budget just isn’t there.  A great DIY-PRO solution is iDOcam.  Ordered online, one, two, or four cameras arrive by mail the week before the wedding. Couples can assign one or more shutterbug friends to record all the memorable moments, or just let the cameras get passed around among bridal party, family, and friends. After the wedding, they mail the cameras back, and we edit the footage and produce a professionally crafted wedding video of their day.”
– Marc Lehman, I Do Cam, Newport Beach, Calif.

“Brides looking to save money when considering a photo booth for their reception can have each member of the bridal party bring one fun item or prop. Put a basket by the photo booth, and the fun begins. This way, they don’t have to pay for props, for which most photo booth companies charge extra. Plus, the items are more personal, creative, and sanitary than props used at other parties.”
– Ellen Torr, ePod Events, San Diego

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