Post # 1
My fiance and I are having a (hopefully) outdoors wedding at a beautiful state park in upstate NY, right on the lake. The ceremony will be in front on a beautiful waterfall!
However we are trying to pull off our wedding with an extremely TINY budget: under $2000.
We are having a lunch reception, but our budget has led us to plan only a partly catered meal. We are ordering the hot foods to be delivered to our site, and providing everything else ourselves. We are also trying to cut costs on decor too, which thankfully our naturally beautiful setting helps with. Lunch will be served inside a beautiful lake side cottage that holds gorgeous varnished wood picnic tables. We are doing a non-floral centerpiece.
So I am in need of tips. How do I make our wedding not look “cheap” without breaking the bank? Does anyone have any tips on how to serve food in a way that doesn’t look cheap? Any tips for what kind of plates/cups/utensils? How about serving beer from a keg? (We might go with bottled to avoid the tacky look of a keg).
Any tips from backyard and DIY receptions would be greatly appreciated. I really want to make it look as polished as possible with out spending a fortune.
Post # 3
here are a few suggestions:
plates / utensils: don’t go with plastic. trawl second hand stores for the unmatched, vintagey look or a restaurant supply sale (lots of restos are going out of business at the moment, you might pick something at liquidation) for actual plates, utensils, cups and serving ware.
take time to plate the food on platters, etc. add fresh fruit / veggies as garnish and decor. it’ll add to the presentation.
we did some Bridesmaid or Best Man / baby showers on budget: croissants from costco, spreads from a tub, fresh fruit salads, cheese. we put them into nice bowls, etc. everyone was surprised no professional caterers were involved – we just made it look good.
Post # 4
If you like the tables, I say don’t do table linens! I’m not doing them because we basically have the same venue situation and I love the look of the wood. That will save money! I like the idea of getting tableware at thrift stores, but if you want a cohesive look I would check out those bamboo plates (and that fits with the outdoorsy feel).
What kind of nonfloral centerpieces are you doing?
Post # 5
I second nybride’s call for garnish. Watch an episode of barefoot countessa and start looking at how people are presenting your food. (As part of my job, I run a program that involves cookies. THe first month, I got 4 bitchy comments about how crappy the cookies looked, so I started paying attention and it’s an amazing difference!)
I think overall you can nix a lot of details rather than doing them on the obviously-cheap. Table linens are a great example of a way to cut the fat. Elaborate programs, menus, place cards etc. There are easy, basic, and cheap ways to do all of those things that will save you both money and time.
Oh, and as for the keg, you should definitley go for a keg. You can wrap a trash can (that will hold the keg) with a basic table cloth and make it look a little bit classier without buying anything that you don’t already have.
Post # 6
I’d say make as much as you can personalized. I’ve been to weddings that LOOKED cheap and other weddings that were also cheap but looked great. Don’t buy cheap generic wedding stuff. Instead, make or include only the things that pull together a unified look or theme. If people notice a running theme or aesthetic, it will give the impression that there is so much more to the wedding than if you had a whole bunch of cheap stuff that didn’t fit together.
Post # 7
You might want to check out my bio. We are doing all our own plates, flatware, linens, etc. We found a lot of good online sources (e.g., restaurant wholesalers) for inexpensive items that are still durable enough so that we can resell them afterward.
Post # 8
If you like the look of the tables uncovered then how about just doing a runner to dress it up? Check out this wedding for her use of recycled wine bottles for drinks on the tables and her runners and simple center pcs.
Post # 9
I agree, hit some thrift stores, they have lovely serving pieces that you can get for under $5-and you can use them after the wedding!
Post # 10
Food arrangement. If you can find flatware/silverware etc that looks nice & fits the budget the next thing is focusing on making the FOOD look good.
Get a few nice platters or tiered plates w/e style you’re looking for [but cheap!] and practice arranging various foods in different ways well before the big day.
I went to a small wedding that had a tea luncheon as the reception; the wedding party & family made all the food [finger sandwiches, danties, etc] and you never would have known that they didn’t splurge on caterers.