Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tips for an Informal Wedding

Extravagant ceremonies, huge numbers of people, food you don't recognize - these things are not for your wedding. You want it to be simple, informal and yet welcoming to all your guests. Don't skimp - it's your wedding after all, but there are many ways you can save and still have an informal, simple and stunning wedding when all is said and done.

1. Keep the guest list small.

If you can pull this one step off, the cost for just about everything else will go down and everything will be fairly simple in comparison. Invite only those relatives and friends who mean the most to you.

I realize that it’s customary to invite everyone your parents ever met and with whom you had a passing acquaintance, but when my cousin got married she limited her guest list to close relatives (the furthest out was first cousins of both parents) and close friends. She could have invited dozens and dozens more and ended up with a list of 150 when it could easily have emulated another cousin's list of 600. She was able to eat, spend time with all her guests and enjoy her day.

2. Use printable wedding invitations.

Traditional wedding invitations have a couple different envelopes, tissue paper, some other paper, and that’s all before you even get to the invitation itself. So printable invitations, from your printer, on stock stationary from an office supply store will save you lots of money and will enable you to personalize each invitation. Just because you are informal doesn't mean you can't be elegant.

3. Keep the wedding reception menu simple - and catered.

The biggest cost is usually food. Keep it to a reasonable level by not having an extravagant, fancy dinner. Remember the rule of three - three courses, three choices, three colors, etc. Keep your desserts simple as well. You are spending a fortune on the wedding cake, so serve it! Ask friends and family members to make some other desserts for the dessert buffet.

Except for dessert, however, make sure you have your wedding catered. Don't expect your family to cook food for 150 or so people and still want any part of you. And face it - you aren't going to have the time either. Hire folks to cook the food, serve it and clean up afterwards. If you are at a hall or another venue - restaurant, bed and breakfast or other locale that caters to weddings - it will be part of your expense.

4. Beat the wedding bell blues - delegate.

Just because your family is off the hook for cooking, recruit them to help you. This will save a fortune on wedding planners. There are many little details that need to be taken care of, and if you try to do everything yourself, you’ll be running around like crazy. Instead, allow others to help out, delegate certain tasks, and when they do them, check them off your list. It makes life a lot easier and less stressful.

Tomorrow, I'll talk about more ways to have an informal wedding that won't break the bank.

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