Advice from Chicago Wedding Pros #6

Not a celebrity or rolling in the dough? You’re not alone. Weddings can be extremely expensive and stressful on your newly cemented relationship. Here are some things you can do yourself without hiring any outside vendors to cut the mounting costs of your big day.

Flowers. Flowers can be over the top expensive especially if you are using fresh flowers for the entire wedding. A way to cut this expense is by buying flowers yourself at the grocery store instead of going through a florist. You can create your own corsages, bouquets and centerpieces. Another tip is to use fake flowers for all your décor including table centerpieces and various arrangements around the church or reception room. It’s also a nice touch to do mini centerpieces that guests can take home with them as a little reminder of your wedding.

Place Cards/Chair Seating Cards. While you can order this online, place cards and/or chair seating cards for an outdoor wedding can be done at home. You can easily buy thicker paper, pull up a neat little design program on your computer and print them out yourself. Just cut, fold and write the guests name on them with a calligraphy pen. Voila! Easy peasy. For an added touch, glue on a Swarovski crystal to add a little glam or wax stamp of the initial of your last name. You can use these for dinner seating and even drape over a chair with organza for any outdoor seating. Another easy DIY idea is to do place card lanterns. You can do these with simple brown/white lunch bags. Buy a stamp that comes with all the letters of the alphabet, cut the bag in a cute way and stamp each with your guests’ name. Stick a tea light or LED candle inside and add a few small stones/rocks to each so they don’t fall over.

Wedding Favors. Wedding favors are simple little items a guest can take home with them. It’s not necessary to buy 150 candles with personalized labels which adds a tremendous expense. You can go to your local craft store and buy little organza bags that tie at the top. These even typically will come in the color of your choice to match your wedding. Fill each with a little trinket or goodie and that’s it! You can also do this with simple cardboard pop up boxes which you can also find at the store or even order online in bulk. Tie the box with a little ribbon that says LOVE and fill with mints or chocolates. Another very personalized idea is to fill mason jars with a family recipe inside with a printout of the recipe on top tied with a ribbon. Depending on how much time you have to devote to these favors, the ideas are limitless.

Reception Hall/Church Décor. A plain room is exactly that. Plain. Add special touches to your wedding by personalizing any space. If it’s an outdoor wedding, create luminarias. These are basic white paper bags, each with an LED votive inside. You can even write on them, paint any design or leave as is. Line a path leading to your reception area or place all over for added romantic lighting. You can also use basic white Christmas lights to string in any trees or plants indoors and outdoors to further accentuate any room. Another simple décor idea is to use fruit arranged in metal baskets or large glass vases you either have already or can borrow from friends and family. Is red your color? Fill these with red apples, cherries or pomegranates.

Even those on a budget can create the wedding of their dreams. Not only do ‘DIY’ projects keep your costs down but also add that personal touch. Now get out there, grab your fiancé, some friends and family and create the most memorable day of your lives!

Thanks to Dane Kolbaba of Chicago Party Bus.

© Fourth Estate Audio, 2016 – Jay Congdon is president of Fourth Estate Audio, a professional Chicago DJ and Chicago Wedding DJ company.

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