Top 10 Wedding Decoration Budget Tips

When it comes to choosing your wedding decorations as is mentioned above, you must decide on your theme. Once you have done this, you can then make your decisions about the budget that you will have.

Here are the top 10 tips that you should know in order to lower the cost of your wedding decorations.
1.    Decide on the essential items that you must have first and then worry about the extras.
2.    Hand make the centerpieces yourself using items priced toward your budget.
3.    Using artificial flowers is cheaper than fresh flowers unless you pick them yourself from a field.
4.    Skip the extra wedding favors and focus more attention on decoration detail.
5.    Never go over your budget because you set it up for a reason
6.    For smaller items like candles, candle holders, small laces etc. visit your nearby dollar store.
7.    Never underestimate the elegance of basic décor. Sometimes minimal is best.
8.    Some very versatile items that can make a beautiful decorations include: clay pots, plastic bowls/vases, faux flowers, pearls, balloons, pillar candles, rhinestones, and empty wine bottles.
9.    Tissue paper roses and flowers give off a beautiful look to any decorating style and they are quick and easy to make.
10.    A word to wise is that your decorations should not even amount to half of the money that is spent on the reception.

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Planning your Decoration Budget

When it comes to your decorating budget it really depends on where the ceremony and reception will be on what decorations need to be present as well as what if any; themes that you are choosing.

For example, if you are planning an indoor dinner, you have to include centerpieces etc. The most common decorating choice for weddings and reception are flowers, and streamers.

While the streamers and various other decorations are generally inexpensive, the flowers can kill you. It is best when choosing your flowers for a wedding service and reception to use false flowers or paper machete flowers as they are cheap and reusable.

For those who would much prefer to use real flowers, it can be much cheaper to go with wild flowers and/or hand picked flowers. It is also a good idea to use them sparingly.

For example, rather than going all out and decorating everything with flowers just use a simple arrangement for the center of the table and place them in small vases or hand made crafts.

Of course you can also opt to keep the flowers strictly in the ceremony. Paper machete flowers re getting more and more popular as well as hand made roses that were created from tissue paper. When they are placed on green pipe cleaners or wires that are covered in green tissue paper they are quite attractive. It is a nice way to save money and spend some time with your friends and family in creating them.

When it comes to the decoration budget, this is a time when you will want the church, chapel or hall for the ceremony to cover them for you.

If that is not possible, the ceremonial decorations can be limited to those involved in the ceremony, such as their clothes. If you must, you can pin balloons to the areas where the guests will be seated or create some flowers out of tissue paper.

Streamers are always used, but there are other ways to decorate that are just as appealing. Here are some good tips for decorating at your wedding on a budget.
·    A really unique idea is to use glass containers and putting baby fish in them. It is very unique and attractive, and it is also cheap because the glass containers can be purchased at Wal-Mart and even a dollar store. The fish can be as cheap as you want them to be
·    Good old candle holders and candles are always a romantic addition to any wedding decor
·    If you reception is at night it is nice to add fireflies to a glass container with holes for air or even butterflies during the day
·    False flower arrangements in a bamboo pot are a very nice addition and keepsake for guests
·    Using white Christmas lights streamed through greenery is a beautiful decoration and is one that you likely already have available
·    Chocolate and candy flower bouquets are sweet accents to the décor and they can be souvenirs for the guests later.
·    Balloons, balloons, and more balloons are always fun

These are not the only decorations that are available but you are getting the idea. The best thing that you can do before choosing your decorations is to choose a theme first. Themes for weddings are just like choosing themes for anniversaries and birthdays. Once you can decide on a theme, you can decorate around that theme.

For example, if you are choosing to have your theme be tropical romance, you can use glass containers with sand etc. as centerpieces to your reception. Some extra and easy to afford themes include those that will be listed in the table below as well as some of the things that usually accompany them.

These are common wedding ceremonial themes that are used as opposed to the reception themes mentioned above; of course they can be used as reception themes too.

Wedding Ceremony Themes ~ Specialty items used for theme
Medieval ~ Wreathes, wild flowers, garland, candles
Tropical/beach ~ Sea Shells, polished stones, fish tanks
Victorian ~ Lace, bows, flowers, candelabras
Big band ~ Balloon bouquets, stringed lights, empty wine bottles draped in fake pearls (centerpieces)
Roaring 20’s ~ Balloons, streamers, candles, USO items
Spring ~ Daisies, butterflies, birds
Autumn ~ Colored leaves, terracotta pottery
Winter ~ Crystal, icicles, babies breath, glitter

These are some of the most common themes that you can choose and the most affordable as well. The fact of the matter is that once you have chosen your theme it is easy to work around. Many of the items that were mentioned in the above themes can be found in discount stores and dollar stores.

The point here is that before you can decide on a wedding budget, you must choose your theme first and make sure that it suits your finances.

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Planning the Menu

When you are planning a budgeted menu, you must first know what your exact budget is when it comes to the food and drink specifically. Some people keep the food and drinks separate, but on average, the food and drink are a part of the same bill.

If you can afford the more expensive catering services, then by all means enjoy. However, if you are like most of us, you will likely need a little bit of help in creating a menu that is fitting to your budget.
If you are hosting an indoor reception in a hall and plan to have a dinner option, you have to make sure that you accommodate the needs of all of your guests which include vegetarians. You should request that the guests RSVP beforehand so that you can get the right amount of vegetarian plates.

The way that you choose to serve the dinners can vary. Here are some tips on how you can choose to serve the guests to make it a bit cheaper for you.
·    You can serve the meals buffet style, with this option you have people forego wedding gifts in favor of bringing a dish
·    You can offer vegetable, fruit an meat platters with dips and crackers instead of foods
·    You can ask each guest to contribute a small amount of money to the reception or to make donations toward the reception rather than buying a gift.
·    You can offer a soup and salad menu rather than a full blown entrée
·    Offer a limited bar which means that you offer an open bar only at certain times such as after dinner and during toasting etc. that way your guests aren’t paying and you won’t go broke, the rest of the time offer a cash bar
·    Offer around the world appetizers instead of a meal. This will give you the opportunity to offer fill ups such as crab, shrimp. Etc. as well as casual appetizers like cheese sticks, chicken wings, and mushroom caps etc. the around the world motif will also provide your party with a variety of different tastes.
·    Request that each immediate family member create a dish instead of a present
·    Do not pay for extras like servers, bartenders etc. asking a friend or family member to do it instead as a wedding gift to you

Outdoor receptions give you much freedom when choosing your menu because you can serve anything that you want including barbecue, long group submarine sandwiches or pizza.

As long as you offer foods that will accommodate both carnivores and vegetarians, you will be fine. You can always find items to suit all of your needs and every budget as long as your budget is reasonable for the amount of people that you are planning to serve. If it doesn’t fit, you may have to trim the invite list.

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Weather protection

When you are looking to rent a gazebo or weather tent for your outdoor reception the choices can vary greatly. Some places have some really good rental deals, but others do not.

Some places rent by the day, some rent by the hour and some only rent by the week. The prices can also go up or down based on the tent’s size, and whether or not you need it to be installed by them or if you are doing it yourself.

You should know that some companies will insist upon putting the tents and gazebos up themselves and taking them down. If the price is too high for you, just go with another company.

You can also choose to use a do-it-yourself tent that can be created using tarps. Tarps come in many different colors and you can find it in any size at any home improvement store.

When you do it yourself, you will pay for it once, but you can use it for years during barbecues, cook-outs etc. That is another way to get cheaper weather protection for your back yard.

Finally, you can opt to buy any number of those tents that do not use mosquito mesh or have removable mosquito mesh. These usually stand on their own and are easy to set up. The best part about buying them is that you will have one handy whenever you need them. Some of them are all weather and can stay up all year round.

It is a good investment if you entertain in the yard often, or if you just like to sit outside during the nicer weather.

If you choose to rent tables and chairs, you can often get good deals when you go through a church or charity for the rental. They will always be willing to give you a hand.

If you find that renting chairs and tables is too expensive you can just set up a table to hold the food outside and ask everyone to bring a folding chair with them if they can so as to make it easier.

This is a great way to save a lot of money on your reception. Hosting it outdoors is always nice to the guests as well as to the happy couple. When you do it in your own backyard, you know that you are in a comfortable place.

If it is a choice between an outside reception and an indoor reception, the outdoor option is always welcome.

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Reception to do List

You have to start with a thorough to do list when planning an outdoor reception because this will keep your affairs in order. When creating your list, you have to consider having a contingency plan. The reason for this is to accommodate bad weather conditions that may prohibit your reception from taking place at all. Or having your reception ruined due to a thunderstorm or severe winds.

Here is a sample to do list for you to look at so that you will know all of the things that need to be considered. The list will include what needs to be done, and why it should be handled.

To do list should include:
·    Renting tent or gazebo and decorating it. Make sure that you confirm your rental date at least two weeks ahead of time or sooner if you can.
·    Renting tables and chairs. It is cheaper when you set them up yourself
·    Getting regular updates on the weather. Of course, you should have a contingency plan just in case the weather does not permit an outdoor party.
·    Getting any miscellaneous items such as extension cords etc.
·    Hiring a DJ or band and confirming
·    Deciding on food items and drink and who will prepare what
·    Getting permits that may be required in serving alcohol
·    Getting permission from neighbors.  You don’t want them complaining about the noise and the parking situation (invite them too). Of course this rule applies when you are hosting your outdoor reception in your backyard.

These are some quick tips for your to do list. Of course, you will also want to know how you can possibly save as much money as possible on this event and the tips and ideas are literally endless.

Perhaps the best reason to host an outdoor party is because it will take care of the smoking problem on its own. When you host an outdoor reception, there are so many choices that you can make on what to do and serve your guests. Because of this, I have divided the outdoor reception items separately.

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When hosting an outdoor reception, you can save yourself a great deal of money by placing disposable cameras around and letting the guests take their own snapshots for you. This can save you a great deal of money on the wedding photos.

You can also choose to limit the photos that you get with a professional photographer to lower the costs, or you can make a deal with a photographer to give you the negatives at a special discount and you can have them developed yourself at a later date.

Otherwise, your best bet is to simply go with the cheapest option that you can find.

A really fun extra way to capture parts of your wedding is to make a video recording instead of paying for professional pictures. You can simply use your own camcorder or borrow a friend’s and ask someone to record the ceremony and the reception festivities for you.

With all of the digital cameras and recorders available now, it is easier than ever to make professional looking videos.

Digital photography can be extremely easy to create and just as easy to reproduce later as weddings mementos for the wedding party.

These days, the average home has so much photo-technology attached to PC computers that there isn’t really much needed to hire professional photographers because you can give the professional quality to yourself.

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Serving drinks at the reception can be the most expensive part of the whole event at times. Of course, it doesn’t have to be.

Here are some great tips on serving drinks at your reception that will satisfy everyone; particularly the person/persons who are paying for it.
·    Serve your beer and punch for free and get all to pay a minimal amount like a dollar per mixed drink etc.
·    Offer an open bar for a small amount of money per guest such as 2 or 3 dollars to help you recover some of your money.
·    Request that the champagne toast is free and that everyone bring their own drinks to the outdoor reception. For this option you can also let everyone not be obligated to give a gift.
·    Look to get your spirits in bulk from a wholesaler
·    Begin to prepare for your reception months ahead of time so that you may purchase all of the drinks over a time period rather than all at once.
·    Do not forget to include special punches or sodas for non-alcoholic beverages.

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Renting a Hall

If you prefer to rent a hall or space for your reception, you must consider many things before making this decision. You will have to think of the prices for the hall rental, the cost of using their servers (most halls include servers in price and they are not negotiable), decorations, flowers, meals, drinks etc.

When you wish to rent a hall for your reception there are some things that the hall will include in your rental that you can’t avoid paying for such as: servers, decorations, and wine. However, some halls will give you the option to pick and choose the extras that you want.

Depending on the type of hall that you choose to rent, the costs can vary greatly. For example, if you rent a large hall, you could pay more than if you rented a legion hall.

You might also want to consider that if you are starting with a small budget, that renting a hall might not be worth the effort and money, or it may leave you with less options.

There are a few tips when renting a hall that could keep a great deal of your costs down. Let’s take a look at them.

  1. You should only consider renting a hall if you have invited 50 or more people to your reception.
  2. When renting a hall, you have to decide if you are opting for a cash bar or an open bar. A good compromise is to purchase a few cases of beer on your own and host a cash bar for those who want mixed drinks if you are trying to keep costs down.
  3. Rent a hall that you can decorate yourself
  4. If you must have servers, rent a hall that includes servers in the price of the rental or go with a hall that lets you bring your own.
  5. Choose a hall that will cater to whatever your needs or budget is.
  6. When it comes to the food, you should go with a hall that will allow you to bring your own food if you would prefer to not pay extra for catering.
  7. Serving vegetable and fruit trays, as well as finger foods like finger sandwiches will be of great value in accommodating vegetarians
  8. Opting for a casual reception will allow you to serve your food buffet style which will be predominantly cheaper.
  9. Opting to tell people to forego giving you a wedding gift and serve a completely cash bar is a great way to accommodate guests and recover some of the money for the hall.
  10. Opt for non-weekend dates because these are not peak hours for the hall and the prices may be cheaper
  11. You should choose to host your event during the winter for the best rates
  12. Negotiate a special discount by paying cash instead of credit card. Most reception halls will do this
  13. Choose to go with a non-dinner reception offering instead snack foods and munchables

Hosting a wedding reception at a hall does not have to cost through the nose if you know how to get around the basics which I have just mentioned.

Most people would like to host their reception at a reception hall because they feel that it is more elegant than hosting it outdoors, however, this is not always the case. Sometimes, hosting your event outdoors is more fun and it is also much cheaper.

The choices with the Roman theme vary. Togas are always a part of the festivities. Serving fresh fruits like grapes, apples etc. are always good. Serving fresh rotisseries meats or cold cuts are great with this theme too.

You can generally serve beer and wine for this theme and you can decorate with wreathes, garland, candles and anything else in the Roman fashion.

Reception themes are a great way to personalize your reception. People often choose their themes based on their personalities and individual character. Some themes are based on hobbies and others are based on hopes and dreams.

No matter what type of theme that you choose for your reception, you can always find the right way to represent it.

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Outdoor Reception

Hosting your reception outdoors can be a great deal cheaper and a lot more fun for you and your guests. When you host your reception outdoors you have a lot of options as to how you want things to be.

The only downside to doing this is whether or not the weather conditions will permit it. Because of this your reception and its success is often at the hands of Mother Nature. Other than that, it can be the best decision that you could make.

Outdoor receptions give you an endless supply of ideas and freedom in how your reception will be handled. The best thing is that you can host an outdoor reception at a hall or beautiful grounds, or you can do so in your own back yard.

If your own yard permits it, it would be best to do it here because it is a relaxed atmosphere and you need not worry about many of the small details that come in when using public grounds (i.e. music).

There are many ways that you can make an outdoor reception easy to plan, cheaper to pay for, and a great deal of fun. Of course, there are small formalities that go with it as well.

I have developed a to-do list for you as well to help you to make the most out of your outdoor reception.

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Planning the Reception

Great deals can be found when you know how much money you are working with. It really doesn’t matter how small your budget is for the reception because all budgets can be accommodated.

Your reception budget should consist of approximately 30% of your wedding budget or more. Most wedding receptions are so expensive due to the fact of providing meals, decorations, hall rentals etc.

For the purposes of this guide, I will give two different examples of common receptions and an idea for cutting costs on the food and drinks as well as give you the best tips for throwing your reception on a budget.

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