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June 1998 Issue
Spend Time Planning, Don't Plan on Big Spending
by Ronda L. Halpin
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June is a month filled with backyard barbeques, sun-filled days, and, if you're like most people, a wedding or two. If one of the weddings you're planning on attending is your own (or one you are helping out with), this is for you.

If someone hasn't already told you (and even if they have), weddings are expensive! Every year, many couples go into debt as they go down the isle. While I don't have a special secret that will cut your costs in half, I do have some suggestions for couples planning their big day.

The biggest costs involved in a wedding have to do with the size of your guest list. The number of guests you invite will limit your choice of reception hall and dinner arrangements, among other things. If money is an object, try to keep your guest list relatively small. This is easier said than done. In some cases, this may mean you have to decide between a celebration involving over 400 people or one that is exceptionally intimate! The final decision is the bride and groom's and anyone else who is sharing the cost of the wedding, but be warned that those numbers are important.

Apart from keeping your guest list from growing faster than your budget, there are a few more hints and ideas that I'm including here. Good luck and best wishes to all of the couples out there preparing to embark on one of the most exciting and enjoyable journeys life has to offer!

Here Comes the Bride

  • It's often customary for the bride, her maid of honor, and any other female attendants to spend the night before the wedding together. Skip the hotel (if possible) and give each other backrubs and pedicures. What a nice way to get rid of jitters!
  • If the hairstyles you are planning aren't too complex, set aside enough time to have everyone help out. Make sure the bride gets the most attention!
  • If you really want to save some money, rent your dress. Otherwise, you might want to consider selling it afterewards. The sentimental side might object, but after it's been in the closet for years, you might agree that the beautiful wedding album pictures are more than enough.

All the Trimmings

  • Try using terra cotta pots with small plants (violets, ivy, etc.) or filled with fresh berries (strawberries, blackberries or raspberries) as guest table centerpieces.
  • If you want place markers, try to find a local calligrapher to do the writing. Ask at a local school or art supply shop.
  • Favors a concern? Buy colored mesh and ribbon and wrap 3 Hersheys Kisses in small squares of mesh tied with ribbon. Make it an afternoon with your bridal party.
  • Use the bridal party's bouquets to decorate the head table. You won't want to hold them throughout dinner and they can save you a bundle on huge centerpieces. Add some tapers and elegant votives and you're set.

The Table's Set

  • If you want to serve hors d'oeuvres, try setting out a nice buffet table filled with some of the local specialties. I got married in northern Wisconsin and had cheese, sausage, and crackers added to my hors d'oeuvres selection. Since my guests were from all over the country, they enjoyed the local zest and I enjoyed a substantial savings.
  • After dinner's over, have the staff at you reception hall cut the wedding cake and serve it to your guests with coffee. Don't worry about providing additional desserts. If you want, serve ice cream with the cake. It's a nice touch and isn't as costly as having additional cakes or pastries prepared.
  • Plan ahead. Have a nice basket of fresh fruit, cool deli slices, crackers and cookies ready for you and your beloved to retreat with after the festivities. Oftentimes, the meal you take such care to plan is one that you don't get to fully enjoy. With picture-taking, speech-making, and general fun going on, you might appreciate having something tasty waiting for you. What an intimate little picnic!

Starting a Home

  • Don't be afraid to use your gift registry as your chance to be your own home decorator.
  • Carry your favorite fabrics and accessories along in a shopping cart as you explore.
  • Use this as a chance to take both of your tastes into consideration.

Congratulations and good luck from Seasoned Cooking!



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