So the time has come: you watched, shocked and a little misty-eyed, as your man lowered one knee to the ground to present you with a shiny diamond ring. But, like so many of us, you just don't have $30,000 to blow on a wedding—but this is your big night! You may not have buckets of cash lying around, but that doesn't mean you can't have a beautiful, unique wedding. Read on to find simple yet elegant reception solutions, unique favors and snacks, and even some gorgeous DIY wedding centerpieces.
Fun, Alternative Guest Book Ideas
1. Write It in Stone
This is a simple, crafty idea for a guest book. Instead of having guests write their names in a book that will inevitably end up gathering dust in box somewhere, mix things up and have guests write small messages onto an assortment of stones. One thing I love about this idea is that after the wedding, you can either place the stones into a clear vase and leave it out as an in-home decoration, or scatter the stones in a display in your backyard.
2. Buy Some Monogram Letters
Another alternative to the standard guest book is to purchase a large monogram of you and your hubby's initials. Have guests write small messages and sign their names. Later, you can hang the monogram on display in your home.
Simple, Elegant Centerpieces
3. Make a Simple Centerpiece Using Yarn
This is a unique, eye-catching centerpiece (or ceiling decoration, or wall decoration...) that is incredibly easy and inexpensive to make. Simply inflate a ballon, wrap several sets of thread or yarn around it, and spray fabric stiffener all over. Once the thread has dried completely, simply pop the balloon and you're left with a gorgeous, unique wedding decoration. Feel free to add extra pieces to it, such as flowers, sequins, streamers or more.
4. Lemons and Limes Add a Pop of Color to Your Vases
If you want to add a pop of color to your wedding, this is a great way to do it. Simply select some clear vases, fill with water and chunky slices of lemon, then add yellow tulips, daisies, sunflowers -- you name it. Alternatively, you can use slices of lime instead, and use flowers with green accents.
5. Hit the Dollar Store for Some Affordable Decorations
Dollar store vases + distilled water + silk flowers = gorgeous centerpieces. This is a great idea because you can play around with the size and shape of the containers as well as its contents. Add decorative pebbles at the bottom and a light tea candle to float delicately at the top, or let the flowers do the talking. However you do it, this is a simple yet elegant centerpiece that everybody will love.
Fun Wedding Drinks and Snacks
6. Serve a Cocktail in a Jar
Pre-mixed cocktails in mason jars on ice. This has a nice DIY feel to it that everybody will love. Mix up some margaritas, cosmopolitans, Bahama Mamas—whatever you'd like—and label the tops of the jars for your guests. Make sure you include some regular Colas for the kids!
7. Serve Fruit in a Bowl of Fruit!
This will not only give your guests some delicious fruit to much on, but it has a nice decorative aspect that will add a touch of color to your snack table. Simply cut a watermelon in half, carve a nice pattern into the top, and scoop out some room to place various fruits inside.
8. Skip the Cake and Opt for Some Simple Snacks
Toss in some wedding-themed snacks for your guests to enjoy. Order some cake pops (lollipop-shaped mounds of cake on a stick) and ask to have them decorated with a tuxedo pattern and a lacy white pattern. You can also ask for them to be shaped like mini wedding cakes -- in fact, if you're on a very tight budget or don't care for traditional wedding cakes, make a display of multiple platforms of cake pops in lieu of an actual cake. Another cute snack idea is to bake heart-shaped sugar cookies decoarted as mini brides and grooms.
Other Fun Ideas
9. Put on Your Dancing Shoes
When the time comes to hit the dance floor, set out a basket of flip-flops and encourage guests to don a pair. Your female guests will love you for it; spending hours in high heels doesn't really encourage one to get into a dancing mood. Let them give their feet some freedom and push them out onto the dance floor!
10. Reusable Chalkboards Are a Fun Way to Keep Your Wedding Organized
Place a sign or chalkboard on each guest table and write a song title on it. Let your guests know that when their song starts playing, it's their turn to get up and grab some grub! This is an especially handy idea if you've invited a large number of people to your wedding; since everybody has a specific time slot in which to fill their plates, you don't have to worry about crowding around the table.
11. Accept the Snail Mail
This is a really cute idea that everybody is sure to love. Pick up a tin mailbox at a thrift store and scrawl "marriage advice" on the side. You can place this out by your guest book, OR you can wait until the liquor starts flowing to put it out -- you'll get some helpful and kooky pieces of advice to enjoy after the reception.
12. Leave Out a Tip Jar
This one is fairly self-explanatory. Set this out on a table during your reception and let guests make contributions to your honeymoon. Not only is this a very cute idea, but people will enjoy helping you out with a little spending money during your honeymoon.
What to Do After the Wedding
Keep Something From the Wedding to Save for Later
Save some petals from your wedding bouquet and place them in a clear Christmas ornament. Hang it on your tree every year and remember what an amazing time you both had. This is a beautiful way to commemorate your union, and you'll love knowing that you'll always have a little piece of that day to keep with you forever.