My apologies for being so late with posts this week. I rarely write this much on each post, and it clearly takes me longer than I thought it would! But I hope that you all have enjoyed this week of budget-friendly weddings, and that you’ll continue to share your own tips for saving money throughout the planning process.

I thought I’d finish off budget-friendly wedding week with one of the easiest ways to stay within a strict budget: a cake and punch reception. With do-it-yourself details and bright colors, this is a fun and affordable way to celebrate with any number of guests.

The Plan: Cake & Punch
Mood: quirky, cheerful, fun
Palette: yellow, green, pink

{click image to enlarge}


Top row from left: table and grass photos both by Jonathan Canlas, hair pin by Twigs & Honey, invitation by Peter Kruty
Row 2: crepe paper boutonniere from Martha Stewart Weddings, Lucy dress by Jenny Yoo, bouquet from Creature Comforts, macaroons via Black Eiffel
Row 3: guest book cards from Martha Stewart Weddings, pinwheels via Brooklyn Bride, cardigan via The Preppy Wedding, lotus pod via Brooklyn Bride
Row 4: punch table from Ariella Chezar, cake by The Cake Girls, ring pillows from Rebecca Thuss

10 Ways to Save:
1. Lanterns are a great option at night, but even during the day colored ones can pull in your palette and fill empty space.
2. Instead of flowers, grow your own wheatgrass centerpieces. They can be as big or as little as you like, in really almost any container. Lotus pods in bud vases are another way to add visual interest, and you don’t need many of them.
3. A beautiful handmade hair pin is a cheaper alternative than many veils, and it’s something you could easily wear again. At $55, a custom hair pin by Twigs & Honey is a good choice.
4. Even if you’re not the most creative of people, what about handwriting your invitation, asking a friend to draw a little picture, and then having it printed in fun bright colors? It’s something most of your guests probably haven’t seen before, and it’s personal because it’s in your handwriting. And with a cake and punch reception, you’ll save by not printing all of the various stationery pieces that go along with a more formal party.
5. Save by doing your own flowers. Ez at Creature Comforts made this beautiful bouquet for under $10 with daffodils she bought at Trader Joe’s, ribbon from a local craft store, and an earring from a thrift store. Brightly colored crepe paper boutonnieres fit with the quirky nature of this wedding, and can be made far in advance for low cost.
6. Wearing a short dress opens up a whole range of affordable options that aren’t available when you’re looking for an evening gown. This one by Jenny Yoo is $485, or you can design your own at Olivia Luca‘s online design studio for as little as $300. Another fun – and environmentally friendly – option is to buy a vintage dress. Vintageous is a good resource.
7. Let your guests get creative with the guest book. Provide colored pens, stamps, stickers, and fun paper, then have them drop their notes into a glass bowl. At the end of the party, ask a trustworthy friend to collect the notes and arrange them in a pretty book.
8. Giving yourself time for do-it-yourself projects will keep costs down. These pinwheels act as seating cards and favors, and your ring pillow is an easy sewing project (or at least easy enough to convince your sewing machine-savvy friend to take it on).
9. Wear a bright cardigan. It will add color to a simple dress, and you can wear it again! This one from Target is only $23.
10. A cake and punch reception is obviously going to be cheaper than serving a full meal. Not only are you saving on the cost of food and alcohol, but you’re saving by having a reception earlier in the day, and most likely for a shorter time (which means paying vendors for fewer hours). This seems like the type of reception, too, that would work very well on a Sunday, and you’ll save by having your wedding on pretty much any day but Saturday.

Splurges:
1. The cake. It’s a cake and punch reception, after all! It doesn’t have to be huge, and several small cakes would be nice too, but make sure that it’s gorgeous and delicious. You might also want to offer other sweets, like French macaroons or a candy buffet.
2. Splurge on your photographer. A good one will capture the uniqueness and beauty in your wedding, no matter how much you spent on flowers or a dress.

Update! Check out this wonderful do-it-yourself centerpiece tutorial from Epicurious (be sure to check out the slideshow), via Once Wed.
Update! Meg did a great post about this type of reception on A Practical Wedding.

7 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Budget Friendly, Inspiration Boards
  1. P O S I E S

    Really sweet, Kathryn. One of my favorites.

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  2. Kate

    The punch table is great! I want the containers! Any source ideas?

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  3. Martha

    They’re going to ask you to write a book on weddings, Kathryn! Such a fun and quirky board! :)Martha B.

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  4. Kate

    I love the wheatgrass centerpieces idea! So cute!

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  5. Janet

    Check out this post on my blog for detailed instructions on growing wheatgrass centerpieces.http://floralverde.com/blog/?p=98

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  6. Tara

    what a great series! i love the attention to budget friendly with such different themes/types… and with such beautiful boards! very well done…

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  7. rebekah @ elizabeth anne designs

    I want this wedding!

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