Board #187 | Champagne & Dessert (Budget Friendly #4)

For some, the wedding fantasy is less about a huge party and more about an intimate, elegant affair. And what could be more elegant than champagne and dessert? There are a number of ways to plan a wedding like this, depending on the size of your guest list and the season. I imagined this one as a tiny City Hall ceremony followed by an elegant, intimate reception in a vine-covered patio or garden after dark. You should also make sure to check out Style Me Pretty’s “Champagne and Dessert Fete” post – some really lovely ideas in it.

The Plan: Champagne & Dessert
Mood: intimate, vintage elegance
Palette: aged lace, vine green

{click image to enlarge}

Top row from left: vintage doily curtain via Sweet Paul, garden patio via Desire to Inspire, champagne photo from Allure Consulting, San Francisco city hall
Row 2: bouquet photo from Bellissima Vita, vintage cake topper photo by Susan Dean via Santa Barbara Wedding, miniature ice cream from Martha Stewart Weddings, Leah C. hair pin from In Style
Row 3: lanterns photo by Stacey Kane, ring by Sarah Perlis, truffle favors from Martha Stewart Wedding, petals and votives from Grandiflora
Row 4: rose in jar vase from Danske’s flickr, calligraphy by Laura Hooper, Carmen Marco Valvo dress from Neiman Marcus, peony and passion flower photo by Miha Matei, coffee and cherries from Martha Stewart Weddings

10 Ways to Save:
1. Use eBay as a resource, as well as flea markets and antique shops. The sheer curtain is a gorgeous example of what you can do with something as simple as vintage doilies (Paul Lowe handstitched them to the hem of the curtain). It would be beautiful as a photo backdrop, ceremony backdrop, or a space divider. You can also use doilies to adorn table linens or a shawl. You can also find vintage cake toppers for as little as $10 on eBay, and with such a beautiful focal point, you can save by having a simple, otherwise unadorned cake.
2. Choosing one kind of alcohol will help to cut costs – you should be able to get a discount when you buy it by the case. Champagne is the obvious choice, but other dessert wines would work as well.
3. Invite just your immediate family to your ceremony, and then have the rest of your guests celebrate with you at the reception. City Hall is one choice, but even at a church, in a garden, or on a beach, having a very small ceremony saves you money on flowers, chair rentals, etc.
4. Save by forgoing the sit-down dinner, and instead serve delicate, delicious desserts. You can either set up a gorgeous dessert buffet, or have waiters pass miniature sweets to guests. As with an hors d’oeuvres reception, make sure it is clear to guests that dinner won’t be served. End the evening with cups of fresh coffee paired with an extra little something.
5. This delicate hair pin with netting by Leah C. fits with the vintage look of this wedding. And at only $65, it’s an accessory that won’t break the bank. Etsy is another great resource for handmade, even custom, hair accessories like this pretty rose head band for only $18.
6. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: lanterns and strings of lights are a lovely and cost-conscious way to decorate, especially outdoors after dark.
7. There’s no reason that your wedding budget can’t start with the engagement ring, especially when such stunningly unique pieces are available for as little as $675. And the best thing about these diamond rings? Sarah Perlis makes them from recycled gold and responsibly-mined diamonds.
8. Save by purchasing local chocolates for favors. My favorite truffles, XOX, are only $8 for 20 in the shop, but about a dollar apiece when they have to be shipped. If you’re brave, you can even make your own.
9. Rose petals and tea lights are dramatic, beautiful and inexpensive – use them to line a walkway or decorate a tabletop.
10. Have you always dreamed of wearing a designer gown for your wedding? Then go with a white evening gown instead of a bridal gown. The one in this board by Carmen Marc Valvo is $1,170. Or how about a Phillip Lim or Badgley Mischka for $995.

Bonus Tip: Whether you have 20 guests or 200 at your ceremony, you can limit your number of attendants. This means fewer bouquets, corsages and boutonnieres, not to mention several friends who will love you for not making them wear matching outfits.

1. Flowers. Though peonies and passion vines aren’t the cheapest blooms, when you have fewer tables to fill, you can afford to use pricier flowers.
2. Calligraphy. For such an elegant evening, it just seems fitting. Cost often depends on how elaborate the style is; this style by Laura Hooper is $2.50 per address, which is not as pricey as you might expect. If calligraphy isn’t an option for you, why not buy beautiful cards and send guests a hand-written note from you, inviting them to help you celebrate?

Update! If you’re not convinced about a dessert reception, you have to see these photos that Julie Mikos took of Barbara Llewellyn Catering‘s miniature desserts, via Once Wed.
Update! For more reasonably-priced engagement rings, take a look at what Sundance has to offer, via Peonies & Polaroids.


  • Meg says:

    Ohmygod. Can you do budget boards every week? I love them, not just from a budget perspective but because you (and they by their very nature) bring a lovely, grounding, and extra creative element to a wedding. And I love these tips you are doing.

    I know, I’ve been raving all week, but good lord this is amazing. Please make it a regular feature. More people bringing reality to the wedding world can’t hurt right? Remind us of the practical! And hey, we’re in a recession, we’re going to need the tips. ;)

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • Peonies and Polaroids says:

    This is just gorgeous. So glamorous and decadent looking. I love the budget boards too, it would be great if this was a regular feature.

    And thanks for the mention and the suggestion of Sarah Perlis, her rings are gorgeous. I will be lusting after them greatly!

  • Kirs10LA says:

    OK- I’m really liking these budget posts. :-)

    My questiosn is… what time of day do you throw a wedding like this? Mid-afternoon? You have to avoid both lunch and dinner hour. And if you after dinner then it basically becomes Budget Friendly #1.

  • Katie Bug says:

    My Goodness! I am in love with your blog, it makes me give in to every secret indulgence that I have. cheers!

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