In my "Mondays With Marlo" interview with Colin Cowie, a viewer wrote in asking for tips on how to keep costs down, but still have an elegant and tasteful wedding. As always Colin had lots of ideas, and here are some of his brilliant suggestions:
- First of all, you have to think that most weddings take place on a Saturday. There are only 52 Saturdays in a year, so that is the day when all your top quality vendors are invariably booked and charging a premium. So first think of a different date. If you were to do it on a Friday or a Thursday or do a Sunday morning reception you’re going to get better vendors and be able to negotiate a much better price.
- Deejays are tomorrow’s rock stars, so rather than working with a live band, work with a deejay and the big trend we’re seeing today is when the deejay works with a rock violinist or a percussionist or a saxophonist to come and add one or two more elements to it.
- Instead of doing the sit-down dinner you could possibly think of maybe having a cocktail party or doing a reception where you have small stations of food. This way you don’t have to do seating for everyone. It would be kind of like a more lounge environment.
- If you do a brunch in the morning on a Sunday you don’t have to necessarily end up spending money on lighting and the big dance floor and all the other things.
- Instead of doing the big wedding cake perhaps you do cupcakes; maybe do a big croquembouche, something along those lines.
Simple and stylish! Here are some more tips from Colin on entertaining and weddings:
Find someone to help plan your wedding that has good organizational skills, and someone to help you the day of.
On your wedding day, and in life, don't go for perfection. Your best is good enough.
With only 52 Saturdays in a year, you're going to end up paying top dollar for any vendors you use on a Saturday. Opt for a Friday night or an early Sunday wedding instead.
Today's DJ's are tomorrow's rockstars. Instead of splurging on a live band, find a DJ who will work with your tastes. If you still feel the need for some live instruments, bringing one or two live musicians in to work with your DJ will be cheaper than booking a full band.
The most important aspect of your wedding is the timing. Know how long each part of your wedding should last - no one wants to spend an hour and a half at the cocktail hour, or be at a reception that starts half an hour late. Make sure that you have a schedule of events, a rundown of how long each thing will last so that all of your staff is on the same page.
Using a mirrored surface with candles on top will create a beautiful ambiance to your wedding, and are a cost effective substitution for flower centerpieces.
Instead of doing assigned seating for everyone, create a lounge environment. Have four or five food stations with a wine pairing instead of a long buffet line and waiter service to cut costs.
It's more important to make your guests feel welcome and comfortable than to impress them, so don't stress yourself out!
Forget what your mother, your maid of honor, or anyone else says about your wedding tastes! Your wedding isn't just one big party - it's your opportunity to tell everyone who you are now as a couple, so do what's right for you!
If you know that you're wedding will be full steam ahead till the very end and your guests have been dancing for hours, everyone is going to want a grilled cheese or something to snack on towards the end of the evening. Colin recommends serving French onion soup at the end, because it takes away the hangover!
Style has got nothing to do with money. Make your backyard wedding elegant and personal by serving your meal family style with using family recipes. Instead of spending a lot of money on expensive centerpieces, have bowls of pasta and roasted chicken and asparagus (or whatever appeals to you) pierced all the way down the table.
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