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  • Writer's pictureShannon K. Wendt-Heath

20 Easy Ways to Save Money on Your Charlevoix Wedding (that you haven't heard already)

Updated: Mar 16, 2021

Are you having a destination wedding in the Charlevoix, Petoskey, Gaylord, Harbor Springs, Bay Harbor or Traverse City area? We can help with budgeting and planning!

You've probably heard about trimming the guest list and only choosing in-season flowers, right?

Here's 20 you most likely haven't heard yet (in no particular order):

1) Don't assume that what your venue offers as far as linens, centerpiece items, etc. are the "best deal". Shop a local rental company. Plus, this way your wedding won't look like all the other weddings that used that same stuff.

2) Forgo favors. Most end up in the trash at the end of the night anyway. One sweet option: making a donation to a favorite charity in guests' names.

3) Rent lanterns, glass cylinder vases (or similar) from a local rental company that also does lettering/signage. Have table numbers put on them and add them to your centerpieces or stand on their own.

4) Rent a vintage window or pretty mirror from your local rental company and have them add lettering for seating charts, bar signs, etc. Much cheaper than a calligrapher and it'll save time rather than you trying to DIY! You've got so much else to plan.

3) Serve only beer and wine. And if your venue allows you to choose outside vendors to serve, do a little price shopping. One keg of beer is much like any other.

4) Since most wedding cake is thrown away, have a small cutting cake made and serve a sheet cake that has been cut and portioned onto small plates before the cake cutting ceremony (one slice per person). Double check with the venue and/or caterer to see who will handle the details! Don't assume it's managed.

5) And speaking of cake, if you are concerned the cutting cake isn't quite pretty enough, rent a cake topper from a local rental company. Bonus points if they are a company that can custom-make one! Heart Wedding Decor is!

6) Or nix the expensive cake altogether and get desserts your guests will actually LOVE to eat such as pie, cookies or donuts. And don't forget to rent that vintage buffet or sideboard for trays of cookies or the donut board or wall to display the donuts in a fun way. STILL cheaper than a fancy cake!

7) Try faux greenery (like silver dollar eucalyptus or willow leaves) on tables rather than the real. SO much less expensive and much more realistic looking these days then ever before. And another big factor: it's much more sustainable than real that gets thrown away at the end of the night. Check with a local rental company to see if they carry it. We do!

8) And speaking of tables, alternate floral with lanterns/votive candle holders/glass cylinder vases and save on centerpieces! This is what my husband and I did! It still looked sooo pretty!

9) Re-purpose ceremony decor for reception decor. Just ask your venue coordinator to move items inside or to the reception area after the ceremony concludes. (Just double check to make sure they don't charge a "moving fee").

10) Rent votive candles, simple glass vases and lanterns to use for centerpieces. These are typically very affordable pieces that have a big WOW! factor for your tablescapes but that don't break the budget.

11) Rent poly-cotton tablecloths and napkins. Poly-cotton typically comes in many, many colors and is very cost effective. And note: don't assume that the linens your venue might provide are the only ones available. Call a local rental company and compare selection!

12) For gorgeous POP! on tables rent acrylic charger plates. Trust us, your guests won't care they aren't glass. In fact, most are likely relieved to know those plates won't be breakable (and expensive to replace!)

13) Don't be afraid to add carnations to your floral. They come in sooo many pretty colors and can even be dyed.

14) And speaking of floral: rent bud vases (instead of large vases or footed bowls) and use single stems of floral or greenery in them. Such a light, pretty and whimsical look! Mix and match the heights and sizes of the vases for an eclectic look!

15) Omit printed menus, programs and the like. If you want to share news such as the order of events or what's for dinner, rent a lettered sign from a local rental business that makes them and have the information added in vinyl! More cost effective and more sustainable than printed papers that are thrown away. It's also much more environmentally sound (all that paper in the trash).

16) No kids. 'Nuff said.

17) Borrow accessories such as special jewelry, crown/hairpieces, etc. This can also be your "something borrowed".

18) Hire a professional DJ, not a band. DJs don't take breaks like bands do. And bands don't play the music the way you know it! And also be sure you aren't hiring one of the most important elements to the success of your wedding on price alone. Check reviews! Ask questions such as any professional training they've gotten. Are they also a professionally trained Master of Ceremonies? Do they have any video footage? Do they still use speakers that are on tall stands? These ugly set ups scream "outdated!". Do they allow you to choose the music you like, the music you don't AND take requests if you want them? Do your homework in this area.

19) Hire a new photographer building their portfolio or a student photographer. Just be sure to view their past work and verify it's actually their work. Get references and reach out to them all.

20) And last, but certainly not least, accept those offers of help! If your mom wants to help address envelopes, let her. Or your SO wants to take over hiring a bomb ass DJ, let him! Just be sure that enlisting the help of friends doesn't stand in the way of hiring actual professionals for most of your wedding vendors. In our experience, "friends" bail out just like cheap wedding vendors do. Wedding professionals cost more for a reason (they'll be around next year for YOUR wedding day. And they won't hit on all of your bridesmaids).

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