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Planning a wedding on a budget

Two buffet tables and a guest table were set up during the Community Education class to showcase some design ideas.1 / 4
One cost-saving tip for weddings is to have a hors d'oeuvres reception or a dessert reception as opposed to the traditional sit down dinner.2 / 4
Another way to save on wedding cost will be to buy cream puffs or cake from a grocery store rather than a custom wedding cake designer.3 / 4
More and more couples are opting for simpler centerpieces including mason jars, fruit, wild flower, farmer's market flowers and candles as ways to cut cost.4 / 4

It's fair to say it -- wedding season is finally upon us.

Springtime has frequently been the most popular season for weddings, but in recent years fall has begun to take the lead.

Whatever wedding month couples prefer, one element remains the same -- money.

Whether you're having a small backyard garden wedding or a large, lavish wedding at a ballroom or hotel, cost is always a factor.

Afton resident and local party planner Lisa Damon has taken it upon herself to help couples cut costs without cutting corners.

"A lot of people think that if you have a budget the wedding isn't going to be nice -- that's a myth," Damon said. "I want to show people that they can do a nice, first class wedding without being dampened by a smaller budget."

Local engaged couples received a few cost-saving and planning tips April 27 when Damon partnered with District 833 Community Education for her class "How to Have a First Class Wedding Reception Without the First Class Price."

The class was held at East Ridge High School.

"The goal of the class is to inspire and take the stress out of planning," Damon said, "and help people enjoy planning their wedding."

During the class Damon, who owns Fine Details Party Planning, walked couples through the planning process and cost-saving tips. Couples were provided with a few food samples that wouldn't break the bank and several guest tables were set up to demonstrate cost-saving measures and design options.

Reception on a budget

Traditionally a full-scale reception could cost upward of $10,000 for 75-100 guests, Damon said, but by utilizing many cost-saving tips, couples can get the same thing for half the price.

Damon said the fist step couples must take is to decide what type of wedding they want, whether it's a full sit down reception or a backyard garden wedding.

One of the easiest ways to cut costs associated with a reception is to look at alternatives to a Friday or Saturday evening reception, Damon said.

"If you look at alternate days of the week, you can usually save half the cost," she said.

Another easy cost-saving tip is to limit the number of guests.

"You can really identify who are really the priority to celebrate with," Damon said. "It's just another way to be economical."

Additionally, couples can limit the length of the reception as well.

Another option for couples looking to save on the reception would be to look at alternatives to the traditional reception, Damon said.

Other than a traditional sit-down dinner couples can consider having hors d'oeuvres or dessert receptions, or even a wedding brunch.

In terms of music, Damon said more and more couples are opting for an iPod or mix CD rather than a professional DJ or band.

Damon said couple are increasingly opting for "do it yourself" invitations, centerpieces, favors and programs.

"What people are really looking at now is that it doesn't have to be the typical, the traditional," Damon said.

Damon warns couples that cost saving can take a lot of time and dedication to find the best deals and to do things themselves.

Damon is hoping to host another cost-saving workshop in the fall.

"I want to show couples that you can have some choices and some freedom and that they're not locked into the way it always was," she said.

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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