40. Griffith’s savvy stationery tip: Invest the money to have your invitations designed professionally, but then print your own save-the-dates, programs, menus and escort cards using the same fonts, colors and style as your custom invites.
41. Say ciao to costly hand-done calligraphy. Either print the envelopes on your computer, using a calligraphy font, or have them printed at your local print/copy shop for just pennies each.
42. Kick off your celebration in high style with a glamorous invite. “Invitations set the mood for the wedding, so go beyond the standard white card,” says Zachman. You’ll get a much more impressive look with a color.
43. Bring on the bling. “Faux crystals—on bouquets, the cake, invitations, place cards and menus—are eye-catching and give an expensive feel,” says Griffith. You can purchase glass beads inexpensively at local crafts stores.
44. Place a beautiful menu at each guest’s place. Many venues will print them for you for free, or you can make them yourself without spending much.
45. Get creative with escort cards and/or place cards. In some cases you can do a different shape or color for less than you’d pay for the typical tented fold-over cards, says Clare.
46. Instead of just lining up escort cards on a table, string them from branches or nestle them in a bed of grass, sand, rocks or flower petals.
47. Splurge on hand calligraphy for your escort cards, place cards or table numbers.
48. Dress up your escort cards and table numbers by choosing paper with a metallic sheen rather than a flat card stock, says Zachman. If you were to purchase card stock yourself, you’d pay about $40 per 100 sheets for metallic and about $27 per 100 sheets of flat. The difference would be about 13 cents a sheet.
49. For an elegant look, ask the calligrapher to spell out table numbers (six instead of 6), says Price.
50. Hire out-of-the-ordinary entertainment for a high-impact cocktail hour. To save costs, opt for a three-piece ensemble instead of a five-piece. Or use standout musicians for the cocktail hour and switch to a DJ for dancing later on in the evening.
51. Instead of hiring a group for the cocktail hour, have a solo musician, like a classical guitarist, add something different and delightful.
52. Consider a musical group that combines a DJ and musicians who perform along with the recorded music. It’ll get the crowd dancing, and provide the upscale feel of a live band at less expense.
53. If you’re hiring a DJ, consider a live bongo player or sax player to accompany the CD spinner.