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"In a world of fancy things, it's easy to get caught up in the need to make those a part of your wedding," commiserates Aviva Samuels, owner of Kiss the Planner in Palm Beach, Florida. If you've got an itch to kick it up a notch, but don't have the wedding budget to boot, don't despair. We've got six ways you can make your wedding fancier for free. "Making something from nothing is certainly a challenge," Samuels says, "but with a little creative ingenuity and some well-selected resources it can be done!"
Shop in your own home.
Pieces that will add pizazz to your tablescapes, escort card table, ceremony altar, and add comfort and luxury to guests' experiences, can be found in your kitchen cabinets and in your living room. "A few well-placed pieces of furniture around the dance floor, candles, photo frames, or mix-and-match of your china enhance your setting without adding any cost," says Samuels.
Forage from the great outdoors.
"Your garden offers the perfect opportunity to enhance your tables at no cost to you," Samuels says. "Pick some floral blossoms to tuck into the napkins, use potted herb plants as centerpieces, or pluck some fruit from your fruit tree and add a place card." DIY-brides may dig more hands-on décor projects, such as constructing a "runner made of fallen branches or driftwood enhanced with succulents or blossoms," Samuels suggests.
Make your meal your centerpiece.
If you cut out centerpieces to cut down costs, you can still inspire visions of a Renaissance-like feast by chatting with your caterer. "Ask him or her for the option to set the tables with baskets of bread, bottles of wine and herb-infused oils," says Samuels. "Fruit and cheese platters, bowls of olives and antipasto salads are also lovely, fragrant and tasty. A simple cloth runner down the middle of a long table and these colorful foods make a beautiful display that serves more than one purpose."
Escape in a clever getaway car.
You don't have to rent a Rolls Royce to make an impact. "Bicycles, motorcycles, golf carts, sidecars, or other vehicles — which you may already own! — make a fun getaway car and add a note of personality to your special day," says Samuels.
Borrow from friends and family.
Did you shop your own home and come up short? "Ask your friends and colleagues if they have some fun items that you can borrow to create eclectic centerpieces for your tables," or items that will make guests more comfortable, Samuels suggests.
Register for your décor.
Couples who already have too many serving platters and a set of silk sheets could opt for alternative registries — ones that "ask for funds to help offset the wedding expenses," says Samuels. "Or, if you find something decoration-worthy at a department store, register for that item for the wedding décor and then continue to use it in your household for entertaining after the wedding is over."