10 Ways to Save Money Without Sacrificing Style

Celebrity event planner Colin Cowie tells you how to be frugal yet still fabulous

1. If your heart is set on an evening celebration, host your wedding on a weeknight instead of a Friday or Saturday. You’ll be able to negotiate a better rate with everyone from your caterer to florist and band, and the venue will be more negotiable.

2. Hire a DJ instead of a band. Be sure to ask your DJ to bring appropriate background music for dining and not just dance music for the party.

3. Host a daytime wedding instead of an evening reception. Consider a luncheon or brunch, with a late night dance party that same evening or a few weeks later when you return from your honeymoon.

4. Offer a signature cocktail instead of an open bar. You’ll be surprised how often you’ll hear your friends say "I’d love one of those, it’s been ages since I’ve had X, Y or Z!"

5. If your heart is set on serving caviar, there’s no need to set up a caviar bar for guests to help themselves. Serve what I call cosmetic caviar; a delicious potato topped with a few eggs, a wonderful deviled egg topped with a few eggs or even a delicious round of white bread with smoked salmon topped with a few eggs will do the trick.

6. No need to serve costly champagne. Try a sparkling wine cocktail, such as a Kir Royale or Bellini. If you’re a purist and champagne cocktail isn’t your fancy, save the chilled bubbly for your cake cutting only.

7. Don’t try to be fancy with your meal; opt for a delicious, juicy and succulent chicken dish versus a more expensive veal, beef or lamb. Trust that no one will be offended, and in fact, most of your guests will delight in a delicious chicken with crispy potatoes prepared right and served beautifully.

8. A traditional wedding reception with a sit down dinner and three course meal can get costly. Instead, host a chic and elegant black tie cocktail party. Great drinks, delicious tray-passed foods and a cake cutting will delight your friends. Hire a DJ if you love to dance and have a great party. Done right, your wedding reception can easily be a favorite night out on the town.

9. Instead of working with an expensive invitation company, print your own invitations at home. Take some extra time to personalize each one; add an embellishment such as a colored semi-precious stone or store bought crystal. For a country wedding, add a sprig of lavender to the invitation. Or place a layer of gorgeous tissue, cut to measure inside the envelope.

10. There are no rules when it comes to the type of celebration you host. Instead of a seated dinner, consider hosting a Sunday brunch with Champagne Bellini’s. Delicious omelets made to order, fresh fruit and chilled white wine would certainly do the trick. One thing to be careful of: don’t serve alcohol before the meal or you’ll have everyone smashed before food is served. And be extra careful if it’s a hot day and you’re outdoors. It’s amazing how a little alcohol goes right to the head on an empty stomach.

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