At any wedding, it's essential to make guests feel special. Even though it's ultimately about the bride and groom, many guests report they love it when receptions are as engaging as possible. When planning a frugal wedding, making every guest feel special can seem impossible since money is so tight. Fortunately, men and women recently met in an online discussion to reveal ways to make everyone feel special at frugal weddings!
1. Handwritten Thank You Cards at Each Seat
Brace yourselves, people. Leaving a handwritten thank you card at each seat at your wedding is arguably the sweetest thing you can do, regardless of whether your wedding is frugal! This sincere gesture blows away countless wedding guests, who report it elevates the wedding to another level. I must be honest; this idea is so good that I will incorporate it at my future wedding!
2. Bring a Lot of Board Games
Even the most frugal weddings can be improved by including a handful of timeless board games to get guests invested in the festivities! “We had about 50 different board games on a table, and the guests went up and grabbed what they liked,” explains one recent bridge. “We had Azul, Bananagrams, Blokus, stuff like that. Plus, Giant Jenga was a huge hit.” To be fair, when is Giant Jenga not a hit?
3. Make Sure There's Plenty of Food
Wedding guests have spoken: The food is the only thing that matters at a wedding. Not only should there be enough food to go around for guests to have as much as they like, but the quality should also exceed guest expectations. There are too many horror stories of frugal weddings offering meager amounts of food; this predictably leads to some miserable guests!
4. Make Sure Your Emcee Is Great
One of the most overlooked aspects of any wedding is the emcee. A wedding can quickly turn forgettable without one who commands the room (and everyone's attention)! “My kids had a rather large, but frugal wedding,” explains one woman. “For their reception, I think the most important thing was the emcee. He kept the crowd involved and kept things moving along and entertaining. There was never a lull in the event.”
5. Use Instant Cameras
Hiring a professional photographer is prohibitively expensive in 2023, so frugal people turn to their friends or family members to act as de facto wedding photographers. However, many people take this strategy one step further and provide each table with an instant Polaroid-esque camera to capture candid reception moments! Not only does this result in infinitely more “real” photos, but the money saved by not hiring a professional photographer is mind-blowing.
6. Have a Cookie Table
When I first encountered a cookie table at a wedding, I wondered why there wasn't a cake. However, all doubts were erased when I started eating the cookies! “Here in Western Pennsylvania, we have a tradition of a cookie table,” reveals one woman. “It dates back to the Depression era when cakes were too expensive. Most of the mothers and aunts bake the cookies months in advance and put them in the freezer until the day of the wedding. Everyone tries to outdo each other; it's a little friendly competition.” This is an excellent idea for a frugal wedding; who doesn't love homemade cookies?
7. Make Sure There's Plenty of Alcohol
Sure, having enough food is paramount for a great frugal wedding, but it pales in comparison to the importance of having tons of alcohol for guests to enjoy! I understand that not everybody can afford bartenders and an extensive drink menu, but even if you go with simple, inexpensive beers and wine, make sure there's enough for everybody. Remember: Many guests don't consider a wedding a success unless they're helplessly hungover the following day.
8. Connect With All Guests
Arguably, above all else, it's crucial that the bride and groom “make the rounds” at least a few times to pass along their gratitude toward their guests, especially at a frugal wedding! “It is very important to me that the bride and groom stop by at least once to thank me for coming and have a quick chat,” reveals one man. “Let me admire the dress up close and see how happy you are. If they ignore me all night, I feel like an ornament in a room and wonder why I even bothered to come.”
9. Supply Dancing Flip-Flops
Talk about an ingenious idea: One wedding guest recalled when flip-flops were provided to whoever wanted to remove their uncomfortable wedding shoes and hit the dance floor! The guest revealed she still has the flip-flops to this day; how adorable is that? Little flourishes like complimentary flip-flops on the dance floor turn a frugal wedding into a memorable reception.
10. Wedding Speech Bingo
I don't care if a wedding is frugal or not; after reading this, I'd love it if all wedding receptions provided a few rounds of wedding speech bingo! “For our wedding, we did ‘wedding speech bingo,' and the prize was movie tickets,” recalls one husband. “It was simple, kept everyone engaged during the speeches, and everyone had fun!” What a delightful way to elevate a frugal wedding!
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