Board #186: Budget Friendly / Casual Dinner

There were so many great ideas in this post that I felt compelled to re-post almost the entire page! You can find the original here at Snippet & Ink.

"One way to keep costs down, and still include absolutely everyone you love, is to have a dinner that leans toward the casual end of the formality spectrum. The key to making it special is not only in the guest list, but also in the details. The example I've chosen is a crawfish boil, one of my favorite social meals of all time. I'd definitely recommend offering warm washcloths at the end of the meal, or providing an outdoor faucet of some kind for washing hands. If crawfish isn't really your thing, a picnic, barbecue, or potluck are other fun ways to go.

The Plan: Casual Dinner
Mood: casual, family, fun
Palette: red, white, yellow, kraft paper brown"

"10 Ways to Save:
1. Mix inexpensive flowers and foliage (daisies and greens) with pricier ones (tulips, garden roses, dahlias), and wrap bouquets with a pretty ribbon.
2. A crawfish boil is simple and an inexpensive way to feed a lot of people: crawfish, sausage, red potatoes, and corn on the cob, all with spicy seasoning.
3. Ask friends and family members to bring homemade pies and tarts, then arrange them on cake plates of various heights. It's a great way to save money, and to include people in the day.
4. String lights are such a simple element, but they really add a lot to a venue once the sun goes down. You can wrap them around trees or a deck railing, or hang them to create a border around the dance floor.
5. This idea is sweet, simple, and inexpensive. Clean out two large mayonnaise jars (the economy size) and label one "Take A Wish" and the other "Give A Wish." Fill the first with folded notes from the couple (or quotes, song lyrics, etc.), and have paper and pens for guests to write notes and place them in the second jar.
6. A casual dinner means casual dress, which (as far as I'm concerned) means comfortable shoes. And at $37 - $50 a pair, these Vans are a great choice! Also, when you're not trying to find a ballgown, it's a whole lot easier to find reasonably-priced dress options. This adorable eyelet one from J.Crew is only $395!
7. One of the great things about a crawfish boil is that there's no dishware needed! But I would definitely provide guests with a serious napkin. And if you want to assign seats, write guests' names in chalk or white paint on a small smooth rock. It's thoughtful, but still casual.
8. Save by giving in-season fruit as a favor. Here, glassine bags are trimmed with scalloped edge scissors and filled with cherries. Any leftovers can be eaten or used for baking!
9. Did you see Deanna's beautiful invitations that she and her fiance made themselves for under $2 each? If you're creative, crafty, and/or comfortable with a computer, make your own invitations! Or get a creative friend to do it for you. This one that I made, using clipart I found online and free fonts that I downloaded from dafont.com, was inspired by Unless Someone Like You's wedding posters. Also, keep in mind that 2-color invites can be significantly cheaper than 4-color ones.
10. Instead of flowers at the tables, or alternating between flowers, provide guests with cowboy hats (or any container) full of crayons. Cover tables with kraft paper, and let guests draw to their hearts' content.

Bonus Tip: Beer makes a whole lot more sense at a crawfish boil than champagne does, and it's easier on your budget. Fill metal tubs with ice, and then stock them with bottles of your favorite brews, as well as soda, water, and juice.

1. Live band. A casual, outdoor wedding with all of your friends and family just cries out for a really good band. I'd pick a local blues band, but anything you can dance to will really set the stage for having a big ol' time (for those of you not familiar with this saying, it's what my dear Mississippi friends call "a good time").
2. Wedding posters. Mailing these out in mailing tubes will cost more than mailing regular invitations, but they really set the tone for a fun event. A fun idea is to have one at the reception for guests to sign, then frame it as a keepsake."

Wow Kathryn! You're amazingly creative!

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