FIVE STAR TABLESETTINGS WITHOUT A FIVE STAR BUDGET
by Lynn Wells

Savvy brides are finding creative ways to cut corners while still planning a fairytale wedding. With the average cost of American weddings approaching $30,000, couples are looking for money-saving ideas that will help them achieve a five-star wedding without breaking he bank. Here a some tips that will help you create a memorable, luxury table setting, while making the most out of your budget.

1. USE LIGHTING AS A DECORATION
Everyone looks good in candlelight, so why not create a romantic setting using special tabletop lighting? Candlelight is an inexpensive way to visually take up space without going overboard on wedding decorations. (If you want the effect of candlelight without the flame, consider using flickering LED rechargeable votive batteries.)

2. MAKE A NOT-SO-PERFECT ROOM— MAGIC!
You don’t have to host your wedding reception at the most expensive ballroom in town to have a beautiful wedding. In fact, you can turn any room into a magical, romantic setting just by using imaginative lighting and beautiful table linens. Low lighting and soft linens can hide any imperfections in a not-soperfect room and draw your guests to your beautifully set tables where they can mix and mingle after the ceremony. No one will be able to see the stained carpet or the dingy white walls if you use the right lighting, but they will remember sitting at your perfectly decorated, romantically lit tables.

3. BE A GREEN BRIDE
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something… green? If you are looking for ways to have an environmentally friendly green wedding, consider using environmentally friendly votive candles or rechargeable battery tabletop lamps. The lamps do not have to be plugged into an electrical outlet and the batteries are recyclable.

4. SHARE THE COSTS
Is your friend or sister getting married the same year as you? Do you share the same tastes? If so, consider pooling your resources and purchasing wedding decor, tabletop or centerpiece items that you can both use. For instance, if you need centerpieces for buffet tables, consider choosing pieces that you can each use at your wedding. After the weddings, you can each take a centerpiece home to use in your home decor!

5. RENT, DON’T BUY
Craft supplies can be expensive, can be time consuming to design and assemble your own centerpieces. Before you recruit your bridesmaids to tie ribbons or glue beads on dozens of votive candles, consider the cost-saving alternative of renting tabletop lamps to use as centerpieces. One tabletop lamp can take the place of several smaller floral arrangements, saving you money. Renting your centerpieces also means that you won’t have to figure out what to do with 450 votive candles after the wedding.

6. SAVE MONEY ON FLOWERS BY USING AN EPERGNE
Your flowers are the focal point of your wedding decor, so why not show them off a little? Consider renting or purchasing epergnes, which are large table centerpieces with branching holders for flowers. Not only do epergnes allow you to showcase your beautiful floral arrangements, but they also provide a big presentation with a minimal amount of flowers.

7 MAKE IT AN “EASY ASSEMBLY DAY”
The last thing you need to worry about on your wedding day is making sure every flower, fork and tabletop item is in place. You can rent easy-to-assemble, battery operated tabletop lamps to use as centerpieces. Combine the lamps with flowers for an even more beautiful look. The doit-yourself lamp centerpieces are easy enough to assemble that your friends and family or your event planners can set the tables without needing a degree in floral arranging or interior design. The tables can be set long before the wedding begins, even the night before, so you can relax and enjoy your special day.

Lynn Wells is the president and founder of Table Decor
International, Inc. Founded in 1984, they supply table
lighting for fine restaurants and hotels worldwide.
www.tabledecor.com