Monday, August 15, 2005

Making the most of your decoration budget

I recently helped a client with a dinner banquet for 200 people. They wanted a lot of bang for not a lot of bucks. This is not an uncommon delimma!

Hotels and banquet facilites regularly provide "standard" decorations at no charge, or at a very small fee. The problem is, well, they are "standard". They are boring. I won't go so far as to say that they are ugly, but they are definately predictable. So how do you dress your wedding reception or dinner banquet tables for $25 or less? The answer is "You have to be creative."

Start by looking around - what do you have in abundance already? What is easily attainable for a good price? In many cases, the answer is right under your nose.

For this client, we used ivory candles and tons of fresh rose petals. We used some things that we already had, like the gold candlesticks and candleplates, but the look can be recreated using your own collection of candlesticks and candle plates.

Here's an idea - go to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army thrift store. People regularly donate brass and silver candlesticks of all varieties. Don't like brass? Spray paint them ivory or another color to match your decor theme. The key to keeping such an ecclectic decor together and looking intentional is to use the same color candles. We used ivory in many different forms, pillar, votive, ball and tapers. Look for sales at Garden Ridge, Michaels, or JoAnn's, ask for a quantity discount (it never hurts) or shop at a wholesale store. Always use unscented candles when planning for a large group - you don't want to aggrevate anyone's allergies!

The fresh rose petals are a lot of work, but well worth it! I recommend that you plan for 1 dozen per table for maximum impact and coverage. Go to Sam's, Costco or the grocery store and buy roses in your desired color. If they have some that are in their "last glory" you can usually get a really good price on them. When you get them home, remove any brown or damaged petals and discard. Gently remove the petals and place in a Ziplock bag. Do not include the innermost petals that are "shriveled". For extra sparkle, spray some of the petals with Design Master glitter spray. Store the rose petals (in Ziplock bags) in the refrigerator up to 24 hours before your event. (Make sure that you remove any fresh citrus, onions or garlic before storing fresh flowers in the refrigerator, the acids can damage the flowers).

When it is time to decorate, use heavy clear plastic disposable plates under your pillar candles. This not only saves you money, but it saves you clean up time - just toss them!

I'd love to see your photos, send them to me at
Until next time, happy planning!


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