Floral Centerpiece

Centerpiece: Bud Vases

We are going to take- about 5-7 per table – and fill them with white roses, greenery and some red roses. Then, we are going to spray paint small round or square glass candle holders so that they appear frosted. We will place about 5-10 of these at each table scattered among the bud vases (filled with small white candles of course).

In the center of each table, we are going to have a picture frame with the table number in it. The name cards and the boxed party favors at each setting will also enhance the look of the table. Folding the napkins and wrapping silk ribbons around each napkin with a small silk flower as a napkin holder will also add to the entire look of the table. ~ Submitted by Eleanora, Boulder, CO.

Centerpiece: Antique Vases

Go to a thrift shop and purchase old flower vases. If you look very carefully, you can even find real crystal for a dollar. Then the vases can be wrapped with decorative beads or ribbons and filled with flowers. You can also place colored glass beads in the bottom of the vase to create a wonderful centerpiece. All of these ideas can cut the price of your centerpieces in half (in relation to the retail suggested price of $75 to $100 dollars each). ~Submitted by Mydahlia, Portsmouth, VA

Centerpiece: Baskets

At the wedding we are putting baskets of fresh flowers at the end of the pews. After the wedding we are taking the baskets and putting them on the center of the table with confetti and one medium sized clay pot on each side with marbles, and a long candle in the pot. ~ Submitted by Jeni, Gunnison, CO

Centerpiece: Terra Cotta Rose Pot

I took a 4″ terra cotta pot (50 cents) and put some florist foam in it. I bought some roses at SAM’s warehouse ($19.99 for two dozens) and put some roses around the top of the pot. Then I put a candle in the middle and tied it with some tulle or ribbon ~ Submitted by Kim, Dallas, TX

Centerpiece: Planted Miniature Roses

I’m having a summer wedding, so roses will be in season. Instead of paying for roses that will last only a week or so, I am using potted miniature rose bushes. They only cost around $6 each, and I plan to give them away at the end of the evening to special friends and relatives. ~ Submitted by Amy, Ohio

Centerpiece: Bridesmaids Bouquet

I was recently the maid of honor at a wedding where my beautifully large bouquet doubled as the centerpiece for my table, and the same for the bridesmaids. First, it got it out of my way, and second, it was lovely to look at… large champagne roses. ~ Submitted by Birgit, New York, NY

Centerpiece: Candleholders as Bud Vases

For our centerpieces, we used tall candleholders as bud vases. They were clear glass and looked antique. We found them at a discount chain for $2.00 each. We filled them with small roses, baby’s breath and greenery that I purchased at a wholesale florist, and tied gold bows around them. The total cost of our centerpieces was less than $100, and they were beautiful!

Centerpiece: Milk Pails

We are planning an October wedding at a ranch/farm. We’ve decided on small aluminum milk pails with dried wild flower bouquets and some candles in mason canning jars. ~ Submitted by Edina, MN

Centerpiece: Tree Branches

I gathered several different shapes and sizes of tree branches that go in all directions (with no leaves left on them). I spray painted them gold. Placed them in a big flower pot and from all the branches I went through and placed lace and pearls and a strand of mini clear lights. Little plastic wedding bells and things found in the craft section. And I wrapped the pot in gold wrapping paper. It turned out beautifully!!

Terra Cotta Pots

We’re using five 4″ terra cotta pots per table ($.39 each). Each one is spray painted white which gives it a sponge-painted look. Then, we are tying ribbon ($.55 per yard) around each one. The pots are getting planted (by a florist) with tulips and pansies and other seasonal potted flowers in multitudes of spring colors. The centerpieces will double as favors. ~ Submitted by Jennifer, Villanova, PA

Topiaries

We are going to spray paint topiaries Silver and Gold, our wedding colors. ~ Submitted by Denise, Charlotte, NC

Hydrangeas and Roses

We are using our florist, but I am having him do a round glass vase filled with lilac hydrangeas and cream roses. We will also have the votive candles around the flowers and a menu on each table. ~ Submitted by Kim, Mtn. View, CA

Wreath with Candle

We bought dried-flower grape vine wreaths for $9.95 each. We’re going to place a wreath on the table with a 10-inch glass chimney ($1.99 each from the craft store) and a candle in the middle. A plus is being able to make them way ahead of time. ~ Submitted by Hilary, Los Angeles, CA

Herbs and Greenery

I am planning to use herbs and greenery for my centerpieces. I’m having a summer garden wedding. I plan to use fresh mint and rosemary mingled with some ivy and just a few flowers.~ Submitted by Maria, Mendon, MA

Terra Cotta Pots with Mums

Kathy, Michigan

Topiaries
Dawn, Springfield, OR

I am making topiaries with small flowers and ivy from the craft store with ribbons and bows of cream and peach – the colors of my wedding flowers. They cost about ten dollars each to make and are great giveaway items at the end of the night-I am alternating them with candles at my wedding reception

Terra Cotta Pots
Stephanie, Santa Barbara, CA

I am using terra cotta pots ($ .89 EACH) spray painted a mint green. Then I will put tulle around it and tie a bow. About 2 months before the wedding I will go buy live small leafed ivy plants to put in the pots.
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Candy Table Centerpieces

Centerpiece: Candy Tree

Make a candy tree! To do this, all you need to do is take a white Styrofoam cone and use straight pins or hot glue to stick Hershey kisses to the cone. Then decorate the tree as you like. I am adding ribbon at the top and letting it drape down the sides for a soft effect.

I also took some “rose trim”, cut out the roses, and added the roses along with some greenery leave sparingly around the tree to add more softness and elegance to the candy tree. To top it off, I hot-glued four of the roses with two silver rings (to look like wedding rings) to the top of the cone. I will place this in the center of my reception tables with some greenery around the bottom edge of the cone with some votive candles sitting around the table! ~ Sumbitted by Melody, Lubbock, TX

Centerpiece: Giant Candy Bar

I had giant candy bars created in beautiful floral custom wrapping for each table with the table number on it. At the end of the wedding, people were instructed to open the candy bar and eat it as part of their dessert. Very unique! My guests commented about it for months! ~ Submitted by Susan, New York, NY

Centerpiece: Fluted Champagne Glass

For our wedding, we were on a limited budget so I decided to make my own centerpieces. I took a fluted champagne glass and put one piece of clear, opalescent colored tissue paper in it. I filled the tissue paper with pastel colored Hershey’s kisses. Then, I stuck a sprig of silver stars shooting out of the middle and tied a ribbon (with matching wedding color of course!) around the paper at the top of the glass to keep all of the goodies inside.

During the wedding, the guests munched on the treats and at the end I had a beautiful set of champagne glasses to add to my stemware collection. ~ Submitted by, Ann Marie, Columbus Township, MI

Centerpiece: Chocolate Lollipops

I plan to use chocolate lollipops in rose, and heart shapes for favors. For my centerpieces I will place a “bouquet” of these items in the center in a piece of decorated styrofoam. ~ Submitted by Beth, Washington, PA

Centerpiece: Decorated Buckets

Decorated buckets (I used ice cream pails with silver wrap and little red cupids and hearts) in wedding colors with two bottles of wine in them. ~ Submitted by Nicole, British Columbia

Centerpiece: Hand Painted Pots

I am getting married in October, Halloween to be exact. The favors to my guests are hand painted 3″ flower pots filled with little bags of candy corn. My centerpieces will be larger hand painted flower pots, tied with a nice bow, and filled with red, green and yellow apples. ~ Submitted by Melissa, Staten Island, NY

Centerpiece: Hershey Kisses, Candles and Confetti

For our wedding, we used the glitter and confetti idea plus added some curled ribbons and Hershey kisses sprinkled randomly on the tables with votive candles. You can also use mirrored tiles and put them under the candles to add to the brightness of your centerpiece. ~ Submitted by Debb, Milwaukee, WI


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Candle Centerpieces

Hurricane Lamps and Lots of Kisses

We’re having candles in hurricane lamps with silver foil doilies and Hershey’s kisses instead of confetti. I’m a chocoholic, so what could be better than an endless supply of chocolate on every table? ~ Submitted by Holli, Sikeston, MO

Candle and Mirrors–Mini Lanterns

My fiance and I had a smaller ceremony and placed four mini lanterns with tea lights on each table. They served as a centerpiece as well as a favor! And they were very inexpensive! ~ Submitted by Sarah, Phoenix, AZ

Floating Candles

I am using floating candles in little bowls. Original idea? Nah I know, but in the bottom of the bowls I found little strands of pearls in the wedding colors and so it adds an attractive look in the midst of all the water. Plus, I am going to put gold wrapped Hershey kisses on the tables. ~ Submitted by Christi, Divide, CO

Warning!: At my daughter’s friend’s wedding, she had small candles floating in fluted bowls. They were beautiful, but the bowls were not heat resistant. After a couple of hours of the candles burning down, the bowls broke. Glass was everywhere, so they had to blow out all of the candles that were left. I hope this doesn’t discourage anyone, but they just need to make sure the glass is heat resistant.

Table Runners

I will be laying down fabric table runners in assorted jewel tones, then some silk ivy (or fresh if I can afford it), and then either a floating candle in a brandy snifter or three tapers of various heights (hopefully I can find some that *will* drip and look all Gothic). ~ Submitted by Katie, Richardson, TX

Brandy Snifters

Take two medium brandy snifters and one large brandy snifter. Fill the bottom of snifters with colored marbles about 1/3 way up. Fill with H2O and float a candle. Have your flowers around the base of the snifter. My tables will have small glass candle holders with silk flowers inside, candle an d flowers at the base–very inexpensive, and pretty!!! ~ Submitted by Barbara, Glassport, PA

Personalized Hurricane Shade with Votive

I am using a hurricane shade with a votive candle cup and votives, since tapers sometimes tend to “blacken” the glass. Around the bottom I am using grapevine wreaths and since the wedding is only next August, we are drying flowers to decorate the wreaths with. Hydrangea & straw flowers in pinks, yellows and mauves will set off the navy color scheme of the day!

Centerpiece: Flower Pots with Candles

I am using terra cotta flowerpots that I found in the cellar of my grandparent’s home. I plan to whitewash them and then add a bow and place tapers in the pot. I will also embellish the pots with silk ivy. On either side of the pot will be a votive and some decorating stones. ~ Submitted by Tricia, Sterling, IL

Centerpiece: Homemade Candles

We made our centerpieces. We took candleholders and put sand and seashells in them. Then we finished them by making them into gel candles. Our reception theme was under the sea so this was perfect. These candles can be made with any decorations. I found the gel wax on the internet. ~ Submitted by Sandra, Arkon, OH

Silver Lanterns

We are using silver lanterns that hang from a stand. I strung eucalyptus around the stands and will place a tea light candle in each lantern. Our reception is in the evening outdoors, but the lantern will prevent the candle from the wind. It’s beautiful. ~ Submitted by Andy, California

Ivy Bowls

Small glass “fish bowls” with a ruffled edge that contain a rose scented, red shaped candle floating in water. This is put on a mirror, with ivy wrapped around the base. Small white and yellow daisies will be tucked in the ivy for added color. ~ Submitted by Karen, Bloomington, IN

Hydrangea Candle Rings

For a centerpiece, I am using hydrangea candle rings with a medium size ivy bowl placed in the center. In it will be floating a white rose shaped candle,
atop rose colored water. ~ Submitted by Jakeisha, Cincinnati, OH


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Unique Centerpiece Ideas Using Fruit


Looking for something a little bit different? A new trend in centerpieces is to add fruit. Below are a few ideas if you want your decorations to be “tasteful”:

1. Purchase cornucopias made from baskets or ceramics. Fill with assorted colorful fruits and vegetables. For an added touch, throw in flower petals or hardy flower heads, like sunflowers.
2. Candelabra. Below the lit candles, drape small grapes and greenery with wire. For a more complex look, have your florist tie in ribbons or flower blooms.
3. Hurricane Lamps. Place a tall pillar candle into the base of the lamp. Fill the bottom of the lamp with cranberries, real or fake. This makes for a simple, yet elegant centerpiece.
4. Silver Bowls. Purchase decorated silver bowls and place chocolate covered strawberries on it, or an assortment of fruits. Your guests will appreciate your edible centerpieces.
5. 3-Wick Candle. Around the 3-wick candle, place a grapevine wreath. Decorate the wreath with greenery, grapes and ribbon.

Adding flowers, candles and fruit together can add a gorgeous touch to any wedding ensemble. Get creative with your ideas, but make sure you (or your florist) create a sample centerpiece BEFORE your wedding day.


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Holiday and Seasonal Table Centerpieces

Are you having your wedding on or near a particular holiday? How about coordinating your centerpieces with it? Pumpkins for Halloween, for instance. Or how about Chocolate Bunnies for Easter?

Spring Table Centerpiece Ideas:

Centerpiece: Basket of Eggs

For our Easter wedding, we are going to use pastel or white baskets filled with plastic Easter eggs (pastel colored) and decorated with tulips and Easter lilies. You can even make the eggs favors by placing something inside of them! ~ Submitted by Jaime, Elberton, GA

Centerpiece: May Day Baskets

We are getting married on May 1st. For our centerpieces, we chose to have May Day Baskets. We are decorating the baskets with flowers and tulle and filling them with popcorn and candies. ~ Submitted by Felicia, Des Moines, Iowa

Centerpiece: Sponge-Painted Pots

My sister just got married, and for her centerpieces she got a bunch of friends together to sponge-paint pots in her wedding colors. We then contacted a garden center and had them plant pansies in her colors in the pots. The centerpieces did not cost a lot, looked great, and one guest at each table got to take the plant home as a nice memory of the day! ~ Submitted by Betsy, Wales, WI

Centerpiece: Straw Hat

I’m having a garden wedding! My mom and I bought straw hats at a local craft store. We are going to decorate them with silk flowers and ribbon then place them in the middle of each table. ~ Submitted by Beci, Clackamas, OR

Centerpiece: Herbs and Greenery

I am planning to use herbs and greenery for my centerpieces. I’m having a summer garden wedding. I plan to use fresh mint and rosemary mingled with some ivy and just a few flowers. ~ Submitted by Maria, Mendon, MA


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Unique Table Centerpiece Ideas by Brides

Centerpiece: Photos of the Bride & Groom

We are placing photos of ourselves through the years on a small stand on each table. The photos have been copied and are being put back to back. This will give all of our guests something to look at and laugh about during dinner.
~ Submitted by Roxanne

Centerpiece: Wishing Well

Put pens, paper, and a wishing well on the tables for centerpieces. Guests can put advice, best wishes, little notes, etc… I will decorate the wells to match the theme, and colors of my wedding. ~ Submitted By Cynthia, Houston, TX

Centerpiece: Wine Bottle

We are getting married at a winery in Napa Valley in September. Our centerpieces will be wine bottles made into “lamps.” We filled them with candle oil and added a wick. There will also be bunches of grapes around the base of the wine bottles. ~ Submitted by Suzanne, St. Helena, CA

Centerpiece: Wrought Iron Birdcages

They are green and my Mother and I are spray painting them gold (antique effect) then placing votive candles inside with sprays of pale gold leaves at the base. The reason behind our choice was the need for a centerpiece that would could be reused. My reception will be on my parents property and since the tents we rented would be at our disposal until that Monday, we decided to have brunch for all of our out-of-town guests and family the day after the wedding. Since flowers would wilt, we came up with the idea of the BIRDCAGE! ~ Submitted by Kristin, Mendham, NJ

Centerpiece: Wedding Cake

Rather than have a wedding cake and then a sheet cake for the guests, we are using the cake as the centerpiece. Each table will have a cake on a stand with a few flowers on top and tea candles around it. The table for the bride and groom will have a two tiered cake instead of one with our custom centerpiece.

We found the price for 20 round cakes was similar to sheet cakes and a huge wedding cake and they make an interesting centerpiece. (P.S. the cake is chocolate with chocolate frosting.) ~ Submitted by Mamie, Rochester, NY

Centerpiece: Bubbles and Birdseed Bags

We bought baskets on sale at a local department store, lined them with material [using a glue gun]. Then we filled them with the bubbles and birdseed bags. Those helping with the wedding will get to take a basket home with them. ~ Submitted by Jennifer, Midland TX

Centerpiece: Hurricane Lamps with a Twist

We’re using 16″ hurricane globes with glass Christmas balls inside it. You can match the colors very easily to your event and the balls are very inexpensive to use. ~ Submitted by Leigh, Tampa, FL

Centerpiece: Ice Sculptures

I am putting baby ice sculptures on each table. It doesn’t cost as much as you would think! ~ Submitted by Kelly, South Carolina

Centerpiece: Advice for the Newlyweds

We put small baskets tied with lilac and green ribbon (any color) in the center of our tables. Each basket contained pencils engraved with our names and the date of the wedding. In addition, there will be colorful paper inside with “Advice for the Newlyweds” printed on it. It’s inexpensive and a great conversation piece for the people sitting at the tables who have not met. ~ Submitted by Michele, Michigan

Centerpiece: Wooden Birdhouses

We purchased wooden birdhouses from a local craft shop for about $5 each. My bridesmaids helped me paint them in our colors. We then decorated them with some ivy and fall leaves that we sprayed. ~ Submitted by Robin, Buffalo, NY

Centerpiece: Gift Boxes

Get three boxes in varying sizes, wrap them in wedding paper, glue them together and then use wire-edged ribbon to tie them all together….Each table will have different paper on their boxes. It’ll look like a stack of gifts on each table! Inexpensive & elegant! ~ Submitted by Elaina, Frederick, MD

Centerpiece: Greek Statues

We are having a Roman/Greek themed wedding. I found a variety of Greek statues, pottery and columns made of plaster at the craft store. They range in size and shape so it adds to the diversity. We are adding lots of ivy, candles, potpourri (for the bowls), and flower arrangements. All together they cost about $7 each – and better yet, I’ll have some new decorations for our home! ~ Submitted by Monica, Provo, UT

Centerpiece: Straw Hat

I’m having a garden wedding! My mom and I bought straw hats at a local craft store. We are going to decorate them with silk flowers and ribbon then place them in the middle of each table. ~ Submitted by Beci, Clackamas, OR

Centerpiece: Love Poems

For a very romantic touch, have a calligrapher write out different love poems (by Pablo Neruda, E.E. Cummings, the Brownings, or your favorite poet) and place them in antique silver picture frames. Surround the frame with roses, and you have your centerpieces! I decided to use white pedestals with cherubs on the top of them (like a Greek statue). I am wrapping ivy around the pedestal. ~ Submitted by Lori, New York, NY

Centerpiece: Cherubs, Ivy and Hurricane Lamps

We used a large potted English Ivy, with many trailing vines. This was beautiful, but lacked height! Then we inserted medium ceramic cherubs (we found unfinished ones at a craft store and spray painted them gold) put on a thin dowel and then inserted them into the ivy in groups of three. Over this, we placed a large hurricane globe. In the center of these cherubs (inside the hurricane globes) we added a large pillar candle. It was really spectacular! ~ Submitted by Diane, Nashville, TN

Centerpiece: Wreath and Champagne

For the reception centerpieces, I’m making 8″ grapevine wreaths decorated in tulle, ribbon and small silk flowers that coordinate with my color scheme. At the time of the champagne toast, they will each have a bottle of champagne that fits in the center of them.
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Centerpiece Ideas For Every Season

Winter Centerpieces

Gingerbread Houses
Sylvia, New York

I’m having a Christmas wedding. I am buying gingerbread houses from my baker and using them as my centerpieces. They will add to the festivities of the holiday and add both color and fun to my wedding.

Cranberries
Dana, Illinois

At my future Mother-in-Law’s suggestion, we are using cranberries. Each table will have a round (ivy-like) bowl filled with cranberries. Sunken into the cranberries will be a white candle. The bowl will be nestled in the center of a pine wreath decorated with Christmas ribbons.

Table Runner
Mari Linn

Using a runner instead of a centerpiece is a wonderful idea! I have been going crazy trying to think of a way not to use the mirror, glass bowl thing (I find them tacky). However, by using a runner I can find a rich, tapestry-like material and it will also add the right touch of color to the hall.

Pine Cone Wreath
Kristy, Williamstown, MA

Since we are having a winter wedding, we decided to try something other than flowers (which are expensive) for our centerpieces. My fiancé and I are collecting pine cones of all shapes and sizes. We will be painting them gold and making wreaths out them. We are going to decorate the wreaths with a navy ribbon to match my wedding colors. In the center, we will place an extra large pillar candle (three wicks) also in navy.

Spring & Summer Centerpieces

Sponge-Painted Pots
Betsy, Wales, WI

My sister just got married, and for her centerpieces she got a bunch of friends together to sponge-paint pots in her wedding colors. We then contacted a garden center and had them plant pansies in her colors in the pots. The centerpieces did not cost a lot, looked great, and one guest at each table got to take the plant home as a nice memory of the day!

Straw Hat
Beci, Clackamas, OR

I’m having a garden wedding! My mom and I bought straw hats at a local craft store. We are going to decorate them with silk flowers and ribbon then place them in the middle of each table.

Terra Cotta Pots
Jennifer, Villanova, PA

We’re using five 4″ terra cotta pots per table ($.39 each). Each one is spray painted white which gives it a sponge-painted look. Then, we are tying ribbon ($.55 per yard) around each one. The pots are getting planted (by a florist) with tulips and pansies and other seasonal potted flowers in multitudes of spring colors. The centerpieces will double as favors.

Herbs and Greenery
Maria, Mendon, MA

I am planning to use herbs and greenery for my centerpieces. I’m having a summer garden wedding. I plan to use fresh mint and rosemary mingled with some ivy and just a few flowers.

Teapots
Heather, Salem, Indiana

My sister has a collection of interesting teapots. We are filling them with small bouquets that have various flowers in them. The teapots are free, and the bouquets are from the local grocery store. The flowers only cost $4 a bunch. I have twenty tables to decorate, so this is cheap and easy. Also, it is very different because none of the teapots are the same. Great discussion pieces!

Fall Centerpieces

Floating Pumpkins
Maria, Attleboro, MA

We’re having floating candles shaped like miniature pumpkins and multi-colored leaves in clear glass bowls. We also bought strands of leaves to put around the bottom of the bowl. We’re getting married next October so it will be perfect for our fall wedding!

Carving Pumpkins
Connie, Phoenix, AZ

I am using FUN-KINS in my centerpiece. FUN-KINS are an artificial carving pumpkin. They are great for the Autumn/Halloween themes. They can be carved or left as is for a more organic feel. We are carving Celtic love knots and my new last name in them. Everyone in the wedding party will receive one as a gift or token from us. They can be stored in their own boxes for years to come – my plan is to leave my out year round.

Terra Cotta Pots with Mums
Kathy, MN

I am using sponge painted (off white) terra cotta pots with mums. I have a fall wedding theme, so they will be fall colored mums (wine, rusty orange, yellow & white). I will place the mum into the painted pot & top it off with some craft store moss. I will tie raffia or ivory tulle in a bow. Wa-la, for $8 bucks or less I have huge, colorful centerpieces that will last for months.


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Questions to Ask Your Caterer

Food plays an important role in the wedding festivities, so you’ll want to take plenty of time and care when choosing your caterer. Here are some great questions to ask your caterer to ensure that you have a great “wedding feast” without any surprises!

Menu Options and Reception Styles – There is so much variety and choice when it comes to menu selection. It’s no longer “chicken” or “beef”. You can have a traditional sit down dinner, buffet, food stations or cocktail reception. It all depends on your personal preference and budget.

Budget – Let your caterer know your budget up front. Don’t assume that a buffet or food stations is less expensive than a sit down dinner. Remember, it depends more on what type of food you serve that determines the price.

Food Preparation – Does the caterer use all fresh food and produce? Will any of the food for the reception be previously frozen? Most of the “top notch” caterers do not use any frozen foods or anything that comes from a can!

Taste Testing – Ask if your caterer will do a “tasting”. This is where the bride and groom can go sample and taste some of the caterer’s dishes. Yum Yum…

Leftovers – Ask what is done with the leftover food. Particularly, if you are having a buffet or food stations there can be food leftover. Some brides choose to have the leftover food given to a homeless shelter or similar charity organization.

Many couples don’t get a chance to eat much or really enjoy the food during the reception because they’re so busy with their guests. So, ask your caterer to prepare a “leftover basket” with a sampling of all the delicious hors d’oeuvres, main dishes and even dessert. Late that night, the bride and groom can enjoy a wonderful, romantic picnic for two!

Sometimes the leftovers are given to the bride or groom’s parents. It’s especially nice if they are entertaining any out-of-town relatives and don’t have time to cook!

Family Recipes – Ask if dishes can be prepared that are not included on the regular menu. Some brides have a special “family” dish they’d like or a particular type of ethnic food prepared. This is a great way to really personalize your dinner and reception.

Guaranteed Numbers – Many caterers will quote prices based upon a certain number or minimum number of guests. For instance, many caterers base their figures on a minimum of 100 guests. If you’re final guest count is for only 80 guests, there may be an additional fee.

Wedding Cake – Do they offer wedding cakes? Is a wedding cake included in the price? Is there an additional cake cutting fee?

Tax and Gratuities – Are they included in the price? Are there any additional fees that are not included in the quote or proposal?

Ratio of Servers to Guests – Now, this can vary depending on the type of reception you have. One good rule of thumb is to have one server for every 8-10 guests.

Dress Code for Wait Staff – Will they be dressed formally in a black and white tuxedo look?

Decorations – Ask to see pictures of their table displays. Some caterers that do buffets or food stations will include floral arrangements and other decorations. As your wedding plans progress, talk to your caterer about your color theme so that all decorations and floral arrangements will coordinate.

Tableware and Linens – Does the price include table linens, napkins, dishes, and glassware? Ask to see samples. Remember, if you don’t like the tableware or linens they offer, most everything can be rented, but usually at an additional price!

Menu Board – A recent trend when doing buffets or food stations is to have a menu board. This when the names of the entrees and items served are scrolled elegantly onto a piece of paper displayed on a board or in a picture frame. Many guests love to know the names or what’s in those delicious dishes they’ll be eating.

Licenses – Your caterer should be licensed by the state. Most display their license in their office, but if you’re not sure, ask!


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Liquor Guidelines for 100 Guests

If you have the ability to purchase your own liquor for the reception…that’s great news because you can save lots of money! However, deciding what to buy and how much can be confusing. Here are some general guidelines for a suggested amount of alcohol based upon 100 guests:
Beer:

9 Total Cases

* 3 Domestic cases
* 3 Imported cases
* 3 Light cases
Wine:

5-8 Total Cases

* 3-4 Chardonnay cases
* 1-2 White Zinfandel cases
* 1-2 Cabernet Sauvignon cases
Champagne

* 1-2 cases
Hard liquor

* 5 liters vodka
* 3 liters gin
* 2 liters rum
* 2 liters scotch
* 2 liters bourbon
* 750ml vermouth
* 3 liters kahlua
Others to Consider (1 liter of each)

* Bailey’s Irish Cream
* Grand Marnier
* Amaretto
* Sambuca
* Brandy
* Frangelico
* Chambord
If you are responsible for setting up the entire bar,
be sure to include the following:

* Ice
* Milk
* Glassware
* Lemons
* Limes
* Cherries
* Olives
* Lime juice
* Lemon mix
* Orange juice
* Cranberry juice
* Soda water
* Tonic water
* Coke, diet coke
* Seven up, ginger ale
* Straws
* Cocktail stirrers
* Coolers for beer, etc


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Tips for Serving Alcohol at Your Wedding

You need to provide your guests with some type of refreshments (food & drink) at your reception. However, the choice is up to you as to what you serve and how you serve it. You decide what type of alcohol to serve or you can choose not to serve any alcohol.

The bottom line is …. You should not feel obligated to provide an open bar for guests for the entire evening. It is your decision (based on your wedding budget and other factors) whether to have a cash bar, limited bar, open bar or some other variation.

* Open Bar throughout the entire reception. This is usually the most costly option. Some facilities will charge a per person rate (i.e. $15-35/per guest) or charge you based on the amount of alcohol consumed such as per open bottle, by tenths of bottles consumed or per drink.
* Another issue to consider with an open bar is the liability involved as guests may be tempted to drink more. Each state has different laws, so be sure to check with your reception facility and caterer regarding liability insurance.
* Open Bar for the cocktail reception(1 – 1 ½ hours) and cash bar during the remainder of the reception.
* Cash Bar for liquor (mixed drinks) and serve complimentary beer and wine throughout the reception. You can serve a variety of bottle beers or purchase a keg of beer.
* Be creative – instead of offering your guests the typical run of beers, try to include some of the newer micro-brewed beers. You can still offer the old stand-bys for those guests who are committed to “their” brands, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the feed back you’ll receive on being somewhat adventuresome!
* To save money on your alcohol bill, serve a champagne punch as your choice of alcohol.
* Always include a wide assortment of interesting and delicious non-alcoholic beverages. Try hot apple cider for a winter wedding, pink lemonade or fresh brewed ice tea for a summer time wedding.
* Serve specialty drinks like Margaritas, Pina’ Coladas or Sangria. For an early afternoon reception, try Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s.
* Have a wine bar that serves a variety of specialty wines. These don’t have be expensive either — there are plenty of great moderately priced wines available.
* To save money, serve house brand liquors versus top shelf… (i.e. Smirnoff vs. Absolut).
* During the cocktail hour, have the wait staff serve wine and champagne on trays to your guests. First, if you have many guests, it will cut down on the line to the bar. Second, it will make your guests feel as they are receiving “top-notch service”. Third, you can save money on your bar tab when guests choose a glass of wine or champagne versus hard liquor.
* If you’re having a champagne toast, find out if the guests will see the champagne being poured. If not, it’s a good place to save some money by selecting an inexpensive brand, since most people just sip for the toast! It may enable you to spend a bit more on the wines you’ll be serving with dinner.
* Offer your guests a choice of red or white wine with dinner. Many times if wine is served with dinner, guests will be less likely to order another drink (i.e. hard liquor) which can cut down on your bar costs.
* Consider an international coffee bar during the dessert hour. You can serve Kahlua, Bailey’s, Tia Maria, Grand Marnier and other cordials that your guests will enjoy with coffee.


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