If a formal multicourse dinner in a stately ballroom is out of your wedding budget, or just doesn’t feel very you, scale back the pomp of a traditional reception and ramp up the good times with an elegant cocktail party instead. By turning the “mingling hour” into the main event (hors d’oeuvres are usually guests’ favorite part of the evening anyway) and including only the meaningful-to-you traditions, you can host a celebration that still feels like a wedding—minus the hefty price tag.
1. Venue & Décor. Host a cocktail party anywhere—an art gallery, your favorite neighborhood bistro, or a historic house. Restaurants and hotels are particularly amenable because their in-house staff knows the drill, and you can eliminate the extra expense of an outside catering company—not to mention rentals! Flowers are an important touch, so consider hiring a florist or having a friend create arrangements. And even though you’re throwing…
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