Do you have a friend or relative in the wedding industry who can clue you into insider tips and secrets?

No? Well, don’t fret my pet! Our dear friend, Carissa Jones, from Sugar and Spice Specialty Desserts has got us all covered!


Carissa recently took the time to jot down some fabulous advice for her newly-engaged cousin to help her stay on trend without breaking the bank.

Guess what? Carissa sent us that list and has generously agreed to share it with you, our dear Real Weddings brides! Score!

Take it away, Carissa:

  • Create an Instagram hashtag for your wedding.
  • Use the “Wedding Party” app! It’s easy to set up and will compile all of your guests’ pictures by time.
  • Tissue paper poofs, balls, lanterns, streamers and fans, when grouped together, can make a high impact backdrop at a very reasonable price.
  • DIY chalkboard signs are great! Consider using them for the dinner menu, directions (“This way to the ceremony, reception, bar, etc.”), fun quotes and sayings, (“Today two families become one. So please choose a seat, not a side”), Your Love Story (a list of significant dates and events), in the bathroom (“You look oh-so pretty… now get out and DANCE!)! Chalkboard paint is readily available and affordable in spray cans.
  • Make your garter with elastic lace and sparkly embellishments.
  • “Found” object aisle runner. Line the aisle with sea shells or other objects that mean something to you as a couple or enhance the wedding theme, or skip the aisle runner entirely.
  • Colorful, DIY table runners placed on plain white tablecloths (the cheapest to rent, and many venues include tablecloths, so that could be another added plus).
  • Two pre-mixed cocktails for cocktail hour instead of an open bar. Also add in lemonade and a flavored water. Tag with little chalkboard signs!
  • Ask your florist to use seasonal, locally grown flowers. Herbs can also be a nice, affordable addition.
  • Use spray painted canning jars, thrift store vases or even tin cans and bottles to add a sense of continuity to your centerpieces or decor without them having to really match.
  • If you want to have a cake and keep it affordable, pick a beautiful color (fondant or buttercream) and a beautiful lace ribbon. Have the bakery wrap each tier in ribbon and accent with one, gorgeous, big, impact flower. With or without a cake topper, this is a beautiful look. Just remember to pull back the ribbon when you cut the cake!
  • As an alternate to favors, if you like to bake, make a bunch of cookies and ask your caterer or a friend to put them out at the end of the night for guests to take on their way home. Alternatively, pretty little bags filled with cherries or berries are another nice favor.
  • Get married on a Friday or Sunday. There can even be extra savings if your date is in the off season.
  • If any of your friends have gotten married recently, ask if you can borrow some of their wedding details. Veils, ring pillows, decor, etc.
  • Think about lawn games: bocce ball, croquet, hopscotch, corn hole, etc.
  • Pick out a simple, clean wedding dress and add details to it such as stylish belt, sash or crystal brooche. Grooms can add fun/funky socks, ties and pocket squares to a basic suit. (Or if they are in the military, dress blues are an outstanding choice!)
  • Consider a food truck as a fun late night snack! The food will be fun, fresh and affordable!
  • Remember, the prettier the ceremony/reception location, the less you have to do to make it beautiful.
  • Have your ceremony and reception in the same location.
  • Throw sprinkles instead of rice! They totally melt when they get wet and the color makes for amazing pictures (though be sure to double check this with your venue or church — you don’t want to incur clean up costs).
  • Buy the most expensive photography package you can afford. No, REALLY, a good photographer can make a ceremony at city hall and a picnic on the beach look amazing, glamorous, romantic and super fun. Everyone says the day flies by, but with a good photographer it will last forever.

Why thank you, Carissa! What fabulous ideas and tips!

For more about Carissa Jones and Sugar and Spice Specialty Desserts, visit her Real Weddings online profile here, stop by her Web site here and like her on Facebook here!

Photo of Carissa Jones courtesy of Carmen Salazar Photography. Photo of dessert bar courtesy of Sarah Maren Photographers.

Blog post by Real Weddings Magazine’s Social Media Maven, Aimee Carroll.

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