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Personalised place settings and inspired favours show your guests that you appreciate them making the effort to attend – and you can do it without blowing the budget.

SAVE IT FOR LATER

Favours can be really pricey, but often you often see guests forget about them and once the party starts, they get left behind. One way to avoid this wastage is to set out your favours towards the end of the evening, rather than at each place setting in the beginning. Guests have the option to help themselves to one as the leave, and if there is a significant number left over you may be able to return them to the supplier for a refund.

DOUBLE-DUTY

Consider combining your favours and place cards for a double-whammy that looks great while saving a little cash. This option not only makes the place setting extra special, it also makes your favours functional and unique. You can also print the name of each guest on their menu. This saves time and money, is neat and looks like you put in extra effort to make sure each person gets a personalised menu.

SWEETS FOR MY SWEET

Consumable favours often work out more economical than trinkets. But steer clear of little chocolates in a bag – this often clashes with the décor if not done right. Mints are cost effective, and everyone needs a mint after eating and drinking all day. For something really special, look into mini bottles of wine or Champagne from your venue or the area. If you are serving dessert, you can also box up slices of wedding cake as favours to be collected on the way out. Two birds, one delicious stone.

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX

Just because you are not spending a lot on favours, doesn’t mean that they can’t be memorable. Consider offering sweetly packaged flower seeds, tiny pots of lip balm or biscuit ingredients in a jar. A lottery ticket per person is always a winner, and they don’t cost a lot.

KEEP YOUR NUPTIALS ON THE DL

You can almost hear some vendors’ eyeballs clicking over into cartoon dollar signs as soon as they hear the word ‘wedding’. If your favours aren’t obviously intended for a wedding, feel free to ‘forget’ to mention this when placing the order.

REMEMBER YOU ARE PAYING FOR LABOUR

Tiny details add up, especially if they require a human hand. Rather than having traditional tented place cards that stand up, go for a regular card at each setting. The printing and paper plus labour for the folds can add up to double the amount of a regular tag. And if you have a great designer, the final result will be just as beautiful.

You may consider DIYing the place cards. Just – please – make sure you have nice handwriting! This never looks good when the writing is skew or not written neatly.

GET CREATIVE WITH THE SEATING CHART

A lot of brides think you have to do a canvas print displayed on an easel for the seating chart, which is quite an expensive choice. Rather go for seating plan cards, which you can hang and use in various ways. You could hire a nice stand (this will cost around the same as hiring an easel), or you can make use of a tree in the canapés area, so it becomes part of the décor. This will save you a few hundred rand.

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