One idea for a creative but low-budget wedding reception is to hold the wedding on a Sunday with a brunch, lunch picnic or cocktail reception instead of a dinner party. Another idea is to make a charitable donation instead of wedding favors and place an explanatory card at guests' tables.
If the couple is set on having a dinner party, they should consider a buffet of chicken, pasta and produce. The cost is less than a meal with beef or fancy dishes or one that requires servers. Decoration costs are cut if the couple orders flowers that are in season or buys loose stems that they arrange on their own. Ordering quality loose stems online is a possibility as many reputable floral businesses sell online.
Also, instead of hiring a DJ, a couple can put together a special playlist on an iPod or MP3 player that includes songs appropriate for the pre-ceremony, the ceremony, any special dances and the rest of the reception. The couple can rent a small sound system and assign a specific member of the wedding party to be an MC for announcements and introductions to cover any other functions the DJ performs. A videographer is also an unnecessary expense, especially if the couple hires a good photographer. With the prevalence of video phones and digital recorders, guests can take short videos and send them to the couple later, which might have an added bonus of capturing more special candid moments.