If you follow Cottonwood Limited for long, you will find out that we LOVE to host dinner parties! These meals require a lot of work, but they also represent good food, meaningful conversations, and treasured memories. Now that's what we're all about, so bring on all of the parties!

There's one more thing that you need to know about the Cottonwood Limited team's dinner party addiction. We like really nice parties...but...we do not like spending tons of money on these parties. We tend to challenge ourselves with buying ingredients during "buy one, get one free" sales and decorating with thrifted items or items we have around the house. It's like a game!

Last December, we had the opportunity to host a wedding rehearsal dinner for some close family/friends. This wasn't your typical dinner party (unless you typically have 50 people in your house at one time...ha!), but we were so excited about the challenge! We envisioned elegant decor, an unforgettable dinner, and a night filled with so much love for the bride and groom. It was "game on" for making this happen on a budget.

Challenge #1: Elegant and Inexpensive Decor

Ok, we admit that we were a bit lucky that this event was in the month of December. Pulling off an inexpensive decor plan was actually quite easy!

  • What could be better than a 9' Christmas tree (that you already own) as a focal point for the room?

  • We found out that many Christmas tree farms/nurseries (and even Home Depot) provide free Christmas tree clippings. We were all over that! We filled up the back of the SUV with loads of clippings from our local Christmas tree farm. Bonus: the car smelled AMAZING! Warning: the clippings are sticky! :-)

  • We "shopped" our yard for holly berries, magnolia leaves, and pine cones.



See what we did there? We just put those freebies together, and the table transformed into a show piece! Oh, and in case you're wondering, we did steal and cut up a decorative pick of gold curls from the Christmas tree. It added a glitzy pop of gold to our centerpieces.



We did choose to purchase table runners and disposable plates, cups, utensils, and napkins. Can you believe, though, that these plates, cups, and utensils are plastic? We were quite impressed with them! Of course, we shopped around and found the best prices for all of these items at efavormart.com and tableclothsfactory.com. (Not sponsored...just sharing helpful tips here!) We splurged on navy and gold wrapped Lindor chocolates as our party favors. I mean, they really didn't cost that much. We bought the chocolates and the sheer organza bags at Walmart!



We were blessed to be able to borrow extra tables and chairs from a local church. We used some tablecloths that were passed down from a beloved great aunt of the groom and borrowed tablecloths and lanterns that were used in other family members' weddings. Thank goodness we didn't have to buy or rent these things! (Oh, and we have permission to sell the lanterns, so you might see them pop up for sale on our site at some point!)

We're pretty sure that we will not host many rehearsal dinner parties in the future, but we are confident that we will replicate this Christmas tablescape many times. It's just too beautiful and easy! Be sure to let us know if you borrow some of our ideas for your Christmas table this year!

So, do you want to know how the rehearsal dinner turned out? Uh, amazing! Stay tuned. We'll be posting more stories from the party on our blog sometime soon!