With the popularity of shows such as TLC’s “For Better or For Worse,” “A Wedding Story” and Lifetime’s “Weddings of a Lifetime,” do-it yourself wedding planning has become the rage with soon-to-be brides and grooms. And wedding reception options are becoming more varied and less traditional. According to www.Appetizerstogo.com, the percentage of cocktail-only and appetizer-only wedding receptions is on the rise. Planning a wedding has become a fun-filled, family affair. With a little help from friends and family, it can also be affordable. Some of the best ideas for do-it-yourself weddings can be learned from friends who have already taken the big leap themselves. Other tips come directly from experts in the field. Florists, bakeries and the variety of on-line food purveyors, such as www.Appetizerstogo.com offer a wealth of information.

Some tips for creating an affordable, yet elegant affair include hosting a mid-morning or afternoon reception — not only will the bar tab be less, but the quantity of food does not need to be as extensive as a dinner menu. For an all hors d’oeuvres reception, a good rule of thumb is seven appetizers per person. A mix of hors d’oeuvres should be provided — for 100 people, five different appetizers should be selected, representing the following categories: fish or shellfish, cheese, vegetables and meat. The average price of appetizers from www.Appetizerstogo.com is around .65 cents per person, compared to $2.20 per person for appetizers provided by a caterer (not including waitstaff). Remember the children. At many of today’s weddings, especially daytime affairs, children will be present. Make sure you have some food items that will appeal to them as well – franks in a blanket are perfect, even at an upscale soirée. Americans eat more than 16 billion hot dogs a year, so they are sure to be a favorite.

When elegance is the theme of the day, www.Appetizerstogo.comrecommends hors d’oeuvre selections such as its “Blacktie Combo.” This includes coconut shrimp, gyoza, Beef Wellington, chicken teriyaki satay and Brie with honey mustard and walnuts in filo. Another best-selling option is the “Fusion Combo.” Included in this assortment are scallops in bacon, crabmeat Rangoon, mushroom beggar’s purse, lobster scampi puff and Brie w/raspberry and almond in filo. The combinations are endless. To make sure you are ordering enough food for the special day, www.Appetizerstogo.com has a great, full-proof Party Calculator offered on-line, to guarantee the bride and groom have enough appetizers to satisfy each and every guest.www.Appetizerstogo.com also offers a wedding sampler box that serves up 18 different appetizers to sample before an order is placed. The sampler box can be delivered to the bride and groom within three days of ordering and offers such delicious appetizers as Chicken Cornucopia, Artichoke with Boursin Cheese, Artichoke & Spinach Quiche, Mediterranean Olive, Feta with Sun-dried Tomato Pinwheels, Coconut Shrimp, Asparagus Roll-Up, Chocolate Covered Cheese Cake, Premium Crab Cakes and many more favorites.

Do-it-yourself wedding receptions can be anything the bride and groom want. Theme weddings enable the bride and groom a great, inexpensive way to personalize their wedding. Themes also encompass locations, such as a beach, a park and even the backyard or in a private home. For rehearsal dinners, Barbecues and wine tastings are terrific options. Friends and family are also pitching in to help lessen the burden on the bride and groom by offering decorating touches, the use of Grandma’s china for serving dishes, and all-around help, such as preparing and serving the food, acting as bartender and photographing and recording the special day with digital cameras. Also popular are less formal hand-tied bouquets and wedding gowns that are more elegant and stylish with simple, but stunning lines. Forget the birdseed and rice – blowing bubbles is the biggest sendoff for the bride and groom. The key words for most weddings today are simple and elegant.

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