For my sister's reception we created beautiful centerpieces for the tables by buying some glass Pyrex cereal bowls ($1 each at a local outlet mall) and placing green glass marbles from the craft store in the bottom of each. We then filled the bowls half way with water and placed a white rose- shaped floating candle in each. These attractive centerpieces were very easy to assemble in just a minute or two and in addition to lending their candlelight to the room made a wonderful inexpensive gift for the bride and groom--a complete set of matching cereal bowls!
Food also doesn't have to require too much effort or added expense. My own wedding reception was a pot luck luncheon. My mother provided the sandwich rolls, sliced meat and cheeses, and condiments, and close friends and family members were asked to bring side dishes and salads. My husband's aunt made the most beautiful multi-tiered wedding cake for us, and our expense was minimal! No one went away hungry.