Weddings are supposed to be extravagant events, with grand, lavish decor dotting the ceremony and reception. The problem is that not everyone has the budget for expensive decor, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t get a great looking wedding. We’ve asked professional wedding planners how they approach the problem of selecting wedding decorations on a budget and compiled the best tips we got here.
1. Take advantage of freebies.
Most wedding venues offer a number of items free of charge to their clients. This includes everything from furniture, especially tables and chairs, to floral arrangements and lighting pieces like votives and candles. Be sure to ask your venue if they’ve got anything they can hook you up with for free, and save hundreds of dollars.
2. Pick a naturally beautiful setting
While we’re on the topic of venues, consider picking a setting that’s naturally beautiful. Locations like gardens or beaches are already decorated for you, courtesy of mother nature, so you don’t really have to (nor should you need to) spend too much to fix up the place.
3. Instead of buying stock, ask for custom-made
On the surface, this might seem counter intuitive, but by asking professionals to build you a lower-cost version of the piece you like, perhaps using alternative materials, you could save money. It’s definitely a bit harder to do, and not everyone can do it, but as long as the piece isn’t too complex or outlandish, you can count on your vendor to pull it off.
4. Borrow from friends and family
If you’ve got older friends and family who are married, see if you can borrow some of their old decor. Chances are, these items were only used once and then shoved in boxes to be put in storage, so they’re practically brand new, and if you’re lucky they’ll be happy to simply part with them free of charge.
5. Go minimalist
Don’t be tempted to go for the most lavish theme you can think of. A good designer can pull of a minimalist theme that’s just as good as anything else, at a fraction of the cost. The trick is to not be tempted to fill every empty space with something. Remember the old saying, “Less is more.”
6. Cut out the extras
If you’re really tight on cash, consider foregoing extras like favor bags or gift baskets. Most of the time, favors are worthless trinkets that end up in a box somewhere, or in the trash. In the end, unless its something you’re absolutely sure that your guests will find useful, you don’t really need them to have a memorable wedding.
7. Make use of Candles
One should not underestimate the power of the lowly candle. When used in situations like evening and sunset weddings, candles and votives can bring a unique charm to your reception tables.
8. Do it yourself – or get friends and family to help you out
Are you or your other friends into arts and crafts? If you have time to spare before the wedding, consider making your own decorations. It can be done on the cheap, and is a great way to bond with friends and family.
9. Use sheet cakes
If you’re inviting only 50 people to your wedding, it doesn’t make sense to order a cake that can feed 150. Instead of feeding guests straight from the cake, order a display cake to be used for the cutting ceremony, and prepare cheaper, but similar, sheet cakes to feed the guests. They won’t be able to tell the difference, as long as you don’t tell them outright.
Picking wedding decorations need not be an expensive task. With the right know-how and a little bit of creativity and elbow grease, you too can have a grand-looking wedding without having to spend a fortune on decorations.