7 Tips I've Actually Used to Plan a Beautiful Wedding on a Budget

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

I am a firm believer that you don't have to spend a lot of money to have a beautiful home, and the same principle applies to a wedding.

Especially a wedding! 

Brides have all different budgets but every bride (and groom) deserves to have a day that is lovely, filled with joy, and that feels like her dream come true.

Since wedding season is fast approaching, I wanted to share some of the tips and tricks we used to make my daughter's wedding just what she wanted without going (too much) over budget. First figure out the areas you want to splurge (for us it was the photographer and the dress), and then use these tips to get the wedding of your dreams!
DIY tips for a Beautiful Wedding on a Budget
1. HAVE THE RECEPTION AT HOME - One of the biggest expenses for a wedding reception is the venue. If you can have yours at home you can save a TON of money, and any dollars you spend beautifying the place will stay with you long after the wedding. BONUS! 

We had about 80 people at our daughter's reception even though we don't have what you might consider a lot of room. It worked well though because having the tables close together and everyone a tiny bit "cozy" made everything feel fun and festive.
The reception was outside but we still splurged on a house cleaner the day before so everything looked nice when people came in to powder their noses and whatnot.

Even if you aren't able to have the wedding or reception at your own home, you might have family or a friend who is willing to host your party. I've met people with lovely homes who actually dream about hosting a wedding.

Like Marilla says in Anne's House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery, "...a house was not a real home until it had been consecrated by a birth, a wedding and a death." Obviously you don't want to give birth at someone else's house, but having your wedding there could be nice.

2. BUY THE CAKE FROM A GROCERY STORE BAKERY- a wedding cake starts at around $500; if it isn't on your "splurge list" consider ordering one from your grocery store and prettying it up with flowers. My daughter loves pie so she also enlisted her Grammy and a close friend to make pies for the dessert bar.
 3. DIY THE FLOWERS - A talented florist can make arrangements that are almost magical, but if your budget is super tight you can get a beautiful look making your own with flowers from the local flower mart, Costco, or even Trader Joe's. We filled the back of our car with 5 gallon paint buckets and gallon jugs of water and visited the San Francisco flower mart the morning before the wedding. We knew the colors and mood that the bride wanted and had saved pictures on our phones of her inspiration bouquets and boutonnieres. We concentrated on flowers in the same color family and with the same textures as the the ones she loved. Don't forget lots of greenery for adding volume.

An artistic friend and my artistic daughter (the maid of honor) made the bouquets, corsages and boutonnieres the day before the wedding and we kept them refrigerated overnight.
DIY Bridal Bouquet
Here is the beautiful bride with all of her bridesmaids-and their flowers.
There are lots of tutorials online and on YouTube for making your own bouquets and boutonnieres; in the weeks before the wedding we studied up and even bought flowers and did practice runs.

For the centerpieces we stuck with simple flowers in mason jars and bud vases, and then went for masses of flowers in every vase we could collect on all the other tables.
4. TWINKLE LIGHT THE HECK OUT OF EVERYTHING-candles and twinkle lights make the most humble space seem like a fairy garden when the sun goes down. Use them liberally. There are never too many!
5. DIY THE WEDDING FAVORS-I made jam and my daughter made darling labels for her favors. It was super cheap and everyone loved it. We have bees and also had honey in some of the jam jars. 
Homemade Jam Wedding Favors
Succulents are so on trend right now. If I were planning a wedding today I'd probably do succulent babies for favors. You can order 40 cuttings for $28.95 from this shop, and a set of 12 mini mason jars for $6 here.
Adorbs right?!

6. MAKE YOUR FRIENDS BE THE ENTERTAINMENT-Forget hiring an expensive DJ, make your friends be the entertainment! Chances are there is someone in your circle who is a wanna be musician and would be happy for the exposure that playing at your reception would give them. Ask them if they might play for a little while as your wedding gift.

Don't expect your friend to preform the whole time for free if you want them to still be your friend. Ask what they feel comfortable with and gratefully accept that. 

Live music adds something special to a party so don't give up if you don't have a close friend who can do this. Think outside the box and ask around a little bit, maybe someone has a kid whose done a million years of high school band and would be able to play the guitar, flute or violin in the background for awhile?
My daughter's bridesmaid and my son-in-law's groomsmen played and sang at the beginning of the reception and a friend of ours who is a professional singer sang, "The Way You Look Tonight," while Maddie and Marc had their father daughter dance.
7. DON'T FORGET THE SPECIAL TOUCHES THAT MAKE YOUR WEDDING UNIQUE TO YOU!- Probably the best thing you can do to make your wedding feel custom (code for expensive) is to incorporate the little details that make you smile and make your wedding unique to YOU! After all, if you're having a wonderful time all your guest will too.

Here are a few of the things we did- 
An "EYE-Spy" chalkboard with a list of things for guests to take pictures of on their phones and an Instagram #hashtag for them to share with. We also had a TON of different sodas in glass bottles, because it's fun to drink from a glass bottle :-)
The bride and groom both had comfy shoes for when their fancy kicks started pinching.
Crazy dancing at the end of the reception to a special playlist that the bride and groom had put together of their favorite songs for their special day.

And a sparkler send off so my 15 year old son could burn a hole in his new suit. I am NOT still bitter.
All of the photos in this post were taken by the truly amazing Marielle Hayes of Marielle Hayes Photography. She was on our splurge list and it was so worth it!

If you are here because you are planning a wedding then I am sending you a big internet-y hug and my congratulations! Love is a many splendid thing for sure and I hope this helps you with your plans for a truly magical day. 

2 Responses to “7 Tips I've Actually Used to Plan a Beautiful Wedding on a Budget”

  1. I wish I had known you then so I could have invited myself to your daughter's wedding. I am seriously thinking you should also go into event planning.

    1. Well, clearly I would have invited you, and I think I should plan events too...if only we could do ALL THE THINGS!!!!


Now you say something!


Copyright © Barnaclebutt | Premade Blog Design by Lilipop Designs