Does the soaring cost of wedding planning have you feeling blue? (Because that is not the “something blue” you want at your wedding!) Don’t fall victim to the misconception that “high style” means big bucks. A few simple changes to the itinerary and traditional décor can save you a lot of money—and just in time for you and your better half to start building a life together! Today, our Features Editor Carrie Waller is giving us a tour of her own modest wedding reception and sharing the ways she and her husband managed to maintain their budget, and still afford a personalized stylish event they were proud to call their own!
Have a private ceremony.
Although this is a large break from the norm, a great way to save money right off the bat is to host a private ceremony with immediate family only. This eliminates the need for extra prep time and chair rentals. Plus, you can still enjoy your entire circle of friends and family at a reception following an intimate exchange of vows.
Host at a public venue.
Make the most of public venues in your area for your reception. Carrie and her husband hosted their wedding at a restored aviary building on the outskirts of a local park. The rental cost was only few hundred dollars and acted as a celebration of the history of their hometown! Bonus: Hosting at a building not often used for weddings makes your event a little more unique!
Craft your own décor.
Put those DIY skills to the test! Carrie created DIY paper pinwheels that were strung across the balcony of her reception venue to add a little personality and color to the neutral space. She also made her own guest book by setting out a vintage suitcase and set of art postcards, asking guests to write a piece of advice on the back before tossing them into the case. You also could incorporate things like DIY chalkboard signs for the buffet and paper bunting banners to decorate the gift table. Crafting these little details on your own will save you from paying the venue to decorate on your behalf. Plus, you’ll get to use the décor in your home long after the event is over!
Enlist the help of friends and family.
Your circle of friends and family is overflowing with hidden talents, so don’t be shy about asking for help. Have a friend who is a baking fiend? See if she would be willing to make cupcakes for the wedding, like Carrie did. Is your mom is an amazing calligraphy artist? Have her address the invitations! Most people are more than happy to lend their skills to enhance your special day, and may even do so for free as a wedding gift—you’ll never know unless you ask!
Choose in-season flowers.
Wedding floral arrangements are notoriously known to add up quickly, but choosing readily-available blooms will help keep your budget in check. While it’s not always possible, try to plan your wedding date around the in-season flowers you prefer. If you don’t mind an eclectic range of colors, ask your florist to choose a variety of flowers. Displaying them in thrift store cups and vases is inexpensive, but still packs a punch.
Rethink guest favors.
Carrie’s focus for favors was to choose gifts that her guests would use long after the event wrapped up. She purchased budget-friendly glass test tubes and filled them with a variety of goodies—one basket of test tubes had sunflower seeds, another had mini M&Ms and the last one featured tubes filled with DIY lavender bath salts. By making the favors herself, she was able to keep costs low and properly thank her guests.
Collect vintage dishes.
Instead of spending money on plain white dishes from a rental company, try collecting a variety of vintage china in advance. At just 25 cents or a dollar per plate, this method ends up costing no more than rentals would, and you can use the dishes at parties for years to come! The eclectic mix of patterns and colors on the buffet table is also a beautiful detail that guests will adore.
The only thing Carrie chose to splurge on was photography! To see more of the photos by Katie Stoops (plus additional project links and inspiration), click through to Carrie’s blog, Dream Green DIY.