Wedding Budget Tips
Decorating at the Ceremony
Focus your "wedding dollars"
where they will get the most attention. For instance,
when choosing flowers for the ceremony - focus on the
altar because that is where your guests will focus their
If you need to cut your flower bill...think
about reducing the amount of flowers at the ceremony.
Wedding ceremonies are usually less than an hour and the
majority of your time will be spent at the reception.
Decorating every pew on both sides? This
can be very expensive. Try decorating every other pew
or every 3rd pew. You can add some hurricane lamps. You
can use ribbon and bows mixed with lots of greenery too.
Or, think about skipping the pew decorations
all together. They look lovely, but typically run between
$6-$15 each or more depending on how elaborate they are.
Then, you have to multiply that by twenty or more pews
At the ceremony - use plenty of tall candelabras,
which the church may already have, and decorate with greenery.
When those candles are burning, and showing off the greenery
--Wow! It's beautiful.
More brides today are doing without aisle
runners. It's not always easy to put down the runner properly
and there have been a few instances where the runner has
gotten caught up underneath a wedding dress!
Decorating the Reception
Use your bridal bouquet and bridesmaids'
bouquets as floral decorations at the reception. You can
use them as the centerpiece for the head table or you
can place them at the cake table, gift table, guest book
table, favor or place card table. They make a beautiful
floral display and your guests will love to see the bouquets
If you have a large area to decorate,
consider purchasing or renting shrubs, trees or plants.
It is much less expensive than using large floral arrangements
and still looks very attractive. Also, balloons make for
a cost effective means of decorating.
Tulle can be a fairly inexpensive decorating
tool (no pun intended). Tulle can be draped along staircases,
balconies and fireplaces. Tulle bows can be tied around
chairs. Some reception locations may not have the most
"attractive" chairs. The tulle bows look beautiful
and romantic and make a great "cover-up".
Lighting can really help set the right
mood for your reception. Small white lights delicately
placed within swags of greenery along a staircase or entwined
in large potted plants can really add a soft and romantic
look to the reception.
Use a lot of greenery! Use swags of greenery
mixed with tulle. Swags of greenery with a few fresh flowers
added. For a nighttime reception, try using some small
white lights within the greenery.
You don't need to be a floral designer
to make beautiful arrangements and table centerpieces.
Fresh cut flowers such as roses, tulips, lilies or lilacs
look simply beautiful in a vase. If you are buying a large
quantity, you can certainly find a place that will sell
you the flowers at wholesale prices.
Choose a smaller floral centerpiece.
Then, add ribbons, candles and/or mirror plates to make
your centerpiece look larger and more elaborate.
Consider keeping the theme of your wedding
and reception all the way into the restrooms! For example,
if your theme is daisies, then cut a few daisy heads off
and lay them around the sinks. Perhaps you also might
add soap and lotion for your guests to use that have the
same scent as your wedding flowers.
Bouquets and Corsages
Many brides today are choosing smaller
sized bridal bouquets like the round cluster. Keep in
mind, that if the bouquets are too big, they will cover
up part of your dress in the pictures. And, if it's very
large and overpowering, then people's eyes will be drawn
to the flowers, and not to the bride's face.
The cost of a bridesmaid's bouquet can
be over a hundred dollars depending on size, style and
choice of flowers! To save money and give a sophisticated
look to the wedding, have your bridesmaids carry a few
white calla lilies or roses tied with ribbon.
Want to save big money on your bridal
bouquet or bridesmaids' bouquets? Make them yourself!
Visit your local craft supply store. They have bunches
of lovely dried and silk flowers. You can use dried tea
roses and baby's breath. They'll last longer, are less
expensive than real flowers, and they have a wonderful
If you are looking to have a modern style
to your wedding, consider some of the more modern bouquet
looks. Some favorites include: large, yellow sunflowers,
bright tulips or colorful posy bouquets consisting of
many different kinds of flowers.
Here's a great (and cost effective) alternative
for a corsage... have the mothers' carry a single rose
wrapped in tulle or ribbon. It looks beautiful and elegant
as they walk down the aisle AND they don't have to worry
about where to pin it or if it will leave a hole in their
Choose a simpler style of corsage. First,
it will be less expensive and second, it will be "lighter"
and less "wear and tear" on the mothers' dresses.
Choosing Your Flowers
Let your florist know your budget up
front. Any good floral designer will be able to find flowers
or decorations to match both your style and your budget.
Half the cost of your flowers is labor.
The more labor intensive the bouquet or centerpiece, the
higher you can expect the bill to be. To cut costs, stay
with simple looser type arrangements
When choosing flowers for your wedding,
consider a "market buy" option. This is when
your florist will go to the market the day before your
wedding and purchase flowers that are on special. Your
florist should be able to give you a pretty good idea
of what to expect. You can save a significant amount of
money and still have beautiful flowers for your wedding!
Don't finalize your wedding flowers until
about three months before your wedding. As your wedding
plans evolve, certain elements may change and you want
your wedding flowers to compliment and enhance the decor.
It's nearly impossible to match the exact
color of flowers with dresses or other wedding decorations.
For instance, there are more than a hundred different
shades of pink! So, don't try the impossible and attempt
to match things exactly -- instead use colors that blend
and complement each other.
Terra Cotta Pot
Lorelei, Minneapolis MN
I am going to plant an inexpensive flower, that matches my
colors, in a terra cotta pot found at most craft stores. I
am painting the pot white or silver, and then wrapping tulle
around the pot and tying a bow at the stem. This is so the
flowers can still be seen. It will add color to the tables
and guests will take home a practical favor
I have two ideas for an attached note:
1) All things grow with Love- Lori and Justin
2) Just as a flower blooms and grows, so does the love between
family and friends. Thank you for sharing this special day
with us. Lori and Justin
Long Stem Silk Rose
Lisa Anne, Livonia, MI
Each place setting will have a long-stem rose (silk) with
ribbon streamers and a tag with our sentiment, names, and
wedding date. We are hopeful that our guests will find use
for the roses in their own homes. The children's table will
be similarly adorned, only with chocolate roses instead of
Michelle, Buffalo, NY
We will be using daises for our wedding flowers. I will make
small organza pouches, fill them with daisy seeds, and attach
the pouch to a small card with colored ribbon. You could use
just about any kind of flower seed you like!
The card reads:
He loves me, he loves me not;
He loves me, we tied the knot!
Scott & Michelle, July 25, 1998
Diane, Gainesville, FL
I went to an early spring wedding where the flower theme was
spring bulbs. The bride and groom gave away individual bulbs
wrapped in cellophane and tied with ribbons that matched their
wedding colors. The guests could take their bulbs home and
plant them, enjoying the flowers at home.
Jennifer, Cheney, WA
We designed an envelope the size of a seed packet with a design
made from Microsoft Word and filled the envelopes with wildflower
seeds. We included an instruction paper and put it inside
the envelope. "Spread the seeds of our love with us"
Perfect for a garden theme wedding. Inexpensive too when you
make the envelopes yourself.
Tulip bulbs in a box tied with ribbons in the same color as
Gayla, Bridgewater, NJ
Since my wedding is in May, we decided to give out beautifully
packaged wildflower seeds. The seeds contain black-eyed susans,
daisies, and other assorted flowers. One side of the seed
packet has the actual seeds, while the other side has a beautiful
poem written about how every year when the flowers bloom think
about your favorite bride a groom. It is simple, economical,
and I am hoping useful.
Krista, Salt Lake City, UT
I'm giving little sapling trees for people to take home and
plant. They come in tubes, and I will decorate them with raffia
ribbon tied around the tubes in my colors. I got them from
the department of conservation - they are the ones they use
to replant the forests with.
Clear & Green Bottles with Flowers
We are getting married on the beach. In keeping with a beach-y
theme, I am collecting bottles of all shapes and sizes in
shades of clear and green. Our florist will be putting wildflowers
in the bottles (3-5 bottles per table) and those will be the
favors the guests take home.
Diana, Reading, PA
We are having our ceremony in a rose garden and wanted to
go natural. We are going to use teacups that have a small
houseplant in them as our favors... something to remind them
of how our love has grown.
Linda, Bass Lake, CA
We are having a garden reception. To keep with the theme I
am (with help) making favors using flower seed packets. We
are placing the seed packets into metal tin watering cans
that are approx. 2" tall I found theses at various craft
stores. With ribbons that we can tie on that have our names
and date, we will personalize each one.
Miniature Plant Pots
Becky, Portland, Maine
I had miniature plant pots which had been 'antiqued' with
gold and silver finishes They contained miniature plants which
I grew in my apartment on a window sill. They were tied with
satin ribbon embossed with our names and the wedding date.
The plants were cheap, the seed packets cost 25 cents each
and contained about 20 seeds. The pots were "antiqued"
using easy antiquing kits found at an art store, for about
$4.00 each. The miniature pots were $5.00 a case (24).
Very inexpensive for a spring wedding and can be used as a
centerpiece too!! Buy flats of spring flowers...pansies, Johnny
jump ups, marigolds etc. separate each section, wrap with
tulle, tie with ribbon (with or without printing) and place
around candles in the center of each table. Each couple or
person then takes a flower home with them to enjoy all summer
Seed Packets & Tiny Pots
Corri, McKeesport, PA
Flower/herb seed packets wrapped in ribbon and tiny flower
pots with flowers or ivy already planted.
Pat, Portland, Me
For my daughter's August Victorian wedding, we are making
fans out of old wallpaper sample books. We fold the sheet
in half, then fan-fold them, put a thin strip of tape around
the bottom and tie a matching thin ribbon into a bow. On some
designs that are rather plain, we've glued halves of paper
doilies onto the folded wallpaper sheet. You'd be surprised
how beautiful some rather old-fashioned gaudy print looks
when made into a fan! We will give them out at the church,
since it is not air-conditioned.
Decoupaged Glass Plates
Stacey, Streetsboro, OH
I was able to find glass plates from a Dollar Store for 3/$1.00.
I decoupaged a torn piece of paper with "Love" written
on it to the back, then sponged gold paint over the whole
plate. Looked fabulous, was very cheap and had all the guests
thinking they were taking $30.00 plates home!
Picture frames with sayings as favors. We've bought silver
and pewter frames. We'll pick out several sayings on love
and marriage and put these in the frames. Our guests will
be able to take them home and display them as is. Or, if they
prefer, they can remove the printed saying and put in something
(a picture) of their own.
Angel Picture Frames
Pam, Rome, NY
We're giving away miniature angel picture frames as favors
that double as place cards. On my computer I printed the names
of our guest, the table number, our name, wedding date, and
"Thank You For Sharing Our Special Day". Great favor
Doreen, Philadelphia, PA
My fiancé and I took an evening to make strawberry/banana
jam. We then put them in cute, 4 oz. jars, and one per family.
They'll be place at the entrance to the reception with a label
on the top designating the family and what table at which
they'll be sitting. We think it'll be a personal, unique,
scrumptious reminder of the special day we all shared together.
More Tips on Cutting Costs
I had my sister make the flower girl's dress off of a jumper
pattern that looked really cute on my niece. The cost was
about 15.00. Also we are decorating the hall with balloons
that are about 3.00 a gross. Total cost of all three colors
Lynda Morganza, MD
We've decided to make our own invitations. There are so many
beautiful designs in desktop publishing paper, that we picked
out what we liked, got as much as we needed, and made our
invitations for pennies a piece. We saved over $250.
Amanda, Woodhaven, MI
Rather than paying the $3-4 per rose (about 8 petals) for
the flower girl's basket, I am going to a local grocer and
purchasing a bouquet or two of carnations that are the same
colors that I want. There are many more petals on a carnation
and, not only are they inexpensive, but no one is going to
notice the difference in petals because they are roughly the
same shape as rose petals.
Laurie Portland, ME
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