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   Wedding Budget Tips

Wedding Budget Tips

Decorating at the Ceremony

  1. 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 attention.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 - Ouch!
  5. 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.
  6. 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
  1. 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 up close!
  2. 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.
  3. 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".
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Choose a smaller floral centerpiece. Then, add ribbons, candles and/or mirror plates to make your centerpiece look larger and more elaborate.
  8. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 scent!
  4. 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.


  1. 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 dress!
  2. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Floral Favors

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 silk ones.

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

Flower Bulbs

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.

Flower Seeds
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
Tulip bulbs in a box tied with ribbons in the same color as our wedding.

Wildflower Seeds
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.

Sapling Trees
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
Katie, NYC
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.

Watering Cans
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).

Spring Flowers
Tina, Mansfield
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 long!

Seed Packets & Tiny Pots
Corri, McKeesport, PA
Flower/herb seed packets wrapped in ribbon and tiny flower pots with flowers or ivy already planted.

Victorian Fans
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
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 and beautiful.

Homemade Jam

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 is $9.00.
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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