How to Decorate a Wedding For Cheap!

This weekend I had the opportunity to see my little brother get married, as some of you readers may already know. I also got to plan the luncheon for after the ceremony for 100 guests. I love planning events! Granted, it can be a little stressful at times- like when it is 95 degrees that day and your luncheon is in a barn and your helpers text you saying that the heat is on in the barn and won’t go off. Some things you can’t control. You have to chill. Thanks to my husband for reminding me of that. And luckily, the heat went off about half hour before everyone showed up, thank the high heavens. Anyway, I was so pleased with how it all turned out and it was super cheap so I am going to share pictures today and a cost breakdown of how I did it so cheaply, with general tips. I hope this helps anyone who is planning this type of event to think outside the box and find ways to save dough. It’s one party. It’s one day. It will be amazing, and you don’t need to spend a fortune on it!

J. Taylor Photography

1. First and foremost: Choose a venue that is already nice to look at, and cheap! This is a restored barn owned by the city I grew up in. It is already pretty, was stocked with tables and chairs and only cost $150 to book. Outdoor venues are always great choices too, granted you can count on the weather to stay nice. Check out what options your parks department has available, or ask friends or neighbors if they have a backyard or know anyone with one who’d be willing to let you use it!

2. Borrow. Borrow. Borrow.  Tablecloths? Borrowed from a friend.  Log thingys? Borrowed from the bride’s friend. Jars? Borrowed from my mom’s basement stash. Digital media equipment for us to give our little speeches and show a slideshow? (PA, speakers, projector, screen) Borrowed from friends and family. My primary way of asking to borrow these things was via facebook status. Thanks to amazing friends, I was able to save hundreds of dollars just through their kindness and generosity. You probably have nice friends too.


J. Taylor Photography

3. Find it for free. Our place cards and table numbers were found online and were a free printable. I only had to buy paper and pay for printing, which cost about $30 total, after using JoAnn’s 50% off coupons to buy the paper. I shared the printable I used along with a few of my other favorites in this post. I also have a mother-in-law who is a florist. I asked her if she would do the flowers and told her we would pay her but she offered her services free as a gift to the bride and groom. Obviously you can’t expect people to do that all the time but sometimes it happens and it is a huge help. Once again, kindness and generosity prevails. People know weddings are expensive, and they want to help you!


4. Compare prices. This might seem obvious, but do not just choose the first vendor or take the first estimate you see. There are always cheaper options available and most of the time you don’t have to sacrifice quality to find it, just look harder for those deals. Since my florist could get the flowers for us wholesale we only paid $135 for all of them, which ends up being the only part of the centerpieces we had to pay for. The blue and white striped straws were also quite a bit cheaper than I originally thought we would pay for them, I compared prices on them in this post.
 
J. Taylor Photography

5. Make decorations yourself. Time is money, yes. But if you have a few months or longer and you know the event is coming up, you can probably find some time to make a few things and save yourself a bunch of cash. The bunting banners were handmade mostly by my mom and a little by me. She found fabric for cheap, used JoAnns coupons and we also used some that we had leftover from other projects. I posted a tutorial here for how we make them. We easily spent less than $15 on them.

So the final cost breakdown of this wedding luncheon (excluding food) goes like this:

Venue, tables & chairs: $150
Linens: $0
15 Centerpieces: $135 or $9 each
Table numbers and place cards: $30
Fabric Banners: $15
Media Equipment: $0
TOTAL: $330

If you enjoyed this post, make sure to check out these similar budget posts:

How to Decorate on a Tiny Budget
How to Plan Now for Less Stressful, Happy Holidays!
Party On! (Without Breaking the Bank)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11454599308877367435 erin.mc27

    Good job, Sar!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03853192618908983901 Lynnette

    Sarah did an amazing job on this wedding luncheon, the few pictures she showed doesn’t do it justice. It was absolutely beautiful! Everyone had a great time, the food was excellent, and I was a very proud Mom that day!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07938541452523466450 Christine

    AMAZING!!!!!

    Thanks so much for sharing this at The DIY Dreamer.. From Dream To Reality!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04083887019785415934 kenzis

    It turned out perfect! And the food was delicious!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13973569325953011025 Michelle’s Tasty Creations

    Sarah,
    As usual I love the information you always share with us. I think it looks beautiful and I’m sure it was such a wonderful day to see your little brother get married. Thank you so much for linking up your wonderful tips to Creative Thursday last week. I can’t wait to see what you link up this week. I wouldn’t be able to do these wonderful parties without your participation. Have a wonderful week.

    Michelle

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10770361789996528888 Shannah @ Just Us Four

    Great tips!

    I wanted to stop by and let you know that I featured this over at Just Us Four today! I hope you will come by and grab a featured button!

  • Anonymous

    My older sister & now brother-in-law lived in Florida & knew that they wanted a beach wedding, but they also knew that they didnt have the biggest wedding budget. So here is what they did; I do not know exact costs, but some were little to free…

    She rented the decorated arch/decor & chairs, but the beach spot was free.
    They had a friend Marry them.
    The isle music & reception music were sang/played acoustic guitar by some guy friends.
    The reception was a near-by pavilion, that had picnic type tables provided. Some friends pre-rearranged the tables to the outsides of the pavilion and decorated.
    Because it was a beach wedding, they chose finger-foods( made by a friend of friend), and the cake.
    My sister picked out a few bouquets from Walmart & made her own bouqeuts for the wedding.

    Her makeup & hair were done by the MOH & Bridesmaids.

    She had a friend that loves taking pictures do the *professional photos…and they waited a week before going on their honeymoon.