*The following post may contain affiliate links. Please know that all opinions are 100% my own and I would never suggest anything I would not use myself or believe in fully.
Hit up the dollar store
Believe it or not, the wedding company I work for buys a large lot of their glass from the dollar store.
They have cylinders, votive candles, vases, chargers, and other decor that can drastically improve your event for cheap. Check out this post here for other things you might not have known you can buy at the dollar store!
Trader Joe’s or the farmers market for flowers
Trader Joe’s has stunning, colorful, and well designed wildflower bouquets for around $8-$13.
These bouquets are pre-made, so all you have to do is either drop it in a vase for a table arrangement, or take it out of the paper, wrap it with some ribbon, and you’ve got yourself something to carry down the aisle for about $100 cheaper than any floral shop would charge.
If you’re going for a more modern or formal look, they also have white hydrangea you can bunch together. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near by, check your local farmers market. Often times there are flower farms that come and set up on weekends. YOU ARE NOT SUBJECT TO BABIES BREATH AND BULLET ROSES FROM WALMART. JUST SAY NO.
Drop the chalkboard pen
Some how, some way, wedding guests have managed to attend events for years without having to be directed by signs on everything. A guest book is self explanatory, a welcome sign is unnecessary, the bucket of sparklers by the door is obvious, and you certainly don’t need a dinner menu for a buffet, people will clearly see what there is when they get up there. Only use signs that are needed (i.e. wedding this way sign or something telling people to not take pictures).
Check Etsy, Amazon or look for white dresses, not “wedding” dresses
I got my wedding dress off Etsy. It was about $750, handmade, and stunning. I loved it. Picture above.
While it’s super fun to have the trying-on-the-wedding-dress experience, boutiques are extremely expensive. Unless you have a six figure income or have been saving for your wedding for the past 5 years, it’s ridiculous to spend thousands of dollars on something you will wear once. You WILL regret it.
Instead, check less obvious places, even Amazon has incredible options now. Look at stores that sell white floor length dresses that aren’t labeled “wedding”, check Rent the Runway for anything white, buy a bridesmaid dress in Ivory, or even buy something used off eBay. Jcrew has some very inexpensive dresses as well. Buy a cheap dress, get it altered, and it’ll look way more than you spent.
Design, then buy
I helped a friend on a budget with her wedding once. She had ideas about what she and her fiancé wanted, but didn’t have a perfectly designed plan. Because of this, they found themselves buying anything and everything that looked wedding related or was in their color scheme. By the time I got there to help them figure out how to design the event, we realized she had way over bought and didn’t need the half the stuff she thought she did. This is a detrimental mistake I have seen countless brides make. You should be excited to decorate your wedding, but you need to figure out the exact design for the tables, ceremony, etc. before buying anything.
The $5 centerpiece
Want a centerpiece that’s cheap and gorgeous? Get three of those cylinders from the dollar store I was talking about, and then fill them with water and put some floating candles on top. That’s a $5 centerpiece for you and I promise it won’t look cheap. If you want to take it a step further you can add some votive candles and rose petals to surround them or this cool fern thing thats pictured above.
Don’t buy “getting ready” outfits or anything that says “bride”
Matching robes, pants, tank-tops, etc. are expensive- especially if you have upwards of 5 bridesmaids. Obviously buy your maids something nice as a way to say thank you, but don’t feel like you need a Pinterest ready squad for your big day. People are capable of putting on their makeup and getting their hair done in normal pajamas. The same goes for you. Don’t buy anything that says “bride” on it. You’ll probably get enough of those things at your bridal shower, and just like the dress, it becomes a waste of money the day after you’re married.
Stop the DIY
This ties into rule #5, as well as the signs thing. Craft supplies are expensive. Just because you did it yourself does not mean it will always be cheaper. A complicated centerpiece that needs spray paint, a gift table sign that needs wood stain, an arbor that needs to be painted, fabric for an aisle runner, glue gun sticks, lace ribbon, markers, wax seals, and before you know it you’ve just sold your soul to Michaels. Little things add up to big things. Don’t let that big thing be a credit card statement.
Save the Dates
Simple. You don’t need them. Again, some how, some way, people of the past managed to make it to weddings with only ONE invitation. Crazy, I know. The only exception to this is if you’re having a destination wedding. If this is the case you should let people know way in advance.