You Want it All - But You Are On a Budget

Good day my lovelies!! Do you dream of hosting a wedluxe perfect wedding? Do you desire mountains of flowers, draping, lighting, speciality chairs, tables and linens, and gold dipped, hand calligraphed place cards? Do you spend days pinning the latest, trendiest, gorgeous wedding decor projects ever seen?!? You want it all . . . but you are on a budget? Don’t worry girl (or guy) you aren’t alone. In the wedding world today we are inundated with top notch, totally drool worthy wedding ideas. But just like I dream of owning a picture perfect, fully decorated house somewhere in the downtown of Toronto that is under a million bucks, curating a wedding with decor to the nines sometimes just isn’t a reality if you are on a budget. But do not fret! I have some advice to help you out that will still get you that totally beautiful wedding affair and not land you in debt. Here are some tips.

1. Take a realistic approach.

You can’t have it all. I know that sounds harsh, but unless you have an unlimited budget, you really can’t have everything. The first step is to reign it in and find a touch more of a realistic mind frame. Now we can move onto the steps that are going to make your wedding beautiful, pinworthy, personal, and not land you in paying off your wedding for the next 10 years.

2. Pick a venue that doesn’t need a ton of decor.

If you don’t have a huge decor budget but really want your wedding to look like a million bucks, book a venue that you love at it’s bare bones. So many venues have beautiful lighting built in (like a chic ballroom), stunning features like brick walls or beams (like a loft), or are surrounded by nature and are naturally beautiful already (like a vineyard).

wedding decor on a budget

image by Jenn and Dave Stark Photography

3. Set the budget before your begin.

Say you have $3000 for decor and not a penny more, but have 5 decor projects in mind. Odds are you can’t do it all with that budget, so setting a budget forces you to strike some of these items off the list and focus on what is most important to you. I also suggest setting a budget for each decor piece you want (and being realistic about the cost) and then adding it up. For example, if you want string lighting ($1200), a floral filled arch ($2000), speciality cross back chairs ($1800), a lounge ($2000), and marquee letters with your initials ($500) - you are now at $7500. Items add up! So look at costs before you bulldoze ahead and get let down once you see the quotes. Ask your planner about costs, they will be able to help and guide on what is within your budget and what isn’t.

4. Choose decor projects that make an impact.

String lighting or lighting in general can add a ton of pazazz to a room and allows for a lot of bang for your buck. A beautiful foliage filled garland down the centre of tables is also a less pricey project that makes a big visual impact. Bringing in some cool key furniture pieces for a lounge or welcome table also adds a lot to the overall look of a wedding. Items like custom calligraphy (which I adore but isn’t cheap), fancy favours, speciality linen overlays, and a 6 foot cake can often go unnoticed but really jack up the bill.


image by Robin Shark Photography, image via Once Wed, image via Intimate Weddings

5. DIY where you can.

I don’t recommend DIYing your entire decor wedding (like your flowers, draping, or string lighting) but if you are crafty, there are some projects that can totally be hand crafted! DIY projects add a personal touch to your wedding as well. Try DIYing some pretty signage (in lieu of pricey printed stationery), a pretty backdrop for your ceremony, or funky place-card holders. These items are what guests will remember at the end of the day.

6. Compromise is key.

So you want a Kim Kardashian epic flower wall. I get it, it’s awesome, but the average person can’t afford 10’s of thousands of dollars on a sky high wall of blooms. If you like the idea, how about a paper flower wall or a birch arch and garland? Don’t get me wrong, these items will still cost you but at a fraction of price. You love garden roses and full lush centrepieces, but at $9 a stem for high priced blooms, this just isn’t realistic if you are wanting to stick in a budget. So find a happy medium - choose flowers like hydrangea, lisianthus, and astilbe to create that full look you love in your centrepieces and only have garden roses in your bouquet. Keeping your decor budget in check doesn’t mean scraping your ideas, it’s about refining them to what is manageable within your budget.

budget wedding decor

image by Kristin La Voie Photography image via Style Me Pretty, image via Project Wedding

I will leave you with this thought. Wedding magazines and pinterest are a great place to gather ideas. But make sure you are making decor decisions that really resonate with you and not because you think you need to do to impress anyone. Quality items cost money, and although there are some awesome places out there for good deals, big picture decor items (like draping, lighting, flowers, speciality rentals) cost money so focus in on what is most important to you.

By Certified Wedding Planner Alexandra McNamara

Alexandra McNamara