Most of us brides start fantasizing about our weddings long before the bended knee, and no doubt things like a string quartet, elaborate cake, and Vera Wang come to mind. But when it gets down to slicing up the budget, aspects we hadn’t even considered (service fees, tips, napkins, envelopes, transportation – don’t even get me started on taxes!) start chipping away at our sometimes modest allowances, leaving little room to pull off the designs we envision.
Even so, there’s no need to stare at Pinterest with a box of tissues, mourning over the tablescapes that can never be. With a few creative alternatives, you can keep the look and feel of your wedding while saving those dollars for your top priority items.
See below for some popular wedding trends and themes, and how you can achieve them with these wedding planning hacks – without sacrificing that (enter your non-negotiable wedding must here).
1. Farm Tables
Who doesn’t love the look of bare wooden farm tables? If you have found a venue that provides them – you are in luck! These suckers can be very pricey to rent, depending on where you live. And though you can cover up less expensive tables with linens, if you are going for a rustic or minimalist look, you need something that is both attractive and affordable.
CONSIDER: PICNIC TABLES
Picnic tables are a charming alternative to farm tables, and from what I’ve found, they can be half the price.
You can ask you vendor if they offer end cap benches and bonus points if you can find some with benches that aren’t attached to the table at all, which brings me to my next point:
This trick will work if your ceremony and reception are in the same location and you have opted for tables (picnic or otherwise) without connected seating. Chairs, especially those of the non-plastic variety can give you sticker shock depending on the size of your wedding. If you do decide to rent chairs, make sure they do double duty! Use them for the ceremony and dinner. Throw cushions on them and pepper them around the reception area.
An even easier option is using benches, which will most likely be included in the price of the picnic tables, even if they aren’t attached. They are versatile and will require less time to relocate.
3. Vintage Couches
Vintage couches, especially in outdoor weddings, is a trend that isn’t going anywhere. Besides giving your guests a comfy place to sit and chat, they lend an air of romance to your décor. The problem with any upholstered vintage furniture is that they can be dingy, dirty, worn or compressed. High quality, freshly upholstered seating may be a bit out of budget, but that’s no reason to deprive your guests of that relaxed, living room vibe.
CONSIDER: PARK BENCHES
With a few throws and cushions, park benches can be just as cozy and romantic as any overstuffed love seat. You also won’t lose your deposit if someone accidentally spills a bit of their champagne.
They also make for great photos!
4. Vintage Cutlery
Oh the love I have for cutlery! Nothing makes me gush over a table setting like flatware with good design and weight, so you can imagine my dismay when looking through rental options. Everything in my price range reminded me of something I’d find rolled up in a napkin at a tradeshow lunch buffet. For me, it was the best silverware or no silverware at all!
CONSIDER: WOODEN FLATWARE
Depending on the food you’re serving, wooden utensils, whether disposable or not, can save you money, without compromising design. You can paint the handles, stamp them with your initials, or if you’re good with a wood burning tool, burn a design or your initials into them.
5. Vintage/Collectable Postage
Interesting postage can really take your invitation presentation to the next level, but vintage and collectable stamps can be difficult to find in high quantities, and can add an unexpected cost to your stationary budget.
CONSIDER: CUSTOM POSTAGE
Websites like Zazzle let you make postage using any image you want, meaning you can match your postage with your theme, or include a photo of yourselves. You’ll pay a little bit more than you would for standard postage, but you’ll achieve that on-point look of collected vintage stamps for a much more reasonable price.
6. Bridesmaids Bouquets
A big bouquet is always a show stopper, and a bridal party full of them can be a stunning display at the altar. But, if your floral budget is limited, and you aren’t inclined to learn to build bouquets yourself, large bouquets can take up an equally large chunk of the budget, and take away from table arrangements and your own bouquet.
CONSIDER: SINGLE FLOWERS
As we’ve mentioned before, single-stemmed bouquets are popping up in more and more weddings – and for good reason! King Proteas are a great option because of their thick stem and lush greenery. You can buy them at the flower market and trim off the lower leaves, leaving you with an inexpensive and gorgeous bridesmaid’s bouquet.
Choose flowers with woodier, stronger stems or reinforce flimsier stems by threading a thick floral wire up through the stem and into the very base of the flower. This will keep the flower from drooping from being held for long periods of time. Make sure the flower isn’t too small or too similar in color to the bridesmaids dresses or it won’t be visible.
Though every detail may not be exactly as you imagined it, by getting a little creative, you can actually create a wedding that’s more personal – all while keeping your budget in check!
Krystal Quinn Gibbon is a Canadian bride-to-be/MOH living in Los Angeles with her fiancé, Josh, and their chihuahua-mutt Asparagus. They both believe a wedding should be more about creating a fun and memorable experience for their loved ones than sticking to traditions, and hope their trials and errors can provide insight for others (or at the very least, entertainment). They keep a photo diary of all their adventures together at: coulddo.tumblr.com.