It’s been such a long time since I’ve written on the blog! I’ve got so many ideas stored away that I want to write down but it’s just finding the time. Running your own business is wonderful but boy, is it busy?! Anyway, I’ve been wanting to write this particular blog for a while. We style so many weddings and encounter all sorts of budgets that we try our very best to stick to. There’s no judgement on our side – weddings are bloody expensive and we totally appreciate that some couples have thousands to spend and others hundreds. Everyone’s circumstances are different and not everyone has family or vast savings to fall back on, so we never turn our noses up or have expectations about money. That being said, we’ve recently worked on some weddings where it’s really got me thinking about wedding budgets and how couples can use whatever money they have effectively. I’ve seen some couples be utterly ingenious with a tight budget and others where I’ve felt a bit frustrated for them because I just really felt like they could’ve squeezed that money a bit more and produced a better result.
So I thought I’d share some of our insight and tips on HOW TO DESIGN A BEAUTIFUL WEDDING ON A TIGHT BUDGET. (Disclaimer: This is all in our own, humble opinion. Talking about money always seems like a bit of delicate subject and it’s not our intention to offend anyone. Feel free to take or leave any advice that works for you).
Do your research:
First and foremost – do your research! Pinterest is your friend on this occasion as you really need to invest the time into looking at different wedding designs and figuring out what you like and what you don’t like. Do you like crystal and glass? Are you a boho bride? Do you like the rustic look? Do you want something crisp and classic? It’s ALWAYS a good investment to spend time researching different ideas and selecting and refining. Maybe it takes a while (and there sure are a million different wedding design ideas to sort through and get lost in??!!), but once you’re clearer on the colours, textures, feel etc that you want to go for, you’ll be a lot more savvy with what you purchase or hire and potentially not waste money on bits that won’t work and go against your finished design.
Bigger is better:
I’d say one of the most common mistakes we see on a regular basis is when couples have blown their budget on loads of teeny, tiny bits and bobs for the tables. Think disposable cameras, mini-confetti, mini bottles of bubbles, sweet jars etc. The tables have been fit to bursting with all these cute little accessories and gifts for their guests but then, shock horror…..no centrepiece! By the time you’ve spent money on all these bits, even if it’s only £1 here £1 there, it all adds up. In my opinion, couples are ALWAYS better off investing in better quality centrepieces like a beautiful vase of flowers or a candelabra and creating impact for when their guests enter the room. You could even use that money to create a real ‘wow-factor’ photo area or design a bespoke cake table area. Either way, it’s beautiful décor that your guests will remember after the wedding, not the tiny bottle of bubbles or favour they were given.
Choose your centrepieces wisely:
This leads me on nicely to centrepieces. I think there is definitely a misconception out there that you need every table to have a huge, big centrepiece like a whopping great blossom tree or ginormous vase of flowers for it to look good! In actual fact, some of the most beautiful weddings we’ve styled are the ones where maybe the centrepieces are smaller but they really encompass so much detail. For example, you could have some small jam jars of wild, fresh flowers and foliage but place it on a moss base or a stack of antique books and surround it with quirky, unique candlesticks and rustic votives. It doesn’t cost the earth but the detail really stands out and we can always tell straight away when a couple have a clear idea what they’re vision/theme is versus couples who’ve just chucked bits together. (See, research!!)
Multiple Design Centres:
Another really sneaky tip that I love giving our couples is to opt for multiple centrepiece ideas rather than just one. For example, you could have 2 or 3 different centrepieces (so maybe 5 tables have one idea, another 5 have another idea and another 5 tables have the 3rd idea). Obviously these all need to link somehow and have some sort of cohesion, so maybe they’re all glass based or they all feature wood somehow….but It’s actually a great way to save money! You can make 5 of the tables bigger/taller and possibly more expensive in terms of flowers or décor, however, save money on the other tables by making the other designs smaller or more intricate. It’s a win-win in so many ways. Not only is it budget-friendly and allow you to have some really elaborate, extravagant designs without bankrupting you, but the room appears to have a beautiful flow and sense of movement as the eye moves from low centrepiece to high centrepiece. It also gives the impression to your guests that you’ve really spent time thinking about the décor for your wedding and have put the effort in to creating different tables rather than just churning out 15 of the same thing.
Re-purpose, re-purpose, re-purpose:
There’s no getting around it; you will most likely have to spend a fair amount of money on your wedding (Weep!). However, I’m a huge advocate for getting good value for money and there are still plenty of ways that you can do this and experience that small personal win when you realise how resourceful you’ve been!
The best tip I can give is to re-purpose wherever possible. What I mean by that is to re-use items in different locations throughout the day. The easiest way to do this is to use your décor from your ceremony room, somewhere else later on for the evening reception. For example, if you hired pedestals and alter flowers for your ceremony, could you put these either side of your top table once the ceremony is finished? Could you use your ceremony flowers as your top table floral arrangement? The chances are that once you’ve said your ‘I Do’s’ and your guests have left the ceremony room, no one will be going back in there and so all those beautiful flowers and decorations will go to waste. It’s a great idea, therefore, to ask your venue staff or your chosen supplier to help move some items and re-purpose them somehow as once they’re in a new location, they will look totally new and no one will guess that they’ve actually already seen them somewhere else!
It’s especially a fab idea to re-purpose flowers. Your florists put so much love and thought into creating something totally bespoke and beautiful for you; our hearts do shatter a tiny bit when we hear that the flowers were only used for 20 minutes (apart from the fact that you’ve spent all that money on them!). So, if you can find another use for the flowers, brilliant! You could ask your florist or supplier to provide you with empty vases filled just with water for your top table or perhaps your guest-book table and then once your bridesmaids have finished having their photos, the vases can hold their bouquets. Et voila, you have some added room decoration!
Be wary of DIY:
I know it’s bad but I have to admit, I always do a short, sharp intake of breath when a bride tells me that they’re making something themselves or doing a spot of wedding DIY. Maybe it’s memories of my own wedding disasters rushing back to me or just the countless weddings where we’ve seen Blue Peter attempts that haven’t quite worked out, but in over 10 years of weddings – I have to say, not many DIY jobs turn out great. Here’s why:
The main reason I guess is simply that most of us are not professional seamstresses/painters/calligraphers/carpenters etc. It’s a 10/10 from me for effort, don’t get me wrong, but unless it’s something you or a family member are actually skilled in, you’re always better off leaving it to the pros as you just won’t get the same level of finish. The stress is also not worth it. Spending hour upon hour trying to glue tiny bits of wood together whilst simultaneously wrecking your carpet and getting covered in paint, all for it to not work anyway – no, no, no! My main point, however (getting back to the blog – sorry, I digresss) is the expense! DIY projects are so deceptive and yet we’ve all been there. You think you’re being super savvy by buying bits yourself and then you get to the Hobbycraft check out counter and realise you’ve spent £200 on coloured card and glitter pens! It’s definitely a better use of money to reassess whether you need those bits in the first place or let your supplier sort it out for you.
Find a supplier that works with your budget, not against it:
Just because you’re on a tight budget, doesn’t mean you can’t have professional help in creating a visually stunning wedding. There are so many design options out there, there will always be something that can be done to transform your venue. The right supplier will be upfront and open about costs and will help you design something within your budget. They’ll also tell you truthfully what you can get away with skipping and what you absolutely cannot. For example, they might suggest that it’s absolutely imperative to cover the curtains because they are the most hideous 80’s throwbacks, but to not worry about the candles by the bottom of the stairs as no one will notice their absence. A good supplier won’t be trying to shaft you out of money just for the sake of it, but will have a genuine desire to create something beautiful and work with you, not against you. Suppliers will also have so much experience – they’ve seen it all before! They’ll have a gut instinct of what a room needs and what will make the biggest impact for the least amount of money.
Our desire to support our couples and help them to make wise decisions, both aesthetically and financially, are what our previous clients comment on. Hopefully our prospective new couples will see our integrity shining through as well. Happy wedding planning everyone