It’s completely okay to be on a tight budget for your wedding…you just don’t want it to appear that way to your guests! It’s like the saying, “Champagne style on a beer budget”; well you can do it!
I’ve compiled a list of DOs & DON’Ts for wedding planning on a tight budget based on trends I’ve seen recently.
1. DO – use lots of candles if it’s appropriate for the time of day, lighting, etc. Candles are an inexpensive way to add to your décor and are especially great when you have other décor elements that reflect the light. It gives a magical feeling! My philosophy on candles is that you can never have too many and they can fill in those gaps in décor as well as set the mood.
DON’T – use tealights with the tin bottom unless they won’t be seen. A clear cup looks best when the entire candle is visible. Tealights that are removed from the tin or come uncontained will not burn long because the wax spills outward and will not keep the wick burning. LED candles are another enemy of mine. You can’t beat the radiant light that comes from a real candle, and I have an issue with anything fake. LED candles should only be used if you have to or if they will not be seen directly. There are some exceptions…I’ve seen some great looking LED candles with real wax and a “flame” that is held lower within the wax so you don’t see it easily. These are better when the candle will be high enough that people can’t see right in and know that it’s fake. It’s always good to test any ideas you have…a show doesn’t go as well when there’s no dress rehearsal!
You can purchase large quantities of tealight or votive candles and they typically burn for at least 3 hours. Small glass cups to hold the candles also come in quantity packages at affordable prices.
2. DO – purchase real flowers! If you cannot afford to pay a floral designer for all your flowers, consider getting quotes on the most important floral (like the bridal bouquet) or even coming up with several ideas for your floral arrangements to see if one will work better with your budget. There may be somewhere you can purchase flowers yourself and just do simple arrangements on guest tables, etc. Before resorting to this, I would check with several floral designers and see what can be done with your budget and also ask for suggestions from them for cutting costs. Floral is SO important, so I wouldn’t give up on professional arrangements very easily.
DON’T – please DON’T use artificial flowers! The only time that might be considered ok is if they are used on something not within eye level where anyone would ever recognize they aren’t real. Artificial flowers and plants are tacky and may cost more than the real thing.
With some research and planning, you should be able to pull off real floral on a tight budget. There are also some alternatives that will cut down on the amount of floral you’ll need to purchase…just no plastic!!!
3. DO – ask for help! Doing everything on your own is overwhelming and exhausting. Having a planner/coordinator will save you! On a tight budget it may make sense to just have a day-of coordinator to make sure everything goes the way it should.
DON’T – try to do everything without help outside of your family and close friends. Every bride has a vision of their wedding day and when people we love get involved it can get ugly. They may have their own idea of how your wedding should be which can cause tension if you don’t like their input or they may flake out which can have permanent effects on your relationship. You don’t want to add drama or hard feelings to your day!
4. DO – pick a color theme(s) that is easy to match. Some specific color shades are very difficult to match and can make it difficult to find appropriate décor items within your price range. When items that should be the same shade are close to one another and obviously not the same shade they can look tacky.
DON’T – be inconsistent with colors and textures. If the décor is a mish mash of random stuff you found it can be overwhelming to take in. You and your guests should feel calm and not overloaded by a bunch of random crap that fit the theme.
Be picky about what you purchase for your décor. If the look you end up having is minimalist, that’s better than a busy thrift store type of feeling and spaces can always be filled with candles or other small accents that fill in those gaps. White, gold, and silver are some go-to colors that are easy to match and can easily be mixed with any colors.
5. DO – look fabulous! Invest in hair and makeup at least for yourself, as well as alterations for your dress. You want to feel like a million bucks on your wedding day! You shouldn’t look like you do every other day and you shouldn’t have pressure on yourself to do your own hair and makeup. Your dress should also fit and flatter you in all the right ways. You don’t want boob spillover…or spillover of any kind for that matter! Your dress should also be the proper length. Bridal gown consultants can help you find a gown that does all of this! I would avoid ordering online or based on how you saw someone else look in the gown (in a magazine, etc.) Your gown should be unique to you and it’s worth the time and money investment to make sure it’s right.
DON’T – have Susie next-door do your hair and makeup…unless she is a professional! Just because someone has a talent for doing their own hair and makeup does not make them capable of making you look your best on your wedding day. It’s only one day, but it will live on through photos and memories forever. Why be stuck with unprofessional results when there are affordable options for quality professional services?
It’s a good idea to do run-through of hair and makeup. It may be more flattering to have your hair up or down depending on the dress style and makeup may look better a little understated or more dramatic. You can experiment with different looks and have proper time to decide what you like best.
That’s all I have for now! There are so many more DOs and DON’Ts I can think of…so maybe a part 2 is in order for the future.
Stay positive and remember to put yourself first sometimes -