Wedding Decor - How to Not Break the Bank

bang for your buck

I've had several practical questions about the decor part of our wedding and how we did most of it ourselves, so here's some pointers to save you money!

  • Find creative friends: one of my roommates before the wedding let me use her BOMB calligraphy skills to write almost everything for the wedding! She did our invites, name cards, reserved signs, the "I will always choose you" hanging tapestry, our guestbook, the buffet menu, and both the mirrors with writing on them. One of my MOHs actually made our freaking wedding cake! She is so talented and creative and her cakes are amazing. I knew it would be a special touch to have our cake made by her!
  • Great decor without costing tons of money
    • I bought the fabric for the tapestry sign at Joann's for only $3!
    • I found the welcome mirror at an antique shop for $35 and now we are using it in our apartment, such a steal!
    • We had about 25 extra wedding invitations (which were expensive) so we folded them on the backside and used it for our reserved name signs. Boom!
    • I ordered our guestbook from ZNO Albums - I've always loved them and you can actually order your first album for FREE! We put our engagement photos in there and left plenty of space for people to write, and now it's sitting on our entry table! I believe I only paid $8 for shipping.
    • The other framed signs (guestbook, favors, and gifts) I bought as a print off of Etsy for like $3-5 each and then just threw them in cute frames I already owned.
    • We asked our family members to borrow certain antique items as well, like the entry metal barrel and milk jug, as well as the gold metal canister that was on our cake table. 
  • Order greenery online & explore your backyard: I only ordered the bouquets and boutineers from a florist because I knew those were things I couldn't do myself. All the florists I spoke with wanted to charge $1,000+ for the table garlands! Definitely couldn't afford that. So, I used Fifty Flowers to order all the eucalyptus for the tables, and I ordered a separate premade garland from Etsy (which I really didn't end up needing because my coordinator whipped out another one out of scrap wire and leftover eucalyptus!). I also heard that you can order through QRS or Sam's Club for greenery online! My family took the time to cut down huge bags of Salal from our backyard a couple days prior to the wedding, and we just kept them in trash bags in our cool/dark garage and they lasted perfectly. We mixed the Salal and the Eucalyptus for the table "garlands" which really just meant setting them on the table and trying to intertwine the branches a bit.
  • Do your own makeup: I really wanted to use a makeup artist at first, but it was just so expensive and I didn't really feel like I looked like myself. So, I strongly recommend doing your own! I put aside some money in the wedding budget for makeup anyway, so I went to Sephora and tried out longer lasting products for a nerve-wracking, tear-crying kinda day. My favorite two products I found were Lipsense (not at Sephora), HD Makeup Forever Ultra HD Foundation, and Studioskin foundation from Smashbox! Lipsense lasts all day and is smudge proof, lip proof, and eating proof! All you have to do is apply it once and then use the gloss throughout the day to keep your lips moist. The Smashbox foundation dries FAST, so apply in small areas and make sure to blend immediately. It does last all day though and for me it was definitely water and sweat proof! I tried to mix the two foundations so I could work better with it, which I personally preferred. Also it may not be the most ethical, but Sephora LOVES brides. Just tell them you are getting married and they will LOAD you up with samples! Several products I used on my face that day were just from the samples, so I never had to buy them. Score!