It’s not that we wanted a cheap wedding, but right from the start, we knew what our budget was, and wanted to stick to it.
The pessimists said it couldn’t be done for less than double what we wanted to spend but I was resolute. The basics quickly gobbled up most of our allowance. Registrar, accommodation, food, venues – it all added up. I’d always known that I wanted to get stuck into the styled elements of the day, but it became clear that I would have to do most of the little details and finishing touches myself in order to stick to our agreed figure.
At Sage Joan we love a challenge, and styling a beautiful winter wedding on a tight budget was right up our street. Here are our tips and ideas on things that you can do to make your wedding look beautiful without breaking the bank.
When it comes to wedding flowers, don’t be afraid to try some yourself. It’s fun, creative and it really helps to keep the cost down. We got married just after new year so I was conscious about the availability of flowers. Because we also had three venues to plan for, I kept it simple and seasonal to stay on budget.
DIY wedding flowers
I pre-ordered a few wraps of our chosen wedding flowers from a wholesale florist in Winchester. Two types of Eucalyptus, snowy white Ranunculus, and some Gypsophila were waiting for me in a chilly warehouse on the bright, frosty hills of Twyford the morning before the wedding.
I had planned lots of loose, romantic foliage to adorn our venues, as well as some delicate, but eye-catching posy-style arrangements in jam jars to keep it looking professional. I spent a couple of hours the morning before the wedding in my parent’s garden arranging 25 small jam jars and 2 larger arrangements.
Although I did most of the floral arrangements myself, to keep stress levels to a minimum, I left the bridal bouquet and the bridesmaid’s flowers to a professional. I went for lots of wintery foliage; eucalyptus, hyacinth, rosemary, ranunculus and some beautiful dried flowers. The trick to styling a wedding on a budget is to do the things that you feel comfortable with yourself, but don’t put yourself under so much pressure to deliver that you end up getting stressed. Know when to splash the cash and when you can do a fab job yourself for a fraction of the price.
Candles are a cheap way to create ambiance and a romantic atmosphere. Don’t forget to double check with your venue to make sure they are happy for you to have candles at your event.
Candles were a big part of our wedding décor. In the ceremony space we had hurricane vases with pillar candles in the windows, running down the aisle and on the registrars table. We also had tea lights in simple holders dotted around. The vases were cheap IKEA ones and the candles the same but you’d never have known it to look at them.
For our wedding breakfast we had tall, taper candles in chrome candle stick holders. Again, cheap IKEA candles and bargain B&Q holders but down the centre of the tables, the effect they created was beautiful.
Styling the ceremony space
For the ceremony, I had planned for loose branches of Eucalyptus to be the star of the room. With sprigs tied to chairs, laid across the registrars table and on the window sills. The smell was gorgeously festive but most of all, the silvery, blue-green leaves created the elegant, romantic look I wanted.
I made some inexpensive chair covers out of sheer, white curtains from IKEA. For under £10 I had 8 covers which went on the chairs that were closest to the aisle. Tied on with hessian ribbon, they looked perfect.
I had so many compliments about the way that the room looked, to know how cost-effectively the style had been achieved, I was delighted.
Table favours & decorations
The tables at our wedding breakfast were again, simple and romantic, yet personal. Placed down the centre of each table were drifts of loose eucalyptus with the tall chrome candle holders and their elegant taper candles standing tall amongst the leaves.
I produced personalised menus for each guest which was ever so simple to do and our guests loved it (especially older guests who took theirs home as mementoes.) We had a few different table favours, some miniature candles, heart shaped bottle stoppers, bottles of wine and Ace of Hearts bottle openers. All bought cheaply on amazon but again, they went down really well.
I found that a lot of the little touches were the ones that made a difference. Because my venue décor was relatively low key, fragrance played an important part in uplifting the look and feel of the venues.
Although most of the candles were cheap IKEA ones, I added a few Yankee Candles in there to introduce a delicate, but beautiful fragrance. Winter Jasmine and White Gardina candles complimented the soft Eucalyptus smell that came from the fresh flowers, and it all worked perfectly with the Eucalyptus, Hyacinth and Rosemary in my bridal bouquet.
For my own wedding scent, I chose Jo Malone, Peony & Blush Suede. This light, fresh, romantic perfume was the perfect companion to the other wedding fragrances.
The best thing about incorporating scent into your wedding style is that every time you smell those things post-wedding, it will remind you of your beautiful day.
Do something memorable
One of our favourite things that we did on our wedding day was try for a sparkler photo. Although the pictures of us are a series of photos with two people who have the panicked expression of having 30 sparklers thrust in their faces (who knew how scary that would be), the memory of all our guests standing outside on a chilly January evening laughing over sparklers is priceless. We bought our sparklers in November when they were on 3 for 2 for Fireworks Night so for very little money, we created a perfect moment with our loved ones.
These are just a few ideas on how to style a wedding on a tight budget. Be as creative as you are comfortable being, but most importantly, have fun. I loved styling our winter wedding and the fact that we managed to keep to our budget made me really proud.