I went with a vintage garden look partially because I knew it would save me money. Looking through wedding websites and magazines, I noticed brides that used that theme were able to use a lot of inexpensive materials.
2. Beg, borrow and steal (okay, don't literally steal)
Borrow from your own living room as well as from friends and friends. Most of my candle holders and vases were either borrowed from my sister-in-law or my mom's canning jar collection; cake platters came from my kitchen; and I took old soda boxes from my parent's living room for the dessert table. A family friend let me mow down her hydrangea bushes, and I even gathered tree branches from my parent's backyard. I even used a wedding gift I'd received at a shower for the kid's favors.
I also was able to work with a local decorator (Jane Steinkamp for my local readers), who offered phenomenal rental prices on the items I need to rent.
3. Ask for help and listen for advice
Both my father-in-law and one of my bridesmaids are graphic designers. Larry designed the logo that was used in many of our pieces and Melissa designed almost everything else from invites to menu cards. They were both happy to help!
Also, as your wedding approaches, listen closely to recent brides. If you've been following along this week, you've also heard me mention Jane. I've known Jane for years. In fact, I went to prom with son many years ago, but I would have never know to use her if I hadn't been listening when my sister-in-law talked about how affordable she was. If you find an affordable wedding decorator, they can be invaluable. Jane had a lot of great ideas that in the long run saved my money.
4. Discover the power of paper
Paper I discovered is an inexpensive way to add a lot of color to your celebration. This is true for almost any event. I used both scrapbook paper for centerpieces, name cards, programs and church decorations. I also used items printed for pennies at Vista Print and Office Max to add color, such as the favor tags, Words for the Couple cards and menu cards.
5. Consider what is in season
I was able to add some fresh flowers simply because mums are in season at the time I got married and are extremely affordable. Each plant was only $5.
6. Keep it simple and don't be afraid of what others will think
I was able to save money by printing a very simple invite - a front and back over-sized postcard from Vista Print. All of my information fit and after I purchased envelopes for mailing, they cost less than $150.
I had cookies and bars at my wedding instead of cake, and it was extremely cheap! Some people may have found it tacky, but I didn't care. I liked the idea and so I went with it. If you are fine with it, everybody else should be too. It is after all, your day.
I used burlap to make a runner for my head table. Had I gone with, say satin, I probably couldn't have afforded to do it. Another cheap material is tulle. Cruise the craft or fabric store checking out the price tag on various materials and see if anything works.
8. Remember it's not all or nothing
I really like the look for chair covers, but could I afford to do it for every chair in the reception hall? Not a chance, so I just used them as a way to set apart the head table.
9. Focus on what you want to make special
Unless your Kim Kardashian, you probably can't afford to do everything exactly the way you want it. And really, do you want to be Kim Kardashian? It would only mean that you have an expensive divorce on the heels of your wedding. I decided to focus on my guest table, head table and dessert table. I made them focal points and by focusing my resources on a few spots instead of spreading everything out, it made more of a visual impact in the reception area.