The burning question for many brides is, “Can I plan a wedding on a budget that still looks amazing?”

And the answer is YES!

A beautiful wedding is possible no matter what your budget, but you may need to be a little more savvy and plan more carefully.

1  Pick a venue with good bones, that fits your theme

When your venue is beautiful in its naked state, you need to spend less on flowers and décor to ‘cover up’ any aspects that you don’t like. It is also important that your venue fits your theme and design ethic. For example, if your design is minimalist, fresh and contemporary, a venue with vintage features such as ornate chandeliers, sconces, and wallpaper (which are all permanent fixtures) is probably not the answer for you. You will need to spend a lot more on draping and décor to conceal the personality of the venue.

Contemporary wedding venue with modern glass chandeliers

2  Stationery

Stationery is an area where you can afford to save a few pennies. I am a massive stationery fan and a complete font nerd, so the idea of completely eliminating paper stationery was not an option for me but you don’t need to have a fully printed stationery suite. Here are some ideas on how to beat the budget when it comes to stationery:

    • Forego printed invitations / Save the Dates and send your announcements out digitally. Focus your spend on a few showstopping Day-Of stationery elements.
    • Or, keep the gorgeous, printed invitations in the budget but instead of spending money on throwaway place names, choose a double-duty item like a leather or wooden keyring that can act as a guest favour and place name.
    • If you (or someone in your bride tribe) has nice handwriting, buy some inexpensive card and create your own place names. Bonus points if you write a personal thank you card for each guest! Or, consider writing place names on leaves.
    • Consider using a reusable item like a vintage mirror or chalkboard for your welcome signage
    • Don’t print menus for every person – just print 1 or 2 per table
    • You could do away with printing table menus altogether and add this to your seating plan. That way, when people view the seating plan, they can also see what will be served on the menu and that eliminates a whole lot of superfluous printing.

Wedding menu hanging from copper frame

3  Repurpose your flowers

If you are going to spend money on gorgeous blooms for your ceremony, don’t let that expense go to waste and only be admired for the 30 – 60 minute duration of your ceremony.

One idea is to not do a flower arrangement on your signing table and to simply place your bridal bouquet on the table during the signing. You will need a place to put your bouquet during the signing and this is the only time that this area gets photographed anyway.

Another suggestion is that if you have vases of flowers at the start of the aisle, arrange for someone to move them into the reception venue after the ceremony. They can be used on the gift table, dessert table, or at the bar.  At our wedding, we had vases of water ready and waiting on the gift table for my bridesmaids and I to pop our bouquets into. It kept our flowers fresh to take home, and added a gorgeous splash of colour to this area.

Note: the use of foliage is not necessarily going to be cheaper than flowers. Since greenery started trending and more people are making use of it, there isn’t a huge price difference between flowers and foliage anymore.

Floral arch and white buckets filled with flowers

4  Food

Food is one of the most important aspects of any successful celebration so I would never suggest skimping on your menu but you can make clever menu choices that are more cost effective.

    • You don’t have to have a three-course, sit-down menu. For example, if you are having canapes, you can scratch starters and go straight into mains.
    • Buffet options and sharing boards often works out less expensive than plated menus
    • If you don’t fancy the look of chafing dishes, consider a grazing table. The main difference between a grazing station and a buffet table is the presentation: you won’t see a chafing dish anywhere in sight on a grazing table!  Typically a grazing station is packed full of finger food such as cheese, charcuterie, fruit, veg, an assortment of bread and crackers, condiments, dips, nuts, sweet treats – and more! It encourages creative set-ups with baskets, boards, mason jars, platters, tiles, flowers, etc.
    • You can serve your wedding cake as your dessert

5  Cake

You don’t need to have a grand three or four tier cake if you are hosting a smaller gathering for your wedding. If it’s the appearance of a multi-tier cake that you are after, chat to your baker about doing dummy layers topped with a smaller tier for cutting and eating.

Three tier green wedding cake with succulent decor

6  Wedding dress and accessories

There are a few ways that you can save when it comes to your outfit on your wedding day- but still look sensational:

    • You don’t have to buy a brand-new dress for your wedding! You can opt for a pre-loved gown or look out for a sample sale dress. Or you can hire a gown, which makes a lot of sense if you don’t plan to keep your dress after the wedding.
    • If you do buy a dress, and you don’t feel the need to hang onto it after the wedding, you can sell it to recoup some of the funds.
    • Consider the old rhyme ‘something old, something new, something borrowed…’ What can you borrow or repurpose? Perhaps a veil or vintage pair of earrings from a mum, granny, or sister?
    • Depending on how traditional you are, you also don’t need to have a garter.
    • Many brides these days are option for non-bridal footwear, that can be worn again – like a pair of funky sneakers, cowgirl boots, leather brogues etc.

Bride wearing sneakers with wedding dress

Cheers to finding the sweet spot where budget and great design meet!

Love Jacqui from Marriage Meander