5 Simple Ways to Make a Budget Wedding Feel Expensive

Groom and bride holding white balloons in woods

Photo by Kelly Kollar Photography

Despite the myth that inexpensive weddings innately appear substandard, elegant nuptials can be achieved on any budget. However, doing so with limited funds requires that you prioritize which elements of your wedding are most important to you and set out a plan for allocating funds accordingly. Ashley Douglass of Ashley Douglass Events and Tzo Ai Ang of Ang Weddings And Events offer their expertise on how to fashion a beautiful budget wedding that looks like a million-dollar affair.

1. When in Doubt, Opt for Simplicity

The enemy of elegance is clutter, so keep your wedding décor streamlined if you're working with a strict budget. "Keep the overall look simple instead of trying to execute a ton of DIY details that really should be done by professionals. White, ivory, and all shades of gray are simple and elegant," explains Douglass.

2. Plan Your Floral Décor Strategically

Flowers are essential, but a floral bill can quickly bust a budget if you're not careful. Douglass suggests that the solution is adopting a strategic attitude about where you place your flowers and which varietals you select. “Trying to keep your flower budget very very low by not having enough flowers on the tables is not going to make you happy!” Douglass advises. “Be smart with your flower choices if on a very tight budget. Nix the peonies and the orchids, and so get more flowers for less money,” she suggests. Ang seconds the notion, elaborating, “If you're working with a strict budget on floral design, I would design one large statement piece that guests see when they enter the space, like the escort table. Really impress the guests with the first thing that they see and make it feel luxurious.”

3. Limit Your Guest List

Instead of attempting to throw a lavish wedding for 300 guests on a shoestring budget, Ang advocates cropping the guest list. “Rather than spread a small budget over a large number of guests and have to cut corners in multiple areas, treat your nearest and dearest to an intimate and unforgettable experience,” Ang suggests.

4. Dabble in DIY

Though she strongly advises against completely submerging a wedding in DIY décor, Douglass does provide an exception to the rule: paper items. “Save money on your day with paper: ceremony programs, menus, and seating cards,” she states. “Find creative ways to take on these particular projects yourself; maybe you have a friend that is a graphic artist. You can use the same fonts as used on your invite, you can flat print in color even at your neighborhood printer, etc. This route can be a worthwhile way to save money, provided that you get cracking on these items way in advance to be safe,” Douglass advises brides.

5. Make Your Entrances Grand

Your guests may not remember an inexpensive linen here or a lack of floral arrangements there, but they will recall their entrance into your wedding. Make your attendees' entree into your nuptials striking by positioning flowers, candles, and other elaborate decor at your location's doors to set the tone for the occasion. “Never forget the entrance and exit of each event space,” Douglass insists. “If your wedding is casual enough, paper illumina is easy and low in cost, as are nine-inch glass cylinders with floating candles.”

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