5 Money-Saving Wedding Décor Tips Only the Pros Know

Patricia Lyons Photography

You can spend a lot of money on wedding décor very, very quickly. What goes up, must be put up, or properly installed, by a professional. And as always, what goes up, must come down. Meaning that at the end of the day, you not only spend money on all of the lighting and d—cor you choose to rent or buy for your wedding, but you have to pay people to decorate and clean up, as well. And it can add up quickly.

But there are a few tricks the professionals use to save money when we're executing weddings and events, and here are five for you to consider for your own wedding:

1. Don't tent more space than you need. The tent rental company you use will be able to tell you exactly how many tables will fit under a specific-size tent, and what you need for a dance floor. The bigger the tent, the more complicated the lighting. So you end up spending much more than necessary if you go bigger than the smallest space possible.

2. For flooring, work with what you've got. There's no reason to build a dance floor if there's a space that will work for dancing at a venue, such as a pool deck or a large room with tile or hardwood floors. If there's no sure footing for anybody because you're on a lawn or a beach, you should consider installing a dance floor. But even then, keep it as small as possible to cut costs and create the effect of a very full party taking place on it.

3. Consider not using fresh flowers for your centerpieces. For a beach wedding, opt for centerpieces with sand and sea shells. Arrangements of vases with candles (colored or not), provide light at the center of the table, and are pretty without being distracting. And they cost considerably less than floral arrangements.

4. Repurpose as much furniture at the venue as possible. Look for attractive dining or occasional tables to host your place cards, guest book, and wedding cake. Consider draping them with tablecloths if they don't match your d—cor, but are the right size. At a big private villa, use patio furniture to create a VIP or cocktail lounge area off to the side of the main party where guests who don't want to dance can sit and visit. It's not necessary to rent fancy tables and chairs for cocktail seating if you work with what is already at your venue (and will have to be moved anyway).

5. Keep the flow of your reception simple. Fewer service staff are required for buffets than for seated/plated meals. A limited bar, with only a few options for guests, requires fewer bartenders to maintain. The simpler you keep things (including platters of appetizers versus having them passed), the less expensive it is to staff your event. And remember, every server gets tipped, too!

Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events, a full-service traditional and destination wedding planning company and Do-It-Yourself wedding planning consulting service for DIY brides and grooms based in the Washington, DC area. Sandy is the star of TLC's reality show "Wedding Island," about her destination wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques.

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