DIY Wedding on a Budget
For those of you planning a wedding on a budget, take heart. You can find an extra level of comfort in the fact that you are putting every penny to good and thoughtful use, and all the extra effort to create all those decorations bring that much more satisfaction and enjoyment on your big day!
My daughters wedding budget was a challenge- $3,000. That included everything from the dress, belt and veil (handmade), to decorations and even the photography (hired per hour instead of per day). She was completely committed to it, knowing at the end of the day all of these decorations would end up in the trash (so unromantic, but so true) and all we would be left with are the photographs and memories. As you can see, we really didn’t sacrifice a thing in terms of the whole wedding experience, for us or our guests. Everyone had a great time and nobody more so than the bride and groom! Wanna see the highlight reel? Click here
We started by choosing a backyard venue, and organized monthly craft days so all of the friends and family who wanted to help could get involved, and we had a blast spending time together, sipping mimosa’s, and crafting for her big day.
Following are just a sampling of some of our wedding craft day projects. Each item could be a blog post in itself, but I chose to combine them all and leave out the tutorials (google has plenty). Here’s the DIY details in all their glory, from start to finish!
The first thing guests saw as they approached the house were the signs leading them to the wedding site. Each stated a portion of the vows they would soon take. These were made from paper, wood stakes, and wood squares. Simple, and a great welcome:
WOOD BLOCK INITIALS: The next thing guests would see was the entrance gate. We decorated it with their initials painted white and strung them up with wide white ribbon:
WELCOME TABLE: This table welcomed guests immediately upon entrance.
SEATING CHART and BANNER: Listed in alphabetical order and painted on a white framed mirror, it was quick and easy to locate your table number:
These simple unmatching frames were a thrift store find. We sprayed them all white. Yup, that’s my wedding pic on the right. At least I wasn’t the only one in puffed sleeves- Brad’s parents were married in the 80’s as well!
The table also held programs, printed on plain white printer paper and tied at the top with bakers twine:
And this white fingerprint canvas replaced the usual guest sign in, with a heart outlined in an embroidery running stitch to help guests stay within the lines.
WISHING TREE: These little wishing tree jeweled cards were made using plain white card stock, rhinestones, blush pink ribbon and a corner paper punch. Manzanita branches were collected and spray painted wedding white. The gorgeous silver trophy bucket was borrowed from a friend:
This little sign was made to match the cards using card stock and a piece of vintage ribbon from my ribbon bin.
GIFT TABLE: Directly opposite the welcome table was a place to drop off gifts. We used round printed paper cut-outs to make banners for all of our venue areas. For cards, we borrowed the birdcage from a friend.
AISLE BLOCK: The bride and groom wanted everyone to feel a part of one big family so there were no “sides”. This is identical to our front yard signs, and we used it to block the center aisle so the bridal party would be the first to walk down:
THE ALTAR: This was left to my husband- the master carpenter. He built it in just a couple hours even though he had the flu and it was almost 100 degrees outside. Even this fit into our slim budget! I used leftover paint to spruce it up and 2 sets of netting curtains from IKEA ($5 each) to decorate it. We took the curtain rods from our house and the chandelier was borrowed from a friend’s bedroom! Whatever it takes right?
AISLE DECORATIONS: Mason jars make great vases, and a friend had nice sturdy shepherds hooks to hang ours from. We twisted wire leftover from a wedding hanger project to string the ribbon to hang them.
The flowers used for the aisle runner were grown in my garden over the summer. These zinneas had great petals to contrast our green grass “carpet”.
TABLE NUMBERS: These were made from silk scraps left from the wedding dress project. We printed photos of the bride and groom at the age corresponding to the table number. and tied them on with bakers twine.
RECEPTION PLACE CARDS: This statice was also grown in my garden and the stiff stems were perfect for our seating cards. We folded printed paper strips and secured them with a silver brad.
WEDDING FAVORS: Honey from my beehives sparkled in the August sun. We attached tiny red hearts to the ends of tea bags, and tags with ribbon were made with plain card stock. These were placed atop Thank You cards for each guest.
RING PILLOW: I’ve had this gray stripe fabric in my remnant bin for years. Glad it finally went to good use! Gray satin ribbon and pink twill tape (all scraps) secured the promise ring Brad gave Elise when they were in high school.
POPCORN BAR: The bride and groom opted for an alcohol-free reception, so in lieu of the typical cocktail hour we had a social hour and popcorn bar. These labels for homemade popcorn seasonings were printed on card stock and taped around dollar store shakers. Instead of renting the machine, we borrowed one from our church. They also generously donated the used of chairs, tables and tableclothes.
While guests were mingling, they could browse all of the engagement pictures, hanging from bakers twine with mini clothespins spray painted white and strung around three sides of a trellis:
Guests could also snap fun photos during social hour in our open-air photo booth. We created the backdrop with a pink curtain found in a thrift store, and used props from Elise’s Inkspot Photography stash. A friend manned the booth and took the pictures.
This was my little surprise for the newly married couple. I bought dollar store plates and decorated them with sharpie marker, then baked them to set the finish.
CUPCAKE LABELS: These were also made from paper, and a friend baked the cake and cupcakes in exchange for dress alterations.
We also worked a trade with our florist for wedding photography. Bartering rules!
The photographer had fun playing with effects on the dance floor lights- an inexpensive Target find, and we strung them on rented poles. Thanks to a tip from our wedding coordinator, we found sets of poles for just $19 each! Who knew?? They went a long way in setting a great party mood. The groom put together a great dance mix and a friend manned the ipod. The dance floor was packed the entire night!
Sparklers from Chinatown provided the perfect ending to a perfect night and they went out with a bang!
The final number? An unbelievable $2,043! That means they pocketed the extra $1000 to use for other things needed for house and home :)