On a Budget? You Can Still Indulge.


Remember that cute toy that you absolutely had to have when you were 8? Or the shoes you saw in a magazine last week that you literally drooled over? The urge to acquire cute things starts early, and it can be painful when our budget (or parent) doesn’t allow us to have them. And of course, many people buy things they find irresistibly cute – Shopaholic-style – even when the budget doesn’t allow.

And the frightening fact is, nothing will tempt your inner Shopaholic so much as wedding planning. And if you’re trying to stay within a budget it will take a will of iron to resist (much like walking away from the all-you-can-eat chocolate buffet that you absolutely have to have at your reception).

But fear not, because we’re here to help with some tricks for indulging while still maintaining a healthy financial diet.

1. The Etsy Conundrum

You’ve spent all morning on Etsy and you’re hopelessly crushing on miniature candles in the shape of perfume bottles, adorable tiny succulent plants in burlap bags with personalized wedding favor tags, delicate rose bouquets made of scented soap, and so much more that you’ve hearted nearly every wedding shop on the site. Nevermind that your guests don’t want that stuff and will probably leave it behind – you just really want to buy something.

If you’ve got a big enough budget to indulge in your purchase, then go for it. We love frivolous cute wedding things – we are wedding vendors, after all. But if it’s going to strain your budget, you can get yourself a nice shopping high while buying something useful instead – like gifts for your bridesmaids.

These are the people you should spend on. The average bridesmaid spends $1,000, not to mention all the work you’ll ask her to do. And there are tons of stinkin’ cute things you can buy for them that they will appreciate, like jewelry, totes and bags, and our favorite – matching pajamas that you will later pose in for photos on the morning of the wedding. You can probably even throw in those little perfume-shaped candles, since buying just a handful of them isn’t likely to break the bank.

As for your guests, put that money into more food or a favor that doubles as a snack. That’s what they really want.

Pajamas and Starbucks. If you’re going to buy cute stuff, make it count. Photo by Mdree.

2. Florals

If you look at too many wedding blogs, you’ll crave a room full of flowers. But once you start looking at floral design, your budget will begin to climb, because there are few things that equal great floral design in terms of raw, wedding impact. But great florals come at a steep price. While DIY flowers are definitely not for everyone, and probably will not give the same result (no matter what Pinterest says), you can safely pull back a little and still enjoy some show-stopping floral moments.

We suggest indulging in a gorgeous bouquet, and perhaps a wow piece at the ceremony site. The ceremony flowers can be repurposed later for the reception. As for the bouquet, you’re going to be carrying that one bunch of flowers for a long time, and it’s going to feature prominently in your wedding photos, so this is a reasonable place to indulge your flower fantasies and get your money’s worth. It’s also the one bouquet your guests are guaranteed to spend time looking at.

Florals by Hope Flower Farm. If you have these, what more do you really need? Photo by Ten23 Photography.

3. Shoes

Don’t buy the most expensive pair of shoes you’ve ever purchased. If you’d normally never dream of buying a $1,000 pair of shoes, don’t suddenly decide you need Jimmy Choo’s for your wedding. If you’re wearing a full-length gown, no one is even going to see your shoes. And if you’re going to suddenly spend $1,000 on shoes, then at least get a pair you can wear more than once.

Recently, going with the “no one is going to see them” and “I want to be comfortable” trend in wedding shoes, many brides are having fun with their footwear. Sparkly sneakers are popular, and we’ve seen a surprising number of brides in cowboy boots.

There are a lot of really adorable shoes available for a reasonable price – heck, you could get three fun pairs of shoes for less than half the Jimmy Choo’s. Try some blue shoes or some super sparkly ankle booties. Have fun with it! You can go full Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz or get some custom-made ballet slippers on Etsy, all in a price range that should fit most budgets.

Go ahead, no one will see them anyway. Photo by Mdree.

4. Paper Goods

Don’t overdo the paper goods. If you’ve ever lost your mind in a Papyrus store, then you know how easy it is to overspend on stuff that is literally not worth the paper it’s printed on.

You may find yourself lost among invitations with more pages than you even know the purpose of, calligraphed envelopes, menu cards, programs, escort cards, and maybe a few more bits of pretty (very pretty) paper. Although many couples are eschewing paper goods completely, printed invitations remain popular. Many believe it sets the tone for the wedding and is something all their intended guests will look at. If that’s your feeling, and it’s in your budget, then go and get some nice invites.

However, RSVP cards, menu cards, programs, and escort cards are not a necessity, and you can safely skip them. Enjoy choosing some pretty paper goods by eliminating everything but one or two things and then spending on those.

Splurge on the invitation and make it special by using a drawing of your venue. But you can safely skip the rest of the paper goods. These, with a sketch of local venue Mortgage Hall, are available from Adoration, on Etsy.

Photo by Genevieve Leiper

5. Tablescapes

Leave the elaborate tablescapes to the blogs. Vendors love tablescapes – we consider them a kind of art form. You’ll see them featured prominently in the pages of magazines – including this one – but the majority of weddings do not feature such elaborate table decor, anymore than clothing stores feature the things you see on the runway. Instead, look at those beautiful tablescapes as inspiration, not as something to be copied precisely for all 35 of your tables.

Your guests are going to take in your reception room as a whole – they aren’t going to go in and peer at the chargers and napkin rings. If you’re going to spend on decor, focus on the big things and not the little things. 200 gold chivari chairs are going to look perfectly beautiful with the least expensive white tableware, some simple candlesticks, and a little greenery in the center.

If you want to indulge in an elaborate tablescape, limit it to a sweetheart table. You can enjoy your fancy chargers and napkin rings up close and personal, and your photographer will probably even get a lovely inspirational photo of them.

But where are the chargers and napkin rings? Said no one at this wedding. Photo by Sarandipity.

Cover photo by Sarandipity