Budget is so important when planning a wedding. If you don’t have a set budget as you get underway, costs can quickly skyrocket and get out of control. Start with a budget and then find ways to work within it so that you don’t overspend but still get the wedding of your dreams.
One great way to save money is by reusing décor items. As an added benefit, you’ll help protect the planet. Weddings are notoriously wasteful, producing an average of 400 pounds of waste per event. By getting creative with décor, you can save money and be more environmentally responsible. Here’s how to do it.
Look for Unique Pieces That Can Be Used More Than Once
You have no reason to use decorative items at your wedding that you’ll simply throw away the next day. With a creative eye, select pieces that you can use again later, even in your home or garden. Unique, quality pieces can also help another bride later. Save your special items for a younger sister or friend who might be getting married soon after you.
You can also move items around at the event. Have venue workers move flowers from the ceremony site to the reception during cocktail hour. Bring it to the reception if you splurged on a backdrop for the ceremony.
Look for décor items that don’t scream bridal and are more versatile, so they are usable long after the event. Some good examples include vintage glass vases and high-quality artificial flowers and bouquets.
You can also save your friend’s and family members money by choosing bridesmaid dresses thoughtfully. Modern bridesmaid dresses are much more versatile than their forebears. Choose dresses that your girls can use at future events. Better yet, select a color and tone and let them select the specific dress so they can get the most use out of it.
Shop at Thrift Stores, Garage Sales, and Online Classifieds
Secondhand shopping is a great way to be less wasteful and save money. You might be surprised at what you can find in a thrift store that would work for a wedding. Cast your net wide to find the best items, including multiple thrift stores, garage sales, and online sales.
Keep in mind that some items are better bought new. Wedding decorations you can safely buy used include:
- Buy used, quality linens, like tablecloths and napkins, which you can also use after the event.
- Shop for vintage dishes and flatware for a more unique look at your reception.
- Glass jars and vases for table decorations are easy to find in thrift stores and at garage sales.
- Search for picture frames for table numbers, seating charts, and pictures of you and the groom.
- Look for items that match your theme but are not necessarily wedding-related, like feathers, vintage books, or crystals and fake gems.
- Jewelry for you and your bridesmaids can be vintage and much less expensive than new items.
- You might even be able to find artificial flowers for tables, the ceremony aisle, and bouquets or boutonnieres that are still in good shape.
Here’s what the experts recommend you avoid thrifting and splash out real money to buy new:
- Avoid buying any used paper products, like invitations, which can look more used and less vintage.
- Electronics, like a sound system for reception, might not work or could even be unsafe.
- Used crystal glasses might be tempting but could actually be dangerous. Old crystal often contains lead.
- Be wary of fabric items, like decorative pillows, which might contain allergens that irritate your guests. They could even have bed bugs.
Ask Friends and Family if They Have Decorations to Lend
Another source of decorations for a wedding is your social network. Survey family and friends— particularly those you know who got married recently — to find out what you could borrow or have to reuse. Many people save items like glass vases, dishes, artificial flowers, or backdrops and arches for outdoor ceremonies.
Some people might be willing to lend or give you these items, but you can also offer to buy used decorations. You’ll still save money, and they will feel like they didn’t waste all the items purchased for their own weddings.
Reuse to Spend More on What Matters
Too many couples regret overspending on their big day. If it feels difficult to be thrifty, consider all the other things you can spend your saved money on for a new home, renovations, or a honeymoon. With reused wedding décor, you and your partner will have a better start to your life together.