Wedding on a Budget: Cheap Ways to Make It Look More Expensive

by Danielle Salazar November 09, 2015

For most brides, Pinterest has been a blessing and a curse during the wedding planning process. You’re blessed with unlimited ideas from floral inspiration to wedding day decor, yet cursed by the fact that most of your pinned ideas carry heft price tags. Unfortunately, we don’t all have the wedding budgets of a Kardashian (actually…we’re totally cool with that) and so finding resourceful ways to create your dream wedding on a budget is a task that most brides take on full-force. So rather than tacking on to your already high wedding budget, I’ve got 10 simple (and cheap, if not free!) ways to make your wedding look more expensive than it actually is. 

Wedding on a Budget: How to Make It Look More Expensive

10 Ways to Create an Expensive Looking Wedding on a Budget

Use your meal as a centerpiece. Incorporating food into table settings has become a huge trend in party decor. Not to mention, it’s an easy and affordable way to create a completely satisfying centerpiece! Style the tables with fancy bread baskets, bottles of wine, and even some artisan cheeses for your guests to munch on. Throw in a few candles and you’ve got yourself a gorgeous centerpiece that your guests will love.

Scour your home for decor. You might be amazed at all the treasures that you can use for your wedding decor, right within your own home! The perfect idea if you’re planning a rustic-chic or vintage wedding — check around your house to see what types of decor you have just lying around that can be used in your ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception. Things such as frames, baskets, candle holders, old books, chalkboard signs, furniture and other common household decor could all be gorgeous pieces at your wedding.

Make double use out of flowers. The cost of flowers can quickly add up and it’s an expense that most brides aren’t willing to forgo. So to get that lush look that you’ve always been dreaming of, make double use of your flowers! You know those bouquets you invested in for your bridesmaids? After the ceremony, give them to the staff to incorporate into table arrangements. If you have flowers lining the aisles of the ceremony, you can also use those in the reception decor as well! This way, you're getting large, lush centerpieces without paying double the price! Make sure to let your florist know ahead of time that the bouquets will have double-use so that he/she can make something that’s super versatile and just as beautiful!

Make double use out of the bridesmaid bouquets by incorporating them into the table centerpieces.Ali Kvidt Photography

Borrow from friends and family. Chances are, you’ve had family or friends who’ve previously gotten hitched and they might have some leftover items that they could hand down for your big day! From decor, linens, and place settings, it’s definitely worth asking! They also might have some gorgeous vintage frames or a bottle of recycled wine bottles that will perfectly fit into your scheme.

Make it metallic! There’s nothing a little spray paint can’t make pretty! Trust me, buying gold or silver items for your centerpieces, decor, or table settings can definitely get pricey so investing in a few cans of spray paint (and trust me, it’s a small investment) is a cheap way to fancy up your not-so-pretty decor.

Fancy up your linens. Obviously you can invest in linen upgrades, but that would require a pretty hefty charge and that’s not what this post is about! Instead, try try this simple trick that will really make a difference! Instead of just setting a napkin at each table, have one neatly folded on top of each plate or chaser into a fancy shape or into a pocket to hold your menu. Most venues will do this free of charge so it’s definitely something worth asking about!

Fancy up the table linens by elegantly folding the napkins and adding a dinner menu.Janelle Elise Photography

Brighten up the space. It’s pretty amazing what an array of candles can do for a dimly lit wedding venue. It instantly gives your space a classier, more romantic feel. Best part about it? They’re fairly inexpensive and can be used in so many different ways!

Forage the outdoors. If you’re lucky enough to have a yard filled with flowers, fruit trees, or even just some gorgeous greenery, you might be amazed at how much decor is just waiting to be used in your own backyard! Are you able to make your bouquets using flowers from your garden? How about using some limes, figs, or lemons from trees in centerpieces? Get some inspiration off of Pinterest and see what you’re able to make all on your own!

Get fancy with writing. Calligraphy is a huge trend right now and doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg! Rather than having a calligrapher hand write all of your invitations, have them create one that you love, make a digital copy, and take it to a local printer to be printed out! You also can take an evening to watch a few calligraphy tutorials online so that you can create your own escort cards, signs, and table numbers. It’s a classy look that will make all the difference!

Go frame crazy. From table numbers to signs, stunning frames add an elegant look! Whether you already own some or you need to take a trip to your local Goodwill or consignment shop, they can be relatively inexpensive and a gorgeous addition to your big day! And don't forget, if you find ones at shops that are the right size/shape but the wrong color, it's nothing that a little spray paint can't fix!

Frame signs, table numbers, photos, etc. for a chic and affordable way to spruce up your wedding decor!Christy Tyler Photography

Let’s Chat! I’m sure there are plenty more ways that you can save some serious cash while still making your wedding look extra fancy so I want to know, what are your ideas? What did you do to make your wedding on a budget seem more expensive than it actually was!? Leave a comment below and let us know!

Danielle Salazar
Danielle Salazar


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Measurement Guide

Taking Your Measurements

For the most accurate measurements, do not measure over your clothing. Your measurements should be taken while wearing undergarments similar to the ones you will wear with your dress. The measuring tape shouldn't be pulled too tight or have too much slack, and should always be parallel with the floor. 

**Wedding apparel is typically sized differently than retail clothing, so keep in mind that it's not uncommon to find yourself requiring alterations.

Bust size: Wrap the tape around your back and under your arms at the fullest part of your bust (not underneath the bust).

Waist size:  While standing up straight, bend at the waist to one side. Take the measurement where the natural crease happens in your side. This should be a few inches above your belly button.

Hip size: Standing with your feet together, wrap the tape around the fullest part of your hips and butt to get this measurement.

Choosing your correct size

Compare  these three measurements to the Kennedy Blue size chart above. It is very important that you order the largest size that corresponds to your measurements. For example, if your bust measures 40.5" (size 12), your waist measures 31" (size 10) and your hips measure 41.5" (size 8), we advise that you order a size 12, and get your dress altered down to custom fit your body. Ordering anything smaller than a size 12 would not fit in the bust area. Please note: Our bridal gown size chart is different than the bridesmaids sizing and is listed below.