When you start planning decor for your wedding, it can become obvious that what seems affordable at first glance can get real expensive real quick when you start doing the math for a hundred-person guest list. Which is why it should be no surprise that wedding designers are pros at turning nothing much into something awesome. Because when faced with a big space and a small budget, that’s the time to get creative.
So back when she was putting together the #APWPlanner, Meg polled some of her favorite design pros to get their best suggestions for affordable materials that you can make look awesome with a little bit of elbow grease and creativity. Last year, we teamed up with Oh Happy Day (makers of some of the best affordable paper goods and party decor out there) to share those findings with their readers, and we figured it was high time we shared them with you. Some of these items will surprise you (and make you run and look them up); some of them will simply remind you not to forget old standbys. But, before we begin, here are some tips straight from the #APWPlanner to help you out (and save some hair-pulling) along the way:
- Don’t forget that decorations live in the world of reality. You have to buy them or make them. You have to store them somewhere before the wedding. You have to have time and help to put them up. So come up with a plan for all these pretty things before you ever touch a glue gun.
- You don’t plan a wedding based on style choices. You plan it based on reality (namely: who, what, where, when). Once you’ve got all that on lock, then come back to decorations as some really pretty frosting on top of that cake.
- You’re going to remember how the day felt, not how it looked. So go easy on yourself when you’re trying to figure out how to decorate this thing.
Anything paper: People usually ignore party shops for wedding decor, but paper pom-poms, crepe paper, paper wedding bells, and paper lanterns can look modern and classy when done up right. Raid your local party supply store for ideas or head to this post for some of our handpicked favorites.
Lots of candles: If you’re not into lots of crafting, you can make a huge impact in your space by just piling on the candles. The soft glow makes for beautiful photos, and you don’t need any special skills to make them look good—cluster a few different sizes together and go. Pillars can get expensive, so if you want to make a big impact while using smaller candles, try our hack and cover simple cylinder vases with vellum paper. Pop in some small votives for a beautiful soft glow at your tables.
Paper and glue: Paper is one of the most versatile decorating tools when you want quantity, because it’s cheap and can be made into a million different things. Think glitter paper, butcher paper, tissue paper, wrapping paper, and just add creativity. For our most affordable and impactful paper project, check out this paper flower backdrop, which you can download for free right here.
String or Rubber Bands: When combined with wood and nails, you can make incredible geometric designs out of colorful string or rubber bands. Check out our easy seating chart tutorial that uses little more than a plank of wood and some colorful rubber bands.
Balloons: Balloons are another one of those oft-ignored party store items that can make a huge impact when you buy lots of them and fill up a room (or pool). Get ideas right here.
Flagging Tape: Ribbon is super expensive when you try to do anything large scale with it. But there’s this magical stuff called flagging tape (which is basically plastic caution tape, but in a variety of colors and patterns) that costs literal pennies on the dollar and has essentially the same impact. See examples and get tips here.
Colored napkins: If you’re looking for a way to brighten up your tables, swap out white napkins for bright, colorful napkins. They make a huge difference without making a huge dent in your budget. If you want to make your own, check out our DIY neon-edged napkin tutorial here.
Fabric, Muslin, and Drop cloths: Some of the cheapest fabric you can get is the standard painter’s drop cloth. Add paint for an easy, affordable, showstopping backdrop (get the tutorial here).
Metallic paint: When all else fails, spray paint (or regular paint for cleaner lines, if you’re so inclined). You can paint anything metallic to make it look appropriately festive. Think plastic animals, figurines, or other small affordable items. Get the tutorial for these painted vases here.
Fruit: Speaking of things you can paint for festiveness, pick up a bag of fruit at your local Costco and make a modern, organic centerpiece. See our tutorial here.
what secretly awesome everyday materials have you used for your wedding?
This post was originally published on Oh Happy Day.
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