The following article was contributed by Kristi Richardson- owner of Bloomed to Last- a premier design and event company serving Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia.
What would you say if I told you that you can create the most amazing wedding and save tons of money at the same time?
No, it’s true and I am going to tell you how.
Throughout my career I have had the privilege of helping couples create magical and memorable weddings. However, I notice there are several common wedding décor mistakes couples without professional assistance, routinely make. By simply avoiding these mistakes you will save tons of money, tons of time, reduce wedding planning stress, and create a stunning wedding look.
Okay, let’s dive right in.
1. Not establishing a clear color palette, theme, and budget. Once the ring hits your finger and you go into wedding planning mode, it’s easy to get wrapped up in anything wedding. Couples dive right into planning without a clear vision for their wedding and a clear understanding of their budget. They begin booking services and vendors that may not meet their needs later. Unfortunately, this leads to overspending, frustration, and ultimately, missing the opportunity to create your wedding day dream look.
Good design and budget is the key to making every penny you spend work harder for you. You’ll spend less and have more. **Don’t purchase or book anything until you have completed this step. ** If you need help, now is the time to hire a wedding planner and event designer. They will ensure you get the look you want at a price you can afford; they are worth every penny you will spend.
2. Skipping the colored linens for tables and chairs. Color is the cheapest way to give your wedding a high end look. It is such an important part of creating the mood and providing the visual WOW. Linens are vital to achieve this look and they are a fraction of the cost of adding other design elements like centerpieces.
Even if the venue offers the standard white table cloth, add an overlay or runner and see if they offer a colored napkin. Inexpensive chair sashes can also make a big difference. Don’t skip the linens.
3. Underestimating how much space is needed for the ceremony and reception. Guests and servers need space to move throughout the room. Dance floors take up 25% – 50% of the room’s floor space. You must also account for music performers, DJ, photographers, photo booths, cake tables, beverage bars, food stations, gift tables, etc…
Venue selection is critical to your budget and your design. Empty plain, banquet rooms may appear to save you money, but you will spend a lot more to decorate the space then if you had chosen a venue with “design features” built in. Look for grand staircases, marble or tiled floors, fireplaces, moldings, chandeliers, stunning grounds, or fountains that will enhance your wedding design.
4. Underestimating the size and cost for centerpieces. Standard round guest tables are 60 inches in diameter. After you add the plates, cups, and other accoutrements there is still 30 to 32 inches left in the center of the table. That’s a lot of space to fill and a 5 inch round vase of flowers won’t do it. Make sure you test the centerpiece you want on the table you will be using. I don’t want you to be disappointed when your centerpiece looks under-sized on the table.
Long tables are easier and more cost effective to decorate. There is less space to fill in the center of the table, so mirrors and hanging centerpieces work well; plus, using a variety of elements on the tables is typically more cost effective than one large centerpiece.
5. Ignoring the ceiling and the floor of the reception venue. There’s nothing like walking into a reception space that feels empty because the ceilings are cavernous, or the floor coloring clashes with the couples chosen color palette. Avoiding mistake number 6 can help disguise these issues without spending a fortune; plus, if you chose the right venue much of your work will be done for you at no additional expense.
6. Skipping lighting throughout the room. Lighting is key to setting the mood and will give any event a design “leg-up”. Candles are always beautiful and cost effective. Professional lighting is extremely affordable and a must in my book. Colored lights can take a soft romantic dinner hour and turn it into the hottest dance party in town.
As I mentioned above, using lighting elements effectively can also transform a plain reception space into someplace enchanting. For additional effect you can opt for falling snowflakes or moving lights projected throughout the space.
7. Ignoring menus and food presentation. Food is one of the most overlooked opportunities to add additional flair to the overall wedding design. Select foods that are in the season, color, or flavor of your theme and presenting them appropriately. In many cases, foods in season are much less expensive than out of season foods and have a much fresher flavor.
Everyone loves a good meal, but how your food is presented is just as important as the taste. We eat with our eyes first. You don’t have to spend a lot more on the presentation of your menu, to get a more dramatic effect. Simply ask the venue to use different serving vessel, like soup in tall shot glasses. You can also ask them to neatly stack the starch, protein, and veggie on the plate, accent with a yummy sauce. Culinary professionals use this trick for making food look more expensive and your guests will think so too.
8. Not varying the décor throughout the space. Grand weddings use decorations that vary in height, texture, color, flowers, props etc… Bottom line, your wedding look will benefit more by mixing more expensive items with less expensive items versus using the same item over and over.
Using a very inexpensive item “en masse” is a designer trick that will blow away your guests and keep your wallet happy. For example, fill the entire ceiling with hanging votive cups and candles versus hanging a few votive cups from the ceiling.
9. Not personalizing your overall wedding. Your wedding day needs to be an expression of you and your partner, a true celebration of your journey. This doesn’t mean just adding a few personalized monograms or initials in your decor. This means really showing off your personality and the things you love. That doesn’t mean you can’t pick a fun theme you adore, just make sure it says something about you.
It’s okay to tell guests your story along the way by sharing little notes, framed statements, favorite expressions, or pictures. Everyone will enjoy reading, seeing, and hearing your story. The great thing about doing this is that it has almost zero additional expense to your décor budget and in some cases will save you money on your décor; especially if you are willing to use your own personal effects, collections, or other personal items.
10. Making your wedding theme look like a souvenir shop. Many couples who select a strong theme (like casino, racing, peacock) have a tendency to buy anything and everything that is stereotypical of that them. Please avoid doing this. Not only does it look “kitchy”, but you waste money on items you don’t really need. Strong themes can still be elegant, fun, and personalized. It’s better to select a few elements from your theme and do them well, than shove every prop you’ve ever seen into your event. Let the color palette work for you and you’ll save a ton.
Planning your wedding should be a fun journey for you and your fiance. I do not want you to get overwhelmed or disappointed anytime during the process or worse yet, on your wedding day. Remember, take time to establish your budget and design your wedding first. You’ll save yourself a ton of money while creating a memorable day.