The decorations you have at your wedding bring your venue and theme together and tie in the personalities of you and your spouse-to-be. The beautiful thing about wedding decor is that it can be as grand or as subtle as you like. You can choose anything from huge lettering that spells out your new shared surname, or something small like fairy lights around doorframes or découpage table numbers.
Whatever you choose to do, it’ll likely add at least a little to your ever-increasing budget. In the UK, couples spend an average of £1,000 on professionally sourced wedding decor. This probably sounds like a lot, and it can be hard to justify when the average overall cost of a wedding in the UK is £19,184.
But, if you don’t have this much budget to dedicate towards decor, you don’t need to worry – it doesn’t mean you’ll have to settle for the bare minimum, or worse yet, no decorations at all. There are plenty of ways you can cut costs while still having a fabulously decorated wedding venue. In this post, we’re going to explore the many ways you can save money on wedding decor and still have the wedding of your dreams.
No, you don’t need to spend a lot on wedding decor. The average amount spent by couples in the UK may be £1,000, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend nearly that much. Every wedding is different, from the venue to the theme, so you might not even need to spend much on decor, anyway. Or, if you do want an extravagantly decorated wedding, there are ways to do that without going over budget.
As we’ve already highlighted, you don’t need to spend a fortune to have a beautifully decorated wedding venue. Below are 10 tips and tricks for how to save money on wedding decor so you can still wow your guests.
When choosing your wedding venue, you should consider the style and theme you want to go for and how easy it’ll be to make sure they align. If you want a modern theme but hire a rustic venue, you’ll likely have to spend a lot on decor to make that happen. Choosing a venue that’s already in line with the look you want to go for will help cut costs when it comes to decor.
Some venues already ooze class and beauty which means it might not need additional decor at all – it might already have stunning floral displays. It might also have the perfect lighting or decor which means it’s practically wedding-ready as it is. Choosing venues that have plenty of natural beauty is one way to achieve this, such as parks, gardens, beaches or historical houses.
Alternatively, search Bridebook’s comprehensive wedding venue directory for ‘blank space’ venues. They’re literally a blank canvas for you to work with, which means you won’t need to spend any extra money hiding features you don’t like, or battling against a pre-existing style. You’ll instead have all the freedom to bring in your own elements and design, and create a wedding that’s truly unique and personal to you and your partner.
Keeping your wedding decor minimalistic is a great way to have a simple yet modern style, and will also keep costs down. Keep your tables simple and elegant by leaving them free of clutter, and double up by using your wedding favours as decorations. A lovely jar of homemade jam or specially wrapped cookies with a simple label can also be an affordable and small – yet eye-catching – name card.
Creative use of wedding colours is also a simple way to keep costs down but still make decor pop. Whether it’s flowers or ribbons, a brighter colour will always grab your guests’ attention, so you won’t need to spend a lot on decorations. A bright colour against a muted background will create a very bold and eye-catching look.
Unfortunately, as part of our ultimate wedding budget breakdown, flowers and decorations aren’t included in the same category, which means you have to budget separately for each. But, the good news is there are ways you can use your wedding flowers so that they have double the use.
Why not use the bridal bouquets as decorations? As soon as everyone sits down at the breakfast and all the photos are taken, the bouquets get forgotten, so strategically place them as table centrepieces. You may even want to let your florist know your plans beforehand – that way they can work with you to create bouquets that you can later reuse. And most of your guests will be none the wiser!
Your guests will spend a few hours sitting at their table as they enjoy some drinks, food and the speeches. That means they’ll spend a good portion of their day facing the centre of their table. So, you could focus your decorating efforts on picking the perfect centrepieces to make a lasting impression.
While flowers are a popular choice of centrepiece, why not choose something more memorable, like glowing lanterns, unique terrariums or towering candelabras?
Just because your wedding venue is big enough for 80 guests, it doesn’t mean you should feel pressured to fill every single inch of space. It can be easy to get carried away, but try to look at your venue from the perspective of a guest – they won’t be expecting a multi-sensory theme park-level experience, after all.
Think about the important spaces and where guests will spend most of their time. Less is often more, so don’t feel the need to cram in as many decorations as you can.
If you start early enough, you’ll be able to save hundreds by designing your own personalised decorations. You could even ask around to see if any family or friends have some old craft supplies hanging around, which means you’ll save even more money. With some ribbon and a few pieces of fabric, you’ll be able to create one-of-a-kind bunting. Or with some coloured paper and glue, you can turn cardboard numbers into bright and cheery découpage table numbers.
Paper decorations are particularly cost-effective, not to mention versatile. Think homemade paper chains, origami cranes, streamers, confetti, bunting, tablecloths. Consider making some of your flowers from paper too, perhaps with pages from your favourite books or music scores from your wedding playlist.
Instead of buying or renting chair covers, which can be expensive and messy once everyone has sat on them, use wide ribbons instead. Wrap these in a big bow on the back of each chair and voila. This will be much cheaper and will add an elegant touch.
DIY decorations aren’t just a fantastic affordable option, but also a very popular one. According to our 2023 UK Wedding Report, 47% of couples married in 2022 opted for DIY decorations, so you won’t be alone if you go down the DIY route!
Bespoke, personalised decorations are among the most expensive, as they have to be designed and crafted by a professional, which can take time. So why not choose an existing design that fits in with the venue and your colour scheme? Off-the-shelf decor won’t be as personal to you, but it’s much cheaper. As a bonus, you could also sell it after the wedding and make some of your money back.
Buy your decor second-hand. Lots of new husbands and wives will be selling their decor on auctioning and repurposing sites for lower prices: take advantage of this. Similarly, utilise second-hand fairs and junk sales – as they say, one man’s rubbish is another couple’s treasure. These are especially good if you’re going for a slightly eclectic look where you don’t need 10 matching items, but just enough items under an umbrella theme.
You could even take it one further and repurpose items you would ordinarily throw out. For example, instead of throwing out empty jars, why not soak them in water to remove the label, then fill them with cheap, battery-powered fairy lights? It’ll cost you very little but will look fantastic.
Try renting instead of buying whatever decorations you need. Loads of styling and prop suppliers are able to sort everything out for you with a professional vision. There’s also every chance that your wedding venue may also have some available.
Alternatively, you could ask friends and family to dig out their old decorations or have a look at what they have buried at the back of their garage or deep within the loft. There may just be something hidden away that you’ll be able to make great use of as a unique piece of decor.
Here at Bridebook, we use our expertise to help couples plan their perfect wedding and save some money at the same time. Sign up today and start planning your big day!