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Wedding Design on a Dime

February 8, 2018


Oh the dreaded BUDGET!  Yes it is the pet peeve of all Brides when they have spent countless hours scouring Pinterest for fabulous ideas and then they find out what it actually costs to have that look….

Well as an Event Designer I do my very best to help you find a happy medium for my clients.  I chose this topic for this week because I often get clients that fill out my decor questionnaire and if you have ever seen it, the questionnaire has just about everything a person could need for planning & decor.   Along with all the typical questions..colors, venue, guest count etc...and the last question is the budget range.  It isn't uncommon for me to get a client who wants Linens, Centerpieces, Draping, Monograms, Lounge Furniture, Up Lighting, Bridal flowers and a Planner for 200 ppl and the Budget range is $1500 - $2500….Well….read on to see why that Look your going for will likely be double the $$


Lets look at the 4 BASICS…

  1. Linens

  2. Centerpieces

  3. Chair Covers - if your venue does not include a desirable chair option

  4. Table & Chair Rentals  - if your venue does not come with enough

These are all MUST HAVES… so keep that in mind as you determine your Guest List.

Yes the Guest List !

Did you know that for every 8 to 10 people that can be anywhere from $100 to $250.00 per table depending on the type of linens and centerpieces that you choose! That’s $2500 to $6250 for a 200 person wedding ...  and for most of my clients that is or exceeds all the budget that they have!!!

By lowering the guest list by 50 people, could be the difference between a $300 - $1500 savings!   And that;s just for table decor now times that by the cost of the meals per person and...$$$

You may even consider not having a sit down dinner and opting for Heavy Hors d’oeuvres…(very trendy right now) and by choosing this idea you have the option of not having 100% seating; instead you can offer a mixed set up of tables using smaller cocktail rounds a few 60 inch rounds and a few high top tables.

Less Tables = Less Linens + Less Chair Covers + Less Centerpieces = More money in the budget for other things like up lighting or a chandelier over the dance floor.


Here are some tips that I use to help my clients find that happy medium…



While I LOVE Lush gorgeous textiles...you don't need to use an expensive linen to make a statement.  Save the Luxury Linens for your Cake and Sweetheart Table.

Maybe you found a venue that offers house linens...use them!  For a pop of color consider a colorful Dinner Napkin or Runner or even an overlay. And if not that's okay  a Standard Floor Length Colorful Linen in a Poly or Satin is a perfect way to bring  your room to life.



I like to include charger plates into my table design, but if my clients are on a tight budget I will suggest using  just a

Dinner Napkin at each Place Setting a the very least...with a fun Napkin fold you can provide a custom look for your table top for less.





Not everyone can afford fresh flowers...believe it or not...it is okay to use Silk Real Touch flowers.  It is about 60 - 40 with my clients.  The 60% being the group that chooses Silk.  Silk flowers have come aloooonnnnnggg way since back in the day and often times guest never know the difference.  I have actually seen guests touch real flowers and say “OMG!  These are real! “  And have overheard guest say “Oh Wow!  I thought these flowers were real!” (when they weren't)   and often times while perusing pinterest you will run across those super cute bride and bridesmaids photos with the cute bouquets… a lot of times they are silk.  But is flowers aren't your thing or even if you do want to include fresh somehow...have a few fresh arrangements and add in some candles centerpieces.  You can’t go wrong with Candlelight and Nothing says Romance like candles!  Floating Candles with scattered fresh petals is a great and inexpensive way to get the fresh flower smell and feel into your room. Use about 1 or 2 Roses per table and scatter them  at the base...use 3 to 5 different sized cylinder vases with floating candles or pillar candles inside, make it more custom by using a colored candle..like gold or silver.  Maybe try a different table set up???



I simply don't compromise on a Chair cover if the venue doesn't have a nice Banquet Chair that corresponds with the color scheme or provides a Chiavari Chair.  A chair cover really is a game changer when trying to achieve a complete designer in the room.   If you are lucky enough to have a venue that provides a Chiavari, that is a plus, because they can be VERY PRICEY if you have to rent them (and to be honest there are not really that comfortable, they just look pretty)  ...so at the very least carve out a piece of the budget for the chair cover, you can't go wrong.



If you love drape but are watching you pennies...use a draped backdrop...even if it can be elaborate, just a simple drape behind the head table will drawn the eye to the front of the room and keep guests focused there rather than on the side walls that you may not love…

If you just gotta have it but can’t afford the entire room to be draped think about “Drape Vignettes”   These well place drape sections combined with your up lighting around the perimeter of the room will real change up the look of the space. I like this option better than full room draping anyway as it provides visual interest.




I thing Up lighting is the best bang for your buck… You don't need a ton of lights 10 or 12 at a minimum placed in the right spots in the room provides ambiance and change the entire feel of the space.  Lighting is your friend...and by playing with the overhead lighting in your venue, combined with the surrounding up lights you will be surprised that the paint or wallpaper that you were not so in love with will disappear.



I know you love it ...but remember this….it may look really awesome in photos, but it really isn't that practical unless you have a whole room full of it….i sofa and a couple of benches doesn't provide much seating at all so it doesn't really get used and if it does those guests will stay parked there all night long. Save yourself some money and rent a pair of stunning Bride & Grooms Chairs instead … or provide a cool chaise for a fun photo op or have a Custom Step & Repeat with Velvet Rope and Stanchions for about half the cost….or  hire a photo booth in lieu of the lounge for about the same price.  You will love getting all the photos later and your guests will love it!



Well since I am an Event Designer & Planner and just happen to own a decor company.   I suppose you might feel that my opinion is not bias, but I can tell you why I think it is worth it to hiring a professional….its plain and simple….

“You get what you pay for” and that works both ways...  as the saying goes...

“ If you think it’s Expensive to hire a Professional to do the job,  Wait until you hire an Amateur ”


A decor company offers you a cohesive design, meaning the design colors will match throughout the room, the styles will be streamlined and you will have a designer coordinating the entire look from beginning to end AND you have one vendor for everything. I once showed up to decorated a Winter Wonderland themed wedding in Whites and Silvers and the caterer showed up with all Bright Christmas Red & Hunter Green Linens and Decor  Ugh!

Don’t get me wrong, while our design company can do it all we do often collaborate with other vendors...could be with a florist or a lighting company that you hired and that is totally doable.


But, if you are choosing to hire several different vendors...just make sure that your chair cover company is using the same color sash as your linen company… or that your caterer knows what the theme is so they bring the right linens and decor for the food tables to match the rest of your room or that your lighting company knows that you have a drape company coming in...

And with that said, you still should think about hiring a Planner... and when say Planner  I mean someone that is going contact your vendors and be there on site during set up and someone who will  look at your contracts and make sure nothing is overlapping…  for instance...a florist that is providing flowers for the ceremony arbor, but this has not been communicated to the company that provided the draped arbor so there is not place to rig the flowers safely, resulting in a design change that may not have the look you were going for so when you walk in you notice this instead of your Groom !  Or you ordered a Lighted Monogram for the center of the dancefloor from a lighting company, but you also ordered a Large Chandelier to hang over the Dancefloor, hmmm?  You get the picture right.. A Good Planner would see these things ahead of time to help avoid any surprised the day of.

REMEMBER ...The Bride can not be the designer/decorator on your wedding day and your family really should just be guests...and believe me you do not want to be fielding 50 phone calls on the day of!

        "This is your day to Feel Beautiful, Happy, Stress Free, Surprised & Delighted !" 


                         Photos By Carolina Event Services from Real CES Events

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