Tips and Tricks

Five Ways to Stretch Your Wedding Decoration Dollars

“Budget” is sometimes a nasty word, especially when you’re planning a wedding for hundreds of guests and you have limited funds. We know the struggle is real…but we know how to make your wedding decoration dollars do more. By incorporating five of our favorite recycling tricks, we can help you save money and sleep better knowing your decor dollars are working smarter.

Wedding decorators define “recycling” a few ways…but repurposing an element from one space to another, thereby saving money, is one of our favorites.

For a prospective bride and groom, deciding on wedding decorations for both ceremony and reception can seem daunting, to say the least, but terrifying isn’t all that much of an exaggeration either! This type of overwhelm is common and the cure is to work with professional wedding vendors. These professionals know how to take your vision and guide you through choices to help you make selections that not only bring your vision to life, but do so within your budget. Herein lies the real challenge. From tables and chairs (the easy decisions!), to selecting altar and aisle decor like arches or pergolas, to wedding table settings with linens, centerpieces, dishware, flatware, stemware, to wedding reception decoration ideas like backdrops, ceiling fabric and up lighting…the list goes on and on. With so many necessary and fun elements to choose from, costs add up quickly. But there are ways to trim some of those costs and recycling or “repurposing” is one way to stretch your decorating budget.

One of our favorite ways to stretch the budget is to recycle the attendant bouquets to the head table and other areas like the reserved tables, cake table, bars, etc. There are a few points to keep in mind but if you’re aware of these limitations and are okay with them, you’ll save money! First, chances are the bouquets will not be in place when your guests enter the reception as the wedding party will more than likely still be taking pictures. And, as your guests are in the reception room, they may see the bouquets brought in and placed in the empty, water-filled vases. Is there a work around, you ask? An easy option is to keep the guests in another area for cocktails and nibbles while the wedding party and close family members are taking pictures. Once pictures are complete, the coordinator or a family member scoops them all up and places them in the vases. Once the bride and groom arrive, they can tour the reception space briefly, fully decorated, then the room can be opened to guests and the bride and groom announced as man and wife. This is an easy way to stretch the decorating budget, allowing the bride and groom to see months of hard work finally come together, the guests to be entertained during pictures and to see the space fully decorated as well. Most attendant bouquets are between $65-$95 so recycling them from the ceremony to reception centerpieces can save you, on average, $80. If you have five attendants, you’re saving $400. If you have 12 attendants, you’re saving $960. Yes, you read that correctly!

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Beautiful bridesmaids with baby’s breath bouquet
head table wedding reception sweetheart table baby's breathe bouquet glass gold dot charger blush linen champagne napkin cathedral oaks confetti rentals llc
Baby’s breath bouquets recycled to the reception as head table centerpieces

Other ceremony floral–especially floral staged at the beginning of the aisle–can be repurposed. These arrangements will not be in the photos at the altar area and can be immediately moved to the cocktail area or reception space. Ditto for the columns or wine barrels that hold these arrangements. The ceremony decor, such as columns and floral arrangements, used in the altar area cannot be repurposed until after pictures. Even with that limitation, we usually move these larger arrangements to the head and reserved tables.

Another great way to reuse these altar pieces is to place them at the departure door or use them to frame the sparkler walkway. I love the departure pictures–where you typically see the biggest, happiest smiles of the entire day! Why not make it picture perfect and save around $300-$500?

Repurpose the altar decor itself for an awesome photo backdrop or frame over the sweethearts or the cake. Warning, this is not for the faint of heart but can be done with careful coordination between your coordinator and a few catering or family members. Think about using this particular large-scale recycle only if the ceremony and reception are held at the same place so minimal breakdown is needed and no truck/trailer necessary for hauling, loading or unloading. The intrepid bride can save big with this ceremony recycle: upwards of $200-$500!

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Wedding arch repurposed for reception decor

Another way to stretch your budget for wedding decorations is by reusing your aisle decor–again, these decor elements will not typically be in the wedding photos and can be moved immediately after the recessional. We’ve found that many of our brides want lanterns placed down the aisle. Why not repurpose them as part of your wedding table settings and use them as wedding table centerpieces? Be sure to have other elements on the guest tables to complete the look. We love using a base–like a wood slice, mirror, table runner, etc– and surrounding the center with mercury glass votive cups, open geometrical shapes with floral or fairy lights, a small floral element like a single white hydrangea in a small mint julep size vase, etc. This decorating tip can save you $120 or more depending on how much aisle decoration you have incorporated.

outdoor wedding ceremony with wood chairs, lace sash, lanterns and wood tree stumps decorating the aisle by confetti rentals, the venue, shannon ashe, creative innovations of salado, tx
A beautiful outdoor ceremony with fruitwood folding chairs, wood stumps, lanterns, and a lace filled ceremony backdrop with columns
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Wood pieces and copper lanterns at the ceremony …
repurposed ceremony and aisle decorations to wedding table centerpieces confetti rentals llc creative innovations of salado the venue shannon ashe

…then recycle to the reception for wedding table centerpieces

Lastly, recycle your ceremony chairs. Believe it or not, this makes sense in certain situations and can stretch your decorating budget even further. Especially if you’ve chosen a more expensive X-back or chiavari chair. Use this tip if your having an outdoor wedding ceremony and reception and they are only a few feet away from each other. Many times this is the case when your hosting everything at your private residence or your grandparent’s barn. The ceremony may be under a wonderful oak tree that you played on as kid and the barn just a few steps away. During pictures, invite the guests to enjoy your signature drink on the patio so your coordinator and a few close family and friends can place the chairs around the tables. If you have 10 people helping and they each move 10 chairs in 10-15 minutes, that’s 100 chairs repurposed in under 15 minutes, saving you at least $300 for folding garden chairs and around $750 if using the more expensive chiavari chairs.

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Repurpose ceremony chairs to create intimate lounge areas

Everyone, even DIY brides, can use any or all of these cost saving tips to stay on budget and get an amazing look at a lower cost. With a little prior planning and coordination, these real world, actionable tips can help you save hundreds of dollars on your special day! So, go ahead and upgrade to first class with the savings, we won’t tell anyone!

We hope you found inspiration and at least one idea to borrow! Just remember, if you’ve stolen from us you’ve stolen twice because we are fortunate enough to work with the most amazing brides, grooms, designers, coordinators, venue operators, florists, caterers and all manner of wedding industry professionals on a daily basis to help create every couple’s perfect day.

*Everything seen in this article and on our web site can be found (and rented for your wedding) at Confetti Rentals, 2802 Capitol Way in Belton, right here in Central Texas.

By Cecei Cowan