Glass Jar Lanterns and Other Great Ideas for Budget Weddings!

Do these look somewhat familiar?  It is amazing how many "wedding bloggers" have reposted my tutorial for making similar lanterns.

These, however, were made by one of my brides who unexpectedly found herself on a greatly reduced budget - right in the middle of her wedding plans. 

I love how she floated candles in some and used the others as vases.  In the daylight, the roses dressed up the pathway guests were to follow to the ceremony area, and at night, the candles illuminated the pathway which also led to the buffet!

Since wedding season is just around the corner,  I decided this is the perfect time to share a few of Kim's tricks for creating an elegant, beautiful wedding day on a very restricted budget!

The new budget forced Kim to rethink everything, shop for services much more carefully, search for low cost alternatives, improvise and use her DIY skills!

 Her first big budget cutting decision was to choose an inexpensive venue.  She had already selected a full service venue that she absolutely loved; however, venue fees and food service are the two items that can cost the most, and since she had not yet paid a deposit (many are not refundable) she began searching for something more in line with her new budget. 

She found an old, historic house and park just outside Portland - very reasonably priced and the fees include dishes, tables, and a lovely gazebo.  Chairs were available from the site for a very modest cost. And since the site did not offer food service, Kim was able to better control food costs.

A very good friend, a chef in a local restaurant, prepared and served an elegant dinner for the wholesale cost of the food.  And instead of a traditional cake, guests were treated to a dessert table offering the couple's favorite sweet temptations from local bakeries and super markets.

We aren't all so lucky  - to have a friend who is a willing wedding chef!  But for the few weddings we have photographed where this has been the case, the bride was then able to "splurge" on china and glassware and table linen with matching chair covers. These items are relativley inexpensive to rent and when added to an outdoor garden setting create a huge impact.

"Pot luck" seems to be coming back but if you don't want friends and family cooking, there are many restaurants that will deliver hot food to the site and all that is needed is a few willing servers! Much more affordable option to full service catering.

It really takes so little to create an air of elegance in an outdoor setting. 

Inexpensive votive candles and rose petals can have huge impact when used in quantity.  Wedding party bouquets can be repurposed as center piece flowers following the ceremony!

And at night, all those candles really pay off - creating a warm, intimate ambiance.

Kim placed special tables close to the bride and groom's table for wedding party members and their significant others.  Dollar store frames served as place cards and would later be repurposed to hold a wallet size image from the wedding day!  Delicious home made goodies were tucked inside Dollar Store boxes decorated with a bit of ribbon and a pearl and placed at each place setting as favors.

Kim loves children and many were included on her invitations and given their own table for the reception!  The Dollar Store was a great resource for plates and cups, colored pencils, coloring books and games.  And each child had their own "place card" to be repurposed into a memento of the day!  I love the coloring books Kim made on the computer!  Wish I had snagged one so I could share the inside illustrations!  Cute, cute, cute.  A brilliant, inexpensive way to keep children entertained!

Kim did hire the services of a professional florist, but reserved that service for her bouquets and the ceremony area. 

Thick piles of rose petals really dressed up the aisle.  I loved how she placed them at the sides of the aisle. Don't you think little electric votives would be pretty nestled among the petals - especially at a dusk wedding?

When hiring any service, Kim was thorough; and although it is often difficult to comparison shop in the industry, she found ways to do exactly  that!    To find a florist within her budget, she started by getting a bid from many local florists for three specific flowers.  She was then able to compare prices, narrow the list down to three, and then select the florist who would give her the best price on what she really wanted! She was surprised at the range in price for something as simple as a dozen white roses.

Little touches make a huge difference.  Adding black shoes, socks and gloves to match the sashes of these inexpensive flower girl dresses not only created impact but also reflected the cream and black theme.

My friend Heather, Dollar Store Crafts, recently shared "How to Have a Dollar Store Wedding". Pop over and take a look.  Lots of great ideas here and with a bit of tweaking, you can make them your own!

And if any of you reading feel so inclined, I would love it if you would share your own ideas for creating a low cost, elegant wedding!

Pam! What great photos you

Pam! What great photos you have, here! And I love the natural feeling of everything.

I may just have to have my own wedding this weekend.

Beautiful DIY Wedding.. I

Beautiful DIY Wedding.. I love outdoors weddings plus you do not spend as much on flowers... I also love the flower girls dresses and shoes

Lovely wedding. She's very

Lovely wedding. She's very clever indeed to choose you and Kirby to take her photos - they're gorgeous! Hope you're having a wonderful weekend. Jx

I love DIY weddings! Kudos to

I love DIY weddings! Kudos to the bride for coming up with all these great ideas.

Wow, amazing photos (no

Wow, amazing photos (no surprise there!!) and a lot of great tips. Thanks for linking to my post. I'll have to link back to this one in my next budget wedding post.

I LOVE the wedding coloring books, and all the candles + flowers are so pretty. Oh, I love the flower girls' black shoes & sashes, too.