We’ve all seen the articles on Pinterest.
How to Have a Wedding for Under $5,000!
What to Cut Out of Your Wedding Budget
You Can Have a Wedding on the Cheap!
Maybe I can do this! I take a deep breath, click the article, and read. Of course, I find the only way to do this is to have 50 people in your backyard with friends to do all of the work. As much as I would love a backyard wedding, we live in the middle of a busy neighborhood. I don’t know where everyone would go to the bathroom. We definitely don’t want to have to clean up our backyard after a wedding. It wouldn’t work. Maybe our wedding is going to have to be one of those crazy 20k weddings. Problem is, I already had one of those the first time around.
For my first wedding, I planned my heart out for almost a year and had a beautiful day with perfectly Pinterest everything. But I had the wrong partner. I was so focused on the wedding that I lost sight of what it was really about, and we both paid for that heavily in the end. I remember sobbing the day the wedding was over. We spent so much money, and though I was lucky enough to have parents that helped with that, part of me knew they had made a costly investment into a relationship we both knew in our heart of hearts wasn’t right for either of us. I will never forget that moment.
This time around, there were absolutely no doubts, and the purpose of the wedding was so much more clear. For me, this time, it’s wasn’t about having everything matchy-matchy and perfectly perfect. I had my priorities straight, and the only priority was starting this next chapter with a celebration we would never forget. The two of us discussed the wedding objectives:
- Have the most fun ever.
- Don’t go into debt over it.
Our wedding had to be easy and cheap, but still fun with those Pinterest wedding touches. With 4 months to plan and all of this insight under my belt, I knew what would be the first thing to go. Flowers.
At my first wedding, I easily spent almost $2,000 on flowers, and that’s actually on the cheaper end in the wedding world. It was a little less expensive to stick to one or two types of flowers for the bouquets and centerpieces instead of going all out with several flowers. Luckily, one-flower bouquets were all the rage. Gerber Daises, of course. They were beautiful, and we ordered all the centerpiece flowers loose instead of in arrangements to save money. Looking back, WHAT WAS I THINKING? Do you know what I would do with $2,000 extra dollars now? I could renovate a bathroom with that! The flowers were pretty, but does anyone notice flowers if they’re having fun? Have you ever looked back on a wedding and thought, “Wow. I remember that day. The flowers were amazing.”
Anyway, our first step was to find a venue that would be relatively inexpensive, which was easy enough because we aren’t fancy people & definitely didn’t want a museum-type wedding. We found the perfect place, an old concert hall owned by a local brewery with brick walls, cafe lights, and big wooden beer tables. It didn’t need much of anything else, and we knew the food & beer was going to be perfect.
The next step was a Pinterest search for how to do flowers on the cheap. There were lots of ideas from ordering flowers online (What if they arrive dead?) to getting all your friends to come over to break out the floral tape and DIY your bouquets. (Sounds messy.) Here was the problem. We didn’t have time for flower DIY! We were planning a wedding in 4 months, and working by day, which left almost no time to get into this whole crazy flower project.
Fast forward a few days, and we’re walking through our local Whole Foods. Everything there looks straight out of a magazine, including their flower bundles. They had single flowers or mixed bundles. I took a peak at the price tag… $7 for a bundle. BINGO. If no one knows you’re planning a wedding, flowers aren’t too expensive! I figured one bundle per table, plus some for the cake table and guest book set up, and I’d still be well under $200. That’s one less zero than the first time. I can still reno that bathroom!
The thing is, you can’t be picky about the type of flower you get. I knew very well we could walk into Whole Foods the morning of our wedding and be faced with a subpar collection of flowers, especially since the wedding was right after a holiday. Some websites do say you can call ahead to places like Trader Joe’s and tell them what kind of flower you would like them to stock up on.
So, I made my centerpieces mostly NOT about the flowers. We used growlers from all of our favorite local breweries to go with the beer theme, and each table was a different brewery. We went to each brewery and took a picture holding the table number, and we used a local brewery map to show people where they sat. I bought a few dried flowers from saveoncrafts.com in case I didn’t find any long stems for the growlers at Whole Foods.
Fortunately, this fit with the whole boho-vintage theme. I wasn’t willing to be so flexible with the bouquets, though. The girls were wearing shades of neutral, so any color would have worked, but I fell in love with some flower designs I saw on Pinterest (obviously), and I couldn’t be so flexible after falling for those. I sent the picture to a florist right around the corner from our venue. I told her my budget was $300 and that I wanted something similar to the picture, but she could substitute with any in-season flowers or make them smaller to fit in the budget. For the guys, I showed her some boutonnieres made only from greenery, and I asked her to use what she had. Delivery and all, she came in under my budget. And that was for 8 girls and 8 guys! The trick here is to be open to interpretation, and don’t budge on the price. Call around to different places. If they want your business, they’ll make it fit.
That’s us! Check out those beautiful flowers for under $300.
The day before the wedding my car was packed so full we could barely see out the windows. We put 3 big buckets in the backseat and filled them part of the way with water. We went into Whole Foods and bought 12 bundles of flowers. I honestly didn’t love the selection on that day as much as I did when I first went in, but I knew I was taking my chances.
The morning of the wedding, one of my amazing friends went to the venue, cut all the stems, and put the flowers into vases, which were actually cups from Pier One for a couple bucks each. The flowers ended up not being the center of attention because the growlers took the stage, but it did add a fresh element to the table!
If you’re willing to put perfection to the side and have a wedding that’s memorable and fun, let the flowers take the backseat. At the end of the day, what’s important is the celebration of the beginning of life with an amazing partner, not the beginning of a whole lot of debt!
Photos Amy Rockwell Photography
Venue Brown’s Brewery
Music DJ Vinny Vin
Ceremony Joy Burke
Bouquets & Boutonnieres Flowers by Pesha
Design Chipped Paint & Pearls
Dress Allure from Jocelyn’s