Decorating Your Wedding Site on a Dime

9 of 10 in Series: The Essentials of Budget Weddings

The site you choose for your wedding ceremony affects the kinds of decorations you may need. Some venues may not need any wedding ceremony decorations. For instance, you may choose to have your ceremony in the atrium of a hotel that already has trees and shrubs decked out with clear miniature lights — perfect for an evening wedding.

When you’re looking at ceremony sites, ask whether the venue provides decorations. Some churches and other locations offer packages that include the rental fee and decorations. Choosing such a package may be less expensive than providing your own decorations. And if you get married near a holiday like Christmas or Easter, the church may already be decorated.

Consider the following low-cost ideas and see whether they spark any of your own:

  • Balloons are an inexpensive way to decorate the entrance of a church or other building. For an outdoor wedding, use balloons to cover a garden arch at the entrance to the ceremony site. Check your local party goods or dollar store for balloons and blow them up yourself; helium is expensive and helium-filled balloons present an environmental hazard when they float away.

  • Simple bows serve as lovely pew markers or seat decorations. You can purchase ready-made bows or make them yourself with materials from your local craft store. If your ceremony site allows it, you also can line the aisle with fresh or silk flower petals or wedding confetti.

  • For an evening wedding, place luminarias next to the seats on each side of the aisle. Just be sure to secure them so guests don’t knock them over. Luminarias are tealight or votive candles placed in paper bags weighted with sand. They’re popular Christmas decorations in the Southwest, but they can make a lovely addition to your wedding ceremony, too — and they’re inexpensive.

    You can find all the materials you need for luminarias at your local craft or dollar store. Depending on your tastes, you can cut designs into the bags or decorate them, or you can simply choose white bags or ones that match your wedding colors.

  • Wrap pillars in garland and clear miniature lights. Or use the garland and lights to decorate the rafters of a gazebo, park pavilion, or garden bower.

  • For the altar, check into renting potted plants or trees and decorating them with lights and ribbon. Or, if you have a green thumb, save some money and plant some pots yourself. Just be sure to plant them early enough that they have time to grow before the wedding.

You and your spouse-to-be should be the focal point of the ceremony; you don’t want to be upstaged by decorations. You also don’t want elaborate decorations blocking your guests’ view of the ceremony. If you do want to decorate your venue, you don’t have to spend a lot to get a festive, celebratory look.

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The Essentials of Budget Weddings

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