If the idea of spending thousands on a wedding gives you palpitations, it’ll be worth it when you get married in your own personal dreamscape, right? According to lots of modern brides and grooms, wrong. Lots of couples are deciding that all that moolah could be better spent buying a house, taking an awesome vacation or putting money away for a future child’s college career. Now—thanks to the Internet—do-it-yourself ideas abound. But lest you start picturing wonky decorations that would look more at home in a first-grade art class than a grown-up day of “I dos,” here are a few simple DIY tips that are sure to help make your nuptials as wondrous as they are wallet-friendly.
1. Be true to yourselves. If you and your intended share a quirky interest—old movies, home-brewed beer, internet cat memes—incorporate said interest into the décor with simple (read: cheap) additions like classic movie posters hung up around the venue (find tons of options at allposters.com), a keg or five of your very own concoction at the open bar or have a few of your favorite photos of Grumpy Cat images printed at a local shop like the Kinko’s (now the FedEx Office Print & Ship Center) at 56th and J streets. Once you have a theme going, get inexpensive trinkets at Party City (partycity.com) or Evangeline’s (evangelines.com) to put on the tables and continue your personalized décor throughout the venue.
2. Don’t spend a fortune on music—ask a friend. Do you know someone who plays in a band? Sings in a choir? DJs on weekends? Why not ask them to help you put together the music for your special day and save a bundle on sky-high wedding DJ rates? When I got married, we asked three of our couple friends to sing three meaningful songs, accompanied by my friend’s professional pianist brother. (It helps when you’re friends with theater people.) As you might imagine, this will not only give your wedding a personal twist and involve more people you love, but will also give you plenty of control over content. (The Macarena. Need I say more?)
3. Be creative with your venue. Sure, getting married on the grounds of a beautiful hotel or country club looks and sounds majestic, but all that glitz and glam comes at a price—and often strict restrictions on what food you can have, what music you can play and how many people can join you for the festivities. Instead, why not find a place that means something to both of you—be it the backyard of your family home, at your favorite restaurant, in the middle of the quad of the high school where you met—and exchange vows in surroundings that speak volumes but cost lots less.
So whether you’re scouring a craft store or begging your friends and families to lend their talents, there’s no limit to the wedding magic you can achieve with a little creativity. Besides, you’ll spend longer cuddled up in that new house you saved for than you ever will in a wedding dress.