5 Must-Have DIY Tips for the Budget Bride

Have I mentioned that my husband and I are renewing our vows and that I am attempting to be a budget bride?

Let me just say this, being a budget bride in this wedding industry is a lot harder than most realize. If I’m being real, I don’t want to be a budget bride. But I’m not a millionaire. So, if you’re like me and you want the wedding of your dreams and on budget, too… then this blog is for you.

#1 Use Local Florists and Create Your Own Centerpieces

Okay, flowers are ridiculously expensive! When I started planning, I thought, “I’ll just call a few wedding florists for quotes.” and that’s when I realized that I’d be broke before I ever got to say “I Do” again! Every quote I got was for $8,000 and that’s for basics like one ceremony arch with florals, petals down the aisle, tall centerpieces for 13 tables, and my bouquet. That’s it. That didn’t include the bridal attendants’ flowers, the grooms boutonniere or groom’s attendants, cocktail hour decorations, other ceremony decorations, or the welcome sign.

Here’s a tip: local florists can do the same arrangements as those big wedding florists can. You might have a local florist in your town or the next town. Maybe they don’t have a huge following online or a ton of great reviews. This is where you come in. If you’re like me, you probably have a ton of followers on social media. Use that to your advantage. Ask your florist to give you a discount and offer to promote their shop on your social media for free. If that doesn’t work, then try this next tip.

I’m sure you have a few ride-or-die friends. Am I right? Ask them to help out. Whether it’s a vow renewal or a first wedding, your friends and family will be very excited for you. They’ll also know the budget restraints you’re facing. So, why not ask them for a bit of help? On the morning of the wedding or vow renewal, think like 8 am or 9am, have your friends stop at the local florist. Tell them to buy any flowers that match your theme. If you’re a planner, you’ll already have a bunch of mason jars to use as vases. If not, don’t worry. Michael’s sells them in bulk, for cheap. You can have someone go a few days in advance to pick those up.

So, what flowers look best in mason jars? My favorite is baby’s breath. You only need a few bunches and you’ll have a very pretty center piece. You can also add little tea lights from the Dollar Tree. See photo below.

Photo Credit belongs to Wedding Bee. Click photo to link to that blog.

#2 Create and Order Your Own Invitations Online

Those really expensive and custom invitations look great, but they sure do break the bank! If you’re on a budget, there are a ton of great websites that let you create your own while saving you cash. Sites like Zazzle, Etsy, Zola, and Shutterfly offer a plethora of styles, designs, and customizations. To give you a better idea of what your money gets you on one of these sites take for example, Zazzle‘s invitations. You can order 50 invitations for under a $100. If you’re even smarter than me, you’ll wait to order your invitations until online shopping discounts get bigger. The best time to buy on these sites are during holidays like Black Friday, Labor Day, Memorial Day, and 4th of July because they tend to offer 40-50% off and free shipping during these times.

The con to ordering on these sites is that depending on what your style and needs are, you will need to order additional items to go with the invitations. Such as envelopes, reply cards, menu’s, directional cards, and detail cards. This really depends on your wedding details. To give you a better idea of what I mean, I will use my upcoming wedding as an example.

We are doing a vow renewal and we’re doing it up, big time. So, I need invites, envelopes, reply cards, and detail cards. My venue provides menu cards, table cards, and direction cards. So, I won’t need to order any of that. Using Zazzle, I am able to purchase my whole enchilada for around $300 which is a lot less than what the invitation store near me, offered up as a cost. That cost was a bit over $1,000. You can see why saving the $700 is better to spend than the grand. That other $700, I am reallocating to more important things like photo and video.

Photo by Zazzle

#3 Order and Decorate Your Own Arch

Make Etsy your new best friend because this is where you’ll need her! You can order the 8.5 ft by 7.21 foot round gold arch for your ceremony and it will only cost you a whopping $322 (not including tax or shipping). Then, for the floral decorations to go on it, you can order faux floral garlands from Something Borrowed Blooms at $55 a piece (not including tax or shipping). For my arch, I only need 3 garlands. You can hang these by ordering green zip ties to tie them to the arch. The arch can be broken down before the wedding and put into a simple SUV trunk. You can even have the garlands already attached the arch, so on your big day, it’s as simple as putting the arch pieces back together.

This DIY hack is going to cost me less than $500!!! The wedding florist told me if she did it, then I’d have to pay $1,200. What a cost difference!

#4 Do Your Own Hair

This one is self-explanatory for the most part. Watch some hair tutorial videos and start practicing on yourself. Play with a few different styles to see which one suits your face shape and is the easiest for you. I’d recommend starting to practice six months in advance of your date. Here’s why.

You’re looking to accomplish a few things with practicing. First, you’re looking to get the style down. Second, you’re looking to get the style down in an efficient manner and in a shortened amount of time. One hour should be sufficient. Third, you’ll want it to be like second nature to you and by practicing long in advance, you’ll be securing a stress-free, wedding hair day. Below is a favorite video of mine showing how to do a simple DIY wedding hair style.

Doing this yourself will save some much needed funds. If you’re in New Jersey, then you already know that wedding hair stylists can cost a fortune. Most if not all, charge travel fees, up-front deposits, and charge for staying on to maintain your hair throughout the day. This can cause the cost of wedding hair to go from $250 upwards to $500-$700 or more.

#5 Create Your Own Bridal Bouqet

This one really is a money saver. After calling several wedding florists, the numbers I was getting for a bouquet were ridiculous. Some were $285 and others were $350 to $500. I couldn’t believe it.

When my husband and I first got married, I made my own bouquet. He bought a bouquet of peonies and twine. All I did was keep the leaves on them, alternate sizes of the stems (long, medium, short) and added a few longer green-leafed greenery. It was very pretty and inexpensive. I think in total between the twine, the peonies, and the extra greenery we spent about $50 and maybe 25 minutes making it. It was wonderful and affordable.

Now that I am about to say “I Do” again, I really want that perfect bouquet. This is where that local florist comes in again.

First pick out the theme color you want for your wedding. For my upcoming wedding, my theme color is white and green with touches of gold and an added rustic feel. Therefore, for my bridal bouquet, I want white florals, lots of greenery, and I want it to look like I just picked it from the garden. See the picture below of my dream bouquet.

Second, you’re going to call your local florist and ask what florals, in your preferred color, do they have in season. Key phrase here is “in-season” because if they’re not in season you’re going to pay more money. Next, you’re going to ask if they’ll hold certain bunches of florals (your choice) for a future pick-up date. Preferably, you’ll ask a friend or family member to pick these up the morning of your wedding. The only other materials you’ll need is green floral tape and some pretty ribbon or burlap for the second wrapping plus some shears for trimming.

When your flowers arrive, you’ll organize them the way you want your bouquet to look. It’s actually very simple and I’ve added a quick tutorial video below. The best part is that your wallet will thank you.


These DIY tips are just the tip of the iceberg. There are a ton more to discuss, but for now, I’ll leave you with these 5 tips. As a final thought, remember that your wedding day or vow renewal, should be a day of zero stress. So if doing some of the things on this DIY guide is just not for you, then skip it.

What other tips for DIY Budget Brides would you suggest?


If you liked this DIY guide and are planning your own vow renewal, be sure to check out my other blog post:
We Still Do: 11 Do’s and Don’ts of a Vow Renewal

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