How Can I Make a Cheap Wedding Look Expensive?

You don’t have a ton of money to spend, but you don’t want your wedding to look cheap. With these tips to create a glamorous wedding on a small budget, your guests will be blown away if they find out how little you spent. 

For most brides, Pinterest has been a blessing and a curse during the wedding planning process. 

You’re blessed with unlimited ideas from floral inspiration to wedding day decor, yet cursed by the fact that most of your pinned ideas carry hefty price tags. 

Unfortunately, we don’t all have the wedding budgets of a Kardashian (actually… we’re cool with that) and so finding resourceful ways to create your dream wedding on a budget is a task that most brides take on full force. 

So rather than tacking on to your already high wedding budget, we’ve got simple (and cheap, if not free!) ways to make your wedding look more expensive than it is.

How to Make Your Wedding Look More Expensive

Check out these savvy wedding decor tips to make your wedding feel more bougie without breaking the bank! Incorporating these ideas into your big day could save you big bucks and make a significant impact!

Scour Your Home for Decor.

You might be amazed at all the treasures that you can use for your wedding decor, right within your own home! 

The perfect idea if you’re planning a rustic-chic or vintage wedding — check around your house to see what types of decor you have just lying around that can be used in your ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception. 

Things such as frames, baskets, candle holders, old books, chalkboard signs, furniture and other everyday household decor could all be gorgeous pieces at your wedding.

Make Double Use Out of Flowers.

The cost of flowers can quickly add up, and it’s an expense that most brides aren’t willing to forgo. 

So to get that lush look that you’ve always been dreaming of, make double use of your flowers! 

You know those bouquets you invested in for your bridesmaids? After the ceremony, give them to the staff to incorporate into table arrangements. If you have flowers lining the aisles of the ceremony, you can use those in the reception decor as well! 

This way, you’re getting large, lush centrepieces without paying double the price! Make sure to let your florist know ahead of time that the bouquets will have double-use so that he/she can make something that’s super versatile and just as beautiful!

Borrow from Friends and Family.

Chances are, you’ve had family or friends who’ve previously gotten hitched, and they might have some leftover items that they could hand down for your big day! 

From decor, linens, and place settings, it’s definitely worth asking! They also might have some gorgeous vintage frames or a bottle of recycled wine bottles that will perfectly fit into your scheme.

Make it Metallic!

There’s nothing a little spray paint can’t make pretty! 

Trust me, buying gold or silver items for your centrepieces, decor, or table settings can get pricey so investing in a few cans of spray paint (and trust me, it’s a small investment) is a cheap way to fancy up your not-so-pretty decor.

Gold is majorly hot right now. Remember when we all thought gold was gross and ancient school? 

Yeah, it’s hard to remember… because these days gold is very glam. It adds a touch of elegance to your event and can be used as accents to your simple colour scheme to up the glam quotient. 

If you want to have a glamorous wedding on a small budget, incorporate metallic accents where you can.

Again, using spray paint, you can easily incorporate gold into your decor by upcycling mason jars, tin cans, etc. 

Even coffee beans can get a glam makeover, and you can use them as a vase filler for an upscale look. 

Fancy up Your Linens.

You can invest in linen upgrades, but that would require a pretty hefty charge, and that’s not what this post is about! 

Instead, try this simple trick that will make a difference! Instead of just setting a napkin at each table, have one neatly folded on top of each plate or chaser into a fancy shape or into a pocket to hold your menu. 

Most venues will do this free of charge, so it’s something worth asking about!

A White Wedding Palette

A budget-savvy and straightforward way to create a glamorous look on a budget are to embrace the colour white – simple, clean, naked white ISN’T boring; it’s GLAM! 

Carrying a simple colour scheme of white with metallic accents is sure to give your wedding a luxe feel without spending a ton of money. 

Just think of all the celebrity parties and weddings you’ve seen with an all-white colour palette. It screams FANCY. 

Choosing an all-white wedding palette will be sure to make your wedding look more expensive.

Check your local thrift stores for milk glass or even clear glass on the cheap. 

You can create gorgeous decor using items you can find around your home like old spaghetti sauce jars, jelly jars, tin cans, etc. Just add a simple coat of white spray paint!

Blow Them Away by Using Balloons

Balloons aren’t just for a kid’s party. They can enhance your wedding decor as a chic yet straightforward way to fill a room. 

The secret to keeping balloons classy instead of cheese is to keep the colour palette simple or even monochromatic. 

Black and white balloons can create a black-tie feel. Golden champagne balloons scream glam! Pale pink-toned balloons are lovely, romantic, and elegant. 

Gold Mylar number balloons can add interest in a playful but classic way!

Pop the Champagne!

Bring on the bubbly! Every good celebration calls for Champagne, and luckily there are some great budget-friendly options out there! 

You could even incorporate Champagne Corks into your decor for an extra touch of whimsy!

Brighten up Space.

It’s pretty amazing what an array of candles can do for a dimly lit wedding venue. It instantly gives your space a classier, more romantic feel. 

The best part about it? They’re relatively inexpensive and can be used in so many different ways!

Forage the Outdoors.

If you’re lucky enough to have a yard filled with flowers, fruit trees, or even just some gorgeous greenery, you might be amazed at how much decor is just waiting to be used in your backyard! 

Are you able to make your bouquets using flowers from your garden? How about using some limes, figs, or lemons from trees in centrepieces? Get some inspiration off of Pinterest and see what you’re able to make all on your own!

Get Fancy With Writing.

Calligraphy is a huge trend right now and doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg! Rather than having a calligrapher hand write all of your invitations, have them create one that you love, make a digital copy, and take it to a local printer to be printed out! 

You also can take an evening to watch a few calligraphy tutorials online so that you can create your escort cards, signs, and table numbers. It’s a classy look that will make all the difference!

Go Frame Crazy.

From table numbers to signs, stunning frames add an elegant look! Whether you already own some or you need to take a trip to your local Goodwill or consignment shop, they can be relatively inexpensive and a gorgeous addition to your big day! 

And don’t forget, if you find ones at shops that are the right size/shape but the wrong Colour, it’s nothing that a little spray paint can’t fix!

Seashell Place Cards

Add a touch of shine to your welcome table with mother of pearl iridescence. Make the ocean a part of your gorgeous décor by using seashells as your place cards. 

Ditch the usual austere place cards for a more realistic option – and use a shimmery marker to write each name inside the shell for a touch of glam. 

Whether you choose to place them at the entrance or each seat, these gorgeous shell place cards carry that whimsical, organic appeal that not only looks enchanting but feels warm and inviting (just like a sandy beach). If set at the entrance, use a rustic tray to display them. 

An optional extra touch for added whimsy: embrace the ocean-inspired theme and place a small white round candy in each place card, symbolizing a pearl.

A Carnation Photo Backdrop

You love the look of blush pink peonies, but not their price tags. 

If you’re dreaming of a lush backdrop full of gorgeous blooms, but would instead save your money for that fantastic exotic honeymoon, then this next little DIY is for you. 

Create your very own photo backdrop by forgoing the peonies or the roses and opting for pastel pink carnations. 

For the best effect, hang them individually on a fish string – this way, you’re not going to use crazy amounts of flowers, yet the results will be just as chic. 

Ideal for an outdoor wedding with strong romantic vibes – and just as great as a wedding arch. The verdict: Instagram photo op alert for all your wedding guests!

Candle Centerpieces

When it comes to wedding décor, the centrepieces take the most significant part of your budget – and that’s mostly because gorgeous blooms come with very high prices. 

But luckily, long gone are the days when elegant weddings meant abundantly rich floral centrepieces. These days, elegance comes in simpler designs, with a touch of nature and, quite often, minimalism. 

If you’re on board with this approach, then ditch the pompous floral arrangements for a gorgeous candle mix centrepiece. 

Use simple glass vases in different sizes, white candles, a solitary flower and include a bit of greenery to add texture to your arrangement. 

Not only will you get creative centrepieces for a fraction of the price, but you will also add magical lighting to your venue – and possibly save on lighting as well.

White Paper Lanterns

You found your venue, but there’s one problem: the walls or ceiling look rather bare. Here’s a solution that will agree with your budget: paper lanterns. 

While balloons might be an equally cheap alternative, paper lanterns are the chicer and more sophisticated option, not to mention more eco-friendly, since they are reusable. 

Create a Pinterest-worthy inviting space with the help of crisp white lanterns – whether using them for an arch, for the ceiling or any other area. 

An ideal pick for wedding tents, outdoor weddings, and indoor spaces that look too bare or too rigid, paper lanterns are a great addition when creating texture and warmth. 

To make your space look expensive, stick to a sophisticated colour palette – preferably one hue only: white or off-white. For extra layering, add in gorgeous greenery like the fern, Ruscus or huckleberry.

Eucalyptus Napkin Rings

No need to opt for fancy and expensive napkin rings when you have nature to count on. 

Greenery is the latest trend when it comes to weddings – and this year, everything from the guestbook to the chair décor is big on greenery – the wilder, the better, for a very affordable, organic napkin ring, count on eucalyptus and the string of your choice. 

Elegant means less glam and glitz this year when it comes to wedding décor trends, which is why you can’t go wrong whenever you incorporate a bit of the outdoors into your wedding – whether your into comes from the ocean, the forest, the orchard or a lush garden.

Apothecary Dry Flower Centerpieces

Apothecary has been a hot trend in the wedding décor niche for a few years now – and if a high-end rustic event is on your calendar, then it’s a perfect match. 

Vintage bottles in darker hues pair exceptionally well with dry flowers. 

The results: unique, bohemian centrepieces that avoid the exorbitant prices of your standard flower arrangements. 

The perfect fit: a wedding in neutral tones, a fall wedding, an outdoor wedding that’s chic and cozy – or a setting that’s equal parts quirky and chic. 

Combine these types of centrepieces with as many natural materials as possible, starting with natural brown woods, raffia and burlap, as well as natural cotton and linens or terracotta bowls for a look that’s authentic, rustic-chic and timeless at the same time.

Ribbon Chair Decorations

Affordable chair decorations can be a challenge, mainly because you need massive amounts. 

The solution: opt for ribbon. The ribbon is affordable but chic and elegant, especially when you are opting for a curated colour palette and natural fabrics. 

Purchasing large quantities of ribbon, then cutting and tying them yourself or with the help of your friends will undoubtedly drop the costs as well. 

Subtly moving in the breeze or wind, these wedding chair decorations are ideal for an outdoor wedding – whether you’re getting married on the beach or in a backyard. 

Opt for natural wood chairs to go with your whimsical décor and forgo the plastic, ultra-polished pieces for that effortless earthy vibe.

Make a Wedding Dress Look Insanely High-End

What’s the Easiest Way to Make a Low-Cost Dress Look High-End?

Often, a dress may be less expensive because of its inner construction, less finishing, and support, such as un-trimmed seams, no interfacing to keep the garment from buckling, etc.

In this case, a good remedy is to wear perfect and seamless undergarments; bridal salons and “corset” shops sell these. 

If the garment has good lines but nothing fancy on the exterior, a beaded belt can make a difference.

What Accessories Would Amp up the Luxe Factor?

A beaded belt can add the luxe factor and a beautiful veil. Any length longer than the elbow can do the trick. 

If the gown has lace, lace on the veil will be complimentary. The same is valid with beading.

How Do Shoes Factor Into a Bridal Look?

Shoes are a fun accessory, but a little planning ahead is wise: if the shoes have ornaments on the toes, the gown’s hemline can easily get caught, and a bride can make either trip or rip the hemline. 

Our advice is to have gorgeous shoes for the garter photos (when the bride lifts her gown and reveals the boots). 

But for the actual walk up the aisle, we suggest something simple. The Colour is fine, though!

Do Hair and Makeup Play a Role?

Hair and makeup play a massive role in dressing your gown up or down. A beautiful blow-dry or gelled hair and natural makeup will look fresh and pretty for daytime or casual ceremony and reception. 

But for a formal or semi-formal event to which the bride will wear a headpiece and veil, she’ll want to have more of a styled coif and more striking makeup. Those details can transform the look of her dress.

Are There Any Issues to Watch Out For?

Low cost (if that’s the average price range and not on sale) can translate into cheaper materials, unfinished linings, glued beading (rather than sewn in), and shoddy artistry. 

But not always.

Look at the garment’s exterior and interior seams—if they are crooked or pulling, it’s a sign to back off. 

Suppose the beading is falling off as you try it on, also not a good sign. Is the garment properly lined? Can you see through it? Does it itch? These are the things to look out for.

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