If you’re lucky enough to have a beautiful home, or have parents with a beautiful home, or close friends with a beautiful home, consider holding your wedding there. Though you’ll pay for rentals that might be included in other venues, depending on your number of guests and other venue options, this might still be the cheaper option. Not to mention incredibly personal and authentic. Of course you can have a beautiful wedding in a hotel ballroom or a stark urban loft, but…

Who says…you can’t get married at home?

Mood: sweet garden charm
Palette: pale pink and yellow

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Top row from left: garden gate photo by Kathryn Kleinman, panini grill from Amorology, lemonade photo by Myrtle & Marjoram, mismatched dessert plates via A Beautiful Living
Row 2: children’s table from Custom Event Group, cake via d.Sharp Journal, photo by Jose Villa, photo by Tec Petaja
Row 3: bouquet from Martha Stewart Weddings, seating cards photo by Still Weddings, bird house from Rebecca Thuss, custom dress by Kcoline
Row 4: garden chairs from Brides via Faye & Greer, envelopes from Bird & Banner, sparkler kiss photo by One Love Photo, garden roses via {frolic!}

The Paper: Garden-themed rubber stamps are a cost effective way to embellish seating cards and other stationery, and even if you don’t have calligraphy skills, writing out names by hand in simple all-capital letters is an attractive alternative – and if your handwriting is illegible, employ someone who is willing to help out to take on this task. Another calligraphy alternative is to print addresses in fun fonts on wrap-around labels for your invitations, which you can find here and here for about 30-cents apiece.

The Fashion: Not only will a custom-made dress guarantee a totally one-of-a-kind look, but it can also be a more budget friendly option. Be sure though, that you do some research and get references for the person you hire. Why not let the groom wear a dress shirt he already owns and is comfortable in? Or you can even have one custom-made for only $60 by 9tailors (also a great gift idea for the groomsmen, who can each wear a shirt in similar colors but slightly varying patterns or cuts).

The Decor: If you hold your wedding in a beautiful garden, there’s not much you need to do in terms of decorating, but if you want to, use garden appropriate items such as vintage watering cans and planters. A sweet birdhouse is a unique place for guests to drop small notes of good wishes. Don’t underestimate the simple folding garden chair, which will cost significantly less to rent than Chivari or bentwood chairs, and which will really just blend in to the venue. Once the ceremony is over, let the chairs do double duty by moving them to the tables for lunch.

The Flowers: Splurge on garden roses for a beautiful garden bouquet, tied with pretty patterned ribbon. For centerpieces, scour antique shops and flea markets for old pharmacy and cologne bottles, and place a single stem in each (these could also double as favors for guests to take home).

The Food: Lunch receptions are a good way to save money: they tend to be shorter and guests tend to eat and drink less than at dinner receptions. Taco trucks and burger carts aren’t the only alternative catering options out there. A panini grill or crepe maker would be fun, and slightly more refined, options. Let guests pick up side dishes at a buffet. To have your cake and eat it too, have one small elaborately decorated cake to display, and sheet cakes in the same flavor to serve to your guests. Buy sparkling lemonade or natural sodas in bulk and arrange them at the bar with skinny straws.

Other Details: A simple but fun detail is to give each table a fun name (like shut up and kiss me!) in lieu of a number. Set up a low table for the kids covered with butcher or kraft paper, with buckets of crayons, markers, and other little goodies – the kids will appreciate it more than floral centerpieces, and the adults will appreciate keeping the kids occupied.

Splurges: Serve dessert on mismatched vintage patterned dishes. They’re a bit of a splurge, since they’re not a necessity, but if you keep an eye out you should be able to find them here and there for under $2. If you don’t think you’ll use them again, re-sell them on eBay or a site like Bride to Bride Boutique.

For Free: By reserving an entire bed and breakfast like Sara did, your guests will know that everyone they run into there is your friend or relative, letting people get to know each other.

Real Wedding Inspiration: Nole & Andrew via Style Me Pretty

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Isn’t the main point of a wedding to be married to the person you love at the end of it? All the rest seems like gravy. I think it’s pretty obvious that I love the pretty details that go into a wedding, but I also know that it is entirely possible to have a beautiful wedding even without seating cards, a garter toss, elaborate flowers, favors, a clever guest book… Not to mention, those little details add up! If a few key elements are there, your guests will never notice that there’s no candy buffet.

Who says…you can’t do without all the details?

Mood: simple chic
Palette: green, gray, white

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Top row from left: potted herbs via Fish Food, framed chalkboard via This Is Glamorous, photo by Jesse Leake via Brooklyn Bride
Row 2: pear-lemon fizz from Martha Stewart Weddings, Vera Wang dress from Neiman Marcus, photo from Custom Event Group, parsley centerpiece photo by Mikkel Vang
Row 3: guest book photo by Marla Aufmuth, cupcake tins with baby tears, pear invitation from Wedding Paper Divas, pocket “boutonniere” from The Sartorialist
Row 4: bouquet by Paul Lowe, photo by Karyn Iserman, family-style dinner from Martha Stewart

The Paper: These simple pear-motif invitations – including envelopes – from Wedding Paper Divas will only run you about $2 apiece (depending on how many you order), and you can add other matching stationery pieces if you like. Instead of seating cards, why not use a unique framed chalkboard (a great DIY project, or available to purchase from Blue Bell Bazaar) to alert guests as to their seat assignments? And then use it in your home after the wedding!

The Fashion: Who says you can’t have a designer dress for a decent price? Though not technically a wedding gown, this gorgeous modern style by Vera Wang is $995 (a steal for Vera Wang!). Choosing to have only a few attendants (or even none at all), is another way to keep things simple. Let bridesmaids wear the dress of their choice within a range of colors (or black), and let the groomsmen wear a nice dark suit they already own.

The Decor: Instead of elaborate centerpieces, make your own by filling milk glass containers, which you can find for as little as 50-cents apiece on eBay, in antique stores or at flea markets, with a variety of live herbs. Potted herbs can be found at your local nursery, or you can even think ahead and grow them yourself. Use them in your kitchen after the wedding (or give them as gifts to attendants). Another idea is to fill regular household items, such as a cupcake tin, with moss or baby tears.

The Flowers: Don’t over-think the boutonniere; instead, tuck a simple white bloom in the groom’s pocket, along with a white pocket square. Or you could skip the boutonniere altogether. Same with the bouquet – instead of a complex floral arrangement, go with a simple bunch of scapes and fiddleheads hand-tied with twine.

The Food: Have some wine, beer, and soft drink options, but to save on hard liquor, go with a signature cocktail. Consider serving a family style meal. It can cut costs, and it’s a great way to get your guests interacting with one another. If you don’t especially care for cake, there’s no need to have one. Instead, serve one dessert to your guests, and let it be your favorite.

Other Details: How many times after your wedding will you look at the guest book? If it’s often, then go ahead and splurge. But if not, consider a small and simple Moleskine notebook for only $10.

Splurges: Splurge on the venue. Not only will your guests notice a beautiful venue more than they’ll notice most other details, but a special location requires far less embellishment than a more common one. In general, think about your priorities, figure out what they are, and splurge there.

For Free: Add some fun to your ceremony – play a quick game of rock-paper-scissors to decide who will say vows first.

Real Wedding Inspiration: Julie & Brennan

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Yesterday’s budget friendly board was playful and casual, and I think that is definitely a fun option for certain couples. But it’s also possible to have an elegant, more formal wedding on a budget! The plan for this champagne chic wedding board is to have a Friday evening champagne and hors d’oeuvres reception, following a city hall ceremony earlier in the day (or even in the week, month, year). Choosing to have a Friday reception, which is a less popular day than Saturday, will give you a little extra negotiating room with vendors. Though Friday is not always ideal for out-of-town guests, by holding an evening (say, 8:00) reception, you give guests a little extra time to make it to the party. So…

Who says…your wedding has to happen on a Saturday?

Mood: champagne chic
Palette: pink, black, white

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Top row from left: anemone bouquet by Artfool, invitation flat by Ceci New York, cake by Masse’s, Sue Wong dress from Saks Fifth Avenue
Row 2: fig hors d’oeuvres, black brooch detail via Perfect Bound, necklace by Yanina Artisan Jewelry, floating peony by Artfool
Row 3: cameo bouquet detail from Brides, silhouette by Karl Johnson, city hall photo by Ann Hamilton via The Bride’s Cafe, champagne photo by M.Polss
Row 4: tulle hair combe by ban.do, cameo-adorned favor from Martha Stewart Weddings, ring pillow by Emici Bridal, shoes via A Beautiful Living

The Paper: Take your inspiration from a vintage poster, and save money by going with a flat, standard-sized invitation (and envelope) printed in one color. If your most of your guests won’t have to make travel plans, then skip on the save-the-date, and just make sure to get in touch with those out-of-town guests ahead of time via email or phone.

The Fashion: One of the quickest ways to save money on your wedding is to knock the word “wedding” off the front of certain elements, including the dress. This dress by Sue Wong is a beautiful example of a non-bridal gown in the form of embroidered tulle, and will only set you back $495. Another way to save is by embellishing simple pieces, from your shoes to your dress, with vintage brooches or clip-on earrings (check out flea markets, antique stores, and eBay – or even your grandmother’s vanity!). The tulle hair comb from ban.do is a lovely accessory for only $50. Either for yourself, or as a gift for your bridesmaids, this necklace by Yanina Artisan Jewelry is a nice option at $39 – Etsy is full of incredible vendors with reasonable prices!

The Decor: By having a simple city hall ceremony earlier in the day, you’ll save by not having to decorate a ceremony space. Also, so many city halls are beautiful historical buildings that will make for great photos without additional decorating. At an hors d’oeuvres reception, you don’t necessarily need to have a seat and table for absolutely every single guest; instead set up some low round tables, along with some tall bar tables. Fewer tables means fewer rentals and fewer centerpieces, and it opens up your options for venues a bit since you can fit more people into a smaller space.

The Flowers: Ranunculus aren’t the cheapest flower out there, but with their layers and layers of petals, they’re a sweet alternative outside of peony season (not to mention they come in tons of colors). Floating single blossoms in pretty bowls is an efficient way to get a lot of decor bang for your buck, especially when paired with low votive candles. With a low key city hall ceremony, you won’t have bridesmaids to outfit with bouquets, so splurge on the bridal bouquet! Anemones are a dramatic option, and fall somewhere in the middle as far as cost goes.

The Food: An hors d’oeuvres reception may or may not be a cheaper option than a sit down dinner – talk to your caterer about this. But go with passed hors d’oeuvres – it’s easier to control the amount that your guests eat when they aren’t helping themselves at stations. Since the theme here is Champagne Friday, let champagne be your signature drink, and save by buying in bulk (either by the case, or in a magnum). Limit dessert to a beautiful, delicious cake.

Other Details: Embellish simple favor boxes, and even your bouquet, with an acrylic cameo for as little as 40-cents. Though unnecessary at a city hall ceremony, ring pillows are a sweet DIY detail: dress up a simple black ring pillow with a vintage beaded or lace applique in a contrasting color.

Splurges: Why not let the cake take center stage, and splurge on one that’s both beautiful and delicious? A silhouette artist is a fun splurge that will send your guests home with a personal and unique favor.

For Free: By having a tiny ceremony, and only inviting the bulk of your guests to a later reception, you and your new spouse have plenty of time to enjoy being newly married before the party starts, as well as to take portraits without stressing about keeping your guests waiting.

Real Wedding Inspiration: Anna & Seth via The Bride’s Cafe, and Shimrit & Roni via Brooklyn Bride

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I want to kick off these three weeks of budget friendly wedding boards by saying that, as with all of my inspiration boards, these aren’t necessarily exact blueprints for a wedding. I hope that you will pick and choose the ideas that you like, no matter how general or specific, and that there are some things here for you even if you’re not working with a smaller budget.

There are two key elements that each of these budget friendly boards have in common, flexibility and creativity. If you’re working within a budget, remembering those two points will help you not only maintain your sanity, but also put together a beautiful and meaningful wedding. To maintain this “thinking outside the box” mentality, each of this month’s budget boards has a little tag line to challenge conventional wedding thinking. Here’s today’s:

Who says…you have to take your wedding so seriously?

Mood: playful, quirky
Palette: orange, yellow, red

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Top row from left: tissue paper pom poms from Blueprint via All Things Bright and Beautiful, carrot cupcake from Martha Stewart, button seating cards via Black Eiffel, gold fish wine glass photo by Michele M. Waite via Married & More
Row 2: save-the-date by Cheerup Cherup, J.Crew image via Nibs, crepe paper flowers from Martha Stewart Crafts, crudite centerpiece from Martha Stewart
Row 3: Tory Burch Olivia banana flats from Net-A-Porter, ribbon board via Weddingbee, convertible Bug photo by Amy Squires, dahlia boutonniere via {frolic!}
Row 4: burger truck, orange candy from Martha Stewart, orange iPod nano, birdcage veil via Brooklyn Bride

The Paper: Cute calendar save-the-dates by Cheerup Cherup are under $2 apiece. Seating cards are probably unnecessary at a playful, casual reception, but these ones are too fun to resist – each one is adorned with a customized button, which acts as a fun favor for guests. You can get similar buttons for about 25 cents from One Inch Round, Busy Beaver Button Co., or Feeling Is Mutual. In lieu of a traditional guest book, make a ribbon bulletin board for guests to leave cards with good wishes – something you can use even after the wedding is over.

The Fashion: What is more playful than a short dress for the bride, and khaki shorts and a jacket for the groom? You can find fun neckties at a thrift store, and there are so many affordable options for birdcage veils (like this, this or this). A fun gift for groomsmen would be a pair of Lego or Monopoly piece cufflinks for as little as $12 a pair.

The Decor: Hang tissue paper flowers or pom poms for a fun pop of color. If you don’t want to hang them over every table, you might hang them at the venue entrance, or over the bar or buffet. Instead of floral centerpieces, goldfish in wine glasses or unique vases make for an interesting visual.

The Flowers: A single button dahlia is a fun addition to the groom’s lapel. For the bride, why not carry a bouquet of crepe paper blooms? This peony kit from Martha Stewart Crafts is only $15, and can be made as far in advance as you’d like.

The Food: By hiring an alternative caterer, such as a burger or taco truck, you can feed your guests for as little as $10 per person (check out Chow.com’s list of ideas). A clever idea for hors d’oeuvres is to fill a clean planter with crudites and dip so that it looks like a miniature vegetable garden, and it will double as a centerpiece. Simple cupcakes are generally cheaper than a tiered wedding cake, and easier to make yourself (you can freeze unfrosted cupcakes for up to three months – for tips go here). Keep in mind, though, that elaborate cupcakes can easily cost as much per person as wedding cake. If you go with a candy buffet, save by choosing candy you can buy in bulk. You could even use a jar of candy as a centerpiece at each table.

Other Details: For a casual reception, there’s nothing wrong with using your iPod to DJ for you. If you don’t feel confident in your own abilities to create an appropriate playlist, check out Audiostiles – they’ll create a 4-hour playlist for $200, and you’ll have it as a fun keepsake of your wedding day. Instead of renting a fancy car for your getaway, see if you can borrow something fun from a friend – generally anything vintage will make for fun photos, no matter how funky.

Splurges: If you can wear them again, why not splurge on a pair of Tory Burch Olivia banana shoes? They even fold up so you can carry them in your bag if you want to change from heels to flats.

For Free: Something fun that won’t cost you anything, is to have a wedding parade. You can provide guests with flags, ribbon wands or bubbles if you like, or you could just have your reception walking distance from the ceremony and all walk over together.

Real Wedding Inspiration: Todd & Sarah, via Offbeat Bride and Brooklyn Bride

(If you’re new to Snippet & Ink, you might be wondering why this budget friendly inspiration board is number six. I did a week of them awhile back, and you can see them here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.)

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Black and white probably isn’t the most obvious palette for a garden wedding, but the gorgeous invitation by Ceci New York convinced me otherwise. A bouquet of sweet peas and privet berries, white roses on a wrought-iron fence, Wedgwood jasperware, black figs and cheese – each of these elements play up the combination of black and white in a way that is elegant and subtle, rather than stark and modern. I would pull black bentwood chairs up to tables covered in soft white linens, fill black vases with lush white ranunculus, and hire a silhouette artist to send guests home with unique, custom favors. Yes, I think black and white works well for a garden wedding.

Mood: garden elegance
Palette: black, white

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Top row from left: invitation by Ceci New York, photo by Mi Belle Inc. via The Bride’s Cafe, cheese and figs styled by Heidi Johannsen, dress by Atelier Aimee from Charleston Weddings
Row 2: photo by Katya de Grunwald, bouquet by Artfool, chandelier photo from Domino
Row 3: silhouette from Martha Stewart Weddings, photo by Tec Petaja, cake from Nancy Liu Chin, Blumengarten centerpiece photo by Myrtle & Marjoram
Row 4: photo from Miss Whit’s flickr, black Wedgwood jasperware from Appleby Antiques, photo by Carrie Patterson, bentwood chairs via Katy Elliott

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