Board #358 | Playful Minimalism (Budget Friendly #21)

If your style is more playful and modern than fussy and traditional, then a city hall ceremony followed by a restaurant reception might be the wedding for you. Holding your ceremony at city hall not only imbues a certain low-key mood to your wedding, but it is also a way to stay within your budget – there are no ceremony decorations to buy, no programs to print out, and no attendant flowers to pay for. Asking guests to celebrate with you at a favorite restaurant also has its advantages: many restaurants won’t charge you a site fee; you won’t have to rent tables, chairs and linens; and it’s a great place to return to for anniversaries! For this budget wedding board, I imagined a quirky, playful couple with minimalist sensibilities…

Mood: playfully minimalist
Palette: blackboard, concrete, chalk

{click image to enlarge}

Top row from left: photo by 5ive15ifteen, chalkboard from Martha Stewart Weddings, jacket and tie from Nordstrom
Row 2: invitation by Mr. Boddington’s Studio from Minted, chalkboard candle via EmilyStyle, city hall ceremony via {frolic!}
Row 3: shoes photo by Michelle Armas, dress by Thread, restaurant photo from Modern Restaurant Seating, white sparkling jasmine Golden Star Tea
Row 4: chocolate lemon tart from Cannelle et Vanille, save-the-date by Justin Pocta, cymbidium nosegays from Martha Stewart Weddings

The Paper: Get clever with your save-the-dates and take a photo of yourselves – no professional necessary. You can turn them into cards on Shutterfly for as little as 45-cents apiece. If you’ve always dreamed of letterpress invitations, but feel constrained by a budget, design your own with a unique font and have Mercurio Brothers print them up for as little as $1.50 each when you order 150.

The Fashion: Some designers are now offering what they call “bridal alternatives,” which can be great budget-friendly options – this dress by Thread is only $375. With some tulle or netting for as little as $2 a yard, you can save by making your own veil. Vintage ribbon, clip on earrings, or silk flowers are all great ways to dress-up and personalize plain shoes without overspending. For the groom, this jacket and tie are a bit of a splurge, but if they fit his personality and are something he will wear again, then they’re worth the extra expense.

The Decor: Cover candle holders with chalkboard paint, and write table numbers on them. Not only is it a clever way to let guests know where to sit, but candles are a great way to warm up a modern space without breaking the bank. You could also paint flower pots (filled with live paperwhites or orchids) and write guests’ names on them.

The Flowers: If you’d prefer floral centerpieces to candles, consider a single potted orchid on each table. You can find them for under $20, and give them as gifts after the wedding. Or, in winter, grow your own paperwhites from bulbs for even less. For the bride’s bouquet, a nosegay of cymbidium orchids is a way to carry a bit of luxury down the aisle for less than a large bouquet would cost.

The Food: Many restaurants will set a minimum that you have to spend on food, so instead of adding another vendor by ordering a traditional wedding cake, serve one of the restaurant’s desserts to your guests instead. If you’re not a fan of champagne, or not a fan of the cost, but you still want to have a celebratory toast, sparkling Golden Star Tea is a delicious non-alcoholic option (and it’s way more grown-up than sparkling cider), and will only set you back about $12 a bottle.

Other Details: Instead of a traditional guestbook, continue the chalkboard motif by setting up a photo station with a chalkboard backdrop. Ask guests to write notes and take photos standing with their notes – if you set up a Polaroid, they can put those right into a book for you.


  • Megan says:

    I LOVE the chalkboard theme! It’s a great way to add some fun and whimsy to a more formal wedding!

  • The Professional Bridesmaid says:

    I love this board! And your budget friendly tips make it even more lovely!

  • One Love Photo says:

    This board reminds me of my hubby if he had planned our wedding. And he just painted a chalkboard for me yesterday. There is something to be said for clean and simple, isn’t there???

  • Anna says:

    Mercurio Brothers looks fantastic – I wish I had known about that option was I was wedding planning! Now I’m trying to think of some other excuse to order 150 letterpressed somethings. =)

  • elizabeth says:

    I love the sophisticated, minimalist theme, and I love knowing letterpress is available for less than an arm and a leg! Thanks for the awesome tip!

  • the haystack needle says:

    I love the idea of putting a chalkboard behind you as a photo backdrop! I’m thinking of setting up a photo station at my birthday party to take fun photos. I’m going to use this idea with a chalkboard wall decal I have! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Dynamite Weddings says:

    OMG, this save-the-date is precious! What a great and playful couple.

  • marry me! says:

    i love the black board back drop for a photo booth. it would be so personal to have your guests write a message to you and take a picture with it! love it!

  • Natalie says:

    Hehe. That’s my Save the Date! It was so fun doing those. Justin actually wrote on our faces. We, then, sent them as postcards in the mail so we didn’t have to buy envelopes. We did have problems with them being returned or getting messed up in the mail because we used thicker paper. Anyway, thanks for sharing this with others! Justin did such a wonderful job with them!

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