Board #276 | Keep It Simple (Budget Friendly #8)

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

{click image to enlarge}

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

Select Vendors from this post


  • Martha says:

    Great ideas on all your boards…and I love the Wera Wang dress…:)

    Martha B.

  • Kate says:

    I love the colors and I love the dinner table. Looks yummy and comfy. Great work as usual!

  • Mrs. in May says:

    Love the colors, something about grey and green that yells modern class to me!

  • DomestiGals says:

    Kathryn! I am gorging myself on these boards… and my budget is all the better for it :-) Thank you for using gray – I feel like there is a fine line between drab and fab when it comes to gray, but I really want to use it in my wedding (though it may turn to “pewter” if I need to satisfy my craving for metallic/blingy details). Do you think chocolate brown and pewter with orange accents can make for a simple, elegant fall wedding? Eager for your thoughts, oh wise and tasteful one! Thank you so much for all these great posts this week! Cheers, Jen xx

  • Shannon says:

    Incredible! You never cease to amaze me with your boards and creativity. Thank you!

  • Worthington says:

    LOVE the green-gray-and white motif. Very morning-wedding or Spring wedding-friendly!

  • Anna says:

    These colors and the feel of this board are so similar to our wedding, and will always be my favorite. Beautiful board!

  • maritessb says:

    this a beautiful board. especially that it’s budget friendly but so beautiful!

  • Interesting fact: at least for every caterer we’ve talked to, family style meals are actually more expensive then the buffet option (and obviously we were never considering the seated dinner option). Family style apparently takes more staff to carry out. So, sadly, as cool and idea as it was, we cut it… it wasn’t worth all the extra cost for us. Counter intuitive, no?

    I think if you think about the big picture first, the details flow more naturally with less cost and expense. Bravo for pointing this out! :)

  • I also really want to do a family style dinner, but have not found a caterer who does it. The closest I found was doing a clam bake or “picnic wedding”. I’d love to hear if anyone else had any luck finding anything truly family style.

  • karimichelle says:

    I was thinking of having one or two well know (and dear!) guests from each table go to a “buffet table” to pick up platters of food, and then bring them back to thier table. You know, like you do at your own family dinners?! Obiviously you would need to tweak a few things, like, maybe having salads/bread already on the tables, etc..whatever makes for easy carrying when it comes down to the main course. yay or nay?

  • Kathryn says:


    I think that’s a great idea. If you have willing guests and your caterer doesn’t mind, why not?! If you do this, please let us know how it works out.


  • veronica says:

    I’m on a really small budget and, as we all know, there are so many pretty but expensive things out there. Thanks for helping keep things in perspective.

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