Top 10 Thrifty Wedding Ideas of 2016

We’re officially on the home stretch for 2016, and what a year it’s been! I thought it would be fun to use these last few weeks in December to recap some of the awesomeness that was 2016. Just like Barbara Walters has her top 10 most fascinating people, or DJ Earworm puts together his music compilation of all the top songs from the year, I’ve created my own Top 10 lists for 2016. This week I’m going to talk about my top 10 thrifty wedding ideas, and in the coming weeks I’ll share my top 10 favorite moments, and top 10 lessons learned. Let the countdown begin! 

I worked with a lot of creative couples this year, and I’m fortunate that when I say “I’m going to take this *insert random, non-wedding-related item* and make it a decoration” they trust my instinct and capabilities. And vice versa, because I mean it when I say I’ve worked with some of the  most creative and thrifty couples this year! So, without further ado, here are the Top 10 Thrifty Wedding Ideas of 2016! 

10) Tiny Table Assignments

It’s only right we start this countdown off with one of the first weddings I coordinated this year. This idea was for a January wedding where we had a semi-small table available to us to display the guest seating assignments. We wanted to use the space as best we could, while still doing something other than a large sign with everyone’s name written out. I developed the idea of taping small printed names to short wooden sticks and placing them in short jars filled with purple sand. We kept the names in alphabetical order within each jar and were able to display more than we would have been able to had we gone the traditional route with half-folded cards on the table. The guests found their name and then took it with them to the table. It was easy to make and a great way to save on space!

9) DIY Bridal Bouquets

This is one of the best examples of creativity from the brides I’ve worked with - DIY bridal bouquets! It’s a big undertaking, and considering how many pictures the bouquet is featured in, it’s understandable why most brides leave it to the professionals. These brides trusted their abilities, though, and it paid off! Not only were they gorgeous, it also saved them a lot of money.

8) Food Delivered, Servers Not Included

There are times when a couple is very lucky, and when their family and friends offer to help, they really mean they want to help. For one of my couples, friends of the mother of the bride were long time restaurant servers and offered to help with preparing appetizers for cocktail hour, setting the buffet, re-stocking it, and clearing tables after dinner. This allowed the couple to have food delivered from a restaurant, which was a less expensive alternative to full catering. And the servers were great! It is important to note, though, that if you choose something similar, your family or friends have serving experience. I also would not recommend putting close friends and family in charge of something like this, as these ladies were in the kitchen the entire day and evening, and not necessarily considered "guests" at the wedding. 

7) Single Stem Decor

Sometimes less is more, and that was proven time and again this year with couples opting for single stem flower decor over large centerpieces and displays. Whether they chose a bright flower to stand out, or single stems to add a little extra to candle displays, the impact of this small decor was big.

6) Lemonade, Anyone? 

For outdoor summer weddings, it’s become very popular to serve guests drinks prior to the ceremony, and while champagne can be great, there are many fees and permits that go along with it at city parks. To avoid these fees, and make the day feel a little more kid friendly, we had a couple host a lemonade stand. We had the kids greet and pass out drinks to the adults as they arrived. It was a super fun way to keep them entertained and everyone hydrated!

5) Non-Traditional Bouquets


Similar to the DIY wedding bouquets, we love when brides go off the beaten path. While shopping for flowers with one of my brides, she picked up a bundle of greens and said, “I’m pretty sure this is kale, but I think it’d look cool in the bridesmaids’ bouquets.” She had my attention! I worked it into the bouquets with a few other simple flowers, and it was a big hit. What was even better was how many people commented that it totally fit her personality to do something like that.

4) Lighted Cake

We’ve found many couples opting for simpler and simpler cakes, but just because the cakes aren’t tiered and stacked to great heights, doesn’t mean they aren’t just as beautiful. One of the thriftiest wedding cakes we saw this year was from Corina Bakery. The cake had a battery operated strand of lights, and added just the right amount of extra flare to a simple, white, 2-tier design.

3) Letter Balloons

When most people think of a wedding, balloons aren’t necessarily the first thing that come to mind. It was the perfect added piece, though, to a summer wedding in the park. We purchased large letter balloons to tie to the welcome sign, which helped guests find their ceremony location in the park. As an added bonus, they also made for great props to carry in the parade down the street to the reception, not to mention, fun to take pictures with! 

2) LuvaCakes

For those uninterested in cake, we found some amazing alternatives this year. One of my absolute favorites is LuvaCakes! Chaia makes these delicious lava cakes in five different flavors and two different sizes. They are the perfect bite size dessert at weddings, and melt in your mouth delicious!

1) DIY Paper Puffs

Last but not least, one of my all time favorite thrifty wedding ideas from 2016 were these paper puffs made from Crate and Barrel packaging material. No, you didn’t read that wrong. This bride used the packing paper from the gifts they had received from Crate and Barrel (the wedding gift that just keeps giving, am I right?) to make puffs to hang from the chairs down the aisle. The paper has an awesome texture, they looked great, and they cost the couple nothing except for a little time and creativity. Thriftiest. Bride. Ever. 

So there you have it, the Top 10 Thrifty Wedding Ideas of 2016. Now it’s your turn! Did you see anything this year that made your jaw drop because it was just that thrifty? Comment below and share!

Stay Thrifty,