Planning a wedding is a lot of work, and every couple wants their big day to be perfect. However, the more you add to the experience, the pricier it often becomes. There are countless details to evaluate as you determine what would make your big day utter perfection. In this guide, we’ve supplied the top budget-friendly wedding upgrades you can make to your special day. We’ll get into the nitty-gritty of all the key areas, including:
- Invest in decor
- Add a lounge area
- Have a creative guest book
- Consider guest experience
- Have a thank-you gift
- Enhance dessert
Remember, planning the perfect event lies in the details, and with a bit of guidance, you can make your wedding amazing without overspending.
Invest in Some Decor
One of the best ways to enhance your wedding is by purchasing the right decor to make the venue unique to you and your partner. Consider adding decorations such as signs, centerpieces, and accent lighting to add to the ambiance of your location.
Guests should easily navigate the venue, especially if the ceremony and reception are in the same space. There are various techniques for making wedding signs without blowing your decor budget by making your own signs. Take a trip to your local craft store to pick up some acrylic paints and wooden signs, then begin decorating any way you’d like.
If you own a vinyl cutter, such as a Cricut, you could also create designs and labels through this method. Aim to make signs for the following:
- Welcoming guests
- “Here Comes the Bride”
- Cocktail drink menu
- Gift drop-off area
- Guest book location
You should also make directional signs. When creating these, strive to make them help guests find key areas such as the ceremony space, reception, bathrooms, and bar.
You can also take your wedding to the next level by purchasing beautiful centerpieces to enhance your reception space. Not sure what to buy? Flowers are one of the most popular options, but couples may also have lanterns, mason jars, candles, or seasonal decor.
As you select your perfect centerpiece, consider the theme of your wedding and how each option would fit into it. Lanterns and mason jars are perfect centerpieces at a barn wedding, while a basket of pine cones is wonderful at a winter wedding.
Everyday Bride Tip
Purchasing flowers from a florist is expensive, especially when you need arrangements to use as decor and bouquets. Reduce this expense by buying from a wholesaler and assembling the bouquets yourself.
Make Lighting Upgrades
Lighting enhances the ambiance of your space, and it’s a great detail to improve on your big day. Consider purchasing fairy lights to wrap around table centerpieces or for your altar. Some couples also invest in color-wash lighting for the reception so the room looks a specific color, such as red, pink, blue, or gold.
Add a Lounge Area
Give your guests a place to take a break between all the dancing and excitement; this shouldn’t be their dining table. A lounge area just outside the reception space gives guests a quieter spot to settle down in if needed.
You could have the venue workers set up your wedding lounge area during cocktail hour so everyone can kick back and relax. To make this area really stand out, evaluate the costs of having upholstered lounge chairs or couches for guests. Likewise, ensure you have plenty of cocktail tables so everyone can enjoy delicious drinks and finger food.
Everyday Bride Tip
Aim to rent comfortable armchairs and couches for guests to sit on. While the lounge area is a spot for everyone to relax, it’s also a quieter location where guests can gather to talk.
Have a Creative Guest Book
Signing the guest book allows your friends and family to offer helpful, silly, and loving advice about married life. Enhancing this adds fun to the wedding and makes your special day more unique. There are countless alternative guest book ideas for non-traditional couples, such as a wine corkboard or puzzle pieces.
This upgrade leaves you with something special you can use or show off in your home. Likewise, enhancing the guest book improves the guest experience by engaging them in something unique. Plus, this shows you value their thoughts and ideas as loved ones.
A Fun Idea: Date Night Tips
Continuing the spontaneity of going on dates is vital to married life, but thinking up new ideas may become challenging, especially if you have dated for years. Some couples have guests write down their best date idea in the guest book so they can kick off married life with fun activities.
Consider Guest Experience
Weddings aren’t just a big deal to you and your partner. Those coming as guests are thrilled to be there too. To enhance the guest experience, consider the following upgrades at your wedding:
- Adding an outdoor station
- Having a kids table
- Adding a photo booth
- Having a DIY bar station
All these guests set aside time and money to show their support, so they should feel welcome when they first walk into your ceremony space.
Add an Outdoor Wedding Station
Having an outdoor station for guests is another budget-friendly wedding upgrade. Here, you can have sanitizer, bug repellent, tissues, and bottled water for guests to use or grab. Place this at the entryway of the ceremony so it’s easy for everyone to notice and access.
Have a Kids’ Table
Inviting children to your wedding allows you to include loved ones of all ages, and with a kids’ table, you can please both kiddos and the parents. This gives little ones a place to sit and feel independent while their parents get to enjoy time talking with fellow adults. When setting up a kids’ table, include child-friendly activities, such as coloring pages or games, so kids have a blast.
Add a Photo Booth
Photo booths are fun and give guests a bonus favor to take home as they remember this exciting day. Narrow down a spot in your venue where you can set this up; ensure it’s easy for guests to locate and get quality photos. And don’t forget the props! Some venues may have photo booth props you can rent, but you can also purchase items online or from a party store.
Aside from picking out the right spot and getting props, another key tip for making a DIY photo booth is having the right backdrop. If you get married outside, pick a scenic place to hang a ribbon or a lighting arch. On the other hand, if your wedding is indoors, you could have a colorful fabric backdrop.
Everyday Bride Tip
Cardboard photo frames are a must-have in this booth. When making this prop, paint on your and your partner’s names plus the date so guests can always look back and remember that incredible day.
Have DIY Bar Stations
While a bartender is a must-have at most weddings, you don’t have to stop there. Consider adding a DIY bar station where guests can get their own alcohol-free beverages—leave the cocktails and liquor to the bartender. This way, guests can quench their thirst without waiting in long lines at the bar.
Have Thank-You Gifts
We all love hearing the magic phrase, “Thank you.” This makes us feel appreciated for the things we’ve done. It’s easy to overlook the importance of your guests or the fact that they’ve made sacrifices to come your day. Some readily use PTO to travel to your wedding, and others happily spend their evening celebrating your love.
While guests make time to go to your special event because they want to, it’s still a sacrifice since that’s time they could spend doing something else. There’s also the monetary cost of travel and purchasing a gift for you.
Essentially, giving guests a thoughtful thank-you gift shows them that you appreciate their presence in your life. Some wonderful, cost-effective presents for your guests include:
- Personalized playing cards
- Seed packets
- Key-shaped bottle openers
Your options are nearly endless, and what you give depends on how much you want to spend. What matters most here is that you give your guests a trinket gift.
Everyday Bride Tip
If you have guests coming from out of town, prepare a small welcome package to give them at the hotel. The gift pack can include a few snacks, a beverage, and a list of things to do during their stay. Bonus points to couples who have hangover essentials for the day after the wedding!
The final way to upgrade your big day is by making the dessert more of a statement, and there are various ways you can do this. Some couples have a table or two packed with an assortment of delicious desserts, including cupcakes, cookies, candy, and so much more.
This is a fantastic upgrade because it improves guest experience while pleasing their tastebuds. While the wedding cake is delicious, it’s something nearly everyone has. Plus, with this enhancement, you can still serve cake alongside other treats.
Set Up a Display
When serving your dessert, aesthetics matter. For example, rather than set all the cupcakes on the table, use a tiered dessert tray to make a cupcake tower. Likewise, you could use a dessert to try to organize the various types of desserts you serve.
Remember What Matters Most
As you make upgrades, consider how each would add to your big day and make your vision a reality. When doing this, note the price of each enhancement, as some may be more doable than others based on your budget. Upgrades are great, but they shouldn’t break the bank or make your wedding unaffordable.
You can make your wedding incredible and fun while remaining on budget. Take the time you need to allocate your expenses so you can decide which upgrades to splurge on when you tie the knot. It’s time to plan your dream wedding!