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How to: Wedding Decor
Although it's easy to get caught up in the search for gorgeous gems, a decadent dress, and sigh-worthy shoes, you're not the only thing that needs to be decorated on your wedding day! Your wedding decor sets the theme for your wedding, and can give guests an idea of what to expect throughout the day. The best decor works with – not against – you in photos and provides lots of lovely backdrops for your portraits. On average, brides spend about 15% of their wedding budget on decorations, though brides with larger budgets tend to spend more and brides trying to save some money may scale back. No matter what your budget is, though, there's a decor scheme that will work for your needs.
What Is Decor Anyway?
In short, decor is anything you use to make your wedding prettier, and there are literally hundreds of available options. Flowers are the most popular wedding decoration, and even brides on a tight budget typically have at least a few flowers. But there are many more options in addition to flowers, including:
- Lighting such as candles, lanterns, strobe lighting for the dance floor, or coloured light bulbs.
- Table and chair covers.
- Runners for the aisle you'll be walking down.
- Religious symbols such as crosses, the crescent and star, and the Star of David.
- Cultural symbols such as paper cranes hanging from the ceiling.
- Personalized options. If you're a writer, for example, you might use a literary theme and place stacks of vintage books on each table at the reception.
Choosing Your Decor
Your wedding decor shouldn't just mesh well with your wedding theme and colors; it's often the thing that establishes them! Your flowers should match your bridesmaid's dresses, for example, and more lavish bouquets generally fit in best at glamorous evening weddings. Some things to consider when choosing your wedding decor include:
- The overall theme you're going for. If you're having a low-key beach wedding, for example, you might incorporate sea shells and tropical flowers. A vintage wedding calls for glamorous elements such as orchids and lilies or lace table covers.
- Your wedding colors. While you can get away with abandoning your wedding colors for many little bits and pieces, your decor should match your wedding colors. You can then add complementary colors as needed. For example, if your colors are red and black, you might have red flowers tied with a black ribbon, and then incorporate smaller yellow or white flowers to add a pop of color.
- Whether there's anything that needs to be concealed. An old barn might be an amazing wedding location, but if there's a hole in the wall or an unfinished floor, your decorations can help cover it up. Try hanging a picture on the wall and getting a runner.
- Consider how your decorations fit together as a coherent whole. You might love books and beaches, but a stack of books might look out of place next to a beach umbrella or bucket of sand.
- Think about how your decor will look with your dress, your bridal party, and alongside other decorations. Raspberry-colored flowers may be lovely, but they'll look strange with orange bridesmaids dresses or red chairs.
When you begin to put your decor themes together, take a few moments to close your eyes and picture the wedding of your dreams. How does it leave you feeling? What colours do you see? Take a few cues from this fantasy image to turn your dream wedding into a reality! It can also be helpful to peruse the internet for pictures of real weddings and keep a file of images and decorations you love. Have a look at our inventory of incredible decoration supplies to get you started!
Keeping Expenses Under Control
There's really no limit on what you can do with decor, so it's easy to go a little crazy and end up over budget. Try the following tips to keep your decor expenses under control:
- Do as much of it yourself as you possibly can. Try recruiting a few friends to make flower arrangements, asking your mother to sew an aisle runner or recruiting your dad's assistance for setup and breakdown of your decorations.
- Don't limit your search to items that are labeled as “wedding decorations.” Vendors often charge a premium for wedding items, so search for the items you want without adding “wedding” to the equation. For example, if you want some gorgeous vases, search online for the colour and style rather than for “wedding vases.”
- Establish your budget before you begin searching, and don't spend any time on anything that exceeds your budget. Brides sometimes fall in love with something that's way out of budget and then buy it anyway. So if the store is too expensive or the online item doesn't fit with your budget, walk away and don't give it a second thought!
- Focus on decor that fits your lifestyle and personality, rather than subscribing to a preconceived notion of what wedding decor “should” be. If you're not a flower person, there's no rule that you have to have flowers. You might be just as happy with candles or lanterns as centerpieces.
Almost everyone who gets married says vows, wears white, and walks down an aisle. But your decorations give you a chance to turn your wedding into a unique event that reflects your personality. There's no right or wrong way to choose decor. All that matters is what feels right to you.