Palos Verdes Wedding: The Look for Less
January 6, 2010
United States

So, I thought it might be fun to see if we could take some of the elements from today's wedding and translate them into a more budget approach...

los angeles wedding by aaron delesie

photographs by Aaron Delesie (who we looooove)

Ceremony Style

Use planters packed tightly with white carnations (really tightly) to line your aisle. You can either buy inexpensive ceramic planters and paint them a high gloss chocolate brown or you can make your own wooden ones. A super easy DIY that even we could do. To save a little mula, skip the flowers sprinkled on the aisle. Although gorgeous, your guests won't notice their absence.

The altar is the real stand out feature. If you are lucky enough to have a a structure already in place, simply drape it with really basic winter white fabric. You can tie off the edges with wire then cover with simple greenery. If not, use four poles with large sheets of fabric secured at the top of each (puddling on the ground) to create that same dreamy effect.  You can also use thick white ribbon tied down the pole. It will blow in the breeze and look gorgeous.

Rather than a bouquet of orchids, go for hydrangeas. They aren't quite as polished, but you get a big bang for your buck as you only need a few stems. Plus, they have that creamy color and pretty, feminine style that will look perfect within this wedding style. Your girls can carry the purple variety, tied simply with a pretty white ribbon. Please note that hydrangeas don't have a long shelf life unless they are really treated with care. Here are some tips.

Consider renting your wedding dress, rather than buying it. Which is just what this bride did. Just make sure to do your due diligence on the company you rent from and get plenty of recommendations. Give your girls free reign on their own bridesmaids dresses by giving them 3-4 fabric swatches in a soft gold and letting them choose their own dress.

los angeles wedding by aaron delesie

photographs by Aaron Delesie

Cocktail Hour and Reception Style

Decorate your cocktail tables with succulents, tucked in sand inside glass vases. A crazy easy DIY project that you and your friends can actually do WAY ahead of time. Just hit up your local wholesale flower mart for different varieties of succulents and inexpensive vases.

Create indoor/outdoor spaces by adding little antique cocktail tables (found at flea market or Good Will and spray painting them white), cute throw pillows and draped blankets. You can find such good "ambiance" details at IKEA for next to nothing. When all is said and done, these make great Christmas and holiday gifts!

Layer basic white table cloths that your venue provides with light blue square fabric pieces. You can make your own super easily by purchasing the fabric at a wholesale store or online, then using easy hem to finish off the edges. The square should overlap the edges of the table slightly OR be placed in the center leaving 12" or so at the corners. If you are lucky enough to have square tables, you can use a light blue runner instead.

Make your napkins using a great lavender fabric. Napkins are probably the easiest sewing project on the planet, and you can finish them off by wrapping a pretty pale blue or white cord/ribbon around them. Or take it one step closer to the real wedding style and fasten old brooches as napkin rings (often found at flea markets).

For perfect centerpieces, make sure to vary the styles on your tables. Some tables should be tall, others low and others can simply feature an array of candles tucked in varying sizes of hurricane vases. Use Kathleen's DIY to make pretty, muted gold vessels to hold your flowers. Stick with all one hue, shades of whites, and go with inexpensive but fluffy flowers...hydrangeas and tightly packed carnations.

Finish off the look with a bit of glitz. Use jeweled frames to house your table numbers, roll a few of your vases in super sparkly crystal clear glitter (we did this for our wedding). Or you could just dust off your bejewler, rent every episode of sex in the city and get to work adding a band of bling to your vases.

So that should give you some good ideas as to how to translate today's gorgeous featured affair into one that can be done on a budget. By looking at each element as a separate piece to the puzzle, and tackling them one by one, you'll be able to see how these ideas can really be done on any budget. The key is in not getting overwhelmed with the whole...rather finding the elements that stand out to you the most, and figuring out a really cost effective way to achieve that same look.

And one last thing...hiring professionals to help you (florists, planners, etc) will most definitely ensure that your vision is translated with ease. A florist often knows great ways to trim the cost of things that you might not have thought of so they just might save you more money than DIY.