Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Decorating Our Wedding Space

When we were planning our wedding, we knew that we wanted somewhere other than the usual hotel ballroom.  We also wanted a place that we could actually decorate. (Not 50 foot ceilings, or gigantic spaces that weren't suited for decorating)

Our wedding budget was eight to nine thousand dollars.  Just typing that out makes me feel weird because that is so much money.

Let the justifying begin:  We had 100 people attend, served food and drinks, and DIY-ed the heck out of things.  Our biggest expense was the venue.  As I'm sure you can imagine, we did lots of hunting for cool venues.  After looking at museums, art galleries, old mansions, places on Lake Michigan, and on and on, I was starting to get discouraged.  Most places charged around $5,000 plus they required you to go through their caterers which was so over budget they were all out.  So where the heck can we have a cool wedding?!
We go so lucky when I found this fantastically perfect loft space, The Westgrand Studio for $2,500 including insurance and extra stuff.  Plus we were able to get in the day before to decorate and the day after to clean up and get chairs and tables picked up.  That doesn't sound like a big deal, but it's rare.

They let us bring in food, serve our own beer and wine, and pretty much do whatever we want.

After the jump, you can see how we decorated this wonderful raw space.

Welcome to our wedding.  If you are Martha Stewart and you are reading this, call me!  We had 12 tables.  If you can't see from this picture.  We did white table cloths that a friend let us borrow, and green fabric on the head and family tables.  The we did a long strip of brown butcher paper on every table.
Here is a closer look at the tables.  Sure, it's at the end of the night, but you can see the table decor.  The peacock feathers weren't exactly part of the plan.  The plan was to have succulents (a bunch of different little cacti) in mason jars with blue and green gravel as well as mini mason jars with little hot peppers from some cool plants we found.

Here are a few more views of the room.  Off in the right corner is where we had the buffet.  To the left where you enter the space is where we had the bar.

We had the head table and family table pushed to the back of the room and set up all of the wood chairs for the ceremony.  As soon as the ceremony was over, we everyone take their chair to their table and then moved the head table and family table to the middle of the room.

This is the altar that we built.  We got the idea from Martha Stewart, but I can't find it anywhere on her website!  We took paint cans, filled it with cement and put a long 8' dowel into the cement.  Then we wrapped the wooden dowel with a string of white lights and stacked paper lanterns.


So let's talk budget for the decorations:
$300 - Renting 100 chairs and 15 tables and 3 high top tables
$40 - 24 standard mason jars and 24 mini mason jars
$50 - 10 flats of succulents and 2 hot pepper plants
$15 - 10 yards of green and 5 yards of blue fabric
$10 - brown butcher paper for the tables
$0 - white linens
$150 - "Bambu" wooden plates and cutlery and corn cups - super great biodegradable products
$100 - tons of paper lanterns in a variety of sizes and shades of blue, green and white
$15 - cement, paint cans, dowels
$100 - 15 strings of large bulb holiday lights
$110 - paper for the name cards, table cards, and invitations (the green and blue paper, not the main invitation paper)
$4 - bamboo sticks for the table numbers
$5 - 15 feet of wire from Home Depot to hang the name cards (See here)

TOTAL: $899   Crazy cheap?  No.  But super DIY-ed and cost effective?  YES!  

I could have cut corners here and not decorated a lot, but when we talked about priorities of money, decorating and making the wedding super "us" was a priority.  Other priorities included amazing, not cheesy DJ, professional photographer, and finding the perfect space.  We managed to get very great deals on all of these things, but they are expensive things and we weren't willing to cut them out.

Non-priorities (read: super deal time!) were food, drinks (non-negotiable), my dress...I'm sure I'm forgetting lots of things.  One thing I would have loved but it really didn't fit in the budget was a photobooth.  Sigh...

More on food, invitations, music, etc later.
Here's the great view of downtown from right behind our altar.


  1. Not only amazing decorations but a beautiful evening and a beautiful bride!! Well done!!

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