Wedding planning: How to make an impact on a small budget

It’s the year of wedding planning on team Mollie Makes with 3 out of 5 of us getting married in the next year, and one fresh off the wedding aisle. As a DIY bride you will no doubt be in a long-term love affair with Pinterest and it can be all too easy to get carried away pinning and end up feeling totally overwhelmed by ideas, trust us we’ve all been there! With varied budgets and wedding styles, Cath, Helena, Nikki and Nina share their top tips for brides planning to DIY elements of their wedding. From wedding tablescapes to photobooths, here’s how to get WOW on a budget…

Round balloon wedding table centrepiece

Image source: 100 Layer Cakelet

Table decorations

As someone who’s recently gone through it, Editor Cath knows how to get the most out of your table decorations. “You don’t have to splash the cash with lots of fresh flowers and big centrepieces – create colourful table displays with glitter-dipped jam jars filled with gorgeous greenery or paper flowers. Add height to your tables with helium balloons with DIY paper tassels, and decorate chairs with ribbons.”

“Laying out a pretend wedding table helped me so much,” says Digital Editor Nina. “I realised that a family-style buffet like ours doesn’t need all that much in the way of table decorations so I’ve kept things simple with only one vintage swan vase and a couple of candles per table of twelve! Your tables will be far from bare as place cards and favours will add to the jazz-hands effect of your tablescapes.”

Simple fringed paper streamers photobooth

Image source: Oh Happy Day


The much adored photobooth comes in all kinds of awesome: from the elaborate to the why-didn’t-I-think-of-that simple. As Cath puts it, “All you really need is a simple DSLR camera on a tripod to make a DIY photobooth.” For brides who want to create their own background, Cath suggests you “pick up lots of paper streamers in your colour scheme to create a backdrop on a blank wall, then accessorise with paper flowers, fans, honeycomb balls or pom poms. Metallic curtains also create great effects.” Photobooths also double up as guest entertainment – Auntie Janet will be saying how she’s not had that much fun in years!

Temporary Tattoos wedding favours

Image source: The Melideos

Sparkler wedding favour printable

Image source: Smitten on Paper

Party favours

Think about practicality with your favours – it’s not worth splashing out on gifts your guests won’t appreciate. Edible favours are always a hit. Try making jam, baking macarons or biscuits, or brewing your own sloe gin or limoncello to decant into miniature bottles. Another fun option is a sparkler with a handmade personalised label – guests can light them for a great photo opportunity at the end of the night! Digital Editor, Nina is particularly excited about their wedding favours: temporary tattoos! “We’ve sourced tattoos from our favourite designer-makers and bought them at wholesale prices. To make it more wedding-y we’ll be cutting them up and repackaging them into cellophane bags, stapled shut with home-designed labels.”

Tying the knot Save The Date printable

Image source: Smitten on Paper


Every bride has that ‘thing’ she obsesses over, for Art Director, Helena it’s the invitations. “As a designer I know how helpful it is to have a clear vision before you begin. Once you’ve curated your very favourite ideas you can begin to make some decisions.” Sometimes those decisions can be as simple as choosing a thinner twine to save on postage or going on the hunt for a more affordable stationery printer.

There are also dozens of great websites offering free wedding printables for your save the dates or invitations – simply customise and download before. Keep the design simple and cut out all the various elements first to make assembly more efficient, and don’t forget to rope in your bridesmaids to help!

London-Bride-HT-Wedding Photo Credit Kat Hill

Image source: London Bride
Photo Credit: Kat Hill

Venue decorations

Sub Editor, Nikki will be having her reception in a warehouse gallery and has come up with creative ways to fill the space. Her tip? Go big! “Whatever venue you have chosen it will be larger and grander than anything you have decorated or styled before, and your chosen decorations need to match. Better to invest in a statement piece or two that you and your guests will love, than throwing cash at smaller items that look lost in the space. Smaller items may seem better value but they add up and won’t make as much impact as say large marquee lights or paper streamer curtain would.”

Cath also suggests switching bunting for paper tassels and fringed garlands for a contemporary look, and to make elements like your guest book and card box work harder by arranging them on tables surrounded by lovely details.

Lightbulb wedding favour

Image source: 100 Layer Cake

Quick read: 5 wedding tips and ideas from Mollie Makes

1. Gather ideas first. Collect fabric swatches and ribbons for colour theme inspiration, pin all the things or go for the trusty wedding scrapbook with images from your favourite craft and wedding magazines. Knowing exactly what you want mean you’ll avoid buying all the things!

2. Look out for vintage items which can add a personal feel to your wedding and can be a lot cheaper. Cute ideas: suitcases for cards, enamel jugs for flowers, and ditsy floral fabrics and vintage crockery for your tables.

3. It’s the year of the pom pom! These versatile, inexpensive balls of fluff make excellent bouquets, garlands, place settings and a whole lot more. There’s almost nothing that doesn’t look better with a pom.

4. Don’t be afraid to DIY. Chalkboard signage, props for your photobooth and embellished jam jars (dipped, glittered or tied with lace) can all be crafted in no time at all.

5. Host a night of cocktails and craft for you and the girls to get a little extra help with the DIY-ing.

Related posts:

DIY paper flower place cards

How to get the vintage look: Weddings

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