Today I’m going to be talking about how you can make your wedding look more elevated, more fancy and more upscale on the same wedding budget or just barely above your current budget.
Now before anybody goes crazy on me and says in the comments, why is my wedding have to look fancier – it doesn’t. It absolutely does NOT. This article is for those brides and grooms who want their budget to have a more impact or a greater impact on their wedding photos. So in their wedding pictures, their wedding is going to look a lot more grand compared to what they thought it was going to look on same budget, or it’s just going to have more style into it.
There’s nothing wrong with not doing this but there are a lot of wedding couples I see who say how can we get more, how can we make the most out of our budget, how can we make these things look as good as possible in the wedding photos without spending more money, or without spending too much money.
So everything I’m going to talk about today is either going to cost you no more money or only a little bit extra money nothing too crazy 🙂
First things first hire a great wedding photographer! If you have a bad photographer no matter how much money you spend on your wedding, it could be $100,000, a bad wedding photographer is not going to make it look very good.
They’re instantly going to make everything that you put into your wedding look cheaper, look just not as clean and elevated. Great wedding photography is so important to have, that you definitely want to make sure, that you get the most out of your wedding budget.
Great wedding photographer can take a low budget wedding and make it look really nice or as nice as it can possibly look, and then a bad photographer could take that same wedding or even a really expensive wedding and make it look bad.
So wedding photography is going to be the biggest thing that’s all you have after your wedding, so I would say invest in the best possible photographer you can get whether that’s the best person you can get at your current budget, or maybe you need to reallocate funding. If your budget for wedding photographer is maybe three thousand but your dream photographer is four thousand then I would say try to look for ways to shave off $1000 off of the rest of your wedding budget.
You can cut out favors, stop serving alcohol 30 minutes before the end of the evening. Maybe skip out on grandma corsages and little things. There are always so many little things that you can skimp on to have something that’s more important for you.
Our second tip is to have a great hair and makeup artist. I have seen hair and makeup artists who are super cheap and their work looked really cheap. The bride’s hair looked messy, and not intentionally messy. A bunch of bobby pins showing, her makeup wasn’t blended well and it didn’t cover everything.
So having a great hair and makeup artist is key.
Now the next thing involves the bride and the groom or whoever is wearing an outfit for the wedding day. Have it perfectly tailored to your body. This is not an issue that I see as much with the brides – usually their gowns fit them pretty well, but I see so many grooms and groomsmen to have baggy and ill-fitting suits and tuxes that looks so cheap to me.
You could have an extremely expensive suit or tuxedo not tailored to the groom’s body and it will look cheap. It will just look cheap every time. You could have a low budget suit but have it perfectly tailored to the groom and it will look like a million bucks. Tailoring is such a big deal and so many men on the wedding day overlook this.
I cannot tell you how many times I have photographed bridal parties with groomsmen whose suits don’t fit them and it just looks like a baggy mess. It looks so cheap to me, but if they had just had it tailored like with the same exact suit it would have looked so much more elevated and elegant, and it’s just something that you do not need to overlook. So please don’t overlook this if you were the groom or if you have a groom make sure the groom is not skimping out on having it perfectly tailored to his body.
Now the next thing I’m going to talk about is your wedding ceremony and that is for your wedding flowers specifically. So flowers can be expensive and I know that there are a lot of you out there who love flowers and want to have as many flowers as you possibly can in your budget. A great way to do that is to actually deck out your ceremony backdrop and then repurpose it for the wedding reception.
This is something that is something that’s going to give you a lot of impact in your wedding photos so have an arch that looks really high end but repurpose it for your reception so it’s like all in the same thing and you’re saving a lot of money by repurposing.
The same goes for any arrangements that are at the front of the aisle or alongside the aisle. Those can be moved by the head table or they can be moved in front of the band stage or the DJ’s booth. Every little thing that you have at the ceremony can hopefully be repurposed.
Now you’re going to have to arrange this with your florist. Make sure that whatever they are doing can be repurposed but it is something that is really cost-effective. You can get the biggest bang for your buck by decking it out and having it in multiple places throughout the day. That’s a great way to have more but for the same amount of money.
Moving on to your cocktail hour and your wedding reception. I always find that escort cards, which are the cards that have the guests’ name and table number on them, can be a little tricky to arrange. Whenever they’re just placed on a table and they’re all flat and all in a row and all on the same surface, that to me even if they’re really pretty escort cards does not feel very elevated or very interesting to me visually.
So one thing you can do, that should not cost you any more money, is to have varying heights and depths of your escort cards. So maybe on the far side you have some that are on the table itself and then right next to them and set back a little bit you have cards that are on top of a little box or a cake stand or some sort of surface. Candles in front of that and then back to the ground like so you have different heights in different depths and that’s a mention immediately is going to make that escort display look so much more fancy and grand just because of the depth and dimension alone.
Simple tricks that have zero cost associated with them that immediately make a huge difference in your photos. And then if you move into the wedding reception room, one thing in my personal opinion and this is pretty subjective, is that shiny linens don’t photograph as upscale as a more like matte cotton or even velvet linen. So if you have really shiny silky linens they don’t always read high-end even if they do cost more like money does not always buy taste.
I’ve seen some like $500,000 weddings that I thought were really unattractive because they just weren’t stylish. Just because there’s money and it doesn’t mean it’s good taste and you can have a low budget and make things look really tasteful and really elegant but it’s just on a smaller scale.
So when it comes to these linens I personally find that a more matt type linen something that’s not reflective photographs higher-end to me.
Now in terms of what’s on the tables themselves – place settings are going to be extremely helpful. There is nothing emptier looking than a round table surrounds as opposed to long tables, which are shorter across so you don’t need as much to fill up, even though long tables might cost more money to rent.
When it comes to round tables they’re huge and if you just have one little centerpiece and a few candles in the center and no place settings that is a lot of dead space that does not look very good in wedding photos.
Now you might be thinking we’ll come on I can’t really spend any money on rentals so what the heck am I supposed to put on the table. Well I’m going to guess that your venue probably has plates and silverware and glasses that they’re going to provide guests with. Make sure that they put those on the table.
If you were having a buffet wedding ask them if you can have the plates and the silverware already on the table instead of at the buffet station. And then guess we’ll just take their plate to the buffet station and then bring it right back. Now there might be a slight fee associated with that depending on the venue because it’s a little bit more labor-intensive to set it out, or maybe your planner can set it out with their team. There might be a slight cost but it’s going to be way, way cheaper than having specialty rentals put out on the tables. So that’s a really good in-between solution.
Now let’s talk about your head table. If you want specialty rentals but you cannot afford them for all guests and that’s totally fine. All you have to do is rent the specialty rentals for your head table and then all the rest of your guests get whatever is provided by the venue.
That is a fantastic way to have your wedding pictures look like your wedding is grander than it is, so when that people see that they’re not going to know that you only have those on the head table. They’re going to think that was your full wedding, and those are the photos you’re going to see and have in your album so it’s going to look like you’re getting the most bang for your buck, even though those place settings aren’t at every single table.
So those are just two different ideas you can do whether you have plain place settings at the guest table and you do more specialty for your head table or you’re just simply having the venue put out all the place settings that come with your venue rental on the table already. Great ways to have your photos make your wedding look more elevated and like it costs more money than you are actually spinning on your wedding.
Now going on from that point for decking out your head table you can do this with flowers. So for your flowers tell your florist that you want your head table whether it’s a sweetheart table or a head table with multiple people, like your bridal party, have them put more flowers into the arrangements on your head table. And tell your photographer to focus their photos on that table for the most part.
That doesn’t mean they’re not going to shoot the others, it just means that for all their details their close-up photos they’re mostly going to take those of your head table, so the end result is all of these photos really making your wedding shine and making your budget look most visually impactful.
When it does come to what you are putting on your tables, I always think that there shouldn’t be little trinkets like disposable cameras or venue provided table numbers that are not part of your design – that are not supposed to be beautiful elements. I typically always remove those from the photos and put them right back.
Same thing with salt and pepper shakers but that’s something that’s more on the wedding photographer to remove. However I actually tell our venues not even to put salt and pepper or sugar packets on our tables. People shouldn’t even need them and if they do they can request to get salt and pepper from the stuff.
Honestly I have never noticed a guest using salt and pepper at a wedding. They’re just ugly things to have in your photos. It’s really rare that a couple has salt and pepper shakers on their photos that are actually cute and part of the design so I will leave those. If it’s your standard once I find those so distracting in photos that that’s the only thing I can look at.
Remember your photo is only as beautiful as your weakest link. And if your weakest link is something that’s not supposed to be part of the design, like salt and peppershakers or a disposable camera, or a little printout that tells people where they can find the photos online that’s like not designed to be a part of the aesthetic of the wedding. Those are going to bring down the photos so I would say to hopefully you have a photographer who will remove those from the photos and then put them right back.
They might shoot some with but definitely making sure they get some without so you really clean photos. Now also you could just tell your venue not to put those or you could have your team put them out after the photos are done so you have multiple different ways to do things like this.
Now the last thing that I’m going to be talking about is the wedding cake. Some people want a really big wedding cake but don’t have the budget or don’t want to spend that much money on all those tiers. An option that you do have available to you with most cake artists is having some tiers be dummy tiers. Meaning they are styrofoam shaped just like the other tiers and they’re covered up in the fondant and our icing but nobody knows that they’re styrofoam underneath.
So you could have like a five six seven tier cake if you wanted to and all but one of those tiers are made of styrofoam that is going to be more cost-effective for you so it’s a nice solution. You’re still going to have to pay for the design that covers those tiers but you’re not paying for the cake inside. So if you are trying to get a really grand cake but you don’t have the budget for it, that’s a fantastic way to kind of meet in the middle with your cake artist in your budget.
Honestly those are pretty much the main things that I take note of that you could do to elevate the look of your wedding without spending any more money or too much more money. And again this is a video that is not saying you need to do this but if you are wanting to then it’s a great way to go about it.
The last thing I’m going to leave you guys with is the invitations. I had somebody specifically asked me how they can achieve beautiful invitation photos without spending money on calligraphy and all these different elements for their guests. I thought that this was such a great question what I’m going to say is that you can have your invitations go out to your guests and whatever plain envelopes you want and then have specialty envelopes or an envelope liner or hand calligraphy on a single envelope just for your wedding photos.
If you are using an actual invitation designer for your invitations for all of your guests, they would probably be happy to throw in one single envelope with hand calligraphy for the photos, and even if they don’t do something like that, it will probably only cost a few dollars.
You only need one for the pictures, you can also get one single envelope liner so even though these aren’t going to your guests, you can still have it for yourself in your photos so any little elements like that that are just specifically for the invitation photos usually designers are happy to throw in. Or if you’re not working with the designer or they won’t throw it in it’s not that hard to find somebody or have a family member do calligraphy on just a few small pieces. That is an incredible way to get those really full invitation photos with all this hands-on stuff without having to spin that on every single one of your guests.
I hope you guys enjoyed this video. If there are any other things that are related to really maximizing the visual impact of your wedding decor but without spending more or too much more money I would be happy to answer them down in the comments below.