(Closed) Reception Decor help! DIY brides share your experiences here!

posted 8 years ago in DIY
Post # 3
5183 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 2013

@Bebedreamr:  It was so easy! All it takes is a little imagination, a dollar store, and a clearance section at Michael’s. I did all my decor for less than $100. Uplighting helped a lot too and we got a good deal on that.

Post # 5
12241 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2013

I did our centerpieces/bouquets/buttonieres/corsages the day before the wedding while locked away in my hotel room!

It only took 4 hours, but I only had to make 6 centerpieces! (And three bouquets, three corsages, and seven buttonieres)

Post # 6
411 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Ok, I DIY’ed our decor entirely (as well as all the flowers) so here’s my experience:


Centerpieces: I was inspired by really loose, non-sculpted arrangements. I wanted a natural/vintage feel. Here is what our centerpieces looked like:

Wood slice in the middle: Free (found a partially-cut up tree out on a run one day. Enlisted DH to help carry two sections home (about 40-50 lbs each). Borrowed a friend’s chainsaw to cut them – let them dry on cardboard and newspaper.

Bottles around the tree slice: ~$150 for 50 of them. Found them at various antique and junk stores and bargained the owners down for buying large lots of them. 

Hurricane vases (Mercury Glass): found on sale at Michael’s. Don’t remember the exact cost, as I’ve been holding on to these for several years. Let’s say $80 for all of them.

Table numbers: $30 from Etsy.

Votives: Picked them up at Wal-Mart or similar for $5 for a huge pack

Flowers: Baby’s Breath, Green Eye Roses and Freesia from fiftyflowers.com – about $440 – used these in my bouquet too and had a butt-ton of baby’s breath left over.

 Total per table:  $42.70 (I used 1/3 of the flower cost since I used so few on the tables.) I had 9 tables plus a sweetheart table, but I used my bouquet as decoration on the sweetheart table. So about $385 for the centerpieces


Hall decor: 

The room we used had beautiful floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on the garden, so all I wanted to do was add poms to bring the ceiling down a bit. We made 75 tissue paper poms and hung them from the ceiling with fishing line and safety pins (the safety pin created an easily-removable “noose” so we didn’t have to bother with tying the line up.)

(You can see them in the centerpiece picture above too.) 

If I had had more time and resources, I would have made streamers or something to cover the soundproofing panels on the walls. I wasn’t a huge fan of them, but I figured the room decor and tables would fill the space up enough that it wouldn’t matter. I was also at the point where I had to viciously cut things off my list for time, sanity, and money reasons Smile

So 75 poms made of 12 sheets of tissue paper = 900 sheets of tissue paper. I got packs of 40 sheets at the dollar store, so that’s about 23 packs of paper. Let’s say 25 for the poms the cats got to early on and the ones we messed up. So $25 for the tissue paper. $4 for the fishing line, and $2 for two packs of safety pins. Lots of time to make them, but with a total cost of only $31 to decorate the hall.

If I had had more time, I would have liked to have hung like twice as many. But it seriously took 3 of us 3 whole days to make 75 of them, assembly-style. 


So total cost to decorate 9 tables + sweetheart table, and the hall ceiling = About $435

I did my own bouquet as well, that only cost aboouuttt…$65 and was the most enjoyable and rewarding DIY I did for the entire event. 


Post # 7
8434 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

@Bebedreamr:  First of all, stay organized.  I made detailed printouts for those helping to decorate, each set of instructions was numbered and coordinated with the boxes the items were packed in)


 Also, start your DIY early so that you have plenty of time to make changes/fix things.  Try to cross utilize materials or use upcycled materials to save yourself a ton of money and get the most bang for your buck.  My total decor budget, including flowers, was $400.

Centerpieces (less than $2 each to make using an old pickle jar, cardstock scraps, disposable salad dressing cup, LED tealight and some moss)

luminaries with centerpieces and petals (approx $7 total per table)

Menus and programs (free using left over materials from making invites)

DIY flowers from Costco and fiftyflowers

Polymer Clay cake topper (approx $15 to make)

Post # 9
1225 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

View original reply
@housebee:  Did you make those mice from clay???? That level of DIY skill is intimdating.  I’m just dying over the cake topper, it’s so cute.   


Post # 10
9120 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA

We had a welcome BBQ at our outdoor venue the night before the wedding, and just put up lighting and tables/chairs for that. 

Then, for the wedding day itself, we had to string up a gazillion paper lanterns and paper dot garlands, set all the tables with tablecloths / runners / napkins / centerpieces, set up the arch and ceremony decor, put up a bunch of other random stations (DIY photobooth, cocktail hour food, drinks, favors, programs, gift table, etc). 

Ooof it makes me tired just thinking about it.  Husband and I spent about 2.5 hours the wedding morning setting up and trying to get everything organized, so that friends and family could finish it all up when I went to do hair and makeup.

My biggest advice would be to make a diagram for where you want everything along with inspiration pictures, and to make sure you have a team of 10+ people to commit to spend a few hours helping.  Without those two pieces, it would have been a shitshow, but it came together wonderfully!  Not gonna lie, I see why people have weddings at all-inclusive $$$$ venues because it was a major pain in the ass… but it looked amazing and everyone was happy to contribute.

Still waiting on pro pics 🙁 but here are a few guest pics of things we did ourselves.

Post # 11
8434 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

View original reply
@canadajane:  Aww thanks 🙂 It’s actualy way easier than you think.  Everything made there is pretty much just a series of rolled out clay logs or clay balls.  I’m currently in the process of making my friend’s cake topper (it’s two of her cats named Yin and Yang), but I’ll try to post a tutorial when I finish it (still need to add a few things and fire it).

This is a tutorial I posted for another bee for an UP themed topper http://boards.weddingbee.com/topic/up-themed-cake-topper-tutorial-pic-heavy#axzz2kXdYUi81

I highly recommend trying polymer clay, it’s inexpensive and very forgiving.

Post # 12
692 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2012 - Iowa

We DIY’d all of our decor… Our theme was vintage-garden so I started collecting blue ball jars and vintage doilies a year in advance. I purchased over 70 candles by buying 1 box at a time with a 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby. I bought paper doilies for each place mat and designed and printed Thank-you cards as well. We included personalized pencils for fun activies on the back of each card. I made lots of chalkboards with cheap tins from eather the dollar store or goodwill. I also painted some old windows for larger chalkboards. We strung photos from jute string and made burlap banners that said LOVE, GIFTS, CARDS, and had our initials. The cost of all of this was spread out so wasn’t noticablle at all, but total was probably under $300, paper/printing being most of that.

We also DIY’d all the flowers… I ordered 500 roses of 3 varieties from fifty flowers, and this was enough for 6 bouquets, 15 bouteniers/corsages and probably 40 centerpieces? All the flowers were $800.

Now, Pictures!

Post # 13
18 posts
  • Wedding: January 2014

Go to Pinterest for inspiration of what you want. Type in “Wedding DIY” and look at links. Go to Craigslist and type in “wedding decor” and see what other girls are selling from their wedding day. My friend got all her linens from a girl who used them once at half the price. Look on Ebay. For flowers, go online to Costco or Sams Club and you can a TON of roses for less than a $100. 

Enlist the help of family/friends. The decor has been my favorite part of the wedding process. Friends joke I should be a wedding planner! I ordered personalized coasters from theknot.com for $20 for 100 of them. I bought my charger plates at Hobby Lobby and my candle votives. My vases from Ebay (they are 3 ft tall!!) and I am filling each one with tall branches sprinkled with white glitter to give the illusion of snow. Inside the vase is Epsom salt (more fake snow) and the center opening of the vase will have 12 ivory roses between the branches. I found my branches on my school campus. I found on efavormart.com cute little crystals to dangle off my branches. Got my linens on Ebay (brand new) for 18 tables for $329! Bought a birdcage for cards from Hobby Lobby at 50% off and spray painted it gold. (Colors are gold, ivory and charcoal gray) I am having a winter wedding, so I wanted it dim, romantic and intimate especially since I have a huge stone fireplace in my venue! Moody with lots of candles, branches and ivory roses.

Bought chalkboards and my caterer provides the china and glasses. Stay away from the burlap trend and the mason jars. IT IS OVERDONE. And the stupid chalkboard sign that says “as 2 families become one, pick a seat not a side”. Yea, 8342 brides have already had that exact same wedding. I saw it at 3 different ones this year. haha 

We all look at Pinterest, but holy hell, where did the origniality go? They all look the same now. I don’t want my wedding to look like some rustic backyard shindig. I want it formal with glamour and romance. 🙂 Good luck! 


The topic ‘Reception Decor help! DIY brides share your experiences here!’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors