pink and gold wedding tablescape
Helo Photography

Most of us wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to have a red carpet-worthy wedding that could impress a Kardashian, but there’s a little something called a budget that tends to get in the way of such lavish plans, not to mention feel a bit restricting at times. While incorporating low-cost wedding ideas can be challenging, Sabrina Zeile of Weddings By Sabrina in Los Angeles, says that expense doesn't necessarily correlate to how a wedding feels and looks. “It's important to think about priorities when planning a wedding budget,” she says. “An affordable wedding can still seem pricey when design, as well as guest experience, is thoughtfully considered.”

No matter your budget, however, it is possible to have the wedding of your dreams—even one that folks pass off as “fancy” and “impressive.” In fact, Pinterest is crawling with low-cost wedding ideas for every ounce of your planning. And wedding planners have plenty of suggestions that can come in handy when trying to add an extra layer of excellence to your wedding ceremony, reception and beyond.

Here are their best low-cost wedding ideas that’ll come in handy during the planning phase.

Hire more staff.

An understaffed venue will quickly have your wedding feeling like a run-of-the-mill restaurant as opposed to a fine affair. However, a well-staffed wedding can create a positive impact on the guest experience and therefore, make the wedding feel fancier. “If a client cuts back on staffing needs (such as cleaning, bartenders, etc.), it can definitely appear low budget,” says Sabrina. “For example, cutting back on bartenders can lead to long lines at the bar and cutting back on bussers can lead to trash buildup at the wedding.”

Think minimalist, but focus on larger statements.

When thinking about decor, Sabrina suggests focusing your budget on high-quality statement pieces over anything small that could go unnoticed by guests. “For example, I think having one bold floral installation tends to feel more upscale than having lots of small lower budget pieces,” she says of this low-cost wedding idea.

Upgrade your table linen.

In Sabrina's experience, linen tends to be a lower priority for couples but it can make a difference in terms of design. "With a unique-looking linen (for example velvet, which is currently a trendy option) guests can feel as though they're having a more unique dining experience than they would at a restaurant,” she says. The additional cost is around $500 extra, which might seem like a lot, but in the grand scheme of wedding expenses, most certainly isn’t!

Set the mood with candles.

Not only are candles, especially votive, super affordable, but they can create a romantic and moody vibe that the entire crowd picks up on. “Lighting is the one low-cost wedding idea that will transform a space visually, hiding any imperfections and creating a romantic ambiance,” says JoAnn Gregoli of Elegant Occasions in New York City. “Lots of candles down the aisle or on the table will create a romantic feel without breaking the bank.” 

Book a DJ who comes with a well-designed console.

The console is a nice table that comes with the DJ’s setup. Not all companies charge extra for this, but some do, so it’s worth it to search for one that includes the cost. “Having a DJ with a quality console can definitely make your wedding feel more elevated,” says Sabrina.

Add personal touches.

Don’t be afraid to weave bits and pieces of your lives—both past and present—into your wedding, such as framed photographs of the wedding day of your parents, grandparents and even great-grandparents. Another great option is to create pop-up areas, be it a pop-up bar or an area where guests can create their own floral bouquets. This can serve as an affordable favor, too, notes JoAnn.