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How to choose stunning wedding table settings and decorations on a budget

Expert tips to ensure you create a beautiful wedding without breaking your budget

wedding table settings
Chloe Best
Lifestyle Features Editor
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Planning a wedding has always been expensive, but with recent research finding that average wedding costs are up 90 percent amid the cost of living crisis, it's no surprise many couples are seeking to find ways to save money on everything from wedding dresses to stationery.

One of the best places you can save money on your big day without sacrificing on style is in your décor, and specifically, your wedding table settings. While it can be tempting to pull out all the stops with show-stopping floral centrepieces, accessories and tableware, taking a more minimalistic approach could not only save you some valuable cash, but still create a stunning setup that will wow your guests.

WATCH: Get inspiration from these stunning HELLO! celebrity weddings

Matthew Shaw, creative director and founder of sauveur., has shared his top tips on choosing your wedding table settings on a budget, revealing four key things to consider.

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"Your wedding decor and table settings can be a daunting task. The wealth of imagery available online can be both inspirational and distracting," he tells HELLO!. "When working to a budget there are some key things to consider that will help you achieve the desired effect without breaking the bank."

Pick your heroes / Find your focus

The most important thing to remember is to not try and do it all. My advice when designing a wedding on a budget is to pick one or two items to take centre stage and keep it simple with the rest. I also advise caution with an overly DIY approach to everything. Whilst this may seem a fun and cost-effective solution at the time those thoughts can fade when your wedding is fast approaching you are busy painting and flower arranging. By all means factor in practical skills you or your friends may have but be reasonable with what you are asking and the time it will take.

table centrepiece by sauveur© sauveur

Matthew recommends choosing one or two items to take centre stage (Photo: sauveur.)

Time to talk tables

When it comes to table settings, keep it to what is strictly necessary and identify key elements you can really make sing. This could be a contrasting water glass or a statement napkin. They may be a particular colour or detail from your invitations that you can pick out or a detail that ties everything together with the venue.

Minimalism is beautiful too, so, consider losing the tablecloths, choosing a rustic table and keeping it simple with bud vases scattered along to the centre. You can also go the other way and have a simple white tablecloth with pillar candles around the table instead of flowers for a striking look. I also often suggest removing placements and having the guest names printed or written at the top of the menus. This saves on a large amount of printing which will help both the budget and the planet.

simple wedding table setting© Photo: iStock

Choosing a rustic table can be striking

If you have a friend or family member with nice handwriting this may be the time to pull in some favours! This could be with writing out guest names or, to take it a step further, they could handwrite your dinner menu which a local print shop can help you scan and print onto cards. I love a handwritten menu and this approach will help you achieve something bespoke and personal whilst keeping the cost in check.

Selecting your stems

Florals are often a sticking point when it comes to wedding budgets. Flowers are expensive, and getting increasingly so. An important aspect to remember for flowers is seasonality and provenance, which can have a big impact on budget. Everyone has their favourite flowers and each day there are thousands more inspirational images of the 'perfect' wedding aesthetic.

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Whilst everything, technically, might be available, this can come at great cost (and environmental impact, I should add). Researching the right seasonal stems and local flowers can certainly make a difference. Florists should be able to help understand your favourite flowers and colour palette and make more seasonal and readily available equivalent suggestions.

wedding table settings by sauveur© sauveur

Foliage can be a good alternative to flowers (Photo: sauveur.)

I always recommend having an honest conversation with your florist or planner about the budget and what is achievable. Heavier use of foliage will make your floral budget go further by bulking out arrangements. If you are a fan of flowers consider using blooms with larger heads (for example, hydrangea) as you can go further with fewer.

Always consider how you can re-use your flowers. If you are opting for flowers at your church or ceremony venue, these could potentially be reused on bars and at your reception later on. It’s a great way of stretching out your floral budget and also ensuring that your arrangements are put to good use! Remember to factor the logistics of this in as someone will have to move them.

Bring it all together

I would always start by looking at what is available to you at the venue. They are often happy for furniture to be moved around and borrowed from other spaces. This is a great way of avoiding hire costs but also making sure that furniture feels relevant to the setting. When you go on a visit to your venue, take photos of all the different pieces of furniture and note down where they are located. This can then inform how you would like your reception to be laid out.

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If you are reaching out to rental companies for your furniture and décor try and get as much as possible from a single supplier. Delivery and collection costs can be very expensive, particularly with rising fuel prices, and this won’t be the best use of your budget. Do your research into local rental companies and work out who has the most ranges and stock that you like and then stick with them. It may mean compromising in some areas but keeping delivery costs down may be the difference that gets you the glassware or linen you really want.

A lighting budget well spent can transform any venue, marquee, or garden and go a lot further than physical dressing and flowers. Tactfully placed uplighters, wash lights and a mirror ball hanging from a tree can create the coolest party atmosphere.

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