Weddings are expensive affairs, but with some creativity and resourcefulness, you can make your special day unforgettable without breaking the bank. One of the best ways to save money on wedding decorations is to make them yourself. With a little bit of time, effort, and creativity, you can create stunning DIY wedding decorations that will make your wedding day truly special.
In this article, we’ll look at how Katie LaCarte, an interior and architectural designer from Rochester, NY, transformed basic materials and thrift store finds into stunning and effortlessly elegant wedding décor to create her dreamy modern boho wedding aesthetic. Plus, get pro tips from Katie on DIY Cricut and thrifted wedding décor, so you can do the same!
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Effortless Elegance: Modern Boho DIY Wedding Inspiration
Katie and her then fiancé Joe, had been waiting TWO whole years to finally tie the knot. As many COVID brides experienced, they decided to delay their celebration by a year when the pandemic put a big old snag in their wedding plans. The plus side? That extra time allowed Katie ample time for thrifting, designing, and crafting the most gorgeous wedding details.
When I asked Katie what her aesthetic vision was, she said this is what she kept communicating to her vendors. “I want to make it look really effortless and like it was thrown together, but actually took a lot of work and planning.” With a laugh, we boiled this down to the idea of being effortlessly elegant.
This effortlessly elegant aesthetic paired modern textures and neutral colors with bold pops of color and laid back, bohemian style table décor. The result? Wedding décor perfection on a super savvy budget.
Though the “effortless” part was anything but, (let’s be clear, Katie put a ton of work into making her wedding vision a reality!) the effort truly paid off. Katie mixed and matched modern neutrals with organic, colorful elements to create the most stunning modern boho wedding I’ve ever seen.
So, are you ready to check it out and get inspired?! Let’s dive in, shall we?
Stunning DIY Wedding Signage
An important element of your wedding décor is the signage. Not only do your wedding signs provide meaningful information for your guests, but they can also add a personal touch and enhance the desired aesthetic of your wedding.
Let’s take a closer look at each one!
Unique Wedding Welcome Sign
Your welcome sign is the first thing your guests will see when they arrive at your wedding. This is an opportunity for you to say hello, welcome them to your wedding and include any pertinent information you want them to know.
Planning a Wedding on A Budget? Get The Guide.As a former bride on a budget, I found the wedding planning tips and tricks in the Budget Savvy Wedding Planner and Organizer so, so helpful. It was the best combination that I found out there of organization meets real planning advice for couples looking to plan an affordable wedding.
Photo Wedding Seating Chart
Creating your own seating chart sign is a great way to save money on your wedding day. All you really need is a canvas and the appropriate writing materials. A large chalkboard, mirror, or wooden board would do the trick. Simply write out the names of your guests and the table number they are assigned to, and you’re done! That said, you can really blow your guest’s minds by taking this functional wedding signage up a few notches and creating something truly one-of-a-kind. And, that’s exactly what Katie did.
To complement the rest of her signage aesthetic, Katie used the same plywood and Cricut lettering treatment as she did with her other signs. However, rather than listing out her guests names and table numbers, she hand selected photos of each of her guests, printed them on a faux polaroid style prints and arranged them in a photo grid.
When guests arrived at the reception, they found their photo and corresponding table number. Printed in the white frame of the polaroid photo was their table assignment. The result? A truly unique wedding welcome sign that was highly personalized, stunning, and incredibly budget friendly. Her guests still talk about it to this day!
Pro Tip: To create the perfect grid, you might have to get creative with combining one or two guests in one photo, or splitting them out.
Simple Wedding Reception Table Numbers
Table signs are another great DIY wedding project. You can create custom signs for each table or create a unified look with matching signs. Often times, these can be created using a simple print in a frame or a heavy cardstock paper in a sign stand.
Katie kept these simple and elegant using the same plywood and white Cricut treatment as the rest of her signage. This was the perfect choice considering her colorful tablescapes, which we’ll get to in just a bit!
Unique Guest Book Alternative
Your guest book is a great way to capture memories from your special day. Create a unique guest book sign to match your wedding theme and add a personal touch. Similar to the seating chart, this was an area Katie got really creative.
Instead of a traditional guestbook, she had guests write them a letter and drop in one of three jars. Each jar represented a milestone anniversary – 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years. Guests dropped their letter into the jar of their choice for Katie and Joe to open on that anniversary.
Not only is this idea a fun activity for your guests, but it becomes a fun and memorable activity for you and your significant other to do on your anniversaries!
Thrifted DIY Wedding Décor
Floral Centerpieces on a Budget
Instead of elaborate floral arrangements, Katie’s rectangular banquet tables featured a linear arrangement of small potted plants and mismatched thrifted vases, each with 2-3 colorful florals. The result? A whimsical and boho-style tablescape of vibrant florals and stunning glass vases at a fraction of the cost of traditional reception florals. Bonus, some of the guests walked away with the potted plants!
Thrifted Rug Aisle Runner
Another unique detail that Katie thrifted for her wedding was several vintage rugs. These were layered over top of each other to create a stunning aisle runner. Use of these mismatched vintage rugs also helped bring a boho aesthetic into the ceremony.
Nontraditional Wedding Favors
Wedding favors are a great option to DIY as well. They can be anything from a tasty treat, to a meaningful memento. This was another unique aspect of Katie’s wedding, as she and her husband decided not to go the traditional route. Instead, Katie and Joe decided on something incredibly personal and highly memorable as a thank you to their guests.
Katie designed their wedding menus herself, and on each, she incorporated a message. The message thanked each guest for being there to celebrate with them and told them that in lieu of traditional wedding favors, Katie and Joe had made a donation on behalf of their table to a charity.
But, not just any charity. Each charity was specific to the guests’ interests who were seated at that table. For example, for the group she and Joe played kickball with, their donation was made to a charity dedicated to creating sports fields for players with disabilities. For Katie’s friends she grew up dancing with, she found a local dance charity to donate to. And, at a table who sat a friend who’s partner recently passed, Katie and Joe donated to a charity that was personal to his partner. So, freaking, cool right?!
This was such a special and memorable way to thank their guests that didn’t involve any tangible item. Their guests absolutely loved this personal and thoughtful wedding favor alternative.
All the Wedding Details
The devil is in the details, as they say. Along with all of the DIY and thrifted décor that made Katie and Joe’s wedding so unique and personalized, they put their own spin on many additional wedding details that helped make their day that much more special.
Bridal Party Attire
- Mismatched Bridesmaid Dresses. Rather than one style for all, or the same color in multiple styles, Katie gave her bridesmaids carte blanche at picking their own dress. As long as the dress they chose fit the overall color scheme, they could each choose whatever made them feel beautiful and comfortable. Not only were her bridesmaids confident and comfortable in their own selected styles, but the result of their unique choices was a stunning range of styles and silhouettes.
- Simple and Stylish Men’s Attire. Rather than go through the trouble and added costs of suit rental or purchase, they kept it simple with matching pants from Amazon and had each groomsmen wear a simple white dress shirt. A fun accessory, gifted from Joe, was custom socks featuring a collage of all of the groomsmen’s faces.
More Personal Touches
- Ceremony Officiant and Readings. The person you choose to marry you is an important decision. And for some couples, it makes more sense to have someone close to them officiate. For Katie, she chose her uncle to officiate their wedding.
Additionally, they asked friends to do readings during the ceremony. They trusted them implicitly so left the direction pretty open. Ultimately, both friends wrote their own reading about Katie and Joe, which was even better than they imagined.
- Remembering Loved Ones. In addition to a traditional memory table, Katie remembered her Grandfather who recently passed in a special way. She asked her cousin to bring her Grandfather’s old fireman’s helmet and place it right on the chair he would have occupied had he physically been there to witness the ceremony. This physical memento of their Grandfather at the ceremony was an impactful way to make sure he was remembered.
- Incorporating Sentimental Items. Instead of the traditional basket of flower petals and ring pillow, Katie opted for something much more meaningful. Her flower girl and ring bearer carried pinwheels instead. Why? Well, the first time Katie met Joe it was his birthday. Being the thoughtful person that Katie is, she panicked when she found this out on the way to meet him. Not wanting to show up empty handed, she swiped a pinwheel out of her neighbor’s yard and gave that to him as a “birthday present.” Now, pinwheels hold a special place in both of their hearts. On top of that, Katie’s niece, her flower girl, wore the same dress that Katie wore to her own aunt’s wedding (so cute, right?! And, also, savvy!)
Katie’s DIY Wedding Décor Tips
Katie and Joe’s wedding was one to remember. Not only for the gorgeous aesthetic that balanced modern and structural with organic and vibrant elements, but Katie infused her and Joe’s personality into everything. The day was fully about them and celebrating their life together with the people they loved most.
And, because Katie is such a generous and helpful human, she provided some of her top DIY wedding décor tips so you too can create all the magical things for your own wedding.
Tips for Cricut DIY Wedding Décor
- Start Early! Especially if you’re new to Cricut, it’s best to start testing and learning on the machine as early as possible. With any new software or tool, there’s a bit of a learning curve. So, don’t put added pressure on yourself by trying to learn while you’re in a time crunch. Give yourself some breathing room!
- Consider Your Designs Carefully. After much testing and learning, Katie found that small or skinny font was much more difficult to weed and apply. Instead, opt for larger lettering, where possible, that will be much easier to execute than highly intricate and detailed designs.
- Consider the Application. In some cases, Katie felt as though the white lettering on top of the light plywood was a bit hard to read. Though the light tone on light tone had a beautiful effect, you might consider having more contrast in your materials for greater legibility.
Tips for Finding Thrifted Wedding Table Décor
Thrift stores are a treasure trove of unique and affordable items that can be used as wedding décor. But, there are definitely some best practices for finding the best thrift store finds for your wedding.
- Start Early and Go Often. Begin your search for thrifted décor as early as possible, so you have plenty of time to find the perfect items. Thrift stores are always acquiring new items, so plan your trips frequently if you have specific items in mind, as it may take a while to piece together all the items you need. Also, be sure to check the sale stickers! Sometimes if there is an item that catches your eye, but it’s not on sale that week, you can return another week to take advantage of the deeper discount. Just know that it may be gone… so, it’s a bit of a risk if it’s something you really, really want.
- Set a Firm Budget. One of the primary reasons to thrift is to save (hello!), so keep in mind how much the décor you’re planning to thrift would cost if you were to purchase it new or rent. Your goal is to spend a fraction of that. For example, Katie knew that to rent bud vases from her florist, it was going to cost her $2/per, so with that in mind, she set a max budget of $1/vase from the thrift store. If anything didn’t fit that budget (within reason), it didn’t make the cut!
- Mix and Match. Don’t be afraid to combine different styles and colors. As long as the items generally fit your overall aesthetic, the combination of different items can come together to create a cohesive and personalized look for your wedding décor.
Tips for Picking Your Venue
Now, It’s Your Turn!
I hope you’ve been inspired by Katie’s beautiful and ingenious DIY wedding decorations. I know I was! And as a result, you should feel confident that creating stunning DIY wedding decorations on a budget is easier than you might have thought. By using DIY projects, thrifted items, and a little bit of creativity, you can make your special day truly memorable without breaking the bank. From DIY wedding signage to thrifted table décor, there are endless possibilities for creating a unique and personalized wedding that reflects your style and personality. Best of luck!