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Weddings are expensive.
Suppliers see you coming and double their prices because they know you are planning a once in a lifetime day.
We think you can create a magical, one of a kind, wedding even on a budget if you focus on DIY wedding ideas that involve upcycling, repurposing and reusing items that other people might throw away!
In this guide to your upcycled wedding we have compiled all the best DIY wedding ideas we could find from table decor to bridal jewellery and wedding dresses.
As well as DIY ideas you’ll find lots of reasonably priced small upcycling businesses who can sell you the items you don’t have the time or will to make yourself. We hope you find it useful and we’d love to see photos if you use any of the ideas here!
- Wedding Table Decorations
- Wedding Venue & Ceremony Decorations
- Wedding Bouquets
- Bridal Jewellery & Headpieces
- Wedding Dresses
- Wedding Cake
Wedding Table Decorations
Depending on the size of your wedding, decorating the tables for your sit down meal can add a lot to the eventual price tag of your wedding. Here are some DIY wedding ideas to cut the cost and add some quirky flare to your wedding table.
Wedding Table Place Holders
This beautifully simple idea is from Jessica Welling Interiors. She used herbs and timeless craft paper gift tags to create a budget friendly but impactful place holder for a rustic wedding. If you want to up the upcycled factor you can use a label punch and reuse some thin cardboard or decorative paper you already have instead of buying the tags new.
This simple idea is from Reuse Grow Enjoy. Crystal who runs the blog has a tutorial to show you how to make these easy cork and lace placeholders.
Wedding Table Centrepieces
Florists charge an arm and a leg for wedding day floral arrangements and at the core of any wedding flower package is the centrepieces.
One way to cut down on costs is to make your own decorative wedding centrepiece and to source the flowers yourself. You can get flowers from your own or a friend or relative’s garden or buy them as cut flowers from a florist but not as part of a wedding package. If you are really on a budget use some fake flowers or twigs.
Below are some great tutorials for DIY centrepieces that you can use with real or fake flowers to pull together your wedding theme with style and on budget.
- Etched Frosted Glass Jar Centrepiece from Sustain My Craft
- Carved Initials Wood Centrepiece from Tikkido
- Pastel Painted Glass Bottles from Francine’s Place Blog
- Upcycled Cork Centrepieces Two Ways – our own tutorial here.
Wedding Table Napkin Rings & Coasters
This is a cute idea from Happy Mothering to use old book pages as napkin rings. Use something sentimental and appropriate to the occasion for an extra special touch for your big day. You can find the tutorial here.
You might not think about coasters for your wedding table – I sure didn’t! But when I put out the call for upcycled wedding ideas, two bloggers responded with these lovely ideas for two very different styles of wedding coasters.
The first is from Craft Bits to make mini-cordial glass wood slice coasters and the second is from Totally the Bomb who has a tutorial to DIY these eye catching anthropologie knock off purple agate coasters. So whether you are planning a rustic wedding or you’ve got a purple wedding decor theme going on, you can add an extra touch to make your guests remember your big day!
If you want to kill two birds with one stone why not write a little note on your place settings to tell your wedding guests that the coaster is their wedding favour and they can take it home!
Wedding Venue & Ceremony Decorations
Some wedding venues come with a certain degree of decorations included, but many don’t, especially if you are planning a wedding on a budget. If this is you, you have likely hired a venue that requires you to decorate the space yourself. So here are some ideas for how to lower the cost (and the environmental impact!) through upcycling.
Bunting and Garlands
Strings of bunting or garlands can add lovely touches to your venue. They can be used to coordinate with a colour scheme or be as eclectic as you are. Don’t you just love the idea of this paper heart garland made of upcycled book pages from One Thousand Oaks? You can find the tutorial here.
The second photo above is from Bewley’s Bunting Emporium, one of the fabulous upcycled small businesses in our Business Directory. Amanda, who run’s Bewley’s, has wedding bunting available to buy or rent, all made from upcycled fabrics!
If you want to try making some yourself Amanda also runs local classes or you can find her Tutorial for No Sew Festival Bunting here. You could easily swap out Amanda’s colourful choices in the Festival Bunting how to guide for some more soft wedding colours like whites and creams.
wEDDINg Day signs
Using an upcycled pallet as an order of service sign is a brilliant idea that lots of people have used for their Barn or Rustic Weddings. Having the sign and info on display is useful for guests and saves you having to print out order of the day cards, but it also serves the function of being a pretty large piece of wedding decor.
If you are steady with a paint brush you can whip one of these up yourself pretty easily, but you can also purchase personalised upcycled pallet signs made for you or you can buy large vinyl stickers to use on your own pallet.
Where to get the pallet? If you don’t see them lying on a curb looking for a new home, you can have a look on online buy and sell marketplaces like Craig’s List or Gumtree where you will often find them listed for free.
Lampshades as wedding decor
Using lampshades as overhead wedding decor has been a trend for a while now. No doubt there are expensive versions of this too but I really like these stripped down versions.
The first one is from the Prop Factory who sell this intricately made piece for a ridiculously low price (I am not associated with them, I was just shocked at the low price!).
Tamysn Morgan is responsible for the moss wrapped chandelier pictured above and she has a great DIY tutorial here.
Another idea would be to start with a stripped lampshade frame like the ones above and add your own touches. Tied on scrap fabric, lace or ribbon for example.
Wedding Candle Holders
These candle holder ideas could be used as centrepieces in lieu of flowers but equally they would go a long way to adding some ambiance to a large empty reception hall or barn wedding venue if you had enough of them.
The lovely Ivy at Sustain My Craft has a tutorial for how to make this driftwood votive candle holder on her blog here.
The second idea pictured above doesn’t need a tutorial – just keep it super simple with tea lights in glass jars and dishes. You could use vintage crystal from a charity or thrift shop or just empty pickle and sauce jars! If you are struggling to get the labels off your glass jars cleanly, check out our chemical free hack that works for both plastic and glass bottles here.
Wedding Card Box
Want to add some vintage flair to your wedding? Consider upcycling an old vintage suitcase into your wedding card box. The bonus is to take all your cards home at the end of the day all you need to do is shut the suitcase and take it with you!
As we researched DIY wedding ideas and ways to save money through upcycling, one of the expenses that came up again and again was the flowers. We’ve already mentioned a number of ways you can save money on flowers and flower arrangements above, but what about the bridal bouquet?
Some handpicked meadow flowers would of course be lovely, but if you don’t live next to a fragrant meadow here are some other ideas for your wedding bouquet.
The gorgeous bouquet above from Down Red Bud Drive is made of a recycled old wedding dress. It has sentimental meaning and is so lovely. The fact that it isn’t real flowers also means it can be cherished and handed down for generations to come.
You can find the tutorial for making a recycled wedding dress bouquet of your own here.
A similar idea is to create a brooch bouquet from pieces of your relative’s old jewellery or even thrift store finds that match your wedding colours. You can go for the multicoloured look like the photo above or pick one or two tones to curate and create your perfect keepsake bouquet. The instructables tutorial on how to construct a DIY brooch bouquet is here.
There are more DIY wedding bouquet ideas as well as upcycled bouquet’s to buy in our Handmade Valentine’s Gift article here which features bouquets made from books with links to tutorials and sellers.
Wedding Jewellery & HeadPieces
Many people wear sentimental jewellery on their wedding day, perhaps something passed down from a relative. If you don’t have a hand me down piece that suits you quite right you can also make your own out of sentimental bits and pieces, like a piece of old lace as Francine’s Place have done for the lovely DIY lace and pearl wedding earrings pictured above.
One of the businesses in our upcycling business directory, Shazazz Costume Jewellery sells budget friendly pieces made from upcycled jewellery including the stunning drop pearl pendant above. All her pieces are one of a kind, but you can always commission her to make a special upcycled piece of bridal jewellery just for you.
Do you think you need to fork out mega bucks to get a statement vintage bridal headpiece for your wedding? You don’t.
The photos above are all from my former business Hairlooms Headpieces. [For more on why I don’t run this business anymore you can read about my story here.]
They were all made using upcycled (and mostly broken) vintage jewellery. I am not a professionally trained jeweller or solderer so I used sewing and glues to create these headpieces and you could too! I haven’t yet got a tutorial up on the blog about how to make these yet, but it is on the to do list! Make sure you subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss it!
If you are super disappointed that you can’t buy the pieces in the photo then do drop me an email and I can take some pictures for you of the back stock I still have in storage to see if there is something I could still sell you….I couldn’t bear to give them away so I do still have a few shelves of pieces but I am no longer taking bespoke orders.
You’ll find many similar sellers on Etsy too all making absolutely lovely items at far less than you’ll pay in more mainstream stores or bridal boutiques.
Your wedding dress is an important part of your big day. No matter how laid back a bride you are, you want to wear something that will make you feel your best.
We’ve found several amazing options for upcycled wedding dresses. The trick is to not start in the usual places, namely high priced bridal boutiques. Instead try Etsy, charity shops or specialists in secondhand wedding dresses (see below for a discount code for one of these specialists – Still White).
Once you know what theme you are going for for your wedding (rustic, boho, art decor, vintage, etc), have a search for small businesses who specialise in upcycling and refashioning wedding dresses in that style. There are loads!
The photos below are all from Etsy sellers, just click on the caption of any image below to go to the seller’s listing page.
As well as searching Etsy for small businesses who specialise in refashioning wedding dresses you can also try a secondhand or ‘recycled’ dress from somewhere like Still White.
Still White is a worldwide marketplace for individuals to buy and sell secondhand dresses.
As well as a great way to find a dress, after your own wedding, you can use this link to get 10% off your listing fee from Still White if you want to pass your dress on to another bride and recover some of the costs from your wedding. So bookmark this page and come back when the confetti has settled!
Yes, you read that heading right. We are talking about an upcycled wedding cake!
Basically this is a tutorial to make an upcycled ‘dummy’ wedding cake as a decoration. So instead of buying the expensive wedding cake, you can use this DIY version for your photos and to look nice on the top table during the reception, but you can swap out the actual cake that gets served to your guests for cheaper cake – either home made or store bought. You can find the tutorial at Reuse Grow Enjoy here.
Has your creativity been sparked with these DIY Wedding Ideas? You might find more ideas in our archive of upcycling tutorials – just because they aren’t all labelled ‘wedding’ doesn’t mean you can’t be inspired to adapt them to create some unique touches to make your wedding day the most memorable day of your life!
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