DIY Wedding Decorations

If you want to do your own decorating at your wedding, you can have great fun - let your imagination go wild. You can either make or buy loads of props, including huge swathes of coloured material, balloons, extra large party poppers, mini sparklers, glitter balls. There are lots of shops where you can buy wedding decorations.

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You can get packets of the sweets called 'Love Hearts' with your name and date of the wedding or 'just married' printed on them.

If you are on a tight budget, it is quite fun to decorate the walls of the reception area with something depicting your lives together, for example, photographs or a projection of slides or video clips.

I wanted to decorate our wedding venue quite cheaply as we were on a tight budget.

A quick trawl of our local pound shop, a trinkets shop and Ikea yielded glitter balls, pink feather curtains, candles, party poppers and pink foil love hearts. Oh, and I went a bit over the top and bought some pink flamingo fairy lights - nearly caused a dissolution on the grounds of being too camp!

flowers on tubs

We also bought a party pack of 50 balloons and a disposable helium cylinder. The whole lot came to about £120.

We had different shades of pink tea lights and clear glass holders for the tables and cream candles for downstairs. The pink feather curtains were hung behind the buffet table. The glitter balls were hung from the open beams above the tables. We supplemented these with two revolving ones that friends owned. Of course, the band had lights to set these off to good effect.

The venue also had some coloured bulbs to soften the overhead lighting. We put pink party poppers on the tables, instead of favours, along with sweets and pink and red love hearts scattered over the settings.

party popper going off

The middle of each table was decorated with a glass vase, which we bought from Ikea - you can get them for £1 and an array of pink and cream tulips supplemented by wild flowers - we bought these from local supermarkets and a florist but you could get them cheaper if you went to Covent Garden market or any local daily market near you. In any case we spent about £250 on flowers for ten tables and three large displays. We were lucky as a friend, who used to be a florist, arranged them for us. We also bought some thick pink ribbon from a florist shop to hang with the glitter balls. For £8.50, we also had enough to decorate the car and some left over.

Going up the stairs, we had pink and white helium balloons tied to the banister. At the top of the stairs, we had three huge displays of flowers in brightly painted buckets and a watering can that the museum lent us - the type that you see on barges. These were set on huge wooden barrels and luckily, my pink flamingo lights fitted round them perfectly!

We were quite lucky because our venue had lots of interesting visuals, such as a canal boat and an old-fashioned bicycle that delivered ice-cream, but we still wanted to create a party atmosphere.

nicola giving speech in front of barge

The chocolate fountain also created the centrepiece downstairs. Think about what the venue already has and what suppliers will be bringing as decoration.

You also need to think about who will put up the decorations. We asked the caterers to put out the table decorations and two friends to hang the glitter balls and ribbons and the toastmaster to oversee it. We delegated a couple of friends and the toastmaster to check the final effect. The caterer was very wise to advise on splashes of colour against neutral backgrounds. I think he was a bit anxious it would all be a bit too pink!

chocolate fountain

Finally, you need to think about who is going to take down the decorations, where you are going to store them and who will collect them the next day. You really don't want to spend the first few hours of married life sweeping up the remains of party poppers. The caterers cleared up for us and we paid to store them at the Canal Museum. Some friends helped us to collect everything the next day.

I enjoyed the experience but I would only recommend it if you are feeling creative, have the time to shop for different items and can enlist friends or pay people to arrange the decorations and flowers.

Suppliers of fun, frills and balloons

Gay-friendly florists

Photo credit: Demuth Photography

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