These amazing wedding pictures were taken by Rachel Barkman photography.
My husband is a pastor, and one of the best parts of his job is that he gets to marry couples. We try to have dinner with the lovebirds he’s marrying a number of times before the big day to get to know them and talk about marriage. Recently he married a fantastic couple named Gialdo and Erin. Before the wedding Erin attended a fundraiser dinner that I decorated. Afterwards she came to me and told me that she really liked what I had done there and would like something similar for her wedding. I offered to help and she was willing to let me. She gave me her budget for decorating: she wanted to spend a maximum of $200.00! She also wanted a casual feel to the wedding but she did want it to be pretty too. I also found out that she loves to read and had thought about decorating with books in some way. And she also had old wine bottles that she wanted to use as table numbers. With all of this information, I started thinking about how I could make a big impact with a tiny budget. I love this kind of challenge!
Books and twinkle lights were on my mind. First, I found 1600 lights online for $50.00, and then I started hunting for books at garage sales. Lots of books. Like, a lot! I found exactly what I was looking for at one garage sale that was selling hardcovers for 25 cents and paperbacks for 10 cents!
Every room needs a focal point, even a ballroom. Erin and Gialdo had such a large wedding party that they opted for a sweetheart table at the head of the ballroom instead of the traditional head table. This was a perfect opportunity for me to make them and their table the focal point, since they were the focal point of the entire day! The backdrop behind their table was a piece of our church’s stable wall used for Christmas pageants and decorating. We covered it with branches, twinkle lights, and a book page garland. Their sweetheart table’s centrepiece was a smaller version of the other tables, with added garland and extra candles.
I love the way the décor looked in the wedding photography. It became a simple backdrop for a lot of the reception pictures.
For the rest of the hall I strung book page garlands that were wrapped around twinkle lights. They helped to make the room feel cozy and intimate.
For the table seating display Erin was able to borrow some birch tree decorations from a friend’s recent wedding. I added clothespins with greenery glued on for a simple personal touch.
For the ceremony, Erin needed some signs for the pews that said “Reserved” for her family. I own some chalkboard signs so we used those. I added book pages and some greenery and we had beautiful on-theme signs!
Lastly, the centrepieces! Erin had wine bottles for table numbers that her bridesmaids cleaned and painted. I added a book page base layer, hardcover books, candles, and flowers in a mason jar. We wrapped the napkins in book page leaves with twine and greenery.
It was so fun to work with Erin. She will go down as the most chill bride in history. The total cost of the decorating was in fact less than $200.00. It goes to show that when you are willing to do some work and use reclaimed materials you can achieve a beautiful and authentically “you” look for not a lot of money. Happy marriage, Gialdo and Erin!
Have you used reclaimed materials for wedding decor? I’d love to see @reclaiminghomedecorating on Instagram.