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hey there! I'm monica 

I pride myself on making amazing style and design accessible for everyone, regardless of location, budget, or ability! My design philosophy is rooted in authenticity + attainability - If I can do it, you can too! My work has been featured in countless publications, but I take the most pride in homeowners that have been personally inspired by my DIY ideas and have tried something in their own homes!

learn more about ME + MY BIZ

We had the best time planning a Vintage Inspired Backyard Wedding on “Knock It Off!”  The wedding went off without a hitch and we learned some great DIY Wedding Tips for anyone working on a budget!  Dude, weddings are expensive, but they don’t have to be!  We believe that if you think outside the traditional “money pit” box and are willing to DIY your way to the alter you can say “I do” without taking on loads of debt!   Today I’m going to share some of our tips with you and show you lots of wedding picture goodness!!

This is just the start to a full Wedding Week here on EC2 Blog!  We’re going to be sharing tons of tutorials for the projects from the episode and many more that we didn’t have time to include in the show- a half hour just isn’t long enough- can I get an Amen?!?  So, make sure you check back here every day this week and follow along on Instagram with #EC2WeddingWeek (@EastCoastCreative)!

Vintage Inspired Wedding on a Budget

Let’s start with the ceremony since you’ve actually got to get married before you can celebrate at the reception!  Here are some ways you can save some cash on the big I Do.

Budget Wedding Tip:  Make Your Own Ceremony Benches

Renting a venue can cost a boat load, that’s a no brainer, so having a wedding outdoors or at any free location is awesome, but then you have the added challenge of providing all of your own furniture.  Renting chairs is definitely an option, but we saved a couple hundred bucks by building our own seating.  Trees that fell down in the huge ice storm we had last winter were perfect to cut down into logs to use as the bases.  We attached 2×12 planks as the seats and  had ourselves custom seating that totally worked with our vintage backyard theme and save us money at the same time.  We’ll share the full tutorial for these benches later in the week!

DIY Wedding Tips East Coast Creative

Budget Wedding Tip: Take a Non-Traditional Approach to Flowers

We didn’t want to have to hire a florist to create bouquets for the wedding, so we skipped the flowers and went with paper pinwheels instead.  We used scrapbook paper and wooden dowels to make them.  Each bridesmaid carried one large pinwheel down the aisle and they looked great!  We did make the bride a bouquet, but of course we did it ourselves.  We’ll share the simple tutorial for the pinwheels and also share some tips on how to make your own bridal bouquet later in the week!  The key thing here is realizing that you don’t have to do what everyone else does for their wedding!  It’s cool with the wedding police if you carry a paper pinwheel or even a pizza box down the aisle if that’s your thing!!  (Sidenote: that would be weird… unless you did it just right- who knows maybe you’ll even get a tip! Ha!)

Budget Wedding Tips Bouquets

Budget Wedding Tip: Skip the Aisle Runner

Now, paper aisle runners and petals aren’t going to break your bank, but we still wanted to try something more fun and playful for the wedding.  A lot of this vintage inspired backyard wedding had a very adult feel to it, so we wanted to make sure that there was plenty of Monica & Jess fun as well.  We picked up 4 bags of pompoms at the craft store and let me tell you, they got the biggest response ever from the wedding guests and the adorable flower girls that got to scatter them.  Jess’ daughter Campbell was one of the flower girls and she was grinning ear to ear as she lined the aisle for the bride!

Budget Wedding Tips Aisle Runner

The ceremony site that we created right in the front yard of Jess’ in-laws’ house was incredible!  Even Jess and I couldn’t believe how much it transformed in just a few days.  Since those are big projects, we’ll be dedicating a full post to showing you exactly how you can make them!  Just hang tight and we’ll get to them as EC2 Wedding Week continues.

Rustic Wedding Theme East Coast Creative

DIY Rustic Wedding Arbor

Aww, doesn’t that picture just rock?  It’s all so pretty, they’re totally in love, and surrounded by family, friends, and millions of Americans that get to watch on TV. Ha!  But seriously, it was a really special time!

Now we’re going to transition into some budget tips to help you out at your reception.  There are SO many tips we could give, but this post would be eternal, so these are just a few that we liked.

Budget Wedding Tip: Use Inexpensive Items to Create Simple and Beautiful Place Settings

Costco plastic plates… at a wedding… yup, we used them! Alone, they don’t look like much, but we used craft store items to create a simple place setting for each guest.  Trust me, they weren’t even noticing the Costco plates!  Mini terra-cotta pots, hand stamped tags made from shipping labels, and plastic flatware disguised with faux berries and twine cost us next to nothing!  Don’t be afraid to go the plastic route if it works with your budget- just make it the cutest plastic plates and silverware your guests have ever seen!


Budget Wedding Tips Place Settings East Coast Creative

 Budget Wedding Tip: Make Your Own Centerpieces- Look to Nature

We had a lot of downed trees to work with, so we used them as planters for our succulent centerpieces.  You didn’t think I could have anything to do with an entire wedding without using succulents did you??  We ordered succulents wholesale online and it was so much cheaper! We got 144 succulents in our order and had a huge variety of styles.  For your centerpieces, think about what free options you have as containers (look to nature- there are things all around that can possibly work!) and then look online for wholesale flower options.  We found that the sales changed constantly and that there were some really good ones as long as we were buying in bulk.

DIY Wedding Centerpiece Ideas
Budget Wedding Tip: Create a Simple Drink Station

We doctored up some powdered drink mixes (you can take your jaw off the floor! lol)  it’s amazing how good Country Time Lemonade can taste with fresh strawberries and seltzer water!  We purchased inexpensive drink containers at Target, added chalk labels, and then cut up some smaller tree trunks into slices to create  drink stands.  It was so inexpensive, but looks like the kind of fancy drink station that would totally be an “add on” at a traditional wedding venue.

Budget Wedding Tips Drink Station East Coast Creative Blog

Budget Wedding Tip: Create Fun Photo Opps!

Weddings are all about the full experience for guests.  You want it to be an event they don’t just attend, but one they’re actively a part of!  Pictures are where it’s at and creating various locations for fun photo opps doesn’t have to cost a lot.  Renting a Photo Booth is really cool and fun, but sometimes it just doesn’t fit in the budget.  That doesn’t mean you can’t have tons of pics of your friends at fam celebrating!  We installed vintage doors from our favorite salvage store (Architectural Antiques) around the yard and left little signs encouraging guest to take pics and have fun!  This fella below is actually one of our favorite camera guys- Dan.  He’s attended the wedding with us and got to play around for a few minutes before he had to get to work capturing the big I Do!

Budget Wedding Tips

We didn’t stop with the doors… far from it in fact!  We made this massive photo backdrop from astro-turf, faux flowers, and more paper pinwheels.  This project is a fan favorite- we’ve already gotten lots of feedback from viewers, so we’ll do a full post with all the deets this week!

DIY Wedding Photo Backdrop East Coast Creative Blog

Budget Wedding Tip: Rent a Few Amazing Pieces

Like when designing a room, you can go basic with most things as long as you have a few show stoppers.  This is where renting comes in!  We rented some super amazing, authentic, vintage items that totally kicked the wedding up a notch!  I found Maggpie Rentals about a year ago and actually added them to my browser favorite bar as soon as I did.  I just knew someday I would have a need for their vintage goodness.  I was so excited to work with Maggie and she has such an eye for mixing and matching pieces.  She pulled just the right items for our style.  Now, yes, you could spend the year leading up to your wedding searching high and low for the perfect pieces to use on your big day, but really do you want to be loading and unloading couches and chairs in your wedding dress?  I think not!  Also, there’s no guarantee you’ll find just what you need- so just let Maggpie take care of it all for you. Trust me, you won’t regret it!


Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 10.44.18 PM

Phew,  that’s a lot of tips! Hopefully lots of them were helpful and inspiring!  We’ve written tutorials and have lots more wedding tips & ideas for you- use the links below to check out our other posts from this amazing wedding!

Succulent Wedding Flowers

Vintage Furniture Rental

DIY Wedding Tips on a Budget

 Paper Pinwheel Bridesmaid “Bouquets

Watch the Wedding Episode 

Are you a bride to be or helping plan a wedding?  We have the BEST wedding gift EVER!

The Game of Love is the perfect surprise to use on your honeymoon, makes a super fun bachelorette party gift, and also is so much cooler than giving a wedding gift off a registry.


GOL Wedding jumping

DIY Wedding Ideas Vintage Inspired Wedding

The comments +

  1. Beth Marie says:

    This is great! I love the pinwheel idea — innovative + they can be used as fans too since the wedding was outside. Live Well Network should have really extended this episode into an hour special. I cannot wait to see it!

  2. […] second day of EC2 Wedding Week.  If you missed the first day, you definitely want to check it out here for our wedding tips on a budget and lots of vintage inspired wedding beauty […]

  3. […] am obsessed with this floral garland from East Coast Creative.  They used it as a backdrop for photos I would use it as a buffet table backdrop or even as just […]

  4. Diana wiles says:

    I watched you guys every time you were on live well network now its not on. Where can I find your show I live inb Sturgis mi 49091. I think you guys are awesome and talented.hope find your show soon. I have breast cancer terminal and I looked forforward to your show. Diana

  5. Elizabeth Cantrell says:

    What website did you order your succulents wholesale from?

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