Bride Talks Budget: How a Bride Saved Thousands on Her Wedding Decor

Ben and Shermin kept their wedding intimate with just 100 guests. They decided on a rustic theme, and Shermin made a lot of the decorations herself, and got friends to help her with the setting-up on the day. Today, she shares how she saved thousands on her wedding decor and planned her wedding, with help from Taobao and Daiso, for under $25K.

From the bride…

Venue (including F&B): $18,000
Nosh is a great place albeit a bit pricey, and everything is literally chargeable, which means your place cards, invitation cards, stage decor, table decor, etc. My heart aches when I spend unnecessary money on things I can do. But if you have no time to do so much, just focus on one item. Maybe stage decor or dining table decor? The rest can just be settled with ka-ching. Lots of things were Taobao-ed which saved me quite a lot of money. It’s not that difficult but tedious.

I saved money on the venue by opting out of the in-house wedding decor for the dining tables, stage, etc, and DIYed.

Professional Flowers: $780
- $600 for floral arch
- $180 for wedding bouquet

I saved money on the floral arch by opting for a mixture of real and fake flowers. For the wedding bouquet, I had something in mind but the quote was too expensive so I asked my florist to suggest alternative flowers that would still give it a similar look. I also chose a medium sized rustic bouquet instead of a huge one because the larger it is, the more it's going to cost.

Dining table décor: $130
- $90 for 2 boxes of baby's breath (
- $20 for candle jars (Taobao)
- $20 for table linen (Taobao)  

We did the table decor ourselves! We were told we would need to pay $3,000 extra for dining table set-up, so I bought a roll of linen from Taobao, we measured and cut it ourselves, threw in some flowers, jars, candles, and – tadah – we got our rustic decor.

Also, I ordered 2 boxes of baby's breath from, it arrived the day before the wedding, so we spent about 2 hours trimming the flowers and stuffing them in mason jars, which I also bought. The fresh flower table runners I wanted initially were pretty expensive, the external decorators quoted them by the meter and it would have amounted to about $700 for all the tables. So the baby’s breath was a good substitute.

We DIYed place cards using cardboard paper. So simple, and I saved $150 on place cards.

Welcome table: $50
The wooden frames were nailed by me, literally. I bought 4 planks from Daiso, nailed the corners together, thumbtacked the sides, and hooked strings on them. Tadah! We also bought some photo frames from Taobao for our photos, and the rest of the items were brought from my home, including the dried flowers etc. I saved $450 on the welcome table.

Wedding Favours: $100
I wanted to get meaningful wedding favours that people would use, so I got wooden forks and spoons from Taobao. Buying in bulk is also cheaper. I then tied and attached my simply-designed DIY gift tags, which said "Thank you for sharing our first meal as Mr and Mrs".

Hair and makeup - $0
I did my own hair and makeup because I felt that bridal makeup would look too much on me and I wanted to look like myself.

Stage decor/backdrop: $100
I'm proudest of our fairy-lights set-up. I Taobao-ed all the fairy lights, purchased planks from Daiso, cable-tied the fairy lights to the planks, and literally just secured it to the existing beams on the stage. Quick and easy set-up for a beautiful background! I saved $700 on stage decor.

Invitation cards: $20
Printing invitation cards with Nosh came at an extra cost, so I bought fancy paper from Popular, designed invitation cards, and printed and cut them out myself! I saved $100 on invitation cards.

Advice cards (guest book alternative): $10
I bought cardboard paper and pencils from Taobao, and designed and printed the advice cards myself. Brides can consider this as an alternative to guest books that weddings usually have, where people hurriedly sign and write "Have a blessed wedding!" or "Enjoy your married life!

Advice cards allow guests to sit down and think of what they actually want to tell the couple, which really gives it more meaning. It also serves as a nice side-activity/filler between the meal courses!

Band: $2000 (estimated)
With the money saved, we could afford to hire a live band (but as it turned out my father-in-law gifted us with the band). The band was really nice to have accommodated our requests for random indie songs, and did such a good job performing them!

Budget tips/advice
I would say Taobao is your friend, and Daiso is also a very good friend.

If you're a bride that likes to DIY stuff (like me), you can always start prepping a few months ahead. It really isn't as bad as one might think!

I had about 3 months and it was more than enough, and that's including days where I was extremely busy with work, including work trips. So it's really doable and I got to enjoy a different wedding planning process. All the preparation can be done by yourself and there's really not too much of a burden on the bridesmaids because they didn't come into the picture until very much later when I prepped them on their exact roles for the actual day set-up.

It's best to imagine how you want your dining table and welcome table decor, etc, to look like, and then “rehearse” setting it up at home. Then take a photo and use it as a reference for easy and quick set-up on the actual day.

Additional expenses
- Photography: $1,200
- Bride’s wedding dress: $800
- Groom’s Suit: $700


Thank you for sharing your budget-friendly ideas and the breakdown of costs with us Shermin, we’re sure it'll help Wedding Scoopers plan their weddings in the future!


Want more information about holding a beautiful wedding on a budget? Read more from our Bride Talks Budget series or check out our article on buying wedding items from Taobao!
Bride Talks Budget: A Wedding for under $5000
Bride Talks Budget: Maximising Your Dollars for a Bali Wedding
Bride Talks Budget: How a Bride Planned Her Taobao Wedding for Under $6000
A New Way to Shop for Weddings: Exploring Taobao



Vendor Information
Venue: Nosh
Photography: Stanstills
Wedding Bouquet and Floral Arch: hello flowers!