Platinum Weddings for Less

The famed television show “Platinum Weddings” has been touting the exuberance, exclusivity, and extravagance of brides for several seasons to rave reviews. Just one thing, is it possible to get the same “over the top” look for less. How can a bride or her glue gun toting troop of friends pull off a Platinum look alike wedding for less?


Well, anything is possible, right? In reality, you can get pretty close to a platinum wedding when you take into consideration a few important visual design principles and team it up with generous amounts of time, labor, and creativity.



Scale: Most Platinum weddings have very large centerpieces and visual accents. Scale helps create the wow factor. So think of using very large bamboo stalks or faux bejeweled dowels in a clear vase and add inexpensive greens and a few well placed large blossoms to create a jaw dropping eye catching presentation.


Texture: Using various types of texture on different surfaces makes for a richer and more interesting visual effect. Instead of spending gobs of money on expensive drapes to give a wall some depth, rent a light fixture that can hold a “gobo” (stencil), which will flood the wall with a soft pattern of texture from nature, or a geometric pattern. You can even do images of large shadowy chandeliers instead of the real thing to create depth and interest on that blank wall behind the band for far less than the real thing. Layering your linens and/or including a textured fabric increases visual interest and the look of quality. If you can’t afford the designer threads, go for the polyester “look-a-likes”. In a romantically lighted room, it won’t be as obvious where you stretched your dollars.


Color: Many designers use monochromatic use of a color to create  drama and saturation giving the feeling of opulence. Combining the flowers, linens, chairs, or chair covers, and even the walls using one color in varying shades, will have your guests feeling like they are seated in luxury. Just stay away from too much shine on the fabrics. A little goes a long way.


Lighting: Part of creating a wonderful atmosphere is using lighting to create a dazzling or dramatic impression when your guests first walk into the reception room. Spotlighting your centerpieces, highlighting the dance floor, washing the walls with complimentary colors to the flower centerpieces are just a few ways to make the room stand out among other events. But if you don’t have the budget for the standard lighting bonanza debut, use LED flashlights stationed behind cardboard(spray painted to match the color of the walls) shields that rest on the carpet or floor to direct light from the flashlights upward. These lights won’t be as powerful as standard lights from professional companies, but they will help soften the look of the room and create a mood with pieces of colored acetate from the craft or art store to adjust the light coming from the flashlights. Always, always test  anything you do on your own before the event day. Test for heat and safety ahead of time to make sure you are following safety rules and regulations with the technical staff of the property.


The “Glam” factor: You can have the sparkle without the real gold gilt with a bottle of spray paint and plastic crystals. Sounds kind of funky retro, but taking glistening curly willow branches and intermingling them in lush white puffy flowers and dangling strands of sssssshhhhh (plastic crystals) does the trick. Inexpensive glass block vases covered with decorative patterned mirrored chips, gives the same sparkle as your grandmother’s cut crystal compote.


Details: Ultimately, like any well done effort, whether it is a cake, an invitation, or a note of welcome to your guests when they register at their hotels, it is the little things or details that can scream style and class. Some of the best ways to create a stylish splash is spent on using fine ribbons on napkin wraps or real crystals on the corners of escort cards. One of my former brides even took the time with her fiance to write an individualized note to each of their guests at the wedding. We tucked these notes next to their place cards at their tables. Can you imagine how special everyone felt when they read those personal comments from the bride and groom. yes  a lot of time, not much money but boy, what an impression that left in everyone’s hearts.


A final thought: Striving to make the most out of your budget and the 4 to 6 hours you will have with your guests can come at a high price if you are stressed over everything while trying to be in the moment with your husband and closest friends and family on the wedding day. Gathering the best group of professionals you can afford, will go a long way to making the process of designing and creating that upscale look without making you  miserable and your friends and family frustrated. Seasoned wedding services know what works and what doesn’t. They can give you the back story before you waste a lot of time and energy, and who has that to throw around these days?

Enjoy the adventure,