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Decorating your wedding is a big job on its own, but reader Kacey came to us looking for some Broke-Ass advice on how to make 60 rustic camp cabins feel a little more like home for her wedding guests. She writes:

Dear BAB,

I want to say we’re soul sisters but don’t want to come off too strong. Budgeting is my life and crafting is my happy place. I am getting married next fall and even for a crafter at heart, I’m running into a little dilemma.

My fiancé rented a beautiful camp for our wedding weekend. The camp comes at a hefty price but it includes cabins, camp essentials and food for the weekend. The camp suggested we charge 1/2 the price of what a hotel would charge for the whole weekend — $120 per person. This would include all their food, drinks and stay Friday-Sunday. We would cover the rest of the costs. My family tells us they think that is a really good deal, but forever being on a budget, I just want to make sure our guests are getting their money’s worth. With that being said …

Sleeping arrangements are the big issue. Not only do we need to decorate our function hall, we need to figure out a way to decorate 60 CABINS.

[I] Feel like we need to do something. I think some people might pass out walking into a bare bones cabin in the woods with no electricity. Decorating 60 cabins on a budget is a whole other ballgame than just decorating a function hall. How do I make these cute little cabins not a nature nightmare for our guests ?

Thanks so much, the over thinker bride.


Hi Kacey,

We’re totally down with the “soul sister” title; commitment is kind of our thing! It sounds like you’ve got a daunting task ahead of you, so the first step is to set a budget. As you well know, multiplying even small numbers by 60 quickly gets into the hundreds of dollars, so make sure you’re realistic with a number that makes you comfortable.

Once you’ve established a spending amount, focus on ideas that make a cold cabin feel like home. Things like light sources or personal messages add comfort and familiarity to an otherwise rustic. Search online for free printable templates or print your personal photos and pop them in dollar store frames. Stock up on inexpensive LED tealights or string lights so the space doesn’t feel so dark once the sun goes down. When it comes to candles, think about inexpensive display options like paper lanterns or candle plates that allow you to place multiple sizes or styles in one place. Keeping things simple and looking for those dollar-or-less items makes it perfectly reasonable to work within a budget of just a few dollars per cabin.

If you want to add a splash of color for pennies per cabin, look for paper DIYs. Tissue paper garland, origami or crepe paper flowers and colorful rosettes give a festive pop to the wooden walls. The handmade elements not only provide that punch, but give your guest cabins a loving touch.

Hit up thrift stores for vessels and vases, and don’t be afraid to use items for things outside of their original purpose. Vintage glassware sets can be picked up for a fraction of the cost of retail vases and still look super cute holding a few paper posies. While you’re there, check out stuff like old curtains, table cloths or duvet covers. Spending a few dollars gives you yards of fabric to repurpose into throws, fabric bunting or other decorative touches to make your guests feel at home.

Remember that you don’t have to have a set plan. Wandering aisles and websites for great deals can provide you with inspiration for ideas you didn’t realize you had! Keep in mind the amount per cabin you’d like to spend, be realistic about the time you want to spend crafting, and know it’s more than fine to want to go that extra step for the people who are there to celebrate with you.

Have you had any big decor issues that have reared their ugly heads? What’s your plan of attack?

  • 2/1

    The time has finally come to see Real Bride Amy’s intimate Chittendon, Vt., wedding. Amy and Rick escaped to a gorgeous lakeside lodge with a few of their nearest and dearest to tie the knot. They did away with all the extras and prioritized their dollars on what made sense for them — the true broke-ass way. Boucher Visuals did a wonderful job of capturing the love and details from their big day.
    Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Lakeside Portrait || Boucher VisualsName: Amy & Rick

    Occupation: Public Health Professional

    Wedding location: Chittenden, VT

    Wedding Date: September 25, 2016

    Budget: $10,000

    Number of Guests: 15

    How would you describe your wedding (civil? Traditions? Write your own vows? Etc.): Simple. No frills. Just the important stuff.

    Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Ring Shot || Boucher Visuals

    Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Venue View || Boucher Visuals

    What was your favorite part of your wedding? When the ceremony was over, we walked to the car and had a few minutes before we went to join our guests. It was nice to have a few minutes to breath and just be together in the midst of a hectic day.

    Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Couple Portrait || Boucher Visuals
    What did you splurge on?
    Photography! This was my #1 priority so it was worth it. I also unintentionally splurged on my dress, but I found one I loved and just went with it.  

    What did you save on? We kept it small and did not do a full reception, which saved us on food, flowers and decor.

    Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Cake || Boucher VisualsWas there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect? I would have savored the day more. It all went by so fast!  

    What was your biggest challenge in planning? Making decisions about what I wanted to do, while trying to consider everyone else’s wishes.

    Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Reception Dinner || Boucher Visuals

    Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Bridal Bouquet|| Boucher VisualsWhat lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? Although it’s a special day, it really is only just a day, and real life starts again right after, so don’t stress about it too much!

    What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding?

    Our pictures.

    My dress.

    The cake.

    My bouquet.

    Sharing it with our closest family and friends.

    Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Bridal Accessories || Boucher Visuals

    Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Shoes || Boucher Visuals

    Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Dress Shot || Boucher VisualsTop 5 least favorite?

    Choosing vendors.

    Getting ready the morning of the ceremony. Stressful!

    The money. Seeing the bank balance dwindle away was hard.

    Pinterest pressure. DIY is not always worth it.

    How fast it all went by.

    Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Cake Cutting || Boucher Visuals

    Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Cake Smash || Boucher VisualsWhat was the worst piece of wedding advice you received? Everyone had their own story about what they did at their own wedding that they of course thought was best, “you should use this vendor,” etc.  They meant well, of course, but each wedding and each couple is unique. Weddings are not one size fits all, and you have to do what is best for the two of you.

    The best? Go with your gut. Don’t get swayed, but what your friend did or the popular social media trends, or what your mother thinks you should do. Do whatever will make you look back on your day and smile.

    Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Portrait with Dogs || Boucher VisualsAny other bits of wisdom? I can see the value in hiring at least a day-of coordinator. We didn’t, but much of the week before was spent trying to coordinate with vendors about schedules and payments, and that day I was worried about where everyone was going and when, and we were running around the envelopes trying to be sure everyone got paid. It would have been nice to know that was being handled so I could have focused more attention on my guests.

    Budget breakdown?

    Save the Dates and Invitations: $500

    Venue and food: $1,000

    Accommodations: $1,000

    Cake: $100

    Bouquet and boutonniere: $125

    Dress and alterations: $3,000

    Groom’s suit: $400

    Photography: $3,000

    Hair & Makeup: Free! I did my own makeup and my friend did my hair.

    Officiant: $400

    Total: $9,525


    Venue: Mountaintop Inn & Resort 

    Photography: Boucher Visuals

    Cake: Trillium Fine Desserts

    Dress: True North Bridal  Designer: Rebecca Schoneveld 

    Custom Save the Dates & Invitations: Written in Detail 

    Amy and Rick's Chittendon, VT Wedding | Ceremony Exit || Boucher Visuals

    Congratulations, Amy and Rick!

    The Broke-Ass Bride
  • 1/31

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  • 1/23

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