How to Plan a Luxury Wedding on a Budget | CO Wedding Photographer


Designing a luxury wedding on a budget is easier than you think. With a bit of careful planning and creativity, you can pull off a stunning wedding day without the outrageous price tag. As a Colorado wedding and engagement photographer, here are a few of my top tips on planning your upscale wedding at a reasonable cost:

7 Steps to Designing an Affordable Luxury Wedding 

Choose an Aesthetic Venue

While photogenic spaces and venues may cost a bit more up front, you’ll end up saving in the décor department—which can add up quickly. If the venue features built-in beauty, you won’t spend as much time and money transforming it into what you want. Instead, you can use the available backdrops, architecture, landscaping, and vistas to your advantage. 

unique Colorado wedding venues, luxury wedding, Denver Botanic Gardens, John Moler Photography
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unique Colorado wedding venues, luxury wedding, Denver Botanic Gardens, John Moler Photography

For instance, the historic Tapestry House by Wedgewood Weddings in Fort Collins features both beautiful architecture and manicured gardens. Or, if you’re planning a downtown Denver wedding, you could host your reception at an art gallery—minimal décor needed when you’re surrounded by art. Then, all you have to do is add a few personal accents here and there. Some other great reasonably-priced and beautiful venues in the area include: 

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unique Colorado wedding venues, luxury wedding, Denver Botanic Gardens, John Moler Photography

As nice as a “blank-slate” wedding venue sounds, it can get quite expensive as you design a completely customized wedding and hire all the pieces individually. An all-inclusive venue that provides in-house catering, rentals, and/or bar service may end up cutting costs in the long run.

Book Your Luxury Wedding in the Off-Season

Here in Colorado, you may find cheaper rates during the winter and early-spring months—late November through March or April. Embrace the winter season for a truly one-of-a-kind wedding aesthetic. Snowy hillsides and evergreen wedding accents lend themselves to a more romantic, sophisticated, and elegant look. Winter weddings favor cheaper floral and centerpiece options too—you can try dried blooms, simpler arrangements, branches and berries, evergreen and baby’s breath, which all tend to be less expensive but still very classy and elegant. Check out some more luxury winter wedding ideas in this article by BRIDES.

If you can’t make the off season work, you could try booking on an off day. Most venues discount their rates significantly for all non-Saturday weddings. Book a Friday or Sunday wedding instead. 

luxury wedding portraits

Downsize to a Micro Wedding

Micro weddings offer the best of both worlds—you get the intimate feel of an elopement surrounded by your closest friends and family, and you get to splurge a little on what matters most to you for a more authentic wedding experience. Limiting or downsizing your guest count will allow you to stay within budget and still get what you want. Plus, you’ll have more time to spend with those who are closest to you instead of trying to make your rounds to every extended family member you’ve never met.

micro wedding photographed by John Moler

Use Pinterest Hacks to Design a Luxury Wedding

Pinterest is chock full of ideas to create an elegant design on a budget. A little creativity goes a long way in creating an elegant and luxurious ambiance. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Hang faux-chandeliers and florals from the ceiling
  • Feature a champagne wall or bar
  • Use strategically placed floral arrangements—and reuse the ceremony flowers for the reception
  • Add extra greenery and decorative arches
  • Infuse extra sparkle and shine with twinkle lights, candles, and lanterns
luxury wedding design

Rethink Your Seating Arrangements

Instead of traditional rows of chairs or round tables, add a luxurious lounge area at your reception using chairs, benches, or lounge furniture. Add throw pillows, rugs, and blankets to complete the look. Borrow furniture from friends and family or have some fun looking at resale shops. Many wedding planners or event rentals have furniture available as well.

seating ideas for luxury wedding, reception lounge area

Swap the Plated Meal for Hors-d’oeuvres 

Instead of a full plated meal, host a cocktail reception with signature drinks and thoughtfully-selected appetizers. Truthfully, your guests may prefer this even more because they can mix and mingle while tasting a variety of delicious bites.

signature drink ideas for wedding

Focus on Texture, Material, & Color

Incorporate textures, materials, and colors that play up the luxe look. Intricate vintage designs such as bronze utensils or vintage glassware (even if they aren’t truly vintage items) can add sophisticated touch often with a less-expensive price tag, especially if you buy in bulk. Choosing the right colors will elevate your luxury wedding look as well. 

luxury wedding design
  • Dusty blue OR cobalt, gold, and white are classy and elegant. 
  • Blush, ivory, and sage are soft and romantic. 
  • Ivory, copper, and green create an elegant-yet-natural look. 
  • Black and white is bold and modern. 
  • View more elegant neutral color palettes.

Book Your Colorado Wedding Photography with John Moler

I am a Colorado Wedding Photographer who specializes in authentic, emotive images. I strive to tell your story through my lens so you can relive it for years to come. View recent weddings in my PORTFOLIO, get more INFORMATION, and BOOK YOUR WEDDING directly at

Meet John

I believe that every photo holds a million tiny stories, each remembered or encountered slightly differently. Ever since I was young, I've been fascinated by this connection between story and image.