The Budget Savvy Bride » Erin helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank Sat, 28 Mar 2015 20:01:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Erin + Nick’s Wedding: A Few Photos Thu, 03 Jan 2013 14:00:04 +0000 I wanted to share a few photos that our photographer posted on her blog. We haven’t gotten the CDs of the rest of our photos, but when we do, I’ll share a few more of our favorites. All images via Gillette Portrait Arts, our photographer was Raye Gillette-Whaley.

Getting Ready

The dress

Putting the dress on

Drying the (happy) tears

First look at myself

Hugging my sister/Maid of Honor, with my mom in the background

Hugging my mom

Me and my girls

Close up of flowers

Me and my dad

Nick reading a note from me before the ceremony

My husband and close up of boutonniere

Heading down the aisle

The priest making us laugh – much needed at that moment

First kiss as husband and wife

Super windy group shots

Walking Penny down the boardwalk

Shots with our pup

Beach Shots

Close up

Boardwalk and Ferris Wheel

In front of closed shop

Playing Skee Ball

First dance

Last one for now, wedding cake

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek into our wedding, full recap later!

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Corkboard + Straight pins DIY Escort Card Display Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 I had a hard time coming up with a good idea for displaying people’s escort cards for the tables at our wedding. I loved the idea of a tree and tags hanging from the branches, but thought that could make it really hard for people to find themselves.

Image via Calluna Events

Since I didn’t think this would really work, but I still liked the idea of the tags (since we are also using them for our guest book), I wanted to come up with another way to use them that might be more organized for the guests to find their names. I came across this image online and put it on my Pinterest and went from there.

I liked how they used pins instead of thumb tacks and though I didn’t use the buttons, it did make the board nice and colorful. We decided on this option and went to Goodwill to find a frame. I had already bought a corkboard from Goodwill for $3, so now I just needed to find a good size frame. We found a framed painting for $8, so we went with that and then purchased spray paint and primer for $3 each and painted the frame a flat black. Then we cut the corkboard to fit and made the tags from white cardstock leftover from our invitations. We printed the names and then the table name and number and hung them with black and white baker’s twine leftover from our guest book. I used straight pins I had from making my veil and they added a nice classy touch with the pearl heads.

Image via Gillette Portrait Arts

You can see in the picture above how they turned out. On the right side is a display we put together of our family wedding photos along with the String Art H I made and little white pumpkins. We put the photos on clips in the bud vases and then my work friends filled them with flowers. I’m really happy with the way the escort cards came out and the project cost us about $11 total and we can still use the corkboard in our office! Score!

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The Sash Snafoo Tue, 04 Dec 2012 17:00:06 +0000 About 2 weeks before my wedding, I was still debating what type of sash to wear with my dress. my dress was beautiful but simple and sash with a little sparkle would add a lot to my whole ensemble. I had tried on sashes at the shop where I bought my dress, but didn’t decide on anything at the time. I then tried on a few more sashes at the shop that did my alterations, but I just couldn’t commit to spending $140+ on a sash when I knew I could probably create something for a fraction of that price.I emailed my best friend a few photos of my dress with the different sashes I had tried on to get her opinion. She had worn a sash with her dress and had the sash made by the woman who did her alterations and then ordered her rhinestone applique online (see below, from – this particular applique is currently Out of Stock, but she has a lot of other really pretty appliques). In total, she had spent $45 on the applique and $25 for the sash, so 1/2 the price the stores wanted for a similar sash. She offered to let me use her applique and remove it from her sash if I liked it.

Image via Glory’s House


A week before the wedding, she drove 3 hours to Baltimore with the sash in hand to let me try it with my dress. It was beautiful and exactly what I wanted, the only problem was that her sash was white, so I was going to need to have a sash made to match my dress. I had considered making it myself at first, and I know I could have done it and probably saved about $10 (since the fabric for the sash would have cost me $10 – 15. I decided to contact the shop where I ordered my dress and see if they could make me a sash to match. They said they definitely could and it would be $25. Great, I’m all set. Since we were only a week out from the wedding, she would have the sash shipped to my parents house where I would be arriving a few days later. Yay, done with the sash.

I arrived at my parents house that Wednesday evening, later that night, I opened the box with the sash, only to find it was the exact same color as my best friend’s original sash which was too white for my ivory dress. I panicked without letting Nick know (he couldn’t even know I was wearing a sash or he might get ideas of what the dress looked like!!). I emailed the shop because the owner was travelling out of the country, but had been my go-to person. She wrote me back right away (Thank you, Sarah) and said they had an ivory sash in the shop that they used as a sample and I was welcome to go pick it up from the shop, she told me it would need to be washed, and gave me directions. I called my best friend who was awesome, she drove to Salisbury the next morning (about 40 minutes away) and picked up the sash and washed it for me. That night after the rehearsal dinner, I sat there stitching on the applique she lent me – it was my something borrowed at about midnight. It was actually a good thing for me, took my mind off of the little details and I just sat there drinking champagne with my girls and sewing away. In the end, I was really happy with the way everything turned out. We haven’t received our professional pictures yet, but you can see the sash in these photos. I think it was perfect and just the right amount of sparkle that my dress needed. I can’t thank the bridal shop (Dryden’s Dress Shop in Salisbury, MD – formerly A Perfect Dress) or my best friend enough for saving the day with the sash snafoo!!

Here is one of the few photos I have that actually show the sash (we haven’t received our professional photos yet). This is from our DIY photobooth, we are playing the annoyed bride and happy groom.

Image via Me
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I’m married! And thankful! Thu, 22 Nov 2012 14:00:23 +0000 So this is it, I’m married, have been for over a week and it’s kind of odd, but also amazing. Every time Nick and I do something, we say: “This our first time walking the dog as a married couple…This is our first time to Target as a married couple, etc.” It’s been fun to relive the wonderful moments that led up to our wedding. Here’s a short recap and I’ll give you the full story once I have a few more pictures to share (our photographer’s studio was flooded as a result of Hurricane Sandy and her wrath on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, so while our photos are safe, we know she has a lot going on so we haven’t yet seen any of our professional photos).

Weather was one of the things that worried me all along and when I saw that Sandy was headed our way, that wasn’t helping matters. In the end, we lucked out, no rain during the day or during our photos. Instead we had overcast skies and lots and lots of wind. There were several “oh my gosh my veil is going to blow off my head” moments as well has having the wind catch my dress like a sail making me feel like I was going to fall over…but we truly lucked out. I just wanted the rain to hold off and it did, thank God!!  I talked to Nick the morning of the wedding and he could sense that I was worried about something. I told him the weather had me worried and he told me not to worry, and he was right. Besides the wind, we had a beautiful day. The sun came out for a few photos with my girls, my parents and grandmother, so that was nice. My friend grabbed this shot over the photographer’s shoulder on Saturday afternoon.

Image via Meg Gsvind

We headed to the boardwalk for a couple fun photos and then returned in the limo to Meg’s beach house to touch up and eat some food before the ceremony. Meg was amazing, she provided a wonderful spread of sandwiches and snacks to keep us going. The whole day was just perfect, everyone was so helpful and kind. Once 1:55 came, we jumped in the limo with my dad to head to the ceremony. It was nerve wracking to sit in the limo outside of the church and just wait. We got to see most of the guests go in the church and I was getting anxious. I was not nervous in the least to marry Nick, I knew I was making the right decision. I was so anxious for the ceremony to start while also worried my emotions were going to get the best of me. I feared I was going to be a blubbering mess going down the aisle! There is no vestibule in the church so it was straight from the limo to the aisle and after that, things went really quickly. My dad did the right thing by making me laugh on my way down the aisle, it was just what I needed to kill some of the anxiety and emotions and take my mind off everyone looking at me!

After the ceremony, we headed to the beach and boardwalk for some photos. It was super windy and overcast, but at least it wasn’t raining. You’ll have to wait for photos from our photographer to see those images. Then we headed in the limo to the reception where we had our introductions and first dance. Then we had lots of fun in our DIY photo booth!

Me and my dad – Image via me


We had fun with the vampire teeth – Image via me
I must ache you a question – Image via me
Fun with props – Image via me
Biggest Erin & Nick Fans – Image via me
Sisters – Image via me


Before we knew it, the night was over, and we headed to the after party at a local bar (which was also having their Halloween party.) A lot of people asked if I was dressed up or really just got married :)

Us and Jack Skellington – Image via me

So that’s my quick recap, over the next few days, Hurricane Sandy hit Ocean City and left the deck where the first photo was taken, looking like this… so hard to believe. I thank God that our family and friends were all safe. I selfishly thanked God for having Sandy wait until Sunday to hit. Our honeymoon was delayed, but other than that it was amazing. Honeymoon recap and more wedding recap coming later! :)

Image via Ari Hantske
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Last day of work as Ms. Z Fri, 16 Nov 2012 14:00:11 +0000 So here I am on my last day of work as Ms. Z – I’m a teacher so kids are all asking me what my new last name will be and can they still call me Ms. Z. I say yes, because I remember it being really hard when I was younger and teachers would get married. The old last name will fade out eventually, I’ll get more used to hearing Mrs. H and being introduced that way. What a weird thing it is to get rid of your last name. In my heart, I’ll always be a Z. I walked into a nice surprise in my office this afternoon from one of my co-workers. It was a small little gesture, but it made me feel appreciated and even more excited for the day to end!

Image via Me

I feel very lucky after going through this process to have had a fiance that was involved and didn’t just tell me to figure it out and do what I wanted. We worked together on a lot of projects and I was always checking with him for feedback. This is what our football Sundays have looked like over the past two weeks, luckily our team performed terribly last Sunday, so we didn’t miss too much while we were cutting and assembling our menus and programs. I feel very blessed to have experienced this with him and that he will have had a hand in how everything turns out and our wedding will be representation of both of our styles.

Image via Me

Thank you all for your supportive comments throughout the planning process. I am so looking forward to our wedding and seeing how everything comes together. I can’t wait to marry the love of my life, have our first dance together, enjoy our honeymoon and then finally live together. It’s all going to be so exciting! Oh yeah, did I tell you that I broke out in a rash last Friday? Doctor thinks it could be an allergic reaction or just nerves, so I’m taking prednisone until the wedding day and hoping it works some magic on my rash. I don’t feel that stressed or nervous, but our bodies have weird ways of handling things sometimes. I’m ready to be sipping champagne with my girls and be getting my nails done – ya know!?!?

See you on the other side of the wedding! I’ll be a Mrs. and have a new wonderful husband.

Any last minute advice on what to do to make sure to enjoy my wedding day as much as possible?

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Into the Wedding Countdown Thu, 08 Nov 2012 13:46:37 +0000 {This post was written prior to Erin’s wedding, which took place a couple of weeks ago. Read below to see how she was feeling leading up to the big day!}


So, we’re officially 8 days from the wedding, which means I’ve started obsessively checking the 10 day forecast to see what the weather has in store for next Saturday. So far, so good! 65 degrees, sunny, 0% chance of rain. I can’t recall if I’ve mentioned this to you all or not but being Catholic, we have little things that we do like putting a Mary statue in your window when you don’t want it to rain. Nick mentioned that he needed to remember to put Mary in the window before we leave on Wednesday. I reminded him that we don’t care if it rains in Baltimore, so we’re bringing Mary with us to Ocean City and will put her in the window there!

Other last minute things on my list:

  • Fix my veil, the comb I sewed in there is too small and doesn’t feel secure so I’m going to add a new comb to it and re-sew it. I hope to share some pictures of that project soon.
  • Find a necklace to wear, if I could find the one I wore for my sister’s wedding, that would be perfect. I can’t find it though, so I’m headed to the mall this weekend to hopefully find something that will work!
  • Assemble menu cards and programs over the weekend
  • Make lists and organize boxes for the trip down so we can make sure we don’t forget anything! Running home isn’t an option when home is 3 hours away!
  • Redo some table assignments, had some last minute RSVPS that were regrets, which was a family of 4 and a family of 3 – crap!
  • Send chair covers home with my best friend and let my mom work some magic on them to get them less wrinkly!
  • Scan and print family wedding photos for our display
  • Hundreds of other little tasks that will pop up!

I can’t believe we’re getting down to the wire. I’m so excited to marry my best friend in the entire world and to spend the rest of our lives together. I’m so excited for our wedding and hope that everything goes well. However, I know the only thing that matters is that at the end of the day, I’m married to Nick and that we’ve made that commitment to eachother in front of our family and friends.

Image via Gillette Portrait Arts
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Free Catholic Wedding Program Template Tue, 30 Oct 2012 14:29:06 +0000 I’ve realized that having a full Catholic mass for our wedding might leave a few of our guests confused about what to do and when to do it. If you’ve ever been to a Catholic mass (or probably any church), there is a lot of sitting, standing, kneeling, responding, etc. I didn’t want people to feel lost! I found a woman online who put together a really helpful program that she offered for download and then I just went through and edited it for our purposes (you can download my Free Catholic Wedding Program Template here.) Please note: the first page is a “cover” page. I suggest using a heavier cardstock for the cover. Pages 2+3 should be printed as a double sided page so that when you fold it, it functions as a booklet.


Free Catholic Wedding Program Template


We decided to print the programs ourselves and will just do a piece of cardstock for the cover (which we bought for our invitations) and then a plain piece of paper on the inside. We’ll probably attach it all with thin black ribbon. I’m pretty happy with the way they came out and hope they will make our non-Catholic guests more at ease.

The front says: The nuptial mass celebrating the union of me and Nick in the sacrament of Holy Matrimony. Saturday the twenty seventh day of October Two Thousand and Twelve and then our church name and location.


Image via me

The first page lists the wedding party, parents, ushers, and celebrants as well as their relation to each of us.


Image via me

The inside pages outline the ceremony order. In parentheses it says when to sit/stand and also says how to respond if necessary (for the readings, gospel, prayers of the faithful, etc.).

Image via me

The second to last page is a general thank you, it reads:

We would like to express our sincerest thanks to all of you for helping us make this day a joyous celebration, especially our parents who gave us life; our families who shared our life; our relatives and friends who helped us to reach this special day. We are honored you can share these sacred and joyous moments with us today. May God bless each one of you. Erin & Nick

Image via me

On the very back of the program we just put a general note with some gentle reminders for our guests: Thank you for coming to our wedding celebration. It means a great deal to us that you are witnesses to  our marriage vows. Father Stanislao will signal when to sit and stand and this program will serve as a guide to the order of the service. We encourage you to listen, pray, and sing. All music can found in the Breaking Bread hymnal, located in the pews. In order to respect the dignity of the ceremony, we ask that there is no flash photography during  the service. Additionally, please silence all cell phones and other electronic devices.

Image via me

I pieced together the wording for those pages from resources online and using my own words. I felt that they covered everything we would want to share without being too wordy.

What do you think of our programs? Do you think the guests will appreciate them? Would you change anything?

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Where to Sit? Thu, 25 Oct 2012 13:23:29 +0000 When we were reviewing our reception setup with our site manager, she asked if we wanted to do a head table or sweetheart table. We kind of looked at eachother blankly because we hadn’t really thought about it. Eileen proceeded to show us photos of what the different setups would look like in the room. I’d been to weddings where they did both and I knew what I preferred as a bridesmaid because I’d like to sit with my date, but as a bride and groom I just wasn’t sure what to do.

Image via Luster Studios (as seen on

The sweetheart table is nice because you get a tiny bit of alone time with your new husband. But you’re also this very odd center of attention which is not really our forte! It’s still a nice idea and allows your bridal party to sit with their dates & family.

Image via Arising Images (from

The head table is another idea and usually seats the bridal party with the bride & groom. This was an idea that we didn’t like as much because one of the drawing features of our venue are the floor to ceiling windows that face the ocean. If we did the long head table, we would block most of that view for our guests and that wasn’t something that we wanted to do. We started bouncing around some other ideas and our site manager came up with a great compromise. She suggested that we use 2 of the table set for 10 and that could be the 4 bridesmaids on one side and their dates is 8 people and the 4 groomsmen and their dates would be 8 people and there would be 2 seats for both of us at each table. This way we could sit with both groups when we actually get a chance to sit, dinner with one group and cake with the other and they would also still get to sit with their dates and we wouldn’t be stuck being the center of attention. I thought this was a great idea and not something I had seen before nor would I have thought of.

Image via

I’m really glad that we will get to sit with our bridal party and they will get to sit with their dates. I’m hoping this works as nicely the day of as it it working out in my head. Another bonus was not having to fill a large long table with several centerpieces or having to decorate another table all together if we had done the sweetheart table. I figure that saved us some dough!

Where will you be sitting at your wedding? How did you make your decision?

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Say Cheeeeeese! DIY Photobooth Mon, 22 Oct 2012 13:50:52 +0000 We’ve all seen those super fun photobooth pictures from a wedding or party! They look something like this:

Image via

We wanted to do something similar at our wedding, so we took to finding a way to do it with items we already had and using the Internet as our guide. Nick gave me a very nice Sony DSLR camera a few years ago and I had read online that if you have a DSLR, you’re going to get much better results from a photobooth than you would with a regular point and shoot camera. Since we already had the camera, that was one big thing we needed, but already had so no money spent. Next, I decided to explore options for how to run the booth. We could print up directions and guests could run it on their own, just pressing the button for others, etc. But I figured there was probably a remote option for my camera. I put the remote on my Amazon wishlist so I’d remember where to find it. Then, my mom bought it for me for my birthday – score, no money spent! It took me quite a while to figure out how to get it to work with my camera (Sony Alpha a390), it was buried in the menu and the symbol for enabling the remote looks kind of like a wireless symbol – in case anyone else is struggling with a similar issue! Once I got the remote working, I took a few test shots and was pretty pleased with the quality. Sorry – no real samples to show you, so instead another funny photobooth picture!

Image via

We then decided it would be awesome if we could get the photos to automatically upload to our iPad so that we could let guests see them right away or at least shortly after the photo was taken. I had given Nick an Eye Fi card a few years ago and figured there must be a way to do it. I took to the Interweb to research and came across this super helpful video! We got super excited because the directions were really easy to follow. Unfortunately, the Eye Fi card is not compatible with Sony DSLR. It did work with Nick’s Sony H9, but we decided the quality of the photo and ability to use the remote was more important to us than immediate sharing to the iPad. If we want, we have a memory card reader for the iPad so we can transfer some photos mid-reception to get more folks to take their photos at the booth.

We lucked out with our wedding being in October because we’ve been able to score some fun props with being so close to October. The other night in Target we checked out the dollar bins and found some interesting props that we thought would make for some fun pictures of our guests:

Image via me

I’m looking forward to seeing some of the silly pictures we get. My fiance knows of the guy who own through the Internet world and liked the funky backdrops he had done. We spent about an hour in Jo-Ann’s looking for the perfect fabric and taking sample photos of ourselves in front of the backdrops. I wish I had taken those photos on my phone – they were pretty hilarious! We ended up deciding on this fabric in the end, not super bold, but still fun! We also wanted it to be budget savvy, we had found another fabric we liked, but it was $8 a yard a not eligible for our coupon since it was already on sale. We ended up buy 4 yards of this fabric, since it was only 44″ wide and cutting in half and sewing together. These sticky sequins were a pain to sew, I ended up spraying my needle with Goo Gone and that did the trick, I also worked very slowly to keep the needle from building up heat and getting gummed up.

Image via me

Once we picked our backdrop, I decided I could use clips and attach it to a rolling garment rack that I have. This would make it high enough for our taller guests – like my fiance who is 6′ 6″ and also easy to move around once we decide on where to set it up at the reception. We’ll have the camera set up on a trip and the remote available to our guests with some basic directions on how to use our self-run photo booth. We hope our guests enjoy it!

Image via me

Image via me

We’ll probably also make a bit of signage like the one below to instruct guests on how to use our photo booth since ours is self run. I’m thinking something like: 1. Grab a friend 2. Grab a prop 3. Grab the remote or something like that to keep it simple for our guests to figure out.

Image via Flat Broke Bride

Money Spent on our DIY photobooth:

Camera – already had – $0

Tripod – already had – $0

Remote – gift – $0

Backdrop – Jo-Ann’s – $16

Garment rack – already had – $0

Poster – printing at home – $2?

Props – Target/Dollar Store – $10

Grand total: $28

I’d say that’s a pretty budget savvy project - what do you think? Any other props we should include. We plan to make little dry erase or chalkboard signs and will print the instructional poster. Are you doing a photobooth? DIY or hiring someone?

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The Ladies Room Thu, 18 Oct 2012 12:51:20 +0000 Our reception is located on the 22nd floor of a condo in Ocean City. The bathrooms for the venue are shared with the pool locker rooms. Luckily, with it being the off season, the pool probably won’t be in use and the bathrooms will be clean and not smell like chlorine. Regardless, I always appreciate when I go to the bathroom at a wedding and they have things I might need, like gum, floss or hair spray. I decided I would like to provide the same amenity to my guests and decided to put together a basket for the ladies and mens room. I started my search at Dollar Tree figuring I could get the majority of things I needed there. I purchased my basket there which probably saved me $4-5 just on the basket had I bought them somewhere else. They were simple woven baskets in a natural green color which went with our color scheme. I also purchased:

  • Colgate Wisp brushes – $1 per basket
  • Individually wrapped floss packs – .50 cents per basket
  • Gum – .50 cents per basket
  • Mouthwash $1 per basket
  • Mirror $1 ladies only
  • Brush $1 ladies only
  • Hair elastics – $1 ladies only
  • Bobby pins – $1 ladies only
  • Tampons (using my own stash)
  • Panty liners (using my own stash)
  • Lotion – $1 per basket
  • Baby wipes – .33 cents per basket
  • Air freshener – $1 per basket
  • Lint Roller $1 per basket
  • Sewing Kit – $1 ladies only
  • Tum Freshers – $1.50 per basket
  • Advil – $1.50 per basket
  • Baskets – $1 per basket
Ladies Basket: $13
Mens Basket: $9

I bought most of the same things for the men’s room, minus the tampons and panty liners, of course. I made a second basket for the men’s room. Anything that doesn’t get used we can definitely use at some point. I don’t want to plan to take anything with us on our honeymoon in case it does get completely used. I know this post isn’t anything super exciting, but it hadn’t occurred to me to buy most of this stuff at the Dollar Store until I was in there. I figure I saved myself at least $15-20 total by purchasing the things where the brand isn’t important. Here is what my basket ended up looking like. I may add a little sign or not to make them more personalized.

image by me

Overall, I’m happy with how they turned out and that it wasn’t a big investment. I’m also glad that everything is reusable!

Do you plan on doing a basket for your restrooms? If so, anything you plan to include that I forgot about?

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