The Budget Savvy Bride » Jess C helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank Sat, 28 Mar 2015 20:01:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Jess C’s Mini Wedding Recap!!! Thu, 24 Mar 2011 12:00:48 +0000 Hello again wonderful BSB readers!

I’m now writing you for the very first time as a married lady! And it feels wonderful! Well, to be honest, it doesn’t feel very different. It feels much like when we were dating except now we live together and never have to say goodbye. Which is a pretty splendid thing ;)

Our wedding was the best day it possibly could have been! There were bumps and mishaps along the road (some minor, some major! and I’ll be sharing them all with you in future posts), but absolutely nothing could have made that day any less perfect than it was. My now husband was there. All our dearest friends and family in the world were there with us. We cried and laughed and danced the night away. And most importantly, I got to marry the love of my life! You really can’t go wrong with that! Take away the cake, the photographs, the DIY projects, yes, even take away the beautiful dress, and  our wedding would have still been every bit as special as it was. Because the most important things are the ones you can’t get with money, and we had those!

And while eagerly wait for the arrival of our photos from our official photographer (which I am very excited to share with you!) I’ll leave you with these images, which are probably every bit as beautiful, from one of my dear friends who was sweet enough to take some for us as well…


All photos by Nachi Eltit of Nael Photography


]]> 6
A Semi-DIY Engagement Session!! Fri, 07 Jan 2011 14:00:33 +0000
My fiance and I did our engagement session in mid-December. We are getting married um… tomorrow(!!!) and have been engaged since May. If you are shaking your head or laughing at me right now, that’s okay. I’ve laughed at myself plenty these past few weeks in the midst of all my tardiness and forgetfulness. But one thing I’ve learned from planning is that it’s absolutely okay to do things on your own timeline. Yes, even if it means taking your ‘engagement’ photos within a month of your wedding (thanks Lesley for being another great example of this!). We didn’t do save the date cards or anything requiring photos early on, so it worked out for us to take our photos a bit late. We’re using them in differing places throughout the ceremony and reception and I cannot wait to see them become one of those details that’s going to make our wedding so, well… US!

Our photographer for these is a dear, talented friend of mine named Nachi Eltit of Nael Photography. As a photographer myself, I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to be more hands-on in some photographic aspect of our wedding. So Nachi agreed to shoot with my camera and let me edit the photos. I was so excited. However, it rained the day we took these. We were late. And my camera battery died and cut our session short. It was very much an imperfect day. To be honest, I left feeling rather worried and defeated.

Then I got home and saw the photos.

I am so happy with these images! Most of them turned out to be candid shots of us just being together. I’m glad they did. I feel like we’re truly ourselves in these photos. As I looked through them I was reminded of how very much I love my almost-husband and how wonderful he is to me. And all the worries and stresses just faded in comparison to that thought.

So if things don’t seem to go the way you’ve pictured, and they probably won’t, just bring your mind back to the reason you’re getting married in the first place. As things usually go, our worries are much smaller than we make them out to be. These photos serve as a reminder to me of how important it is to keep that perspective. Despite the mishaps of the day, they turned out so beautifully. There was no need to worry :) See you on the other side, next time I post I’ll be a Mrs.!

*all photos taken by Nachi of Nael Photography. Nachi can be contacted via facebook at


]]> 7
Jess C’s Finished Invites!! Thu, 30 Dec 2010 14:00:01 +0000

I cannot express the overwhelming feeling of accomplishment one gets after hand assembling and addressing over two hundred wedding invitations. I feel as though half my to-do list has been triumphantly checked off. What a task that guest list was! I think deciding who to invite has been the hardest part of planning thus far! But thanks to my awesome fiance and maid of honor helping to narrow down the list, collect addresses, stuff envelope after envelope, and even licking the gross strip on the back to seal them (why do they make them that way anyways?), we are DONE! Oh sweet victory. I couldn’t help but share the finished product with you all…

Design by myself, free envelopes and all things printed via , awesome professional-looking return address label from our home printer due to my mom’s brilliant idea. Thanks mom.

I am so happy with how things are coming along now. Amid the ball of stress that is my brain I’m starting to see things come together. It’s also quite fun to get back the RSVP cards in the mail and see who’s coming. It just gets me more excited :)

]]> 10
Jess C’s Party Playlist! Thu, 23 Dec 2010 14:00:13 +0000

photo from

I am big fan of fun receptions. Who isn’t? Everyone loves to have fun. And music is one of the best things you can use to ensure just that. However, I’m personally not too keen on those “classic” wedding reception songs (I mean really… YMCA?). And not only that, but it’s important to both my fiance and I to have pretty clean lyrics in the songs we play. It’s a rather family focused event for us. I think that good music you really like should be played at receptions. We wanted a mix of modern dance songs, off-beat, indie picks, and quality, non-cheesy classics that a lot of people would know (Thank you Michael Jackson). So I scoured itunes, wedding blogs, and googled my way to creating our dance party playlist. It’s full of clean, dance-able, wonderful songs and I am proud of it. So whether you are going DIY-DJ or not, I hope this helps to get the party started at your reception. :)

1901 – Phoenix

ABC – Jackson Five

Angel – Akon

Better, Stronger, Faster – Daft Punk

Billie Jean – Michael Jackson

Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison

Cha Cha Slide – Mr. C

Club Can’t Handle Me – Flo Rida

Cupid Shuffle – Cupid

Don’t Stop the Music – Rihanna

Dynamite – Taio Cruz

Firework – Katy Perry

Footloose – Kenny Loggins

Gonna Get This – Hannah Montana & Iyaz

Gots To Get Her – Blake Lewis

Hey Soul Sister – Train

I Gotta Feeling – The Black Eyed Peas

I know You Want Me (Calle Ocho) – Pitbull

I Want You Back – Jackson Five

It Had Better Be Tonight (Meglio Stasera) [Zoned Out Mix] – Michael Buble

Lisztomania – Phoenix

More – Usher

Only Girl in the World – Rihanna

Paper Planes – M.I.A.

Party in the USA – Miley Cyrus

Pon De Replay – Rihanna

Ready to Start – Arcade Fire

Replay – Iyaz

Shout – The Isley Brothers

Smooth Criminal – Michael Jackson

Somebody to Love – Leighton Meester

Somebody to Love Remix – Justin Bieber ft Usher

Thriller – Michael Jackson

Teenage Dream – Katy Perry

You Make the Rain Fall – Kevin Rudolf and Flo Rida

Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) – Shakira

We No Speak Americano – Yolanda Be Cool & Dcup

Any other great suggestions for us? How’d you choose your reception music if you’re DIYing?

]]> 6
5 Tips for Hiring Budget Savvy Vendors Tue, 19 Oct 2010 13:00:09 +0000 I’ve learned that hiring vendors can be the biggest budget-breaking task of planning your wedding, and a daunting one at that! So, I’ve put together a few tips to help you find budget friendly vendors and lessen the stress of trying to do so…

1. Hire a wedding planner.
I know there are budget savvy queens of DIY projects everywhere calling me crazy right now, but sometimes going 100% DIY isn’t always the most cost-effective solution. The reason being, is that a good wedding planner, along with their experience, advice, and amazing stress-lessening powers, will come with connections. We’ve hired a friend of the family who has been doing wedding coordinating on the side for years to help us plan the reception and find our vendors. best. decision. yet. She found us a highly recommended DJ/musician for our reception for $600 (I had been quoted $1,200 from other vendors! yikes!). She also found our reception location and got them to waive the $1,500 room rental fee so that we only had to pay for the catering! She has already saved us more money than we are paying for her services. Trust me, planning a budget savvy wedding does not mean you have to do it all on your own!

2. When it comes to food, go all inclusive.
There are definite advantages that come with having a reception venue that does their own catering. There are a lot of things that restaurants have that you would have to rent (and pay for) if you were to go with an individual caterer and separate location. For example, we are paying for the catering at our venue (which is also a restaurant), but they are also providing the tables, chairs, plates, silverware, glassware, napkins, serving supplies, etc. at no additional charge. They already have all of these things and because we are purchasing their food, we get to use them! It’s not only saving us a lot of money in rental fees, but it also simplifies everything and saves a lot of worry because I know that they’ll have everything we need.

3. Hire individual vendors instead of companies.
Bigger companies, such as large florist chains, bakeries, or photography studios, can do great work. But, they often have more employees and a much greater cost on their end than an independent vendor would have. Because of this, they tend to be priced significantly higher. An independent vendor can be just as talented in their craft as those bigger businesses. However, they will not only be much cheaper, but will also provide more personalized service than a large company. You will most likely be their only client of the day and they’ll be able to take the time to get to know you and find out exactly what you want.

4. Use your referrals.
Many vendors in the wedding industry have built relationships with each other as they’ve worked together on different events. A lot of vendors will refer you to others they trust and have worked with before. This sometimes means a better rate. For example, photographer might give you a discount for booking them at the recommendation of a planner they work with regularly. Using a referral is a great way to get both a reliable vendor, and a better deal.

5. It never hurts to ask.
Many vendors will work with you to provide the service you need within your budget if you only ask. If you love someone’s work or service but their set prices are out of your budget, be honest with them about it and see what they are willing to do. You may not get a huge discount, but they will very likely be happy to customize their work so that it can be provided at the price point you’re able to afford.

]]> 2
Mix-Matched Bridesmaid Dress Inspiration Tue, 12 Oct 2010 13:00:34 +0000 When it came time to start searching out bridesmaid dresses, I couldn’t help but think back to the movie 27 dresses and promise myself that I would not put my friends in anything even remotely resembling this….

(I know it’s a movie, but I’ve seen worse in real life! Photo from 27 Dresses via

I may be a bride myself now, but I’ve been a bridesmaid before. I know what it’s like to be put in a gorgeous vintage number or an adorable sunshine yellow dress for a summer wedding. You not only feel like a cherished friend, but you feel like you’re adding to the vision the bride had for the day. It’s an honor to be a part of something like that. On the other hand, I also know what it’s like to be asked to wear a bright pink satin potato sack that trails from your neck down to the middle of your calves. It was an honor to be part of that too, but it took some time to get over the embarrassment that came along with it. It seems to me that bridesmaids dresses are notorious for being unflattering. I’m not sure about you girls, but this bothers me! These are my best friends, whom I love and want to honor by having them in my wedding. I’m determined to have them dressed accordingly. So here is a shout out to good-looking bridesmaids dresses everywhere. May you be worn again after the wedding!

That being said, I love the idea of having different styles for the girls in your wedding party! Your friends aren’t all alike, so it only follows that they shouldn’t all be dressed alike either. No matter what your color palette, style, or budget, it can be done in a way that looks gorgeous and put together without being distracting or mis-matched.

These images are from a wedding I recently photographed. The bridesmaids looked gorgeous and it added so much to the overall look of this wedding! (

A great place to start is by simply picking a single color or color family for all the dresses. They can be different styles, yet similar tones, fabrics, or silhouettes can tie them together. My bridesmaids are going to be in grey chiffon dresses in all different styles. Each is just slightly different yet the same length and color. I’ve pulled a few images of dresses from some of my favorite shops, ( & ), to give you an idea…

Pink may not be in our color scheme, but I love these soft, rose tinted dresses from j crew. They’d be gorgeous in a springtime garden wedding… So pretty…

If you have a larger bridal party or are a little worried about all the girls getting their own dresses in time, bridal designers usually offer tons of different styles of dresses with the same fabric and color options! You get the same unique look of different dresses without the complications that can come with multiple stores and a larger wedding party. We’re getting my seven girls their dresses from the same Watters bridesmaids line, and they are all still unique and adorable! I can’t wait to see them all together…

Well I hope you’ve enjoyed this bit of bridesmaids fashion inspiration and have a lovely week :)

]]> 8
Blue, Grey, and Chartreuse Wedding Inspiration! Thu, 30 Sep 2010 17:00:48 +0000 After weeks of cluttering my hard drive with photos and inspiration boards from numerous, scattered wedding blogs, I found that not only was a cohesive, gorgeous wedding style not magically coming together on its own, but that I was confusing myself to a ridiculous extent. I have a problem. I fall in love with photos. As a photographer, that’s great. As a bride to be trying to pull together a wedding style, not so much. I was being drawn to way too many different looks. And lets face it, there are SO many gorgeous wedding looks out there! Picking just ONE is difficult! (And even more so for the artistically minded). I was completely lost.

So in an attempt to de-clutter both my mind and my desktop, I decided to draw inspiration as I should have from the start – from the things my fiance and I love. Not just images I love, but the things in our life that we are both truly inspired by. We both love books and music. I love classic elegance and vintage details. He loves modern simplicity. I love the ocean. We both love color. Things started to come together…

Our blue, grey, and chartreuse, anthropologie-inspired soiree was born. Think classic, Jane Austen elegance with pops of modern color and hand crafted details.

And Christmas lights. Lots and lots of Christmas lights…

Photos: (clockwise from the top), Stephanie Williams photography, Priscila Valentina photography,,, Aaron Shintaku photography. Tent photo from

*Note- A few photos are lacking proper credit due to the length of time they’ve been sitting on my desktop. Forgive me for this sad lack of recognition and please write me if you happen to know the source for any images I’ve used. Thanks!

]]> 3
Meet the bloggers: Welcome Jess! Thu, 16 Sep 2010 13:00:44 +0000 Today you all will be meeting another of our guest bloggers, the fabulous Jess! Not only does she have an awesome name, but she’s from Cali. (I was born there, random- I know.) She’s a really talented photographer and is bursting with creativity. She’s keeping her costs low by having a January wedding! I am particularly drawn to her color scheme and inspiration images which she will be sharing with you all soon! Today she’s sharing her proposal story with us, and it is oh-so-sweet. Give Jess C. a warm BSB welcome!!


Hello fellow BSB readers! My name is Jess. I’m a 21-year-old freelance photographer and artist based along the California coast. I love all things artsy. I paint, draw, craft, and take pictures. I’m also a huge little kid at heart. And I have a tree house. My fiancé and I have been engaged for four months, and dating for about two and a half years. He works as the music director and recording engineer for the church we attend and is an amazingly talented musician (my own bias aside, he really is). We met through mutual friends at a concert. He was there to play, and I was there as the photographer. We hit it off at the show that night and ended up hanging out and talking almost every day after that for the next three years. ?

Our wedding is set for January 8th of next year (which is coming up even faster than people were telling me it would) and though I wish time would slow for planning purposes, I could not be more ready to be married! We’re attempting to keep the guest list around 200 people, including both our large families, and our budget around, and preferably under, $10,000.

If the entire population of married men were to compete for best proposal, I would bet on René taking first place (this might sound terribly unfair to every other couple, but I should hope every bride would say the same about her own man). He completely swept me off my feet with this plan (and boy, did he plan!). So I can’t help but share it in all its gorgeous detail. This story of our proposal actually began when René and I were hanging out at home and he told me that we should write our own fairy tale. I jumped at the opportunity. So we began telling our own epic love story of a knight and a mermaid. I’ll give you the short version of our tale: Just after the knight and mermaid’s first meeting, our valiant knight was kidnapped by a band of pirates and then brainwashed to believe he’d always been one of them, leaving the memory of his mermaid as only a distant dream. Years later, after a life of prodigal pillaging and plundering, a series of providential events reunited the mermaid with her knight-turned-pirate. The knight then faked his own death to escape his would be life of piracy so that he could spend the rest of his days with the love of his life.

This tale had been told over the span of a few weeks, and began a while before we left for a family trip to Maui, Hawaii. It was on this trip that René told me he wanted to finish the story, which seemed appropriate and inconspicuous enough considering our surroundings. So on a day trip down the road to Hana, we stopped at a turnoff that led to the most picturesque, fairy-tale-like cove you could ever imagine. We spent the day exploring underground swimming holes, climbing lava rocks, and getting our feet wet along the black sand beach, all the while expanding on this story you’ve just been told.

We snuck past a “trail closed” sign and walked along our own secluded path, with turquoise waves crashing against the black lava rock formations along side us. As we explored, René concluded that the knight and the mermaid built a house on a cliff like the one on which we stood, half on land and half on the water, where they met and fell more in love every day for two years. I stopped at the end of the path, surveyed the spot, and decidedly said, “Yes, this will do. I can make a home out of this.” As we paused to take in the view, René set down his backpack and pulled out a little blue box…

Half expecting to see a ring and shaking like a leaf already, I opened the box only to find two little pieces of paper. He told me to turn around and read their contents aloud. I opened the first and read a few lines he wrote, taken from Proverbs 31:10-12

“You are excellent.

You are more precious than jewels.

You earn my trust.

You do me good – forever.”

With tears already filling my eyes, I reached into the box, took out the second note, and read…

“This is where his and her life ended, and how their life began together.

The knight knew he couldn’t lose his mermaid. He also knew that she was what defined love. So he found her and said….”

He turned me to face him, got down on one knee (on sharp lava rocks mind you), held up a second small box with a sparkling blue stone inside, and asked me to marry him.

And of course, I said Yes.

]]> 5