The Budget Savvy Bride » Katie helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank Fri, 01 May 2015 00:10:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Photography + Engagement Photos Thu, 15 Sep 2011 12:00:39 +0000 Hello lovelies!

Like most brides, I hands-down through the FLOOR believe that wedding day photography is one of the most important vendors I’ll have (ok that and like food and stuff, but you know). It’s seriously jaw-dropping how photographs can encapsulate such beautiful moments, images, and emotions and preserve them forever. Every time I visit my grandma, I pull out her wedding album and fall in love over and over again with timeless images of her beautiful day–I want to be able to have that same experience with my own!

My aunt gave me these wonderful photographs of both sets of my grandparents on their wedding days. It was my absolute favorite gift.

However, since I (and maybe like a few of you too) am quite self conscious and very very nervous in the photo-taking department, I was a bit anxious about starting my search for the perfect photographer. I am intimidated super easily, and I didn’t want to feel uncomfortable with my less-than-modelesque self when taking pictures on my wedding day. I wanted to feel comfortable, confident, and pretty, and I DEFINITELY think that who you choose to take pictures on your wedding day has a tremendous impact on that!

I could NOT have been more blessed with the photographers we found–not only are they seriously the most talented people EVER, but they have the biggest hearts, beautiful personalities, and a genuine passion for what they do. Not to mention, they’re engaged too!! Like how cute is that?! Seriously, our engagement picture session felt like a double date; it was SO much fun! (If you are in Michigan, seriously check out Brad and Sam of Bradley James Photography! No for real I mean it).

Anyhow, I found them on Facebook of all places (did you notice that the second you got engaged, all of the ads on the side magically changed to wedding stuff?!). I followed the link on the side and checked out their site and instantly was obsessed. Two point five seconds into meeting with them, I knew they were it!

Here are a few things I think are important to keep in mind when picking the perfect photographer:

1.) Chemistry. Seriously, the second I met with Brad and Sam I KNEW I needed to book them. Aside from the fact that they had a stunning portfolio, we really clicked and ended up having quite a bit in common. They’re the same age as Justin and me, too, which is super fun! Since these guys are pretty much spending more time with me on my wedding day than any other vendor, it’s so important to choose someone I felt completely comfortable with!

2.) Style. Most photographers have a website and/or blog that they regularly update with recent shoots. Feel free to creepily stalk all the way until their site was first created. When you meet with them, check out their printed portfolio, too. Styles range from traditional and posed to super photojournalistic and organic–find someone whose style meshes with yours! You’re going to be looking at these pictures for a long time!

3.) Flexible Package Deals. This can save you lots of $$$. Look to see if you can work with the photographer to customize photo packages–Justin and I were able to opt out of an engagement picture album which was originally included in the package we chose, and we also took off some photo credits to save money and print elsewhere (read: Costco). We knocked quite a bit off of the total price! It never hurts to ask (:

4.) Engagement Session. Ours was included in our package deal, and it’s not only a perfect opportunity to get some way cute pictures of you and your fiance pre-wedding, but it’s also a perfect way to get comfortable with your photographer and the camera and everything else. You’ll be a pro by the end of your session and come wedding day you won’t be sweating the pics at all!

5.) Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Chances are, the photographer wants you to LOVE his/her work; if you have any questions, ask! Ask about coverage times, the cost of extra prints, back up plans in case of WHATEVER, his/her philosophy of shooting weddings, guarantees offered, etc. Justin even called up Brad and Sam one night when we were trying to figure out how long we should book our party bus for! And they graciously answered every question (:

Anyway, want to see a few from our engagement session? We actually took these the night before Justin moved to DC. Like, we cleared out his apartment, loaded up the moving van, showered, and took pictures.

And that’s that! Do you have any other “must haves” for a photographer list?  Or did you find a fantastic one or are you still searching? Believe me, if I could do it, you can too!

Have flawless weeks!


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Invitations Part 2 Fri, 02 Sep 2011 13:08:38 +0000 Hello hello!

So I have a bit more to add about invitations… I realized last week if I talked about EVERYTHING I would have been rambling on for-ev-er, so here is Invitations Part 2!

Mini recap: this is how I tied everything together:

…but there were a few more TOTALLY budget friendly little things that I think were super fun and I want to share! Ok so we obviously wanted to include information about accommodations, attractions, hotel reservations, directions, etc. etc. etc., but adding on more to our invitations package was going to be too expensive. So I did it myself!

I updated our wedding website (free from!) with all of that information and created some simple inserts with the link using Microsoft Publisher (super easy peasy to use). I printed them out business card size, which was perfect, and used the same gray cardstock I used to make the circles. Waa laa (obviously you can print waaay more on a page but I just sent them to the printer and didn’t double check how many I was printing per page… oops!)!

So then we took the same wrapping paper and backed them all:

Cut them all out:

And used a mini paper cutter to make all of the edges straight!

And ta-da! Cute “matching” inserts!

And a few more things:

While at Hobby Lobby, we came across a wax stamping kit with 5 colors of wax and 5 different stamps for $12. Um, HOW BALLER ARE WAX SEALS?! (: So we got it! To do our 115 invitations, it took 3 of the sticks of wax, so now if I ever want to stamp my mail, I totally have that option (:

It was an easy process, too. You just light the wick of the wax (it kind of just looks like a candle), let it drip a bit…

And stamp it!

Like seriously how cute? I know it’s not a necessary element but for 10 cents an invitation, I think it’s worth it (:

 So we pretty much through an invitation-assembling party in my kitchen:

…and this was Justin’s part. He is so involved (:

AND we had a few extra invites so I decided to send some special ones out:

…hopefully they come!

I had a ton of fun putting together the invitations, but it’s even more fun to have all of the RSVPs rolling in! Anyone else have any fantastic little invite accessories? PLEASE share!





ps Do you even believe it’s September!?! It’s nearly fall!

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Invitations Part 1! Fri, 26 Aug 2011 15:30:53 +0000 Ok so a bit ago I shared how I got my invitations from Wedding Paper Divas. Can I tell you how happy I am with them?!

I love them. I wanted something elegant and romantic and traditional and these are SO it. But I didn’t want to just stuff them all together in an envelope and call it good; I wanted something to tie them all together! So after seriously a 5 hour shopping trip with my mother and sister, we fiiiiiinally came up with a plan.

First, we got some ribbon. We got a few different kinds because we wanted to keep it as cost-happy as possible, and some stores only had a spool or two of a certain type. But I thought it made the end result look kind of eclectic because they all coordinated, but didn’t match exactly. Which is fine, right?

Then I wanted to secure the ribbon somehow that wasn’t just by taping it together. This literally took me FOR-EV-ER to figure out, but as soon as I did I was OBSESSED with it. While at Michael’s, I came upon this wrapping paper that pretty much matched my invites exactly:

Like really, honestly does it get much better than that?!  Since wrapping paper alone is a bit too flimsy to do anything with, I backed it with some cardstock and made the cutest little decorative circles. Here’s what you’ll need: wrapping paper (there are sooo many different kinds and it’s really not that expensive of a decor element, if you think about it!), cardstock, rubber cement (it doesn’t wrinkle paper like glue sticks do), and a 1″ circle hole punch (or whatever shape you like):

First, roll out the wrapping paper and place a few pieces of carstock on the back of it:

Then, apply a generous amount of rubber cement to the cardstock and attach a few pieces to the back of the wrapping paper. Make sure you cover it completely so that there are no gaps between the wrapping paper and cardstock so they don’t fall apart too easily (Oh and here is my lovely sister again!).

Then cut out each secure cardstock/wrapping paper sheet individually:

So it looks like this (no need to have perfect edges, it just makes it a bit easier to stamp):

Then (after the rubber cement has dried completely), take the 1″ whole punch and start punching circles! The punch I bought from Michael’s is nice because you can see exactly what you’re punching out to find the best parts of the design (:

And ta-da! I think these are a super cute element to really amp up invites (:

So then, take your invitation (stacked however you like), one piece of ribbon (we pre-cut everything beforehand so it was easy peasy when we got to the attaching part), and one circle.

Take a small piece of double sided tape and tightly secure the ribbon together:

And place a circle on top!

Super cute, right? Here’s another example using a different kind of ribbon:

And then the front looks like this:

I am tremendously happy with how they turned out! I really think using wrapping paper is so easy and makes such a big impact! What do you think? I have a few more invite details to share next week, too!

How are your invitations going? Any other budget friendly ways to send out extraordinary invites? Please share!

Have fantastic weeks!



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We’re moving! Thu, 18 Aug 2011 12:00:07 +0000 …ok actually it’s just Justin (for now).

Basically, a few weeks ago Justin accepted an Athletic Training position at the Catholic University of America in Washington DC. This is going to be QUITE a change from our West Michigan upbringings, but we’re super excited about having a new adventure in our lives (oh and stressed)!

The problem is, our wedding is in October (honestly you would think we would have thought about that since we both have careers that are on “school year” time. Oh well!). That being said, though, I am actually going to be staying here in Michigan to finish up wedding planning and stuff. Unfortunately, that means we’ll be apart for 2+ months before our wedding ): And that is quite sad.

All that to say, I don’t really have a “wedding” update this week. We’ve been so nuts running around getting all of our last minute meetings out of the way, packing, and generally trying not to FREAK OUT, I honestly would be no help.  But! No worries! I’ll be back next week (:

Please wish us luck! We’re leaving at 6:00 am tomorrow for a 12 hour drive across the country to drop him off! I can’t believe it; this is crazy!

Is anyone else surviving a long-distance relationship/engagement? I can’t imagine it’s easy to stay sane! Help?


ps this might be helpful: if you ever find yourself needing to move across the country, Budget truck rentals are by faaaaar the most budget-friendly option we found. They also have a ton of great deals for local moves. Check it out!

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Costco Wedding Supplies Thu, 11 Aug 2011 12:00:47 +0000 Are there any Costco members out there? Did you all know that they have WEDDING stuff!?

Yes, it’s true. They do. They have flowers and jewelry and food and photobooks and honeymoons! Check it out!  Justin works at(/is obsessed with) Costco; he would literally have our reception in a warehouse if I let him (I wish I was exaggerating but I’m totally not). I GUESS  it’s only fair to him to take advantage of some of their budget-friendly wedding stuff, right?

First, we booked our honeymoon through Costco Travel. They offer deals on trips anywhere from Paris to Tahiti, so really no matter what you want to do, they have a destination. We just wanted something simple with a beach and all-inclusive; we ended up scoring a great deal in Cancun for just under $1,600 for 7 days 6 nights and INCLUDING air fare for both of us (and our trip was generously paid for by his parents). And, if you’re THAT kind of Costco person, they even have little maps detailing where the nearest Costcos are to your destination. Rest assured, if you feel like you need 2 extra large containers of ketchup on your honeymoon… you can get them.

Also, if you want to have a photo book for your guest book, OR you want to save some money on a wedding album, they offer photo services.

They have standard photo books starting at $24.99 for 30 pages, and then they also offer a 20% off discount with My Publisher to lay out your own. Justin and I are for sure planning on utilizing this for albums for our parents to save some $$$ on photo printing costs!

Another cool feature offered for Costco members is a fantastic partnership with Wedding Paper Divas. If you have a membership, you can get 20% off of your entire order (the link I posted is the one to their Costco partnership website–it’s exactly the same site product-wise, but there is an option to enter your Costco ID # at the end to get the discount)!

After checking it out, we decided we reeeeally liked their products–they have invites in pretty much every category from contemporary to traditional to seasonal to themed to vintage, and they offer a lot of color options. You can also order a sample for $1.00 (or $.80 with the discount! Ow ow!), which include some of the other inserts so you can kind of visualize everything.

We decided to order, and the process was super easy. I got an email with a proof of our order the following day, and they even gave me a call to make sure everything looked ok (it did!)! When they arrived, they were packaged beautifully and they even included a few extras with no charge (they came in a seperate envelope with a message saying they made too many and to enjoy!).

I will for sure share more about the invitation process next week, but here’s a preview of our cute cute invites:

 I really really like them (:

I also know a few people who have served Costco sheet cake for their wedding cake (it’s seriously like $17/cake) or bought alcohol from there to stock their reception bar. Literally, I would have never thought about Costco if Justin didn’t physically force me to sit down and look through the website one day… I was just going to blow it off (I’m not a Costco person)! Turns out, they have a lot of great stuff for really reasonable prices. I guess boys are kind of useful in wedding planning after all (:

Has anyone else checked out/used any of their services? Or know of any other “non-traditional” wedding supply stores? Let us know!

Have perfect days!


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Bridesmaid Dresses Thu, 04 Aug 2011 12:00:32 +0000 Ok, have you SEEN J. Crew bridal yet?!

Ok I know I know I know. It’s J. Crew, and this is a budget-savvy website. Believe you me, I will be the first to tell you that I’m that girl who will wistfully walk by one in the mall, longing after like, everything in the store, but never actually buying anything because a sweater costs $85 and OH MY GOSH how many other things can you buy for $85?! Girl, I GOT YOU. But hear me out: I have fallen in la-la-love with their bridesmaid dress selection!

The thing is, I have bridesmaids all over. Well, not totally all over, but I have one that lives in Minnesota and another in Washington DC and another on the east side of Michigan and the rest are over here with me on the west side. That being said, I needed to come up with a place where all of my fave girls can get beautiful dresses WHEREVER they are.

I had done some shopping around, but nothing really spoke to me. Until I found myself on J. Crew’s website. Then A LOT of things spoke to me (:

I love their selection of fabrics, colors, and styles. The prices are on the higher end (they usually range from $200-275), BUT they run sales quite a bit and right now you can pick up some super cute styles for $70. Plus, shipping is free, and you can return anything that doesn’t work to any J. Crew store! Easy peasy.

For exact locations for their bridal boutiques, check out their website here (not all J. Crew stores carry the bridal dresses).  There are only a handful, including Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Washington DC, and Seattle, but lucky for me and my bridesmaids, there is also one located in Troy, Michigan! If you can get out to a store, I would HIGHLYYYY recommend it, ESPECIALLY if you’re anywhere close to the Michigan one. The consultant is absolutely fabulous!

Since my bridesmaids are literally every height and every body type, I knew that one dress for all of them would completely not work. I did want the look to be kind of cohesive, though. Again, I’m going with a bit formal and a bit traditional, so I chose their silk taffeta dresses in black. The girls were totally on the same page (this is where Facebook messaging comes in waaaaay handy!!), so we went for it!  The dresses are even more stunning in person: they are well-made, high quality, and the strapless ones even have (very supportive) built in bras (total plus, right?!)!

The funniest thing? 5 out of my 6 bridesmaids have their dresses already, and each of them chose a different one out of the 6 styles (I told you I couldn’t pick out just one dress for them all to wear NO WAY!). They all agree it’s worth the little extra splurge to get a way cute, WAY wear-again-able dress (they make very cute LBDs). I am just ecstatic that they’re ecstatic!

So how is your bridesmaid dress search going? Are you going with all the same dresses or different styles? Anyone else obsessed with J. Crew?? Oh p.s. has anyone seen Say Yes to the Dress Bridesmaids on TLC? SO DRAMA haha (:

Enjoy your weeks!


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DIY Paper Flower Poofs Thu, 28 Jul 2011 12:00:38 +0000 PLEASE check out how cute these are!

The best part is that they’re suuuuuuper easy to make! Ready? You’re going to need (1) napkins in whatever color, (2) pipe cleaners, and (3) scissors:

I would recommend using 3-ply napkins because they’re a bit sturdier and you can actually pull apart the plys to make a fluffier flower (: You can also use the smaller beverage napkins or larger dinner napkins as long as they’re square.  When you’ve got all of that, unfold one napkin and lay it flat like so:

Then, stack 3 more napkins on top of it, making sure they’re all lined up. You will now have a stack of 4 napkins:

Take your stack of napkins and fold it into a fan shape. Use the ruffily edge as a guide for thickness!

Oh hey and now you can see my bird’s habitat hair (:

So anyway, then you should have a fan:

Take one pipe cleaner and twist it around the middle of the napkin fan to create a bow shape:

And then take your scissors and round off both of the edges to make them into little semi-circles:

so it looks like this (do not worry AT ALL if it’s not absolutely perfect!):

Fan the bow out a bit,

And starting with the top layer on one side, pull each napkin in towards the center of the bow:

Continue with each layer (obviously 4 total):

When you’re done with one half, start on the other!

And ta-da! How fantastic is this! I absolutely adore them (:

We’re planning on using them to decorate the pews with, along with setting some on the guest book table, escort card table, etc. The pink color is a LITTLE bright for what we were looking for, but I’m going to take advantage of the heatwave that is currently taking over the midwest and see if putting them out in the sunshine for a bit will fade the color a bit (I’ll let you know how that goes).

Oh and also, for larger napkins, I found that actually using 5 napkins works better than 4, by the way. Here’s what the size difference looks like:

What do you think? Do you love them? I just think they’re so cute. We found packs of 50 beverage napkins at Hobby Lobby for $1.99 (or dinner ones for $2.99), and since you can get about 12 flowers out of a pack, that makes them only $.17 a flower! Yay!

How are your DIY projects coming? Anyone else attempting paper flowers? I hope everything is going perfectly!


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Wedding Centerpiece Trial #2: Real Flowers! Thu, 21 Jul 2011 15:30:30 +0000 Good morning, everyone!

So you might recall I had my first centerpiece trial a few weeks ago. The end result looked like this:

The problem is, I used fake flowers! I really want to use real flowers for my reception because (a) they’re actually more cost-effective than using the silk ones I purchased at $3-5/stem, and (b) I just think real flowers are much much prettier (:

So I went to the store to pick up a few items:

I already had the candle sticks from last week, but I bought some flower foam ($1.12, Hobby Lobby), feathers ($1.09, Hobby Lobby), and 4 carnations, 4 roses, and 1 hydrangea ($10.71, Horrocks Market).

I started with the hydrangea. First, I cut a small chunk of the flower foam and stuck it in the candlestick (along with some water!) (although I didn’t take a picture with water) (sorry):

Then I cut individual sprigs off of the hydrangea. I know that they don’t survive a very long time without the rest of the bunch, and I learned thanks to an awesome comment on my last post that they need PLENTY of water, so this totally might not work for the amount of time I need it to (I’ll let you know).

I stuck each piece into the side of the foam like so:

And then added another sprig:

And after 3 it looked like this! Totally cute:

I also bought some pink carnations–TOTALLY budget-friendly. I know that they kind of have a had reputation for being “cheap,” but I think they look quite nice when they are tightly together and they’re also my grandma’s favorite flower (:

First, I put some feathers in to add a little somethin’ somethin':

Then, I cut the carnations very short:

And squeezed them in with a bit of water! And ta-da!

The roses were easy-peasy: just cut the stem and plop them on candle sticks. And here is my end result:

Obviously they are not the “rightest” colors–I’m still looking for everything to be a dusty pink. However, the nice lady at the flower market told me that it shouldn’t be a problem to order these flowers in the correct color in bulk. So they’re ALMOST right! What do you think??


ALSO, I bopped around a few Goodwills in the area and found a couple of these guys:

I got 8 different candlesticks (and 1 candelabra!) for $9! Not bad I don’t think (: So, I added some black spray paint (same can from last time):

Continued my painting operation (my neighbors thought I was so bizarre taking pictures of everything I was doing haha):

And I ended up with 8 cool new candlesticks:

I added the silk flowers to make them look cute, and here’s my final result!

I am exceedingly happy with how these are turning out! And can I just say I love this candelabra?! I hope I can find more!

So how are your centerpieces going? Anyone else working with candlestick flowers? Any other cool ideas? I wish you nothing but the best luck with all of your DIY projects!

Have fantastic weeks!


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Budget-Savvy Hair Care Thu, 14 Jul 2011 12:00:49 +0000 Before I begin, I feel the need to tell you that my hair looks like a birds nest. No, really… it does. It is frizzy all over and some places are wavy while others are straight. I have never colored or highlighted it, but it’s really quite dry, and the only way I can halfway control is it with excessive heat styling. I feel like Amy Winehouse like, everyday (but without the other life issues lol).

I know she’s kind of old news but I feel like her facial expression
really reflects my feelings about my own hair (:

That being said, I am pretty much automatically jealous of anyone who has perfect hair, let alone those who have the I-just-walked-out-of-the-shower-and-air-dried-my-hair-and-it-looks-this-fabulous kind of hair (aka my sister. NOT FAIR). I mean obviously my whole life I have pined away for beautiful, flowing tresses, but my upcoming wedding has really amped up my longing. So, I decided to do something about it (or as much as I can without altering my genes).

First, I went on a break with these guys:

This helped a ton a ton. It’s been hard because it means relying on a lot of ponytails, but I have really noticed a major difference in how much healthier it feels. I still style it from time to time (I mean I have to go out in public every once and awhile), but not nearly as much as I used to!

Secondly, my cousin (who has the most beautiful hair on the planet) recommended taking prenatal vitamins to help hair grow.

She had taken them for a long time, and after I asked my pre-med friends if it was ok to take them without actually being pregnant (it is–you just have to be careful about how much iron is in them because too much is bad for you), I decided to try them! Honestly, I have been taking them for about six months, and I have really noticed a difference–my hair is growing longer than it ever has, and the roots seem a lot shinier and smoother than the rest of my hair.  I have also noticed that a lot less falls out in the shower. In reality, this is probably a combination with the lack of heat styling, but I am not complaining even a little bit. I know it doesn’t work for everyone, but I’m pleased with my results!

And finally, I have been trying quite a few deep conditioning treatments. I tried a few homemade ones I found online (this is my favorite one–it uses just mayo, olive oil, and egg yolks! I am faaar from domestic, but this one is super easy).  But, if putting mayo in your hair weirds you out (it is very weird), I have found that Umberto Beverly Hills Repair Treatment Masque works SOOO well (and it’s only $9.99! Which is great since you can pay upwards toward $30-40 for hair masques!). For a little extra boost, I would awkwardly sit in front of a space heater to really let the product get into my hair… that’s almost like going to a salon, right? (:

And that’s that. I mean my hair is really never going to look like a celebrity’s, but I really feel like these small things are making a big difference in my life-long battle against frizz poof. Do you have any hair recommendations or tried any great products? Please share!

Please have amazing days!


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Wedding Centerpiece Trial! Thu, 30 Jun 2011 12:00:06 +0000 Hello hello!

Ok so my sister and I had our first DIY trial today trying out my favorite centerpiece idea. I found this picture from a wedding posted on The Knot that I fell absolutely head over heels for, and I knew as soon as I saw it that I wanted to do something very similar with my own centerpieces:

So here’s what we tried:

First, I bought a few assorted candlesticks from both Michael’s and Dollar Tree. The wooden ones are from Michael’s and they are a bit more expensive ($3/candlestick), but all of the rest are from the dollar store which happily makes them $1/candlestick (:

Then comes spray painting! I bought black satin spray paint for like, $5. Easy peasy.

Please pardon the fact that these pictures are all taken in my parents’ garage. Oh and that’s my sister/Maid of Honor Becky! (:

I also picked up some fake flowers from Michael’s in the types/colors I want (roses and hydrangeas):

I cut off the stems and stuck one flower in each candlestick and they ended up like this:

And THEN we did a little mock up at the kitchen table!

I am tremendously happy with the result! We’re going to try one more test using real flowers to see if this concept works in real time (there isn’t a lot of room for flower stems in the candle sticks, so I just want to make sure it works ok).  I’m thinking about getting some of that green flower foam to help keep the actual flowers in place/watered; hopefully it turns out just as fantastic! We also want to try to find a few candelabras to mix it up at a few tables so that they’re not all the same. We might throw in a few black vases with straight up bouquets in them, too!

But what do you think?!

Have perfect weeks!


p.s. thank you so much for all of the helpful input on my last post! I completely and absolutely appreciate it! (:

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