The Budget Savvy Bride » Lesley helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank Mon, 27 Apr 2015 14:17:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Lesley’s Wedding Recap! Mon, 28 Feb 2011 16:11:14 +0000 Hello again budget-savvy readers!

Lesley here, and I’m so excited to be back to share with you my WEDDING PHOTOS! Nate and I were married on New Year’s Eve, and we just got our pics back from the awesome Haaby Photography . I’m thrilled with the results! Most of our pictures were taken indoors with very little natural light, so I’m pleasantly surprised they came out as well as they did. Of course we did the standard formal shots for the parents and grandparents, but my favorites are definitely the kinda goofy and offbeat ones (which definitely suit our personalities!). Take a look!

Thanks again for letting me share my wedding story on BSB! It’s been such a pleasure walking through it all with you. If you’re new to BSB, you can check out my previous posts here where I’ve shared DIY projects, tutorials, photos, ideas, and my wedding budget. And you can always find me on my blog or Twitter if you’d like to stay in touch.

One final word to all you gorgeous brides-to-be before I sign off: savor every moment of the wedding planning process! I know it can be stressful, but trust me when I say it’ll be over before you know it. And you only get to marry the man of your dreams once! Take a deep breath and really appreciate the chaos, the emotions, the excitement, the uncertainty, and the butterflies.

Much love,

Mrs. Lesley (Denford) Myrick

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A Post-Wedding Update! Mon, 17 Jan 2011 14:00:21 +0000 Hello, my lovelies!

I’m now on the other side of the wedding planning chaos, and it is AWESOME! Being a Mrs. to a wonderful Mr. is just about the best thing I can imagine. Thanks so much to everyone for following my pre-wedding journey. We spent a week holed up at a beautiful snowy resort in northern Ontario for our honeymoon, and I’m enjoying every minute of our married life together.

Since our official wedding photos won’t be ready for quite some time, I thought I’d share some Polaroids I’ve taken over the past couple weeks. (Have I mentioned before that I love love LOVE Polaroids, and that my wonderful husband bought me film for Christmas? I’m a lucky girl. EEK!)

Since my BSB posts will be few and far between (now that I’m a budget savvy wife and no longer a budget savvy bride!) I’d love if you’d keep in touch on Twitter or on my new blog.

Much love!

Until next time,

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$5k Budget Breakdown!!! Mon, 10 Jan 2011 13:00:30 +0000 Good morning lovelies!

I’m officially a married lady and won’t have much to post planning-wise from now on (sad face), but I was a good little blogger and planned ahead for some posts to tide you over until I’m back with wedding photos! I know you were all dying to know how we did on our budgeting so I wanted to share our budget and how we pulled off a large-ish wedding on a reasonably small budget of $6000.

Although we invited a whole bunch of people (around 450), we knew that many of them would be unable to come due to the time of year and having to travel to rural northern Minnesota. Right now we have about 220 confirmed guests, and we’re planning for a few extra (because at a small-town church, sometimes people just show up!).

Here’s how the finances have been distributed so far:

Venue: $300

(we’re getting married at Nate’s church , which is where we first met!)


Dress: $393

(you can read the story of the amazing custom dress here !)


Bride’s Other Attire: $120


Groom’s Attire: $283


Food: Approximately $500

(This includes a catered dinner for the wedding party before the ceremony, desserts/coffee for the reception, and faux champagne for a New Year’s toast. A friend is coordinating all the dessert baking.)


Dishware: $253


Decor: $426

(Including our rad photobooth and handmade centerpieces for 30 tables)


Invitations: $207

(Half of this cost was postage; I designed the invitations myself  to save money)


Wedding Party Gifts: $343


Bride and Groom Gifts: $400 for custom matching tattoos!


New Year’s Favors: $123


Flowers: $75

(Silk flowers were purchased from and assembled into bridal bouquets by yours truly)

Photography (Including engagement photos ): $550

(Mitch and Steph of Haaby Photography are friends of ours and we received a discount)


Wedding Bands: $750


Hotel for Officiant and MC (as a thank-you for traveling 6 hours to be part of the wedding!): $250


Marriage License: $40


Fee for US Residency Application: Approximately $500

(I’m Canadian and will need to apply for this after the wedding to stay in the US)



[Photo by Haaby Photography]

I’m so thrilled that we were able to not only keep within our budget for a large wedding, but stay almost $500 under it! Eek! It’s a great feeling to know that we’re going to have an awesome wedding while being reasonable and responsible with our money. With a little hard work, creativity, and flexibility, it IS possible to have a fabulous, budget savvy wedding!

I hope that my posts here on BSB have been an encouragement to you. Thanks so much for allowing me to share my DIY projects, my planning process, and my thoughts on marriage. Rock on, beautiful brides!

With love and thanks,

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Lesley and Nate’s Unusual Wedding Gifts! Mon, 03 Jan 2011 13:00:29 +0000 Being budget savvy isn’t always about getting everything for your wedding at the lowest price possible – it’s about prioritizing what you value and figuring out how to get what you want within your means! And even though we have a fairly small budget of $6000 for our wedding, there are a couple of splurges that Nate and I have made because we value them greatly. One of these splurges was our wedding gifts to each other. We wanted to do something that had meaning, had significance, and would last…

Photo by Grace Dreger

…so we got tattoos! Yes, it’s a bit of an atypical wedding gift – but we’re definitely atypical people! My favorite part about this is the family history – this tattoo is a copy of a design my Granda had tattooed on his arm 50 years ago with my Grannies name in it (awww!). We decided against tattooing each others names, and instead chose a scripture verse that is quite fitting as we enter into marriage – 1 John 4:19, which says “We love because He first loved us”. It’s a daily reminder to Nate and I to keep God at the center of our marriage, and to remember that we are only able to love each other because of God’s unconditional love for us.

Although these wedding gifts were a bit of a splurge for us given our limited finances, we were able to work them into our budget by keeping costs down in other places (like not using flowers in our decor). Budget success! Huzzah!

So, lovely…are there any splurges that you were able to work into your wedding budget? What did you have to cut back on to make them happen? Were you happy with your decision?

Much love,

(PS: tattoos were done by the awesome Ben Yanok at The Ink Factory in Hudson, WI.)

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Lesley’s Repurposed Budget Savvy Guestbook! Tue, 28 Dec 2010 13:00:49 +0000 As a slightly non-traditional bride, there are many traditional wedding elements that I find rather blah and un-inspiring – one of those being the wedding guestbook. If I see another cutesy white satin fabric-covered book with GUESTBOOK sprawled across front in unnecessarily elaborate scroll script, I might gag. Now don’t get me wrong – I want a guestbook at my wedding! (What a great way to collect notes and memories from the great people you celebrated your big day with!) But Nate and I had no great ideas on what to do to make our guestbook something that would rock our faces off. We thought of using a simple black Moleskine notebook (my fave!), but even that didn’t feel quite right. But then, something serendipitous and awesome happened…a friend from church approached me one day and handed me a giant, black, super-worn, vintage payroll book loaded with a couple hundred blank ledger pages. She had paid 50 cents for it at a thrift store, and immediately “thought of me” when she found it. YESSS! And so that fateful morning, our totally rad, vintage, 50 cent guestbook was born.

I jazzed the book up by adding our names and the wedding date to the cover with my labelmaker, and used scrapbook paper, photographs, old book pages, chipboard stickers, and vintage magazine illustrations to add some interest to the pages inside. And…VOILA! Lesley’s Budget Savvy Guestbook! Total cost? Free-ish! (Although the decorating supplies did cost money when I originally purchased them, I used and recycled what I had on-hand so no expense came out-of-pocket for the wedding.)

If you’re not satisfied with traditional guestbook options, take a look at what you have on hand and push yourself to think outside the box! A retro ledger might not be someone’s first idea for a guestbook, but I couldn’t be happier with my quirky creation. With some black pens, alphabet stickers, and rubber stamps on-hand for guests to use at the wedding, I think it will become an artsy and unique keepsake that really feels like “us”. And the price was right too!

Much love,

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Lesley’s DIY Centerpieces Fri, 24 Dec 2010 13:00:18 +0000 Hello lovely!

Ever since I saw this gorgeous centerpiece back in July, I knew I wanted something similar for my wedding. I totally dig the charming rustic feel and crafty use of book pages. (Aren’t wedding blogs great for this kind of inspiration?)


However, we don’t have the budget for those lovely white ceramic vessels, nor do I have the patience to make that many little paper flowers or paint that many twigs white when we have about 30 centerpieces to build! So Nate and I decided to take this concept and make it our own with what we had available, and with what we could afford. Using reclaimed wood found behind his parents’ house, floral foam bricks (2 of these were needed per centerpiece), white sticks from Ikea, leftover white nails, book pages to cover the floral foam and for flowers (here’s how to make them !), and found twigs, we were able to construct 30 of these boxes fairly quickly and also fairly cheaply! Woot!

Here’s what we spent on our budget-savvy creation:

$40 on floral foam bricks from Joann (and FYI, in case you live under a rock, they have great deals! They honored the reduced online price in the store, and we were also able to use a $5 coupon with our purchase.)

$20 on white sticks from Ikea (yeah, I know I could’ve just painted these myself, but it was worth $20 to me to save the hassle!)

$1 on a bag of vintage hardcover books at a library sale

$0 on wood

$0 on nails

TOTAL: $61 for 30 centerpieces (or just over $2 each)

I am so mentally high-fiving myself right now for creating the awesomeness that is a $2 centerpiece! (And I’m also mentally high-fiving my awesome fiance who’s a mad-wicked chop saw operator!)

I’d love to hear from you – what are you doing for your centerpieces to make a big impact without a big budget? Where did your inspiration come from?

Much love,

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Lesley’s Honeymoon Plans Tue, 21 Dec 2010 14:00:51 +0000 Ohhh, the honeymoon. How lovely to take a week away together in a gorgeous locale to celebrate your new marriage! Nate and I were originally thinking of taking a cheap-and-cheerful trip down to the Dominican Republic for a week – but as we quickly learned, traveling during the Christmas holidays is anything but cheap! A pretty bare-bones vacation package was going to run us around $3500USD, and as much as we would’ve loved to jet away to tropical warmth after our snowy New Year’s wedding, we realized pretty quickly that we were much better off finding a less pricey getaway and saving some of that money to get us through the coming months. (Especially since we just totaled our car this weekend by hitting a deer – eek!)

So instead of beaches and blue skies, we decided to embrace the wintertime and book a honeymoon retreat at the Couples Resort in northern Ontario. An all-inclusive week at a 5-star resort right outside a provincial park, in a gorgeous room with a wood-burning fireplace and hot tub is running us around $2000USD – much cheaper than flying to the tropics! And really, when it comes down to it, it really doesn’t matter where we go. Because I’m pretty sure my main focus will just be spending time with my awesome new husband.

[Engagement photo by Haaby Photography ]

So, dear readers…were you faced with a similar financial dilemma when planning your honeymoon? Where did you go? Was it everything you expected?

Much love,

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Lesley’s Engagement Photos Tue, 14 Dec 2010 14:13:03 +0000 Nate and I had engagement photos taken in early October with the amazing husband and wife team of Mitch and Steph Haaby of Haaby Photography, and I am giggly happy with the results! I’ve been drooling over engagement shoots I’ve seen on Budget Savvy Bride and other great wedding blogs, and I had tons of photos saved for reference for my own engagement session. (Thanks, Internet!) We chose to have our pictures taken in the fall (rather than in the summer when we got engaged) because we love cool weather fashion – jackets, scarves, and lots of layers. However, it was scorching out the day we took these pics, and we were dying in those leather jackets! Regardless, we had a blast and savored every minute of it.

Lesley’s Top 3 Reasons Engagement Photos are a Really Awesome Idea:

1. They give you an opportunity to do a “test-run” with your wedding photographers. We’re really fortunate that Mitch and Steph are friends of ours, and that we share a similar creative aesthetic. While they had some awesome ideas of their own (and sourced out fabulous locations to shoot!), they were super willing to work with our props and kooky ideas to make the session perfect for us. We learned to collaborate with them and combine their expertise with our personal touches. Send your photographer inspiration pics in advance to communicate the vibe you’re going for, while also trusting their guidance and direction.

2. They allow you to practice your poses and smiles for the big day. This was really important for Nate and I, since neither of us are naturally super photogenic. (Seriously, I am the QUEEN of un-tagging unflattering photos of myself on Facebook!) I’ve watched enough America’s Next Top Model to know that getting photographed is all about body angles, and since we want our wedding photos to ROCK, this shoot helped us figure out what angles work – and what ones DON’T! The more practice you have in advance, the less stress you’ll have on your wedding day trying to figure out if your smile is going to look pleasantly radiant, or gigantically goofy.

3. You get gorgeous pictures with the man of your dreams to celebrate one of the happiest events of your life. Do you really need a better reason?

Much love,

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A Few Thoughts on the Wedding vs. Marriage Fri, 10 Dec 2010 17:00:16 +0000 Oh my dears,

I had a frustrating day working on wedding decor projects last week – things just weren’t turning out as I envisioned them to. After hours of working on something and then having to re-do it because I wasn’t satisfied with the result, I had wasted an entire day and accomplished nothing. Nothing! I was tired, irritated, and so mad at myself for not being talented enough to make something that would stun my wedding guests with its awesomeness. I was so consumed with what others would think that about my crafty skills that I was making myself miserable when I couldn’t live up to my own unrealistic standards.

[This is kind of how I felt. Like just collapsing dejectedly on the floor. Image via We Heart It]

That night, I spent some time thinking and praying. And I realized…I’ve spent so much time and energy preparing for the wedding – what about preparing for the marriage? Yes, we’re doing pre-marital counselling and all that, but what about really spending my time and energy working on learning how to be a great wife, instead of obsessing over centerpieces? What about learning how to love and appreciate my fiance better, instead of re-painting another photo frame because I can’t decide what color it should be? Sure, the little details in a wedding are great, and they make the day extra-special and make the photographs look perfect. But I’m not perfect. And neither is Nate! And in the long run, what’s more valuable to me – knowing that on one day in my life someone admired my hand-lettered signs, or knowing that my marriage is thriving because we’ve taken the time to completely invest in each other?

[Image via We Heart It]

Weddings are wonderful celebrations. But if the one-day event begins to overshadow the reason for getting married in the first place, it’s time to step back and re-evaluate your priorities. Nothing is more important to me than my fiance. Nothing is worth my time more than he is (well, except for God, naturally). And if my handmade dessert platters or bridal party bouquets don’t turn out perfectly, well, you’ll just have to deal with it – because I’ll be too busy loving, supporting, and caring for the man of my dreams.

Much love,

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Lesley’s Great Wedding Hair Debate Tue, 16 Nov 2010 14:00:24 +0000

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably been collecting a plethora of images from blogs and magazines to inspire the design of your wedding – your dress, the decor, photography styles, etc. And while this can be a great part of your planning to help you nail down a specific “feel” for your big day, it gets tricky when you just like lots of different things and have a hard time choosing one direction to go in! Case in point for me – my hair. I’ve never really liked the “traditional” high bridal updos, so for a long time, I thought I wanted my hair to be in low sideswept waves, pinned up all loose and relaxed. But then I found some pictures with totally rad 50’s inspired hair – sleek pompadours with low pinned curls. Both of these looks are completely different. And now I just don’t know what to do! I know my fiance will love the relaxed wavy hair (I wear it like that a lot already) but I think the sleeker retro ‘do will fit better with the overall style of the wedding. *Sigh.* So what’s a girl to do?

Well, it’s time grab some bobby pins and hairspray and try ’em both out! I’m very fortunate that my future sister-in-law is a stylist (and a great one at that), so I decided to meet with her, show her the inspiration images above, and see what kind of magic she could work on my head. After an hour or so of trying different options, we settled on a look for the wedding. Doing a test-run was a fabulous idea – we found out well in advance what worked and what didn’t, and took lots of pictures for reference on the big day.

(And if you’re wondering…I decided on a variation of the sleek retro style. I loooove the messy sideswept waves, but with my super thick hair it wouldn’t last through the wedding day. See? Thank goodness we realized this in advance – I wouldn’t want a tangled mop of saggy waves in my face in all my wedding photos!)

Much love,


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