The Budget Savvy Bride » Maggie helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank Tue, 28 Apr 2015 16:00:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Corks and Twine Are Oh So Fine! Fri, 09 Mar 2012 14:00:26 +0000 One of the things Matt and I have been debating about is having assigned seating or assigned tables for the guests at our wedding. I thought it would be easier for everyone if they just knew where they were sitting, but Matt thought it might take away from the intimate and casual feel of the reception. After talking to a lot of my friends that had been to a lot of weddings, we decided not to assign seats or tables. Instead, we will just be putting “Reserved” signs on our table and the bridal party tables.

I’m just going to make the Reserved signs myself in Microsoft Word and I made little holders for the sign out of wine corks and burlap twine. Basically I put 6 corks that were about the same height together in a rectangle shape and then tied them together with the twine. I’ll put the Reserved sign in between so that there will be three corks in front and three corks in back. These were super easy and super cool! This would work for table numbers just the same, but we are only doing the reserved signs for the bridal party tables.

The end result:


Pretty cute, eh?




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DIY Cupcake Stands Fri, 02 Mar 2012 14:00:00 +0000 Matt and I have decided to go with cupcakes instead of a traditional wedding cake. This way we don’t have to pay a ton of extra money on a professionally decorated cake and we don’t even need to rent extra cake plates or forks for all the guests (that stuff adds up!). We’re just going to have napkins and the cupcakes will be grab and go. After looking around for some pretty cupcake stands, I realized that these can cost a pretty penny, so I decided to make mine. It was so easy! I found a set of dishes at goodwill for $10 that matched my wedding theme. I also bought some clear candlestick holders at the dollar store for a buck each. Using white dry Gorilla Glue to hold it all together, I used the plates as tiers separated by the clear candlesticks. Here’s how they turned out:

I did some two tiered and some three tiered. There are so many possibilities with these. I used plates all from the same set, but you could totally mix and match plates and/or use tall and short candlesticks. It was so easy, so affordable and definitely reflects the whimsical, vintage theme of our wedding!


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The Engagement Photos Are In! Mon, 13 Feb 2012 13:00:53 +0000 So I already told you guys about my AMAAAAzing photographer in a previous post, but wanted to give you an update on her amazing work on our engagement photos. Engagement photos were one of those things we thought we could do without for budget purposes, but when I met with my photographer, Melissa, she said that they are important for a few reasons. 1) They get Matt and I comfortable in front of the camera (which we definitely needed), 2) It gives the photographer a good idea of how we interact together, so they can capture the REAL us at the wedding, and 3) So we can all get on the same page with photography style before the wedding. She could not have been right about how important the pictures were and how it really set up us up for success on the wedding day.

We decided to do the pictures at the plantation where we are getting married and we also decided to include the dogs. Matt tried to fight me on that one, but I had to pull rank and it definitely paid off. They acted like little doggy professional models.

At first it was a little uncomfortable posing and being mushy on camera, but about 20 minutes into it, we got really comfortable, mostly because Melissa was so fantastic at ensuring us we looked good. I will say this though, Matt is definitely the photogenic one in this relationship. He looks like a total stud in all his pictures. He does off camera too just FYI 😉

Here are a few of my favorites, but if you want to see the whole album, click here and it will take you to our photographers Facebook page. Our album is the first one.  One of the great things Melissa did with creating the album was really tell a story with the pictures and I luuurv! Honestly, I don’t these pictures could be any closer to my vision!

All photo credit to Melissa Xenakis. Her website can be viewed here.

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How to Tea Stain Tue, 24 Jan 2012 14:00:28 +0000 As I mentioned in a previous post, I had to tea stain a whole bunch of lace to use as table clothes. I love the look of tea stain opposed to plain white. It makes things (especially lace) look more antique and expensive. Also, I wasn’t keen on white tablecloths because my dress is white and I don’t want to match the table clothes! The things you have to think about as a bride, right?

So this diy project is super simple and can be done with any fabric of any size. First I ran my bath tub full of HOT water. While that was filling up, I boiled about 10 cups of water on the stove and put in it half a box (20 bags) of family sized, generic tea bags. I let that boil until the water was nice and dark and the bath tub was full enough to cover the 15 table clothes I had to stain. I put the table clothes in the tub first and then poured the brewed tea water in with them. I mixed the water around with my hand and let the concoction sit until I felt like the color was where I wanted it (about 7 minutes in my case). I drained the water and then transferred the lace to my washer where I ran a quick wash with NO detergent. Then I dried it all in my dryer and that was it. Easy as that!

Aside from trying to drink the tea out of the tub, Harper is such a good helper!

Note: Originally I was worried about the tea staining our porcelain bath tub, but I tested a small cub of it first and had no issues, so no fear!

I put the tea stained lace next to white lace so you can see the difference.

Have you tea stained anything for your wedding?


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Good Will DIY Centerpieces Thu, 19 Jan 2012 14:00:52 +0000 One of the most fun things for me to do in preparation for the wedding is to work on my centerpieces. I decided early on, after I settled on what my table clothes would look like, what I wanted my centerpieces to be. I wanted to incorporate old vases, wine bottles and old hard back books. I thought this fit with my theme perfectly, would be super affordable and would be unique and different. The reason I thought it was so fun was because Ive been able to collect these over a few months time and it’s been like treasure hunting. And let me tell ya, I’ve found some treasure!

My mom, grandma and I started collecting old vases from thrift stores like Good Will. We quickly got a ton of REALLY different unique vases!

As for old hard back books, I hit the jackpot! Habitat for Humanity sells all their books for $3 a bag. The plastic bags are huge. I can fit like 10 books in there! So that makes the books practically free :-). I soon had plenty of those as well!

With all the wine I have to drink to stay sane through this wedding planning process, we quickly had empty wine bottles galore also 😉

I figure I will strategically/randomly (maybe an oxymoron??) place the books, wine bottles and vases on each table and place one flower stem in each. This will keep my flower costs down and it will make every table unique and different. My genius fiancé had the idea of placing candles on top of the books as well and just letting the wax melt down on them. This might either look super cool, or like Phantom of The Opera. I can’t decide!

Any suggestions? Let me know!


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DIY Vintage Table Cloths Thu, 12 Jan 2012 14:00:45 +0000 Hello hello! I have been so busy over the holidays trying to take advantage of the time off by getting as much wedding stuff done as possible. My wedding is in 3 short months, you know! I’ve been creating invites, taking engagements photos, dealing with a venue change (yeah, that’s a biggie), making and buying gifts and much more! All of this I will share with you, but today I wanted to talk about my table cloths.

As you all know, my wedding theme is vintage and whimsical. I wanted to find a way to reflect this with my tables in a CHEAP way. When you go to a wedding reception, the first thing that is noticeable is the tables. There are so many of them and they usually match, so they make a statement. I looked into just renting table cloths, but they were all around $8 each and so cheap and flimsy looking. That is NOT OK! I’m too much of a tight wad to spend that much money for something ugly.

Luckily for me, my grandmother is a fabulous seamstress. She has an entire basement full of fabric. I thought I would get crafty and see if she had anything I could use. Well as fate would have it, the day I go to visit, she just got back from Habitat For Humanity and had picked up 2 rolls of silk-like fabric in two of my wedding colors (pink and orange). She had no idea what my wedding colors were and didn’t know what she would use the fabric for, but she couldn’t pass it up because it was less than $15. Thank you dear baby Jesus! This could not have worked out better. We cut the fabric into big squares and she sewed on some rope to the edges just to make it look a little more finished. We laid it out on a big table to get an idea and….I didn’t like it! It was way too shiny and bright. So my solution for that was to take a giant pile of old lace she had and cut it into squares to match and lay it on top of the shininess. These were definitely what I had in mind! The color pops just enough and the lace gives it that vintage feel.


I could have cut these into circles to match the circular tables, but I really don’t think its necessary. I’m just going to stagger the corners of the shiny cloth and the lace.

We ended up not having enough lace and not all of it was the same color. I called all the ladies in my family and had them find all their old lace table cloths and curtains. Once I got about 16 of the 20 table clothes I needed, I tea stained them so that they would all be the same vintage color. I will detail how to tea stain in another post – it was super easy! So I still needed about 4 or so table cloths, but really did not want to buy more lace, so I took one table cloth and cut it into 4ths and made table runners for 4 of the tables. I figure that these will be the reserved tables for the bridal party. They match all the others, but they will stand out just a little. SCORE! What do you think?


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The Great Ring Debacle Mon, 19 Dec 2011 14:00:49 +0000 So it’s time to get into the sore subject around our house…The Great Ring Debacle of 2011. The most unthinkable, devastating thing happened. My engagement ring was stolen. Ladies, let me walk you through the most horrifying experience of my life.

It was just like any other Friday afternoon; my work was hosting a late lunch/happy hour at a local restaurant. It was around 5:30 and I was about to leave the restaurant to go home because my brother was in town visiting. Before I left, a girlfriend and I went to the restroom. My ring had not yet been sized (I’m a 5.5 and it was a 7), so I had a ring guard on it, but it was still too big. When I went to wash my hands, I took of my ring and laid it down so that it wouldn’t get wet and slide off. Normally I would just use hand sanitizer, but I couldn’t pass up the fancy shmancy hand salt scrub… WORST.DECISION.EVER. We leave the restaurant as usual, but when I get on the road, I realize my ring was not on my finger. I didn’t quite panic yet, it had only been 3 minutes since I’d left the bathroom and the restaurant we were at was a nice place and no one seemed shiesty. I get back there and look in the bathroom where I had left the ring and it was nowhere to be found. I immediately flip out! That’s such an understatement, but it’s the best way to explain my reaction.

After publicly humiliating myself by crying hysterically and searching through everything including trash cans, I had to call Matt and let him know. That was horrendous. He was just as devastated as I was. So this brings me to the moral of my story. Matt informed me that he had gotten theft insurance on the ring, so I called the police and had them meet me at the scene of the crime and I filed a police report. Fortunately, I was able to claim the theft insurance and they reimbursed us for the cost for the ring. I went back to the same store and bought the exact same ring. It took me a little while to get over the fact that I didn’t have and would never have the original ring that Matt proposed with, but that passed and I can’t even express how thankful I am that he bought that insurance package.

Hopefully none of you will ever have to go through this, but I will ALWAYS have insurance on my jewelry after this and I highly recommend you do, too!!


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Finding The Photographer Thu, 08 Dec 2011 14:39:15 +0000
This is NOT what I want my pictures to look like!

Ladies, wedding planning is getting serious lately! I’m officially 4.5 months away from the wedding date, so it’s getting to be that time when we have to really get down and dirty with the finances. So I’m a little bit of a stressy jessy lately…but I’ll save that for another post! Today, I wanted to share with you some tips on finding a photographer. I have been lucky enough to find an AMAZING photographer!

When we did the wedding budget breakdown, photography was something Matt and I agreed we didn’t want to sink a ton of money into. This is really uncommon I think. Most brides I talk to say its one of their most important splurges. Well, I’ve looked at a lot of wedding pictures and really they are all so similar. If the wedding itself is awesome the pictures will be awesome. That’s my thinking.

Also, NOT what I want my pictures to look like!




So I started looking for a photographer by asking around to friends. Chances are someone will have a friend who they trust and does photography. Well, I hit the jack pot. One friend of mine said she had a friend who just recently got into doing photography professionally, so she hadn’t done any weddings yet, but she has been doing photography on the side for years. Since she was new to the business and had no wedding examples to show me, I got a ridiculously good deal!!

What I want to see in my pictures!

So why would I pick/trust someone to capture my wedding day that couldn’t show me any wedding examples? Becausethe best photographers get their talents naturally. They have a natural eye for getting the best shot and most candid emotions on film. My photographer has this! The pictures she did show me were everything I wanted, emotional,

spontaneous and unique. So what if they weren’t taken at a wedding. I have since looked at pictures from other photographers who would charge me 10X more and they can’t compare to the natural talent seen in her pictures. Also, the reason I wanted to go with a young photographer is so that they wouldn’t already have a pre-determined idea for what wedding shots should be. I don’t want my wedding shots to look just like every other wedding as far as angles and poses go. I want them to be unique and reflect the occasion. In other words, I didn’t want my photographer on auto pilot the whole time and missing the important moments.

This is also what I want to see in my pictures!



So my advice, just because they are regulars in the wedding circuit, doesn’t mean they are YOUR best choice. And ask around in your group of friends. Getting someone that you know is trustworthy means a lot!




(Picture sources, 1, 2, 3, 4)



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Getting Our Save The Date On Fri, 25 Nov 2011 13:00:53 +0000 So I’m having a wedding in less than a year that will be out of town for most all of my friends and family, what is one of the most important things to do as soon as possible in this situation…send save the dates! Ok, so originally this didn’t make much sense to me. Being the budget savvy bride that I am, I didn’t want to spend money on save the dates! I figured about 2 hours after we got engaged, all of the people that were important to me knew we were engaged and when our wedding would be. If we haaad to do save the dates I just wanted to email them, but my super logical and considerate fiancé explained how our older family members were not surfin’ the net on a regular basis, so this was no good. Finally I gave in and started thinking of the save the dates as a fun and cheap way to give our guests a first look at the tone and vibe of our wedding. I was still doing this cheaply though!


I absolutely didn’t want to pay a graphic designer to create these for me, I would rather save money and have great invitations. Luckily, I have Adobe InDesign on my computer and have a working knowledge of how to use it from college. I’m not sure what a free program online would be that you could use to make collateral pieces like save the dates, but would be curious to know if you all have used any. I have a lot of little projects (like awesome wedding mad libs) to do before the wedding and my computer crashed, so I lost the program and had to get a new computer. Thanks Addy for spilling water on it!

Matt and I had not found a photographer yet, so we didn’t have engagement pictures to put on there and anyway I kind of dislike cheesy engagement pictures, so we went with a more fun and cheaper route. We decided to include pictures of us when we were little. This has been a huge hit! If most people are like me, I really don’t want to keep a save the date up on my fridge for 9 months that is a picture of two people sucking face

To make the save the dates reflect the wedding, I wanted them to be quirky, so I wanted all the text to be different sizes and fonts. It turned out really well and I think it made the whole thing look like it was more design-ey. I also included striped that were in the wedding colors. Matt’s special touch to the save the date, was including a lyric from a song that we are using in the wedding. I loved the idea and it made them even more personal and fun!

Front. Our babies will be so cute :-)
Back. Classy blackout job, I know.


The hardest part of creating the save the dates myself was figuring out what size to make them and where to print them. I started asking friends that work as graphic designers and deal with printers a lot. One of them recommended egprint. Their website showed that they offered 2 sided, color postcards for a little over $40 for 500 of them. AMAZING DEAL! Postcards mean cheaper postage and an easy to design rectangle shape. There were two catches, 1) I only needed around 150 and the lowest quantity you could order was 500 and 2) I had to sign myself up as a business on the website to order from them. I decided that 500 at $40 was cheaper than 150 anywhere else, so it was worth it and I also signed up just under some random business name and that worked out fine too. I highly recommend this place! We got them in the mail and they were printed perfectly and they arrived right on time.

So my tips on doing affordable save the dates are to not be afraid to do it yourself. Its not the actual invitation, have fun with it! Secondly, find an online printer that specializes in quick, bulk prints. Lastly, don’t be afraid to pretend you are a business to get a better deal!




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The Venue Hunt Fri, 18 Nov 2011 13:00:26 +0000 Hello again! Let’s talk venue selection, shall we? Picking the venue was one of the very first things we tackled. We knew what date we wanted to get married on and didn’t want to have to compromise that, so we started the hunt for the perfect venue as soon as possible. I originally just started searching online for “wedding venues in Charleston, SC.” Well everything that came up was around $5,000 and you had to use their vendors for catering and alcohol. Needless to say, we were in total shock! Apparently Charleston is one of the top 3 places to get married in the United States, so EVERYTHING is more expensive. I had no Idea about this when we picked Charleston. I was just thinking it would be more convenient to plan since we lived here. After having a minor melt down, we decided that we definitely did not want to spend half of our budget on the venue and I knew I would be able to find better deals on catering and alcohol than the pre-selected vendors would give me. So we had to get creative in searching for a great “hidden gem” venue. Our first stop was The Wedding Row. This is a website that showcases local Charleston weddings. They also have sister websites that show weddings in other towns as well. We searched for a couple of hours, looking through all the weddings to see where the venues were. Finally, we came across one I hadn’t heard of called Old Wide Awake Plantation. I feel in love with the name immediately. I found their website online and lo and behold, it was affordable! Well, not affordable….nothing involving weddings is reasonable, but it was half the cost of what we had previously found. I think this is because it’s located in Hollywood, SC. That’s about 15 minutes outside of Charleston. So you don’t get the Charleston address on your invites, but that is A-OK with me!


We scheduled a visit and went out the house the next week. IT WAS PERFECT! Not only was the house and property gorgeous, the owners were amazingly laid back. They said we can use whatever vendors we want and were incredibly flexible about most everything we asked about. This is exactly what we wanted. As an added bonus, the owners informed us that Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe got married there in the 90’s. How great is that?! Yeah, maybe they did get divorced, but it’s still super cool to tell our guests that. And as a general rule of thumb for my life, if it’s good enough for celebrities, then it’s good enough for me 😉

Other things the sealed the deal for us on Old Wide Awake:  I loved the idea of having the ceremony and reception at the same location, just to keep things simpler and so we won’t have to waste time traveling. Also, I loved the idea of having it at an old plantation house because it fit perfectly with the southern fairy-tale theme we were going for and because the house was symbolic to Matt and I. A big part of this wedding for us is the joining of two families and the creation of our own little family and what better way to symbolize that than a huge home as the back drop for the occasion. Another great thing about this venue is I think it will save us money in the decorating department.  We really won’t have to do too much decorating at all. The landscape and house are almost decoration enough. My plan is to put white twinkle lights everywhere that I can and let Old Wide Awake be the main focus.

There are so many pros about the venue, but there are also a few cons. Choosing a wedding venue that is non-traditional like a plantation house poses a problem of logistics. Right now we are in the process of trying to decide where the ceremony will take place, where the reception will be, where the cars will be parked, where we will go to take pictures are the ceremony…you get the idea. So there is definitely a lot to think about, but despite the logistical issues, I couldn’t be happier with the venue.

Suggestions from me on finding a venue:

  1. Try and find other weddings online that took place in the area you want to get married and check out their venues.
  2. Talk to your vendors if you’ve selected them. They always know hidden gem locations. (I found this out after we had selected the venue and were talking to our vendors about it. They knew a whole slew of affordable locations.)
  3. Look for non-traditional locations. You can have a wedding just about anywhere!
  4. Make sure the owners of the space are flexible when it comes to vendors, the times you can be there and how loud the music can be.

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