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helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank

 Excited to share another lovely wedding with you this week! Amanda McKinnon Photography submitted this to us via Two Bright Lights and I just loved the photos! Made me feel warm and fuzzy inside! For a California wedding with over 200 guests, it’s pretty great that they were able to get it done for $20k! The couple employed the help of family and friends to pull it all off! Hope you enjoy this edition of the BSWOW!

Kelli & Carl

April 9, 2011
Claremont, California
Ceremony: La Verne Heights Presbyterian Church
Reception: Baseline Community Church

What was your budget? If you are able, give us a rough breakdown of how you spent your budget.

Our budget was $20,000. $5,000-Food, $4,000-Rentals, $2,788-Photography, $1,000-Dress

How many guests did you have?


What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?

We made the placecards, table numbers, and favors (bride’s secret cookie recipe, each guest got a bag of homemade cookies). The bride’s dad repurposed and painted an old two-seater bike for the exit after the reception. We had a jazz quartet play our favorite songs during the dinner hour. Flowers were done by a family friend, food was catered by the bride’s aunt, and neighborhood friends helped set up tables and sew table runners for each table.

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

For starters, we got plain white chairs instead of the super expensive chiavari ones! That alone saved us probably $1,200. We did a lot ourselves and relied a lot on family and friends to get things done. By doing our ceremony and reception at really inexpensive (but meaningful) locations, we also were able to spend the money we saved on more important parts of the wedding. We also weren’t allowed to serve alcohol at our reception, so that saved a boatload. The food was buffet style, which was a lot cheaper than doing a plated per-head meal.

What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?

Don’t be afraid to ask other people for help, and give up a little bit of perfectionism…people will remember the experience, not whether your programs had perfectly hand-tied ribbons on each one. Also, it’s about the marriage, not the wedding: Keep the main thing the main thing.

What was your biggest splurge?

The food! We weren’t serving alcohol, so we knew the food had to be extra good.

What was your favorite detail?

I think riding off on the two-seater bike was probably my favorite detail of the day. We had practiced in my old prom dress down the street in our neighborhood and it paid off! Not a scratch on either of us or on my wedding dress.

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Right after the ceremony, we walked down the aisle to Michael Buble’s “How Sweet it is” and hid back in the bride’s dressing room to steal a quick kiss and a dance before all the pictures. We both were just so giddy, we just kept saying “oh my gosh, we’re actually married!”


Rentals: Picture Perfect Party Rentals
Dress: David’s Bridal– Oleg Cassini
Suits: Men’s Wearhouse 
Flowers: Kris De la O Florals
Catering: The Wildflour Baking Co.
Photography: Amanda McKinnon

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About Jessica

Jessica is the creator of The Budget Savvy Bride; she launched the site in May of 2008, shortly after becoming engaged. Jessica has been recognized as a budget wedding expert by various media outlets and continues to share realistic inspiration and actionable tips to help brides save money on their weddings. Google

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