Min + Brandon | The Budget Savvy Bride
The Budget Savvy Bride

I am thrilled to share this wedding with you today- you’re going to LOVE it! The lovely red and pink accents make it the perfect BS-WOW for the week of Valentine’s Day! :) Ohhh the details! The initials on the bouquets, the crystals from the trees, the red tissue pomanders, the paper products, the men in uniform! Le sigh. Min did alot of DIY projects to help pull off her $15,000 wedding in California. You can read more about her projects, and see more eye candy from her beautiful wedding on her blog, Minzilla.

Where did you get married?

We were married at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California. The ceremony took place in front of the gorgeous reflection pool in the rose gardens. We moved into the East Room, a perfect replica of the one in the White House, for the reception.

What was your budget?

Our budget was roughly $15,000:

Caterer: $5,500
DJ: $1,200
Flowers: $950
Day-of-coordinator: $250
Gown, alterations and accessories: $900
Cake/cupcakes: $230
Venue: $4500
Gifts: $170
Invitations and all paper products: $140
Rings: $45
Miscellaneous (candles, decorations): $250

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

Our wedding was full of DIY details. I created our invitations using a kit I found on clearance at Target that just happened to be the perfect color and design. To cut down on our catering budget, we got rid of cocktail hour so I made crossword puzzles to entertain the guests with during the thirty minutes we had before the reception. I also put together the cupcake stands by using glass plates and candle holders I found at the dollar store. The cupcakes were decorated with paper flags I designed and made myself. I started a blog to document these projects, and the guests had fun identifying details that they had read about online.

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

When it came to trimming our budget, we decided to cut down on the flowers for our wedding. My sister and I made all of the bouquets out of fake flowers we found at Michaels at 40% off each piece. Our florist recommended that we reuse the centerpieces for the ceremony so that we would not need to purchase an arch, saving us $200. I also spent hours making red tissue pomander balls to line the aisle. The final cost for our ceremony decorations was abut $40.

Brandon and I also got a great deal on our amazing photographer, Hannah Suh, because she is a close friend of my sister’s. She is absolutely worth every penny, and I cannot stop going through all of our beautiful photographs.

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

I have several bits of advice for brides planning their wedding:

•  Create a separate email address designated just for wedding correspondences to keep your inbox organized.

•  Don”t be afraid to be opinionated. Vendors and even family members may try to persuade you to do something that you do not agree with. It is okay to politely say no.

•  We made a lot of alterations in contracts with our vendors when our budget was changed. Save all of these documents and keep track of your payments. I caught a few mistakes and quickly had them fixed.

•  The last month before the wedding really took a toll on both my mind and body. Unfortunately, the stress made me become short with people. Keep in mind how you are treating others and don”t forget to show your gratitude.

•  Have your caterer pack up any left over plates so that you can take it with you that night. We were starving when we got to our hotel room and ended up ordering a pizza.

•  If you are like me and have to do everything on your own, make a detailed list of where you want things placed at the wedding. My three paged instructions sheet was definitely a bridezilla moment, but it allowed me to just let go and trust that other people could handle it on their own. I was told later on that it really helped people.

•  This one is silly, but make a mental note to have good posture during your wedding and be aware of how you are holding your bouquet. I hate that I was slouching in a lot of my pictures.

•  A lot of things did not go according to plan during our wedding. Instead of fretting about it, just move on. I guarantee that people will not notice these little things.

What was your biggest splurge?

Our biggest splurge was on the venue itself. The Nixon Library was the first and only location we looked at on our hunt for the perfect location. As soon as we walked into the East Room, we fell in love with the elegant chandeliers, hardwood floors, and cozy fireplaces. We knew that it was the ideal location for our military wedding. To top it off, my husband and I went to our high school prom at the Nixon Library in May of 2005. We had our minds set on booking it before we even knew the price!

What was your favorite detail?

We really loved the music that we played during key points of our ceremony and reception and a lot of thought went into each unique choice. The wedding party walked down the aisle to Bright Eyes” “First Day of My Life” and I made my way down while Jack Johnson”s “Angel” played in the background. After our first kiss, Ray LaMontagne”s upbeat song “You Are The Best Thing” blasted from the speakers. The court entrance into the reception was Page France”s “Chariot”, while the saber arch was done to the Army Strong theme song. Finally, we swayed romantically to another Ray LaMontange song titled “Let It Be Me”.

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

The ceremony was full of emotion, especially because of my husband. He lost all of his composure as soon as he spotted me walking towards him and started to cry. Brandon apologized to all of the guests because it began a complete domino effect and soon the entire crowd was sniffling. The rest of the ceremony lightened up when our officiant went about ten minutes into the ceremony before realizing that the guests were still standing. It was a perfect imperfection in our wedding.

Another memorable moment was our entrance into the reception. The only detail of the wedding that I had always set my mind on was the traditional military saber arch. We were blocked off from going completely through it when the last two groomsmen lowered their sabers and we had to “kiss to pass.” I was then officially welcomed into the Army by a swift tap on the bum.

Vendors:

Caterer: Jason”s Catering

DJ: Mark of Sterling Productions

Flowers: Flower Allie

Photographer: Hannah Suh

Gown and alterations: David”s Bridal

Veil: Bella Bridal Veils

Cake/Cupcakes: Cakes Created With Love

Venue: Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum

Ring: Titanium Knights

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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    • Amy
    • February 10th, 2010

    what a gorgeous wedding!! so elegant and beautiful! I really LOVE her table centerpieces!

    • Christina
    • February 10th, 2010

    I can't believe all their bouquets are fake flowers- they look amazing- I'd never have known!!

    • Jessica
    • February 10th, 2010

    Inspiration OVERLOAD! I love it all.

  1. Mmm…I love this wedding! Gorgeous!

    I did not realize the questions I use for my wedding feature was so close to yours. After I go through all the brides that have already answered them, I'll change them up some. I guess I just subconsciously remembered them from reading your column. Sorry about that!

    • Giselle
    • February 11th, 2010

    Min and Brandon's wedding was so beautiful – she must plan my future wedding!

  2. I love your blog. I have an award for you on my own blog!! Please come by :)

  3. WOW. this is fantastic!! I absolutely love everything about it! I am getting great ideas from this site! A suggestion from me is to use agreataffair.com for your gift registry. You can ask for anything, even funding to help pay for the wedding or the honeymoon! I have my honeymoon registered and its great!!

    • Lisamarie
    • February 12th, 2010

    Wow! The Nixon Library is gorgous! I cannot believe she had a wedding there fore $15K. Do you know how many guests she had?

      • Min
      • February 13th, 2010

      Hi! We only had about 70 guests. It was a small affair.

    • Kimberley
    • February 18th, 2010

    Min,
    I loved reading the details from your special day. So inspirational. Your selection of wedding songs made me teary eyed. Love it.
    Wishing you and your lovie loads of happiness!
    All the best-
    K.

    • Boss
    • June 4th, 2010

    Definitely helps that the photography was free (I'm guessing since it wasn't in the budget).

    • Actually, the bride got a discount from her photographer since she was a friend, but the photographer didn't want the discounted price shown here on the blog, which is why it is omitted. Sorry for the confusion

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