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

Our budget was $10,000. I searched a lot to get the best deals and I did a lot myself too. I paid for a large portion of the wedding myself.

Photographer – $1,000

Chapel – $500 (student/employee rate)

Videographer – $600

Save The Dates — Free (only paid postage — done by friend in the printing company)

Cake – $1.50/ slice (Made by a lady out of her house)

Groom’s Cake — Free! (Gift from a friend!)

Flowers – $1,100 (Used all daisies and kept it simple!)

DJ – $450 (local radio DJ —does weddings just for fun!)

Favors – $.75 (boxes from Dollar Tree and discount bulk M&Ms)

Invitations — (Postage only — Same friend as the save the dates!)

Reception Site- free with the purchase of food

Food – $6,000 (included reception for 275 & rehearsal dinner for 50)

How many guests did you have?


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

I love to do crafts! I enjoyed making a number of things myself. Even though our guest list was a whopping 500 people I still wanted it to feel personal. I made our monogrammed cake topper. I also made our initials to display on the chapel doors. I made our guest book on with pictures of us from while we were dating and our engagement photos. I also made all the paper cones used to throw our Ecco-fetti. Also, one of our groomsmen designed our Save The Dates, Invitations, and Programs which brought an even more personal side to them.

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

Tons! We tried to save money everywhere without it being cheap. I bought all the centerpiece vases at Goodwill on the first Saturday of the month because that is half price day. I used 40% off coupons from the paper at Michael’s almost every week. Instead of buying expensive ribbon sashes at David’s Bridal my mom made them from ribbon from Michael’s. I purchased my dress at a place that did alterations for free. We have a lot of family and friends that are very talented and we used them!

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

Don’t swoon over things you can’t have. I read tons of wedding blogs and wanted to take all these ideas and put them to use. But, I had to realize that on a budget you have to be selective and choose the things that are important to you. I also had to look at my personality. Just because it was a good idea for one wedding didn’t mean it was a good idea for our wedding. We wanted to feel like we were at our wedding and not someone else’s.

What was your biggest splurge?

The food is what cost the most but it was for both the rehearsal dinner and the reception. The photographer was the next thing. And, what was even better is that our photographer had an intern with her so we got even more pictures! It was great!

What was your favorite detail?

I liked the sentimental pieces of the day that no one else knew about. I carried with my bouquet a tiny Bible that Tyler’s Mom gave him when he was born and a handkerchief that my great Aunt gave me when I was born. I had my Grandfather’s (who I never met) and Grandmother’s wedding bands sewn into my dress. I had a sixpence in my left shoe that has been used in over 30 other weddings that was lent to me from a family friend. And, just outside the chapel we were married in is where he proposed to me.

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

It had been a running joke for years that Tyler could never remember what hand the rings went on and I would always have to remind him. We were at the altar exchanging rings and I remember being so nervous. I was trying to put his ring on and he kept telling me it was the wrong hand. I thought he was kidding at first but then I realized it really was the wrong hand!


Florist: Jenny Stephen at Flowers N Things

DJ: Gene Lovin with

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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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  • The Sassy Bride

    Gorgeous wedding, but I have to say that the groom's bow tie is quite possibly the best thing I have seen in awhile! So cool & unique!

  • Amanda

    Beautiful! I grew up in Chattanooga and I have always LOVED Patten Chapel. Where was the reception at? I've been browsing for sites.

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  • Emily

    The reception was at the DoubleTree in Downtown Chattanooga.