Will + Cassie | The Budget Savvy Bride
The Budget Savvy Bride

Sorry for the super-delay on today’s BSWOW– but I haven’t missed a week yet this year so I was determined to get this up tonight! Me & Maddy have been busy plugging away on the new issue of Nonpareil Magazine (it’s up– go check it out!) but I couldn’t let today go by without posting a lovely budget savvy wedding! Cassie & Will’s beautiful Chattanooga wedding will blow you away! They pulled off a wedding for over 200 on a $10,000 budget! Thanks to Cassie & Will for sharing their day with us. Enjoy!!

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

Our original budget was $10,000 and we went a little bit over here is a rough breakdown:

• Our Attire (dress, accessories, tux, hair, etc.) $1600

• Reception (food, tables, linens, excludes cake & centerpieces) $4000

• Cake (4 tier bride’s and a flat groom’s cake for 215) $750

• Music (for ceremony + reception) $650

• Decorations (all flowers and personal decorations) $1600

• Photography (includes engagement and wedding day) $1600

• Stationary (save the dates, invitations, programs, postage, etc) $350

Total from Wedding Budget $10,550

* Will’s parents also purchased us a videographer as a wedding gift and Will paid for the chapel venue fee himself as a gift to me that I did not include. Also not included are the “chair covers” that my mother rented for me.

How many guests did you have?

214

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

We had included a lot of personal aspects in the wedding. All of our family was very involved in the ceremony. Will’s oldest sister Sarah-Beth lit a candle in remembrance of their father, Todd who passed away when they were young. She was also an amazing soloist. Will’s youngest sister and brother were included in the wedding party. Also, my brother escorted his daughter (the cutest flower girl ever) down the aisle. I thought this was super special because someday he will get to do that again on her wedding day. Will also surprised his mom and walked her down the aisle the day of the wedding, which we didn’t practice. It was a wonderful idea from him and she cried all the way down the aisle.

We also created some of our centerpieces. We made triangle picture frames (thanks Martha Stewart!) that had pictures of Will and I together and had different periods in our lives in sports, with friends, with family, etc.

Instead of my ring bearer’s carrying the typical pillows, they carried Bibles that had rings attached to a ribbon. I had their names put on the front, which was super cool to them.

Will and I created our programs and I was very proud of them. I got lots of compliments on their accordion design. With the leftover paper, we made coloring books for our younger guests. We also created the fabric cones that held the baby’s breath on the pews.

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

The biggest thing we did to save money was have an early wedding and serve a late lunch. When I started my planning process I decided it was important to me to feed everyone a meal. This was difficult to accomplish with such a large guest list and a small budget. So this was our best option and it was actually more convenient for our guests, since most of our families were coming out of town. Although some made it a mini-vaca, many were able to drive up in the morning, enjoy food and socialize, and then make the trip home. So not only did we save us money, our guests did too because they were able to eliminate a hotel stay.

We also tried to save money anyway we could. Creating half of our centerpieces and making the fabric cones ourselves really cut down on floral costs as well. It bothered me spending so much for one day that I was always looking for something that could be used after the wedding. I didn’t buy typical wedding shoes so that they can be worn again, instead of vases for candles we used drinking glasses that Will and I use every day, and instead of pillows for the ring bearers they were able to keep their bibles. Our alter flowers also doubled as decorations for the fireplace at the country club.

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

Decide what is important to you before you start planning. For us, invitations and paper goods were not places we wanted to spend our money because sadly all that hard work usually ends up in the trash. So we tried to keep it as simple as possible, yet classy and made most of those things ourselves.

Flowers are where you can end up spending a lot of money, especially with a large wedding party. I kept low centerpieces which made them smaller and less expensive. Looking at the florist breakdown though, we spent a good amount of money on corsages for grandmothers, mothers, and our program attendants. At the time, I thought it was very important to honor them this way. But on the day of the wedding, I noticed they were a distraction to them and after the ceremony they had all removed them from their dresses. In hind sight, I am curious if it would have been appropriate to nix these and used something else instead. For us, this was 10 people so it could have saved $$$ and we might have been closer to our budget. Just something to think about.

It is always so easy to get wrapped in the details and forget the bigger purpose.

On the day of wedding, relax and have fun because it goes by so fast.

What was your biggest splurge?

Three weeks before the wedding, we learned that the country club did not provide chair covers. It wasn’t a real big deal; the chairs were ok; just a tad ugly. So my mom (and dad) graciously rented chair covers and sashes for us. It wasn’t in our wedding budget at all because we mistakenly thought they were provided. It made the room look so much better, even though they weren’t necessary. Thanks Mom!

What was your favorite detail?

My favorite detail was my red shoes and my flower girl’s red shoes. I wanted her to be a “mini me” and it turned out perfectly. Well almost, she had a (fake) bouquet to match mine but she didn’t like it too much. She slept through all the wedding party pictures, but we snuck outside during the reception and got some fantastic ones of just me and her.

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Most memorable moment was our first look. Will came out from the chapel to meet me in the Shakespeare Garden. It was very intimate and sweet. My bridesmaids and mom were peaking out of a window and said he teared up when he saw my silhouette.

2nd for me is when my sorority sisters gathered to sing to me. I moved away the year prior to the wedding and it was the first time I had seen some of them in a year and it was just very special.

Please also include a list of all your vendors including any website links.

Venue – Patten Chapel

Reception – Chattanooga Golf and Country Club

Cake – Sweet Promises

Music – 410 productions

Flowers – Grafe Studio

Photography – Chelsea B. Photography

Attire – Monica’s Bridal

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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  1. If you are looking for a great place to buy picture frames post-wedding at a good price, check out the Picture Frame Guys online. This store has a good selection of wood frames, as well as a bunch of articles about framing.

    • Sam
    • October 7th, 2010

    What a beautiful wedding. I would love to see a close-up of the centerpieces.

    • Laura
    • October 8th, 2010

    Where did you find your red shoes and the red shoes for the flower girl? I have been looking to find some cute ones for my june wedding. Thanks!!!

    • Gayle
    • October 11th, 2010

    Oh now this wedding has a couple after my own heart! I had a red wedding and I adore it used in weddings correctly and this bride knows how to do it. How fantastic are the dresses and the bouquet mix? Gorgeous wedding!

    • Cassie
    • October 12th, 2010

    My red shoes came from Dillards. They are BCBG.
    My mom found the red shoes and I have no idea where. She bought them almost a year prior to the wedding in hopes they fit.

    Sam if you shoot me an e-mail to [email protected] I can send you pics of the centerpieces and how we made them!

    Thanks so much for the comments! It was a fantastic day and we had so much fun planning it.

    Cassie