Sweet and classy is the perfect way to describe Chris and Sara's beautiful wedding. I love how they personalized their wedding venue with DIY details like the memory table and seating chart. Enjoy this classy wedding! xoxo, Jessica
Sara + Chris
August 2, 2015
Denver, Colorado | Stonebrook Manor
What was your budget?
Our budget was $20,000. We ended up staying under budget.
All-Inclusive Venue: $7,653
Invitations and announcements: $110
Dance Lessons: $200
Irving Photography: $500
Wedding Dress: $569
Dress Alterations: $500
Wedding Dress Accessories (shoes, jewelry, headpiece) : $180
Suit and Accessories: $150
Ceremony Officiate: $450
Hair and make up: $230
Wedding rings: $1,150
Wedding party gifts: $500
How many guests did you have?
What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
My fiancé and I needed to stay on a budget, but didn't want to compromise flare and creativity. Together, we chose a few decoration projects on Pinterest and went to work! We found a lot of our supplies through architectural salvage places and antique shops, and gave them our own spin. Some projects included a homemade chalkboard to tell guests where to sit, a large old window used as an escort card display, and old skeleton keys as the escort cards. We also added lawn games and a makeshift photo frame to the gardens at our venue!
In addition to the crafty projects, the most creative way we saved money without sacrificing flare was to utilize our loved ones. And boy did we! We had many friends and family members help us out with various tasks such as invites, photography, DJ, day of coordination, hair and make up. This saved us a TON and it was nice to spend time working with the people we loved.
Did you do any DIY projects or create any handmade items for your weddings?
In addition to those already listed, we created an advice box out of an old treasure chest and some dated post cards. We also found a well loved briefcase from an antique shop and strung twine on the inside to hang the letters C A R D S. This acted as our card holder. We also made a pointer sign to show guests where various areas of interest were. We strung lights song the outside edges so it sparkled in the dark.
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
We saved a lot of money on our flowers. I know some couples spend thousands on flowers for bouquets, corsages, boutonnieres and center pieces. And we had a HUGE wedding party: 14 people total! We just didn't have space for that kind of flower cost in our budget. Instead, we went to a wholesaler Lehrer's Flowers in Denver and they gave us a great deal on bouquets and boutonnieres. They were simple: groomsmen with a single Calla lily and the bridesmaids had all white rose bouquets. It looked beautiful with their lavender dresses. And I loved the look of the women together!
I wore a white dress with a mix of lavender and white flowers, and the bridesmaids wore lavender dresses with all white bouquets. Simply beautiful! In addition, to save money on center pieces, we had each of the bridesmaids place their bouquet in a vase at each of their tables. My bouquet went on the sweetheart table. And as a bonus, none of the ladies had to worry about their bouquets for the evening! And they were well watered during the reception so they still looked beautiful when they were taken home. It worked out perfectly!!
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
My husband says “Learn how to communicate well with your spouse! With so many things to work on and coordinate along with the stress of wedding planning, communication was the key to successful planning for us.”
My best advice would be two fold. First and foremost: Stay organized! We didn't hire a wedding planner or day of coordinator. Those things aren't necessary for a bride on a budget. But if you aren't organized your wedding will fall apart. And your guests (and yourself) will definitely notice.
Outside of this obvious advice, I would also recommend deciding what's important to you and your fiancé and spending your money there. If you worry about having the absolute best of everything, you won't stay under $20,000! My husband and I really wanted to show our guests, wedding party and parents how much we appreciated them. So we spent a fair amount of money on gifts for them all. It was also important to me that the venue was classy and the decorations were beautiful. So we spent a lot of time and money on those things. My husband wanted a nice, classy suit 🙂
What was your biggest splurge?
We spent the most on our wedding venue. It was very important to us to have a classy venue that was both convenient and beautiful. However, although this was by far our largest cost it was totally worth it for us. Not only did the venue fulfill our vision of beauty and grandeur but it also included tables, chairs, linens, waitstaff, bartenders, fully stocked open bar, vases for center pieces, the ceremony pavilion (which was beautiful), appetizers during cocktail hour, dinner, cake, and cake cutting services! We discovered that an “all in one” wedding venue was both hassle free and inexpensive as a package.
What was your favorite detail?
My favorite detail of the entire day was the photography. Mathew Irving Photography did an amazing job capturing our wedding ceremony and reception. They took beautiful photos that will last a lifetime. The day goes by so incredibly fast! It brought tears to my eyes to see the memories from that day. It was like reliving it all over again!
Also, my husband and I did a “first look” photo shoot right before the ceremony. I would absolutely recommend this! It was amazing having time together before the ceremony. It was romantic, and truly made us feel close and connected right before the big moment. It was also amazing to see his face up close when he saw me for the first time. I walked up to him while he was turned away (as per our photographer's suggestion) and then he turned around and saw me. The pictures of this moment are priceless to me. And it was nice to kiss him and watch him see me up close. It made me feel like a princess in a fairy tale. And it was just for us 🙂
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
Dancing! My husband is not a dancer. But we made such an amazing song list he couldn't resist! Once the dancing started, we truly relaxed and just had fun. I remember feeling truly and completely happy during those 60 mins of silly dancing. Totally worth the time put in!
Photography: Irving Photography • All-Inclusive Venue: Stonebrook Manor • Flowers: Lehrer's Flowers • Bakery: Azucar Bakery • DJ: Personal Friend • Hair Stylist: Richard Martin • Bridal Salon or Shop: The Green Bride • Headpiece: Nordstrom • Shoes: Bridal Toms (best decision EVER!) • Groom’s Suit: Vera Wang Suit via Men's Wearhouse • Groomsmen Suits: Men's Wearhouse