Cobalt and Lime wedding | The Budget Savvy Bride
The Budget Savvy Bride

real budget wedding

Erica is anothergraphic designer bride and I love love love her details! Including her envelope liners that say ‘love love love’ :) And who doesn’t love a Chuck Taylor clad groom and groomsmen? This wedding looks so lovely, casual and fun! She really carried her color scheme throughout the entire day and I love that! Hope you enjoy this fab installment of the BSWOW! xoxo – Jessica

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

Our budget was originally 10-15 thousand. We ended up spending 13, so we did pretty good!
Here’s our budget breakdown:
Brides attire (including veil, alterations, shoes, bustier, etc.): $1,138
Decor (vases, fabric, ribbon, etc.): $200
Bridal party and parents’ gifts: $600
Ceremony and reception site, catering (including beverages), linens, on-site coordinator, service: $8,150
Hotel for two nights: $220
Photographer: $1845
Officiant: $399
Paper, ink, envelopes and postage: $150
Ring bowl (from Paloma’s Nest): $40
Groom’s tie: $40
Cake, favors, DJ, flowers and hair were all gifts.
Grand Total: $12,782

How many guests did you have?
85

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

Most every aspect of our wedding was creative and/or personal. I pretty much loathe the expected and anything cookie-cutter, so my overall wedding design objective was ‘organized chaos’. I’m a graphic designer, so I naturally wanted to design all of the paper goods for our special day. I ended up printing and assembling everything myself (with help from my husband and maid of honor): Save the Dates, Invitation Suite, Programs, Table Name Placards, Menus and other various signage.

My mother and I collected vintage vessels (vases, pitchers, milk bottles, etc.) from thrift stores, flea markets and garage sales over the course of my engagement to use as vases. Our wonderful and amazing florist clustered them on the tables in groups of three so that each centerpiece was unique. My step father and brother performed a Band of Horses song during the reception. Some other things that we did that were non-traditional included having the bridemaids choose their own dresses (although that is becoming more and more popular these days!), choosing a sapphire engagement ring rather than a diamond, having (the most delicious!) chocolate cake, and walking down the aisle with my mom to a Coldplay song. We also decided to forgo the traditional bouquet and garter toss.

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

One of the biggest money savers for us was choosing to have our wedding in October, on a Sunday. The venue we chose had a tiered pricing system, and it was much more expensive to get married there on a Saturday evening in June. This worked out for us because I have always loved the fall, and living in this part of California, we have beautiful weather in the month of October. I was a bit concerned that fewer guests would attend, but it ended up not affecting our guest count (85) at all. Our officiant offered a discount on Sunday weddings as well.

We also saved money by doing a lot on our own. Besides tackling all of the paper goods and much of the decor, I did my own makeup, and we didn’t hire outside transportation — my mom drove me to the venue in her Prius!

We were also EXTREMELY fortunate to have my mom offer to pay for all of the flowers (as well as my hair), and Tory’s parents paid for our DJ and honeymoon in Greece. Our cake and favors were a gift from my employers (I work for an advertising agency, and one of our clients is Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates). We had originally anticipated on paying for everything ourselves, so these gifts definitely saved us a huge chunk of change and we were able to have a much more beautiful, fun and tasty wedding because of them.

What was your biggest splurge?

After looking at the budget breakdown, it looks like our biggest splurge was gifts. I purchased personalized jewelry rolls for each of my bridesmaids from Etsy seller madebymolly and chose a unique piece of jewelry for each girl. We also chose jewelry for our mothers, along with monogrammed handkerchiefs. The groomsmen got grey low top Chuck Taylors, and we purchased their ties for them as well. Tory’s dad received a monogrammed tie tack, and I gave my stepdad a sterling silver guitar pick with his initials engraved on it.

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

My advice to brides is to ask your vendors for discounts if you plan on having an off-season wedding or if your wedding is any day other than a Saturday. With the state of the economy, I believe that most vendors are willing to work with you, and the worst thing that could happen is that they say no and you move on.

Obviously photography is one of the most important decisions you will make in your planning process. I would advise you to do a lot of research in this area and to look outside of your immediate area to stay in budget and get great photos at the same time. The photographer we chose ended up being located over 200 miles away from our wedding location.

Another tip is to get your groom involved – it will make your day much more personal and fun for everyone. Tory suggested that we have our bridal party enter the reception to the Star Wars theme song, and we entered to the Imperial March from Star Wars. I’m not a huge Star Wars fan, but obviously he is, and people loved it! You have no idea how many (mostly male, LOL) guests told us how awesome it was.

What was your favorite detail?

I have two favorite details. Number one is the absolutely stunning florals that Martha did for us. I could not have asked for more beautiful flowers. Number two is our Ceremony Programs. I made little booklets by stitching the spines of cardstock together and I think they turned out so cute. They also gave people something to look at while they waited (you can see more about the programs on my blog)

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Of course, the entire day was unforgettable, so it’s hard to choose a favorite. I can tell you though, that I will never forget standing just outside of the garden getting ready to walk down the aisle on the arm of my amazing mother. We were both tearing up, she looked at me and said, “Erica, you are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.” My mom is super special to me…she was essentially a single parent to my sister and I, so to have her give me away at our wedding was really meaningful.

Another favorite detail was our first dance. We started out with one of my favorite songs of all time, At Last by Etta James. We had a twist, though (literally)! Near the end of the song, our DJ pretended that the record was skipping (super cheesy, I know), and segued into Chuck Berry’s You Never Can Tell. If any of you have ever seen Pulp Fiction, there is a famous scene in which Uma Thurman and John Travolta enter a dance contest. That was our inspiration, and we tried to loosely interpret their dance. It was great because it was something unexpected, and it really kicked off the party!

Vendors:

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Newcastle Wedding Gardens
Catering: Prestige Events
Photographer: Rochelle Mort
Flowers: Blooms by Martha Andrews
Cake and Chocolate Chip Cookie Favors: Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates
Hair: Elli Fischer, Details Salon
Dress: Oleg Cassini for David’s Bridal
Alterations: Keepsakes Bridal
DJ: Creative Memories Entertainment
Officiant: Judge Tom Cecil

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. In a case like this, I think it might still be wise to post the costs of the "gifts" into the cost of the wedding. The cake, DJ, flowers and hair could easily add over $1000 to the total cost of this wedding. I think in planning a budget wedding, you need to know all the costs associated with one. The bride might not know, which is quite possible! That being said, there's no better gift than a contribution to the wedding fund! :)
    My 2 cents….

    • michelle
    • April 7th, 2010

    That cake is amazing.

  2. I love the stationery in this wedding. And the mis-matched, but coordinating bridal party is so gorgeous together!

  3. LOVE these wedding details!! Every photographers dream :)

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