I’ve got quite a treat for you all today! This lovely DIY library wedding has tons of book-themed details and was pulled off for a great price! The couple got married at a library, hosted around 30 guests and did it all for around $4,000! I love how they incorporated books into their decor in many creative ways- so simple and budget friendly! Hope you enjoy this savvy wedding as much as I did! xoxo-Jessica
Vanessa + Brenden
November 24, 2012
Bailey Island, Maine – Bailey Island Library Hall
What was your budget? If you are able, give us a rough breakdown of how you spent your budget.
We kind of built our budget around our needs, but we said no more than $5,000, and we came in around $4,000!
Venue- $1050 total (although $350 of that was a refundable deposit)
Attire- $800 for my dress and $400 for his suit
Photography- Was $460, but with a few of Walla Photography’s promos it ended up at around $360
Catering- We had a bit of a gift with this one, as our caterer was a friend and former employer. This all ran about $1000 (and the food was great!)
We decided to self-DJ our own wedding which turned out great (although I would DEFINITELY say to passowrd protect your computer haha!), so that didn’t cost anything.
Our decorations were mostly things we already had- old books (Brenden’s family and mine are readers), ball jars, buttons, etc… There was a little bit expended for extra decorations, but for everything we had to buy, decoration costs ran under $500 (not sure of an exact figure as Brenden’s parents got some stuff and made centerpieces to surprise us, but I have a basic idea of the pricing).
How many guests did you have?
We invited 50 people and about 30 came to our wedding.
What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
We included a lot of our personal aspects into our wedding! First off, we planned the whole thing around language in literature. We first met in a German class (complete happenstance, as neither of us needed the class for our major), and I sat in front of him. We only started talking because I needed to share books with him as I hadn’t gotten mine yet. Sharing that book allowed us to be partnered up, talk, and meet up to do homework in the library together. I didn’t buy the book for an extra month after that. Books, language, and literature have been a big theme for us, so we planned around that. It also made decorating SO budget savvy! The centerpieces were stacks of older books with table numbers on top, and our flowers were made from the pages of older books where the binding couldn’t be rescued. This was a great intersection of cost effectiveness and a meaningful style. and from there, it became even more personal. Friends, family, old bosses, and new faces really pulled together to help make our wedding personal and intimate. For example, our catering was done by one of Brenden’s former bosses and friends. So we got to be very intimately involved in its planning, and on the day of, we got to see familiar faces who beamed with happiness while we got food. All in all, our wedding was nothing but us, our marriage, and the people we love. It was great!
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
Haha, sorry I kind of said this above, but I’ll be more specific:
1.) Paired down!- I mean everything, guest list, extra decorations, extra desserts, big venue, etc… It makes you really think about what you need. And all of the little stuff we chopped that I was apprehensive about- no one noticed it.
2.) Involved friends and family- As I mentioned, we happened to know our caterer, so that helped A TON!! My soon-to-be-new mum and dad helped us make decorations, and our parents and closest friends helped us set up.
3.) GO OFF THE BEATEN PATH!- I can’t stress this enough. Our caterer is someone who runs a tavern, but he also made us a great wedding day meal! He also knew the baker next door and got us a great deal on desserts. We got married in a Library Hall. It’s technically a historic building, and few weddings happen there, but it was affordable, and absolutely stunning (I mean, warm, walls lined with books, high ceilings, fireplace,etc…). We made our flowers out of paper. This can be tricky, but you’ll save on floral costs (8 bouquets and 8 boutonnieres cost me about $150 and about 15 hours of work total), and I’ve kept one of the bridesmaid’s bouquets on my dashboard for the last few months, and it makes me smile every time I see it Another thing that we did was look at our college announcements on my school e-mail account. That’s where I found the announcement for our photographer- who is incredibly talented and who, in launching a business, was a very price savvy option.
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
Don’t worry, be happy! And if you two are happy with something, don’t let anyone bully you into something else, even if they have the best intentions. Everyone wants to either sell you something or make your planning process easier by offering things, material or otherwise. If you two are happy, you’ll be happy when it’s over.
What was your biggest splurge?
Catering cost the most, but that aside, probably my dress.
What was your favorite detail?
I loved how warm and romantic everything felt. It was hectic, but great.
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
Meeting a lot of new family for the first time! They were so warm, welcoming and caring! Plus, all of my grandparents passed away either before I was born or when I was very young, so meeting my partner’s was extra lovely. They acted like I had been their granddaughter all along! In general, our friends and family were amazing. I wouldn’t change a thing!
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