*Venue-$2200 (This included ceremony, reception space, rehearsal space/time, tables, chairs, and alcohol for most of the reception.)
*Food – $1000 (barbecue for the reception food, and alcohol for the party bus)
*Flowers – $10
*Favors – $60
*Party Bus- $300
*Cake – $75
*Smore’s bar – $70
*Music – Free
*Dress – Free
*Shoes – $40
*Rings – $200
*Wedding video – $100
*Beanbag toss games – Free
*Tree for planting ceremony – $50
*Tux – $133
*Photography – $100
*Day of coordinator – $160
*Hair & Makeup – $140
*Bridesmaids/groomsmen gifts – $100
*Transportation – $120
*Programs – $50
*Invitations, Save the Dates, Thank You Cards – $30
*Extras (postage, unexpected expenses) – $300
*Total for Wedding – $5418
How many guests did you have?
We planned for 100 guests, but about 85 showed up.
What creative or personal aspects did you incorporate into your wedding?
We had a LOT of creative details. There are so many things you can do to make your wedding memorable without costing any money. We did a ring-warming ceremony, which most of our guests had never heard of before. Most of our guests said that was their favorite part, and it was a unique touch that didn’t cost a thing!
We also had several aspects that were very “us.” I’m from the south, so I wanted to represent that by having a cotton bouquet. My mom picked the cotton and made the bouquet for me. The only flowers we bought were single sunflowers for the bridesmaids to carry and corsages for the moms. The guys bout’s were a single boll of cotton with a guitar pick nestled inside, since my husband is an avid guitar player. We also handmade our programs that folded out into fans (with fun facts about the bride and groom on the back). We offered small water bottles at the guest book table before the ceremony. We offered an extensive s’more’s bar and also DIY’ed our favors (which were boxes with our monogram on top, and two plantable seed bombs inside.) As a gift, the best man made us beanbag toss games, and I painted “Mr.” and “Mrs.” on top with paint I had at home. Rather than having centerpieces we would never use again, we got flowerpots, filled them with rock and sterno cups, and had the guests roast the smore’s at their table. Now we have the flowerpots to use in the spring!
What’s the best advice you have for brides now that you’re on the other side?
I think the best advice I could give for saving money on a wedding is do your research! The first thing I did was plan out a budget for ANYTHING I could think of that I would need for a wedding. I wrote it down and figured it in. There were things (like buying a new garter) that got dropped along the way, but my unexpected expenses turned out to be very low. I got great deals on all my stationary because VistaPrint did a deal for $70 worth of product for $15. I ended up with two of those deals and got all my stationary and most of my bridesmaids gifts for a very good price! (The reason the gifts part was so high in my budget breakdown was because I splurged for custom silk-screened ties for all the guys.)
Also, advice part two…be laid back. You may have an idea of what you want for your wedding in your head, but be open to how it happens. I knew I wanted a photographer. I couldn’t find any for less than a couple of grand, so I reached out on facebook and found a friend that wanted to get into the industry. She had already shot some great photos and she agreed to shoot the wedding AND an engagement shoot. I also knew I wanted wedges under my dress. Guess where I found them? In a consignment shop. I knew I needed a wedding dress, and my parents offered to pay for it, since it was really all they could afford to do for the wedding. I walked in to the bridal shop without a set idea, and found an $800 dress marked down to $200. This was a bit under my parent’s budget, so that came free. And so many people raved about the dress. One lady even said it was the most beautiful dress she had ever seen! None of these things happened how I thought they would, but all turned out great!
What was your biggest splurge?
We had two real “splurges.” One was the venue. I was never a girl that grew up dreaming about her wedding…but I knew if I ever did get married, I’d want it in a beautiful spot. We chose an outdoor location just outside of a quaint little town in NW Missouri. There was a field next to us with a tobacco barn in the distance and a huge oak tree in the front. It really was a beautiful location. The second splurge was the party bus. Almost 95% of our guests were coming in from out of town, and most of those guests were first-time visitors to Kansas City. We rented a party bus to show up after the reception and take a tour of the city. It was a neat thing for people to see our town, and was so much fun! Definitely worth the investment!
What was your favorite detail?
My favorite detail of the day was the necklace I wore. It was my great-grandmother’s lavaliere necklace that was presented to her in 1917 in lieu of an engagement ring. All the women in my family have worn it in their weddings since then.
What was the most memorable moment of your day?
My favorite moment was during our photos. I’ve been a bit of a tomboy growing up, and I said when we signed on the venue that I wanted to take pictures IN the Oak tree on our wedding day. Sure enough, when the day came, the ladies at Eventful found me a step ladder and Jordan and I (while I was in my wedding dress) climbed into that tree for pictures. Those are some of my favorite pictures of the day.