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helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank

Hello BSB fans! Well the big day happened. The last couple weeks leading up to the wedding got very hectic, as you will all probably (and unfortunately) get to experience. I put my blogging on the wayside to get things done. But I definitely did not forget about you, the fans.

The biggest change to our day was we had to change our plans for a beautiful outdoor ceremony under a willow tree facing a pond to an all-indoor affair in the barn where the reception was held. After having a drought in the Midwest all summer, the weekend of our wedding we received 6″ of rain. So no matter what, we got plenty of wedding “good luck”. I still wouldn’t change a thing though. It just added to the memories of the day. While this is the logistics of the budget, to read how the whole day unfolded and how I felt throughout the process, check out my blog.


Maureen & Max  

October 13, 2012

 Willow Pond Bed, Breakfast & Events, Weyauwega, WI


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

Our budget was $10,000. The cost we paid was about $8,600.  You can debate how you want if we were under budget or not. With our gifted items the cost was about $10,100.

Venue (entire grounds, barn, tables, chairs, indoor heaters & ceremony props) – $1200

Catering – $3000

Cake – $425

Decorations – $60

Bridal Dress & Accessories – $420

Groom’s Suit & Accessories: – $667 (yes, his stuff cost more than mind did LOL)

Favors – $60

Flowers – $620 (bulk ordered and assembled ourselves)

DJ (covered ceremony, reception & up-lighting) – $500

Paper goods – Save-the-dates, invites, stamps,  favor tags, programs  – $200

Personalized Website w/RSVP feature (7 month subscription) – $135

Photographer (all-day wedding coverage & engagement photos) – $600

Pre-wedding pampering – $160

Gifts for Wedding Party – $500

Bridal Hair and Makeup, Alcohol, Rehearsal & Bus for Guests – Gifted (approximately $1500)

How many guests did you have?


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

The venue was personal. I grew up on a farm and that shaped who I am today. The venue was in the area of Max’s family cabin where we both spend a lot of our free time and many of our memories as a couple have formed. Merging the two was really a great thing.

I tried to do as much as I could  DIY. Knowing time constraints and what I could handle planning everything myself, I left some things out. I made the chalkboard mugs for wedding party, which became one of the fun parts of the reception with them constantly changing what little sayings were on them. I painted the mailbox card holder and the guest seating arrangement decor myself. Since I am a graphic designer, I created our save the date video and all our stationary. My mom, Max and I also made the burlap and ribbon wrapped vases and jars (which doubled for table decor after the ceremony). The favors were DIY. The photo clothes pin timeline was DIY. The morning of the wedding the family also helped with arranging all the flowers, creating the bouquets and corsages for the men. It was really a team effort that paid off. My mom was very touched she got to make my bouquet as well.


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?


I really scoured the internet for deals, comparable things, coupons and really tried to think “out-of-the box” when re-purposing household items. Having a green theme really helped us prioritize what was necessary and what was not. It helped us cut costs and keep things minimal but still meaningful. I work at Goodwill so I was regularly looking for deals after work. We also hit up our local home improvement store and not going to Michael’s and Hobby Lobby unless we had to. An example of that, heavy decent twine for miscellaneous projects was $1.89 at Menards (our local home store) where it was $9.99 at Michael’s and not as heavy or a good fit for the theme.


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


We loved our sweetheart table. Although its not for everyone being completely on display, we loved that we could eat our whole meal (and dessert, I ate all three flavors of our cake), our friends could be with their significant others and we got to share those first few moments together whispering to each other and sharing our experiences. The day was all about us and we loved that.


What was your biggest splurge?


Definitely our catering and our cake. We wanted the best possible food for our guests. We went all out with a regional award winning caterer but the cost was still less than half if we were married in the metro area of Milwaukee or Madison. It was a win-win for us. We had real dishes and silverware and specialty linens that went to the floor for a extra long tables that were included in the venue rental. Our cake was made by a cake artist with special elements of our wedding. Each layer was a different flavor and all were amazing.


What was your favorite detail?


Surprisingly enough, it came down to who was there and not what we did. Having a smaller guest list not only cut our budget, it made our ceremony and party that much more special. Only our nearest and dearest were there. We got a chance to talk to everyone and still bust a move with our closest friends during the night.


What is the most memorable moment of your day?


As our last song, Max requested Billy Joel’s Piano Man since they always sang it after parties and formals for his fraternity. Every guest, both family and friends, gathered around Max and I in a giant circle and sang the entire song. It was a moving and very intimate moment shared by all.



Venue Willow Pond Bed, Breakfast & Events  |  Photography & DJ All Business Photo & DJ  |  Caterer Rockman’s Catering  |  Cake Cake Guru  |  Flowers FiftyFlowers  |  Transportation R&S Limo Service  |  Dress J.Crew via eBay  |  Groom & Groomsman Attire Calvin Klein via Men’s Warehouse  |  Bridesmaid Attire Nata Jane  |  Hair & Make-up Studio 212

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About Mauren

Milwaukee bride planning her Northwoods barn wedding. I love sports, beer, DIY home improvement and snuggling with my little dog.

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