The Budget Savvy Bride » Real Weddings helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank Sat, 28 Mar 2015 20:01:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Backyard Wedding in Sun City Wed, 25 Mar 2015 12:00:00 +0000

What a beautiful backyard wedding we’re featuring today to help ring in spring! Although Kyrsten and Jacob were married in December in the sunny Southwest, their beautiful backyard wedding and reception is especially inspiring for our readers who live in the colder states and are beginning to see the first signs of spring right now. Like many of our budget-savvy weddings, Krysten and Jacob show how using what you’ve got can save you $$$. They were able to use the grounds of a golf course for their ceremony for free and a they had their reception at the home of a friend. I love how the rustic details like the fireplace mantle and the flowers give the wedding intimate, comfortable yet chic atmosphere. xoxo, Jessica

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Kyrsten + Jacob


Sun City, Az | Desert Sring Golf Course


What was your budget?

We had a lot of connections that saved our wallet! We were able to do the ceremony outside at a golf course for free. We did the reception at a friend’s house that was absolutely beautiful. I am a Pinterest freak and have had my wedding planned since I was 16. I wanted my wedding to have a rustic/indie feel to it. I did simple centerpieces of wood slab that I cut myself, doilies I found on and lanterns with flicker lights I got from Hobby Lobby when they were on sale for 50 % off. The burlap runners were also from Hobby lobby.

We saved a lot by using our resources and connections, doing my own decorations, and looking at thrift stores and garage sales for the little stuff.

Photography (including free engagement session): $1450

Rented chairs and tables (from a school): $50

Linens: $255

Ceremony and reception venues: $0

Food and cake: $700 (Paid for by parents)

Flowers: 291.72 (used a wholesale florist)

Decor: $250

DJ: $0, done by a friend (Since it was a small reception area we just used the speakers we had installed at the house).

Photo booth: $400

Dress: $0 (Borrowed from my maid of honor who let me tailor it to my style)

At the end of all these we didn’t have money for favors , which really didn’t matter cause most weddings you go to they end up throwing half of them away at the reception and the other half get thrown out with they get home. In total we probably spent around $3500!


How many guests did you have?




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

I got all my girls in the bridal party white collared shirts with our date and initials on them for getting ready the morning of the wedding.

I lost my little brother to suicide 6 months before the wedding. He was supposed to walk me down the aisle. I walked alone because no one could come close to filling his shoes. For the “Father/Daughter Dance,” I  danced with all the men in my life who had made an impact on me. Most of them were close friends of Chris and I. A signature look for my little brother was how he tied his tied. He was a pro at the Eldredge Knot, so all the groomsmen and groom wore that knot. I did a special dance with my mom to our song.



What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

We used what we had. We had a friend with a huge gorgeous house, so we used that. We had a friend that had a connection with a manager of a golf course, so we used that. We recycled decorations from our engagement party and used things we found at garage sales and thrift stores.



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

Make a list of things that are most important to you. And when you get down the list and you don’t have money for the least important things then you don’t have the money and you skip it, it’s not the end of the world. It is one day and you don’t want to start your marriage off in debt.



What was your biggest splurge?

The photographer. She is absolutely amazing! I don’t regret a single penny!



What was your favorite detail?

My dress. I got to wear a dress I looked great in, I made it my own and saved a lot of money!



What is the most memorable moment of your day?

The moment before I walked down the aisle, I was my changing room alone. I had a picture of my little brother with me and I thought about what his reaction would be of my dress and how handsome he would look walking me down the aisle, if he would cry or not, dancing crazy with him at the reception, and just having him there. Yes, it made me sad but it was my special moment with him to make me feel like he was there and a part of that big day.




Photographer:  Melissa Wright Photography  • Ceremony Venue: Desert Golf Spring Course • Photobooth: Hollywood and Mayhem Events • Catering: Oregano’s • Cupcakes: Sweet Daddy Cupcakes • Groom’s attire: Men’s Apparel Club

Submitted via Two Bright Lights

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Intimate Lavender Wedding Wed, 18 Mar 2015 13:00:29 +0000

Today’s featured wedding comes to us from Virginia. Cory and Mae kept their wedding costs to just more than $4,000 by using the same venue for the ceremony and reception and accepting the help of generous family and friends.  I love the creativity and industriousness they demonstrated by using Spotify for their music, purchasing their own alcohol and choosing to alter a used wedding dress versus buying new. This gray and lavender wedding shows ways you can trim your budget without compromising the spirit of the event. xoxo, Jessica

lavender and gray invitationlace wedding dressIntimate Lavender Wedding_(3)Intimate Lavender Wedding_(4)fabric flower bouquetlavender bridesmaid dresseslavender bridesmaid dressgray tuxedogroom tuxedogray groomsmen attiregray and lavender wedding partybride and groom kissing photogray and lavender wedding partyIntimate Lavender Wedding_(34)Intimate Lavender Wedding_(35)ceremony seatingwedding processionalvowsfirst kissbride and groom outdoor photosbride and groom outdoor photosbride and groom outdoor photosbride and groom outdoor photosoutdoor kissing photooutdoor bride and groom photosvintage chalkboard centerpiecesvintage chalkboard table settingIntimate Lavender Wedding_0052beverage tablereceptionwhite cake with pink flowerscake cuttingfirst dancefather daughter dancereception dancingstreamer wedding send off

Cory + Mae

November 9, 2014

Waynesboro, Virginia | Fairfax Hall

What was your wedding budget?

Our target budget was $3900.

Venue: $1000

Cake: $335

Total Flowers: $339 (this was the cost of the flowers/bouquets alone—a good friend did all of the flower arrangements for decorating, all the corsages and boutonnieres, and my bouquet was a fabric bouquet from Etsy custom-made in Israel—it cost less than many real flower bouquets, was gorgeous, and I get to keep it forever).

Photographer: $300 (for a second shooter)—my main photography was FREE! (a special wedding gift from my sister/matron of honor, as she is a professional photographer)

Music: $10 (my fiancé and I signed up for music for one month on Spotify and downloaded all the songs we wanted onto a playlist)

DJ: FREE (another special gift from my brother-in-law)

Food: $300 (a friend catered it for free, and only charged for the cost of the barbeque food)

Caterer: $200 (a gift to my friend for catering)

Dress: $350 (found used dress in the wrong size that I loved, had it tailored to fit)

Hair: $170 (for myself and three bridesmaids)

Alcohol: $300 (bought nice boxed wine and good glass bottled beer)

Table linens: $235

Seat covers for ceremony: $100

Invitations: $50

Decorations: $300

Wedding wands: $134


Total spent: $4123 (Cory and I contributed the additional money above my parents’ budget).



How many guests did you have?

94 guests (including the wedding party)



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

I did all the decorations myself. Our “guestbook” was a large picture frame with a border about 1 foot thick all the way around. I painted it our wedding colors and put an engagement picture in the middle. People signed with white paint pen and now we have it hanging in our bedroom.


I also included a board with pictures from our childhoods covering it, another board with pictures of us while dating, and another board with interesting wedding facts written on scrolls.


One very personal and special aspect was that I walked down the aisle to “Wonderwall” by Oasis, which was the first song that my husband played for me before we even started dating, to tell me how he felt about me. Walking down the aisle to that song was so meaningful and Cory had no idea ahead of time, so he was floored.


My dad not only gave me away but he also officiated the ceremony, which was super special for me. My brother was the one who asked, “Who gives my sister to marry this man?” (which is something I have wanted my whole life). My little 1 year old niece was my flower girl, and she toddled down the aisle and tried to pick up some rose petals to put in her little lace-lined pail. It was adorable. My sister Maria was my matron of honor and my photographer (I’m still not quite sure how she managed to pull that one off!), my other sister, Megan, was one of my bridesmaids and her and her boyfriend played music during the reception and during our cake cutting. My sister-in-law, Kelsey, was my third bridesmaid. Nathan, my brother-in-law, coordinated all of our music for us, and it went off without a hitch. Cory’s groomsmen consisted of my brother and his closest friends and his brother. Our ring bearer was one of Cory’s nephews, who was absolutely adorable. Overall, having my family so involved in our wedding and close during the process was hands down one of my favorite aspects of our wedding.




What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

I did/made my own decorations and had friends do the flowers and catering, and my family helped so much. I could not have had this nice of a wedding on our budget without friends and family pitching in to help. Honestly, it was well worth it because each detail was so much more meaningful because it was personalized and I spent time and effort on each piece.



What was the biggest sacrifice you made to stay on budget?

Although it turned out not to be much of a sacrifice, we decided not to include wedding favors for our guests. We felt that the options we could afford would be items that our guests wouldn’t use anyway. We decided that the alcohol and food counted as a wedding favor!



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

Remind yourself why you are even having a wedding in the first place. Whenever I was tempted to stress out, I reminded myself that at the end of the day, surrounded by people that we love, Cory and I would be married. I stayed focused on that aspect, and tried not to worry too much about how every little detail would fit together and be perfect. Even when my flowers arrived in the wrong color (hot pink instead of lavender) I allowed myself a “mini-cry” in the car, and then decided quickly to move on and embrace it as a funny story for later. Also, I know everyone tells you to do exactly what you want and how you want it because this is “your day” to be selfish. However, I decided not to go this route. I asked for input from family and friends and considered others’ wishes. I was much happier this way and would not have done it differently at all. Plus my friends and family were all very supportive and no one made any crazy demands.



What was your biggest splurge?

The venue. It was beautiful and convenient that the ceremony and reception could all be held at the same place. This also saved money because I only had to decorate one place.



What was your favorite detail?

I could not possibly pick a favorite detail. I did love my mason jars with flowers on lace and gray burlap as centerpieces, and I loved my fabric (not silk!) bouquet. “Our Vows,” framed with a frame that I hand-painted and glued fabric flowers to the corner, written with white pen on a black “chalkboard background” was one of my favorites as well. I also loved the little tin pail that I bought for $2 and decorated with lace and a lavender fabric flower for my tiny flower girl. I loved having little unique details like these.



What is the most memorable moment of your day?

There are so many….the funniest one was when we did the exchanging of rings. We each had one line to say, unprompted, and Cory’s was first. He began placing the ring on my hand and I realized he had forgotten that he needed to say something. So I quietly whispered, “with this ring…” (which was NOT how it was supposed to go!—I had forgotten how it began). So Cory starts, “With this ring….” Then he realized that that wasn’t right, and had to turn to my dad to ask what he was supposed to say. This resulted in a room filled with chuckles. Cory said, “I give you this ring as a symbol of our covenant.” Now it was my turn. As I placed the ring on his finger, I completely blanked (even though he had JUST said it) and I started laughing and had to ask my dad what to say. At this point the room erupted in laughter. It was great. Cory and I were both giggling. We’ll never forget it.




Photography: Maria Grace Photography  •  Hair: Kristin at the Hair Cuttery  •  Cake: Buttercream Dreams  •  Venue: Fairfax Dining Hall


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Colorful Handmade Colorado Wedding Wed, 11 Mar 2015 12:00:48 +0000

Happy Wednesday! Today’s wedding is a gem with lots of color and a stunning outdoor venue. Miriah and Craig did a wonderful job of beautifully pulling everything together with interesting details while maintaining a casual, unfussy atmosphere. The handmade bouquets, guestbook, cupcake stand and mason jars are charming. I love that they took photos with their furbabies after their first look. And how awesome is it that they went fly fishing in the Colorado after their ceremony? Their wedding shows that what makes a wedding special isn’t what you spend money on, but embracing what makes you unique as a couple! xoxo, Jessica

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Craig + Miriah

August 2014

Grand Lake, Colorado | AA Barn

What was your wedding budget?

We needed to keep it to a minimum since we were trying to do it all on our own. We spent approximately $6,800 on everything for our day.

Dress: $1,500

Barn rental: $200

House rented for bride, groom and the wedding party for 3 nights: $1,700

Food for the reception: $450

Invitations: $200 (includes the postage since I designed and printed them myself on card stock I got on sale)

Decorations: $200 (We silk printed the glasses and bought the flowers in bulk and did the arrangements ourselves, all the burlap was on sale when I bought it as well)

Flower bouquets: $50 (Spent on yarn, then crocheted by the bride)

Hair/makeup: $300

Photographer: $2,200



How many guests did you have?

We ended up having 83 people at our wedding.



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

I tried to do everything myself and I gave myself plenty of time to get it all done so I didn’t feel rushed in the last couple of weeks. I started crocheting my flowers a year in advance. I gathered a couple of friends to help with the silk screening for the glasses. My maid-of-honor and another friend did the flower arrangements for the tables. My dad made the wood piece for our guest book along with the cupcake stand. My maid-of-honor baked all the cupcakes.



What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

Not needing to have a fancy catered meal for the reception, we were getting married at a barn on the river. I don’t think a fancy catered meal would have fit in with what we envisioned. I ordered deli meat and cheese trays from City Market and it was the perfect fit.



What was the biggest sacrifice you made to stay on budget?

I don’t think I sacrificed anything to stay on a budget. The day was perfect celebrating with close family and friends. I wouldn’t change a thing if I had an open budget to do it all again. I had a lot of fun doing the majority of it on my own. I love crafting so it made the day more special knowing I did a lot of what made my wedding so unique.



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

Be realistic, know what you want and start planning early. If you do a lot of the stuff on your own with plenty of time before the wedding you can find deals on almost anything to save a lot of money.



What was your biggest splurge?

Definitely the photographer and I think that is one part you should not skimp on. They capture your day in a way that you can look at the photos and remember your exact feelings at that moment.



What was your favorite detail?

I loved the way my crocheted bouquets turned out, it was tedious and sometimes I got bored crocheting the same four flowers over and over but it was totally worth it. What is the most memorable moment of your day ?First look with my groom and having those moments with just each other before the day got chaotic.



Photographer •  Urban Safari Photography, Ltd. • Venue: AA Barn • Flowers: Crocheted by the bride  •  Dress: Wtoo for D’Anelli Bridal • Hair + Makeup: Nancy Small, Apres Ski Hair Design in Grand Lake • Desserts/cupcakes: Maid-of-Honor • Reception band: Old Town Pickers • Rings: Custom design by Nick Mansanares • Jewelry (aside from rings): Charming Charlie • Cowboy boots worn by the bride: Old Gringo Cowgirl Boots • Bridesmaids’ dresses: David’s Bridal.



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Elegantly Rustic California Wedding Wed, 04 Mar 2015 13:00:00 +0000

Today, we’re featuring a lovely northern California wedding with 180 guests that comes in at $7,000! Laura and Kyle made their big day beautiful on a budget through focusing on the natural beauty of the venues, incorporating family heirlooms into the decor and accepting help from family and friends. Laura’s dress, the soft pink and white flowers and lace table linens provide elegant touches. They did a marvelous job making the most of their reception venue, working with — instead of distracting from–  the beauty of the outdoors by creating picnic feel with the BBQ dinner and games.  Enjoy this rustic California wedding! xoxo, Jessica

invitations pink and white bouquets on staircasebride shoes and dresstandem bike card and rignsbride and bridesmaids with dressesbridal hair and makeup

back of dressbridesmaidsgray suitpink dresses and gray suitsflower wreathwedding ceremonywedding ceremonychapel doorfirst kisswedding couple photowedding church photoschurch photosrustic barn couple photonorthern Cali weddinghand lettered signsweeping willows at the receptiongift table notes for happy couplecanned jam wedding favorphoto displayreception seatingcenterpiecespicnic utensilswatermelon and brisketBBQ mealdrink stationgiant jengabunting, lanterns and lightsfirst dancecakeat the reception end of the day

Laura + Kyle

July 19, 2014

Tulelake, California | St. Augustine Catholic Church



What was your wedding budget?

Kyle and I both agreed early on to keep our wedding costs low by sticking to a $7,000 budget. We did a lot a research and discovered just how many costs we could scale down or completely eliminate to treat our guests to a fantastic celebration without blowing our budget.


Save-the-Dates:          $200

Invitations:                 $200

Wedding Gown:         $800

Bridal Party Gifts:      $400

Bouquets & Bouts:    $100

Ceremony Venue:     $0

Photographer:           $1,900

Ceremony Décor:      $100

Reception Venue:      $0

Officiant:                    $200

Flowers:                      $500

Reception Décor:       $300

Tables and Chairs:    $0

Paper Goods:             $300

Food:                           $900

Beer & Wine:             $400

Favors:                        $400

Misc. Donations:        $200

Grand Total:               $7,000

How many guests did you have?

We celebrated our wedding day with 180 of our closest family & friends.



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

We tied in lots of elements that were closely connected to our lives to infuse our entire wedding day with personality. We used lots of heirloom family items as props for our reception including wine barrels, a vintage trunk, antique radios, grape crates, quirky coolers and more. I spent a little time during each week of our engagement working on DIY projects including signs, paper lanterns, paper flowers, buntings, table runners, lawn games & more.



What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

One key piece to keeping our costs low was to focus on a family-centric, easy, fun, backyard environment that would make everyone feel right at home. We also focused on the natural beauty of our ceremony & reception venues to eliminate the need for excessive décor. The biggest thing that made a difference in our costs was the kindness & generosity of our family, friends & community. We were loaned tables & chairs, linens and sound equipment and were gifted with a beautiful cake and exquisite paper flower pew decorations to add special touches to our wedding.



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

Graciously accept help. It can seem awkward to accept or enlist help from your friends & family while planning your wedding, but it is so rewarding (and relieving!) to share the preparation of your big day with those you love.



What was your biggest splurge?

Our biggest splurge was our photographer. We shopped around & found a great photographer that shot in a style we loved at a price that made sense. We wanted to make sure that every little detail was captured for us to look back at for the rest of our lives. We are so grateful that we can now revisit our wedding pictures and remember sweet moments that just didn’t last long enough!



What was your favorite detail?

We (and our guests!) just loved our adorable mini-jam jar favors. We dressed each jar up with a sweet doily & twine cover to tie in with the rustic theme of our wedding. It was so fun to “spread the love” with our guests.



What is the most memorable moment of your day?

We will never forget seeing each other for the first time at our wedding ceremony. All of our hard work & planning came together in that moment and immediately focused us on the importance of our MARRIAGE, not just our wedding.




Photographer: Pixy Prints Photography  •  Invitations: Swell & Grand  •  Wedding Gown & Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal  •  Bridesmaid Robes: Plum Pretty Sugar  •  Tuxedos: Men’s Wearhouse  •  Flowers: Fifty Flowers


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Rustic Warehouse Wedding Wed, 25 Feb 2015 13:30:05 +0000

Happy Wedding Wednesday, lovelies! It’s time for another budget savvy wedding of the week. I know you’re going to love all the amazing details in this rustic warehouse wedding!! Navy lace bridesmaids dresses, lots of music sheet details, baby’s breath and BLUE wedding shoes! Some of my favorite things. I also love the unique location — a very industrial warehouse vibe that was made very chic with the help of the decor. Hope you love this lovely wedding! xoxo Jessica

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Erin + Ricky

December 22, 2013

Monroe, GA | The Engine Room



What was your wedding budget?


Save the Dates 
- $170.00
Invitations - Included in planning
Venue – $2,750.00 (rental and cleaning fee)
Dress - $1,275.46 (1,075.46 dress + 200 alterations)
Tux Rental- $300
Catering -
Alcohol - $738.94
Wedding Planner - $1,500.00
Photography - $3,210.00
Rings - $1,000 (bride band) 100 (groom band)
Flowers - $1,200.00
Music (Ceremony and/or Reception) - $475.00
Wedding Cake - $674.00
Hair and Makeup - $155.00
Wedding favors - $103.00
Decorations –
Included in planning
Transportation 251.25 (shuttle for wedding party)

Total Spent ~$18,000.00



How many guests did you have?







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


My grandfather had passed a few years back from lung caner and his US Navy lapel pins were used as the “buttons” on my bouquet. Old, borrowed, and blue: My jewelry was from my grandmother, given to her by grandfather (and was her birthstone).




What was the biggest thing you did to save money?


Hiring a planner. Jessie kept us in our budget and even designed our invitations.




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


Don’t sweat the details.



What was your biggest splurge?


Our biggest expenses were food and photography. Before we started planning we agreed that those areas of planning were the most important to us.


Ricky and I love to trying new places to eat and cooking together. It made since to share our love of good food with our family and friends.


After all was said and done, we have our pictures that tell the story of our day. We wanted candid shots of our family and friends. Andie and her team captured all the details and little moments of our day perfectly.



What was your favorite detail?


My grandfathers pins on my bouquet





What is the most memorable moment of your day?


Ricky and I both agree that getting all of our friends and family out on the dance floor was the highlight of the night.





Photographer: Andie Freeman Photography   •   Wedding Planner, Event Designer, Flowers, Invitations: Jessie Patton; Southern Sophistication Designs   •   Venue: The Engine Room   •   Caterer: Bleu House Catering   •   Cake: Cecilia Villaveces Cakes   •   Hair/ Make up: Bombshell Creations   •   Music (Ceremony and Reception): Randy Burton @ Dynamite Entertainment   •   Dress Shop and Designer: Carrie’s Bridal Collection   •  Bridesmaid dresses: various   •   Groom’s attire: grey slacks from JCPenney, personal dress shirt and shoes; ties from
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Rustic Barn Wedding Sun, 22 Feb 2015 16:00:00 +0000

Such a lovely Rustic Barn Wedding to share with you today! This couple really focused only on what mattered most to them and crafted a day that truly celebrated their relationship. I love the DIY details like the paper pinwheel bouquets and the pennant banners that hung around the venue. I also LOVE that the bride and groom kept the environment and their eco-footprint in mind when planning their big day. Budget + environmentally friendly go hand in hand! Hope you love this wedding as much as I did! xo Jessica

wedding rings getting ready getting ready wedding first look wedding first look groomsmen bridesmaids wedding portraits wedding portraits wedding portraits wedding portraits wedding ceremony wedding ceremony wedding ceremony wedding ceremony wedding ceremony wedding ceremony wedding ceremony wedding ceremony wedding details wedding details wedding details wedding details wedding guestbook idea wedding coloring page wedding details wedding details wedding details wedding details wedding details wedding details wedding toast wedding dance wedding dance wedding reception wedding reception games wedding reception games

Kevin + Brittany

July 26, 2014

Millersylvania State Park  |  Olympia, WA

What was your wedding budget?

Venue: $600
Photographer: $500
Dress + Accessories + Hair and Make-up: $750
Groom’s clothes: $450
Cake: $400
Rings: $1000
Live Band: $700
Flowers: $0
Catering: $2200
Beer and Wine: $500
Save-the-Dates + Invitations + Postage + Programs: $100
Decorations: $300
Extras (cups, napkins, table linens, ceremony chairs, etc.): $300
Total: $7800


How many guests did you have?



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

We put a lot of thought into every aspect of our wedding because we really wanted it to reflect our values. We tried to stay as environmentally conscious as possible, used local vendors, and really got into the DIY theme.

We made each other’s wedding bands through a private workshop offered in Seattle called With these Rings. I designed my dress and had it made by Victoria at Bella Jean Boutique here in Olympia. We made our own programs and invitations, made all our own decorations (with lots of help from family and friends) and tried to thrift as much as possible. I found fabric at a thrift store and our mothers cut out hundreds of pennant flags that we strung up on twine everywhere!

Kevin’s mom made our Giant Jenga set and drove it all the out from Iowa, and my dad and some friends from my hometown in Alaska caught and donated wild Alaskan salmon for our reception (which also saved us a lot of money on catering!)


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

We spent 18 months planning, saving, and bargain hunting, which definitely gave us time to find the best options within our budget. We researched venues all around Western Washington and quickly realized most private venues were way too expensive. We wanted an outdoor wedding, so we chose to focus on local state parks that included as many amenities as possible. Our venue was only $600 and came with a beautiful barn for the ceremony, a full kitchen, including tables, chairs and place settings, and cabins for getting ready, plus it was pretty close to home, so it was easy for guests to get to from the hotel.

A friend of ours who has an enormous garden wanted to do our flowers as her gift to us, while another friend who owns a food truck in Oregon offered to cater for a discounted price, and since my dad brought the salmon, it really cut those prices in half.
We also followed our favorite photographer on Facebook and snagged her when she posted an amazing deal on a photography package that we couldn’t pass up. Reaching out to family and friends and networking within our community really helped make our wedding possible.


What was the biggest sacrifice you made to stay on budget?

Neither of us feel we sacrificed anything. We started out wanting a very simple, low-key wedding and it ended up being more extravagant than we had planned, but we were completely happy with the outcome. We both chose one big thing we wanted: I wanted a professional photographer and Kevin wanted live music, so we searched for months to make sure this could happen within our budget.


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

Don’t procrastinate! It’s never too early to start making those favors, or researching photographers, or tying bows while you watch TV. At the same time, however, don’t stress yourself out, because it will all work out as it needs to. All wedding days have their glitches, but if you plan on that, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.


What was your biggest splurge?

It was really important to both of us that we had a vegan cake made by our favorite local bakery. I have food allergies and wanted to be able to eat my own wedding cake. We knew we were spending far more than we could have if we went a more conventional route, but it was absolutely worth it.

What was your favorite detail?

We had ordered cake toppers from an Etsy store but they didn’t arrive in time. I was sad that we didn’t have anything to decorate our cake with, but I didn’t have time to worry about it. The night before the wedding, while I was sleeping, Kevin stayed up until 4 am (!) making toppers by cutting out pictures of lawn gnomes, mushrooms, and pinecones from a book and gluing them onto blue card stock with toothpicks. When I woke up the morning of the wedding, we had lawn gnome cake toppers, and they were adorable!  We got the cake toppers we’d ordered in the mail the day we returned from our honeymoon, but we both agreed the paper ones were even better.


What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Kevin says our first dance was the most memorable moment for him. We had picked out a song but barely practiced, so when we got on the dance floor, we just got silly and started making up dance moves. He grabbed my hands and spun me around and around and around at arms length, and neither of us could stop laughing. It was a very unconventional first dance, but it worked for us.

Then, during the reception while everyone else was dancing, the band woke up the bats that had apparently been sleeping in the rafters. They started flying around, dive-bombing our guests, and everyone ran around screaming. I found it absolutely hilarious because I’ve always loved bats, and are even a sign of good luck in some cultures. I was pretty excited that they joined our party.



Rings:  •  Dress:  •  Catering:  •  Venue: Millersylvania  •  Music:

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Classic Glam Purple Wedding Wed, 18 Feb 2015 13:00:23 +0000

I absolutely LOVE this classic glam wedding I’ve got to share with you today! The rich purple hues mixed with the warm fall colors in the bridesmaids bouquets just make my heart sing! This couple saved a bundle by getting a venue that included many things, as well as by doing a bit of DIY! You’re going to love the colors and the warm sunshine light in the photos from the outdoor ceremony! Oh, and they included their dog which is the CUTEST! Enjoy this lovely wedding! xoxo Jessica

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Michelle + Jonathan

October 4, 2014

Mount Pleasant, NC | The Saratoga Springs



What was your wedding budget?

Budget: $16,500

Venue (included decorations and DJ): $6,500

Catering: $3,500

Photography: $3,000

Minister: $100

Dress, Shoes, Veil: $1,600

Wedding Party Gifts: $150

Favors: $125

Alcohol: $425

Wedding Cake: $325

Bride’s Makeup & Hair: $140

Misc. DIY Décor: $100

Invitations & Programs (DIY): $100

Save the Date: $125

Flowers: Done as a gift by a family member

How many guests did you have?




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

One of our dogs was our “ring bearer” – he didn’t carry the ring but walked down the aisle with my MOH and stayed on the gazebo steps throughout the entire ceremony.


Rose Ceremony to honor our mothers – My mother couldn’t physically make the walk down the aisle so mothers were seated before the ceremony. My husband and I wanted to be sure to honor the women who raised us with a special tribute to them.My husband’s father was his best man.




What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

Flowers (free) – husband’s Aunt handmade all bouquets & boutonnieres for us.

Invitations & Programs – Purchased Supplies (about $100) and handmade every invitation and program (it was a lot of fun too!)



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

ENJOY IT! Sometimes its SUPER fun and sometimes it’s really stressful and you can’t wait for the planning part to be over.   I would tell future brides to enjoy planning the biggest celebration of their life.



What was your biggest splurge?

PHOTOGRAPHY! We could have gone with much cheaper photographers but I HAD to have The Burks. They were the photographers for my best friend’s wedding so I knew they were well worth the money. Cost also included Engagement and Bridal Session.



What was your favorite detail?

Bridesmaid Dresses. I wanted a very specific color of purple and surprisingly it was hard to find.   I originally LOVED the color but wasn’t sure about the chain detail around the neck. I took pictures of my MOH in it at the store and couldn’t stop thinking and looking at the pictures. So I knew this was the dress. All of my bridesmaids looked gorgeous in them and I LOVE how all of our colors fit my vision perfectly!



What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Our final dance, I supplied bubbles for the exit but the DJ/Wedding Director suggested also giving everyone bubbles to blow while we took our final dance. It was so special to be surrounded by our loved ones and dancing through bubbles was really FUN! I will always remember looking at my MOH and she mouthed “remember this” – she too knew how special the moment was! Our dance ended in a dip and a kiss from my husband – Best Dance of my life!




Venue: The Saratoga Springs  •  Catering: Bistro Catering & Events  •  Photography: The Burks  •  Makeup: True Beauty Zone   •   Hair: Hailey Plott Flynn  •  Cake: The Sweet Life  •  DJ: BK Entertainment  •   Officiant: Derrick Ross


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Retro Inspired Wedding Wed, 11 Feb 2015 13:00:56 +0000

It’s not that often we get to feature Canada weddings so I’m thrilled to share this sweet one with you today! This lovely wedding had 72 guests and tons of handmade details to make the day unique. The bride got a designer gown at a sample sale (score!) and was very intentional about deciding between wedding “wants” and “needs.” I absolutely love the retro vibe that the wedding party attire invokes, too! I know you’ll love these gorgeous photos! xoxo Jessica

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Rebecca + Bryan

August 2nd, 2014

Qualicum Beach, BC, Canada

St.Mark’s Anglican Church | Eagle Crest Golf Course


What was your budget?

Budget: $10,000 CAD; We spent $10,185 CAD


  • Bride
    • Dress: £450 ($811 CAD)
    • Alterations: £150 ($265 CAD)
    • Shoes: £18.99 ($34 CAD)
    • Head piece: £160 ($278 CAD)
    • Bridal bouquet: $100.80 CAD
    • Hairstylist: $80 CAD
  • 3 Bridesmaid bouquets: $218.40 CAD
  • Flower girl outfit: $30 CAD
  • Grooms Tux: £185 CAD
  • Mother of the Groom Corsage: $21 CAD
  • Father of the Groom Boutineer: $11 CAD
  • Venue: $2100 CAD
  • Church: $250 CAD
  • Organist: $150 CAD
  • Invitations & Reply card : £49 ($89 CAD)
  • Bunting: £229 ($430 CAD)
  • Wedding favours – personalised coasters: $184 CAD
  • Photography: $3,559 CAD (incl. usb with all the pictures)
  • Appy Couple Wedding Website/App: $30 CAD
  • Her Ring: £270 ($494 CAD)
  • His Ring: $800 CAD
  • Other stationery (maps, puzzles, order of service, colouring sheets): $52


How many guests did you have?

We had 72 guests.


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

  • 250 ft of hand made fabric bunting
  • Designed the coasters which were our wedding favours. Identified a Chinese supplier through Was very happy with the process and helped make our wedding even more personalised. Since we’ve lived in Europe, I collect coasters in every country I’ve visited — making our own coasters helped us share the love coasters as mementos
  • Friend Karli made the Wedding cake
  • Friend Gwen made the peg people cake toppers — I was going to make them myself, however my friend Gwen wanted to make them for us since she wouldn’t be able to travel over for the wedding.
  • My Matron of Honour, Laura made the UK Post box style card box
  • An unorthodox walk down the aisle: Bryan walked up to meet me half way, and we walked up to the alter together
  • Created a clue based word search for our guests to keep them entertained ahead of the ceremony


What was the biggest sacrifice you made to stay on budget?

I don’t believe we made any major sacrifices, however we stayed realistic and and approached every decision with the following question “Do we need this or do we just want it?”


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

  • Made the fabric bunting ourselves.
  • Bought wedding dress at a wedding show sample sale
  • Friend made the wedding cake
  • Mother of the Groom created the lovely centre pieces
  • Designed out own double sided ‘post card’ styled invitations, and since the template wasn’t from the wedding section the price was considerable lower.
  • Decided that there was not need to decorate the church — it looked lovely as it was
  • Chose not to order boutonnieres for the groomsman
  • Wedding website to register the majority of the RSVPs


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

For a long distance wedding (bride and groom in different countries) communication and delegation is very important. Since I was living in the UK for the length of our engagement, and Bryan in Canada, we determined what was important to each of us: I wanted to choose the photographer and Bryan wanted to ensure we had a good meal. I took the responsibility of vetting photographers, and Bryan chose the venue and menu — I didn’t even know what our menu was, and trusted him that our venue was up to par and able to accommodate bunting.

I feel having kids there really made the wedding. To ensure that they didn’t get bored at the reception we placed crayons and wedding themed colouring sheets (free images downloaded from google image search) at the tabled they’d be sitting.


What was your biggest splurge?

Our photographers — I profiled each photographer I came across, rated their portfolio and then decided on my top three choices. We were very happy with the couple we went with!


What was your favourite detail?

The bunting — it added character to our reception!


What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Our walk down the aisle as husband and wife!



Photography: Julien Photography   •   Church: St.Marks Anglican Church   •   Reception Venue: Eagle Crest Golf Course   •   Flowers: Qualicum Beach Florist   •   Invitations:   •   Coasters: Fuzuo Goldensun Promotions  •  Bridesmaids Dresses: DaisyBridalHouse   •   Bridal Head Piece: HF Couture  •   Wedding Dress: Justin Alexander    •   Website + Wedding App: Appy Couple


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Outdoor Wedding in Texas Sun, 08 Feb 2015 16:30:00 +0000

 Time for another budget savvy wedding! This outdoor wedding in Texas has lots of unique details to love — including the bride’s brooch bouquet and the fun cigar bar at the reception! I’m also obsessed with the ombre wedding cake and the punchy color scheme! Hope you enjoy this fun golf course wedding! xoxo, Jessica

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Brittany + Court

October 4, 2014

New Braunfels, TX – The Bandit Golf Club

What was your wedding budget?

Our overall budget was about $8,000. We were definitely budget-conscious but also wanted to throw an awesome party and have everyone enjoy themselves so getting as much as we could full-service for the lowest price was our goal.

Venue – $1,325
Photographer – $1,000 (but some of that was gifted to us by family)
Coordinator – they charge $1,800 for day-of coordinating but we got a discounted rate because a friend of mine is a coordinator there
Officiant – free (my grandfather married us)
Music – $700 (classical guitarist playing before and during the ceremony was $200 and a DJ for 5 hours for the reception was $500 including travel costs)
Hair and makeup – $120
Cake – $200 (a decorative 4-tier cake with three fake tiers plus a large sheet cake)
Invitations, save-the-dates, address labels, thank you cards, and postage – $150
Food – $1,600 for a three-course full-service seated meal
Alcohol – $1,200
Miscellaneous – $300 (babysitter for the reception, marriage license, wedding party gifts, decorations, etc.)


How many guests did you have?

75 adults, 10 children


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

Oh my gosh, everything and it was so fun to put together! My grandfather was our officiant and he used a bible that he got us, which was so special. My grandmother made my bouquet out of lace and brooches that family and friends donated at my shower and it came out more perfect than I could have imagined. My mother-in-law decorated two ceremony arches with flowers and fabric. She also made the grooms cake that looked so much like a real fish no one wanted to mess it up!

We had a DIY photo booth, there was a coloring table for the kiddos, my husband made yard games (beanbag toss, huge jenga, etc.) for everyone to play, I hand lettered the seating chart and one large program on chalkboards that we set on easels, and we had a guy there rolling cigars (more info on that below)!

A friend has a fun business and made us the most awesome gift—painted wine bottles with beautiful accents incorporating our wedding invitation and colors along with some personalized coasters using Scrabble tiles.

My aunt made baskets to put in the bathrooms with hairspray, bobby pins, nail files, mouthwash, all kinds of little things you might need in an emergency. A friend of a friend lives on the golf course where we got married and he let us borrow his golf cart for our getaway!


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

I started planning early and researched EVERYTHING. Thinking creatively about alternatives that might not come to mind immediately helped a lot. (For food we looked at the venue, catering companies, restaurants, food trucks, and pop-up kitchens before deciding on anything.) Groupon offers great deals on invitations and things you can use as décor—you can catch fantastic deals that way.

Thankfully, we found a venue that included tables, chairs, linens, bartenders, setup and cleanup of both ceremony and reception, which probably saved us thousands of dollars. We chose a golf course as the site for both the ceremony and reception and because it was so naturally beautiful the only decorations we had were centerpieces and the two arches.

We had lots of DIY details and tried to only use things we already had (jewelry, groom’s and groomsmen’s suits, I wore sandals with my dress) or things we could keep and use after the wedding or give away/sell. (My dress is still for sale if anyone is interested!)

We left out lots of things that didn’t matter so much to us—not having ring bearers or flower girls saved us from buying their outfits and inviting more people to the rehearsal dinner, we limited our bar to just beer and wine, and everyone toasted with whatever they had rather than champagne.

**Alcohol turned out to cost much more than planned because we had to get it through the venue. I didn’t ask enough questions before signing and they were vague on how much it would be. It ended up being as much as the venue itself because of a 300% upcharge on their part even though we chose inexpensive options—people aren’t kidding when they say to find a place you can bring your own alcohol!


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

  • Give yourself lots of time to plan! Researching options to find the best price takes a while and if one vendor falls through, it can save your sanity to have plenty of time to talk with other options. This also gives you time to find great deals. Our 100% customized save the dates were bought for pennies and our invitations and RSVPs came out to $27 total with a Groupon.
  • Don’t feel like you’re inconveniencing vendors by asking questions. Get the information you need; they’re earning your business and if they get frustrated with legitimate questions or act like you’re demanding too much up front, how are they going to treat you after you give them your money?
  • Be confident but kind in your decisions to include what you want (even if it’s seen as weird) and leave out what you don’t (even if it’s expected). Those are the things that make your wedding unique and memorable!
  • At the same time, don’t overload yourself with small projects. All those ideas on Pinterest are great but you have to know when to stop…they add up fast!
  • While this is a very special day, don’t take it too seriously or let it consume every waking moment of your engagement—it’s not fun to be a bridezilla and everything will work out. You really are the only one who will notice if something doesn’t happen as planned and it’s so much more fun to focus on having the best time with your spouse, family, and friends.
  • Find the best photographer you can within your budget! I didn’t think I would care so much about the pictures bust it’s been months since the wedding and I still look at them all the time. I am SO glad we went with our photographer, Lindsey! She truly has been fantastic and gone way above and beyond what we expected in every way—she met me at the venue a couple of weeks before the wedding, helped tweak our timeline based on her experience, gave us some photo ideas, and made us so comfortable. After the wedding she gave us every picture in color and black and white on an app/website and an awesome custom flash drive with our names and wedding date plus a date night gift card, free one year anniversary shoot credit, and a wedding album for Christmas!


What was your biggest splurge?

The coordinator! It took me forever to convince my husband it was worth it to hire them but he will agree now that they were worth every. Single. Penny!

From the very first moment, our coordinators asked the right questions to understand what we wanted, provided suggestions on how to work within our budget, offered to vet vendors, and looked over contracts we were ready to sign. (This alone saved us the amount that we paid them and saved us from a disastrous catering experience!) Having a planner for a small-budget wedding may seem counterintuitive but I think it could be more important because they’ve seen it all and can suggest alternatives that work for you and your budget.

Having them there for the wedding let me be truly present and not worry about what was coming next or whether anything was going wrong. Our coordinator’s boss even showed up and videoed the entire night since we opted not to have a videographer—how amazing is that?!


What was your favorite detail?

My favorite thing at the reception was the cigar roller I got as a surprise for Court. (I didn’t include that in the budget breakdown since I paid for it on my own and he didn’t know about it but it cost $600 plus tax. I’m pretty sure I found that idea on BSB—thanks for that!!) His mom made a cigar bar sign for the table out of reclaimed barn wood and the whole thing was a HUGE hit with everyone there. We were able to get several pre-made cigars from them that had labels a friend designed with our colors, initials, and date on it. So, so fun and he was really surprised and excited about it!

For the ceremony, we wrote our own vows and didn’t compare them beforehand but they ended up aligning perfectly! We both touched on the same things and added a little humor. It was so fun to have people ask us if we wrote them together and tell them we had absolutely no idea what the other was going to say.


What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Our first look was perfect and I’m so glad we did it. The look on his face was priceless and it was great to have just a few minutes to ourselves. Neither of us was nervous the day of (which is strange for me, not because I was worried about getting married but I get WAY anxious being the center of attention) so there were no jitters to work out but it was really fun.



Dress: David’s Bridal  •  Alterations: San Marcos Tailors  •  Photography: Lindsey Clare Photography  •  Invitations/save the dates/thank you cards: Groupon (Vistaprint and Zazzle)  •  Hair and makeup: Erin Parker at Allen Benjamin’s Salon  •  Catering: An Event to Remember  •  Ceremony music: Arnold Yzaguirre  •  DJ: Texas DJ Doug  •  Cake: First Impressions Bakery  •  Cigar rollers: Bobalu Cigar Company  •  Coordinator: Brass Tacks Events


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Wedding with Handcrafted Details Wed, 04 Feb 2015 13:00:35 +0000

I’m thrilled to share this sweet wedding with you today! This lovely wedding had tons of handmade details to make the day unique. The bride got a designer gown at a sample sale (score!) and was very intentional about deciding between wedding “wants” and “needs.” I absolutely love the bunting and the bandana table decor — so sweet and inexpensive too! I know you’ll love these gorgeous photos! xoxo Jessica

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 Rob + Kate

September 13, 2014

 Wall Township, NJ, Pat’s 30 Acres


What was your wedding budget?


Venue and food: $6,700

Rentals: $400

Rings: $350

Jewelry for bride: $25.00 (earrings only, all else was borrowed or already owned)

Hair: free (salon does bride free with certain size bridal party)

Make up: free (wedding gift from close friend who is makeup artist)

Dress: $450

Shoes: $30.00 (2nd hand, ebay)

Day of Coordinator: $500

Photogra pher: $1050

DJ: $300

Flowers (bulk for DIY): $700

Flowers from florist (brides bouquet and mothers corsages): $200

Favors: $300

Invitations: $325

Cake: $225

Cupcakes: gifted, made by one of my fantastic bridesmaids!!

Beach house for weekend: $750

Gifts for Bridal Party and parents: $700

Liquor and wine: $500

Crafts and décor (table squares, thrift store vases, etc) : $1500

How many guests did you have?

185 invited

160 in attendance

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

Our ceremony was very personal. Rob’s sister did a reading, my oldest sister officiated, and my other sister and her husband played a ukulele rendition of “Moon River” as I walked down the aisle, which was actually THEIR wedding song years ago. It made the whole thing incredibly special.

Our décor was pretty special to me because I spent a year gathering vases, ceramic animals, and other odds and ends from second hand stores, and actually became sort of known at some of the local thrift shops. A lot of the volunteers knew me and what I was there for, and would even occasionally hold things behind the counter for me if something came in that they suspected I might like. They always wanted to chat about how planning was going. It became a little ritual, and to see them all out on the tables the day of made me feel a whole lot of feels.

We also had a piñata at our reception. A GIANT one that I made over the course of a week and filled with salt water taffy. We generally aren’t very serious people,, so we wanted something to drive home that this was a laid back and very un-stuffy event. I think my bridesmaids in their formal wear beating a big paper mache ball did the trick. Also, who doesn’t want a taffy shower?!

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

Had a BBQ menu. The BBQ menu was much more affordable then most plated dinners would be, and suited our laid back style anyway. The venue was really great at working with us. We gave them a budget and an idea of what we wanted, and they worked with us on creating a menu with a little more personality then burgers and potato salad while staying inside of our budget. We wanted to stay under $40.00 per person with tax, gratuity, etc. and they got us incredibly close, and produced delicious ribs, brisket, corn bread, salad, baked beans, etc.. It was very “southern style”. They also included two beers on tap of our choosing (Guinness and Blue Moon, which brings a third option, the ever popular Black and Blue!!!), but let us bring in all of the other spirits, so that gave us room to bargain shop for the wine and liquor, which saved us additional on the per head cost.

What was the biggest sacrifice you made to stay on budget?

We did a LOT of things ourselves. It was very time consuming to spend my weekends scouring thrift stores and flea markets, making banners, etc. We also set everything up the day before, including making centerpieces and bridesmaids bouquets from fresh cut flowers we had ordered in bulk. It was a ton of work, but FUN work.

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

Stick to what YOU want. Don’t let other people tell you what you’re SUPPOSED to, or what is EXPECTED, or TRADITIONAL. We kept some traditions, and tossed some that didn’t feel like they fit us out the window. So many people had their opinions, and ultimately on our wedding day when everything was exactly what we wanted, it didn’t matter what they thought. We knew this was everything we wanted it to be.

I would also suggest getting ultra prepared in the weeks leading up to your wedding. Make your to do lists, time lines, etc.. Then once you’re at your rehearsal dinner (if you’re having one) just let go, let it all play out, and whole heartedly enjoy every moment from then on. Even if it turns out it isn’t exactly what you planned. Things will go awry, but all of those moments will either work themselves out, or become interesting stories you laugh about in the future. You only get to do this once, so don’t waste a single second fretting.

What was your biggest splurge?

One: Our day of coordinator seemed like such a luxury when we booked her, but she was the glue that held our entire wedding together. I can’t recommend this splurge for DIY brides enough. On your wedding day there will be a thousand little issues: where does this go, when does that happen.. Those things multiply ten-fold if your wedding is heavy with DIY elements. Our day of coordinator made it her business to make sure we weren’t bothered with any of that. She also made sure that we ate and made sure that our cups were full all night. I truly believe that without her we would have spent our wedding day ring mastering a circus instead of enjoying it.

Two: We decided sort of last minute to rent a house two blocks from the beach in a town about fifteen minutes from our venue instead of getting hotel rooms for the weekend. It was really amazing to have a central location where we could just relax and drink wine on the porch, visit with family, eat snacks with members of our bridal party who popped in and out, for the entire weekend. It created a sense of community that I don’t think we would have had if we had simply booked a room.

What was your favorite detail?

Doilies! They are so light and airy, I just love them. So I bought a box of 1000 for twenty five dollars, and used them for everything. They got wrapped around our invitations, strung up all over our venue, plastered to our piñata.. I still have several hundred of them in my garage.. I feel like it’s the farthest twenty five dollars has ever gotten me.

I also really loved my necklace. It belongs to my grandmother. My grandfather had given it to her as a gift when they were young. He is no longer with us, so it was a nice way to have a part of him with me. Bonus points that it was also super gorgeous.

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Our first dance was really special. It was a song that rang very true not only for us as a couple, but for our tight knit group of friends, so halfway through we invited everyone to join us on the dance floor. Everyone was singing and really happy. It was sort of magic.



Venue: Pat’s 30 Acres  •  Photographer: DB Photography  •  Day of Coordinator: Pearl Event Planning   •  Bridal bouquet and mothers corsages: Mister Allen’s Florist  •  Cake: Mueller’s Bakery  •  Hair: Salon Du Monde  •  All other florals: Sam’s Club  •  Wedding Dress and Bridesmaids: David’s Bridal  • Invitations: VistaPrint


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