The Budget Savvy Bride » Real Weddings helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank Fri, 01 May 2015 16:30:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Tropical Florida Wedding Wed, 29 Apr 2015 12:00:02 +0000

Colorful, tropical and sunny are the three words that come to mind when looking at the photos from Alex and Emily’s Florida wedding. Beach weddings are always fun, and I especially love how the green and yellow colors complement the beautiful setting. Make sure you check out their photobooth guestbook. What a creative way to make a piece of their wedding serve double-duty! And Emily’s advice on sticking to a budget is great: “Don’t jump into the first thing you see!” This wedding shows that following a budget isn’t always a constraint, but a tool to help you make sure you’re getting exactly what you want so you can create a day you’ll remember forever. xoxo-Jessica

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Emily + Alex

February 9, 2014

Orlando, FL | Paradise Cove

What was your budget?

Venue: $2500

Photographer: $2000

Videographer + photobooth + lighting: $2500

DJ: $2000

Catering + cake: $3500

Decorations + bouquets + invitations: $500 (DIY)

Dress + accessories: $800

Tux + accessories: $200

Hair + makeup: $0 (DIY)

Total: $14,000



How many guests did you have?




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

All of our decorations including centerpieces, altar, bouquets, invitations and thank you cards were made by the bride to make it more personal and affordable. Her favorite flowers are sunflowers, which were incorporated in all aspects of the wedding. We also had a few dozen pictures organized as a timeline (hung around our venue) from birth until marriage. Our tables were literally “us-themed”. Each table was different and based off of things that make us unique as a couple – cats, videogames, nursing, etc. Lastly, our guest book was a scrapbook full of photobooth photos, for a fun and creative way to remember our special day!



What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

Making all our own decorations and invitations saved a lot of money. We used Ebay and other discount/wholesale stores to get the best price. We saved a lot of money in particular on the flowers. We opted for fake flowers rather than real flowers; they turned out beautiful and we saved hundreds of dollars!



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

Don’t jump into the first thing you see! Whether it’s the venue, the DJ, the photographer, etc, make sure you really think it through and compare prices before you commit. Make sure you are getting a good deal!



What was your biggest splurge?

The videographer was probably our biggest splurge. We met several companies that were less expensive than our choice, but we couldn’t pass up the quality and amazing editing capabilities of Scott Trippler!



What was your favorite detail?

I loved that I could incorporate my favorite flower, sunflowers, into basically everything – the ceremony, hair, invitations, bouquets, centerpieces, everything!



What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Oh my goodness, this is impossible to answer! There are so many moments I will never forget… when Bohemian Rhapsody came on and the entire dance floor broke out into (what appeared to be choreographed, according to my Gram) crazy, awesome dance moves…the hilarious speeches given by our bridal party… the pure love and joy that was emanating all day. But, if I had to choose one part that I will never, ever forget, it’d be the look on my husband’s face when I walked down the aisle.



Venue: Paradise Cove • Photographer: Norman Yu • Videographer + photobooth + lighting: Scott Trippler • DJ: Soundwave • Catering + Cake: Magic Occasions • Decorations + bouquets + invitations + announcements: DIY • Dress + accessories: David’s Bridal • Tux + accessories: JCPenney • Hair + makeup: DIY






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Classy Navy Wedding Wed, 22 Apr 2015 12:00:37 +0000

Navy and pink is a classic combination as evidenced in the wedding we’re featuring today, and everything about this event is classy. From the bouquets of pink and white roses to the floor length navy bridesmaid gowns to the church ceremony and gray tuxes, all of the details make for an elegant and chic wedding. The balloon backdrop for their rustic wedding cake is absolutely beautiful. Although this wedding has a traditional feel, I love that Rebecca and Isaac weren’t afraid to mix in some unconventional wedding decor too. xoxo, Jessica

wedding bandsnavy wedding invitation wedding hangarsstrapless wedding dressdetailswedding getting ready photosbridal photosbridal photospink and navy weddingpink and navy wedding flowersflower girlspink and navy weddinggray groom attiregray groom tuxgray and navy  groomsmengray and navy  groomsmenwhite and pink wedding flowersring bearerflower girlschurch wedding ceremonywedding processionalgiving the bride awaychurch wedding ceremonyrecessionalringing the church bellbride and groom photosgarden bridal photosoutdoor bridal photosoutdoor bridal photosgarden bridal photosoutdoor bridal photospink and navy bridal partypink and navy bridal partyreception seating chartreception seating pink and white flowerspink, navy and white centerpiecessweetheart tablereception venuejam reception giftsfirst dancewedding balloons cake tablesparkler send off

Rebecca + Isaac

May 24, 2014

Staunton, VA |  First Presbyterian Church and American Hotel and Banquet Room

What was your wedding budget?

Our overall budget was $15,000 and we ended up spending $13,408.06

Photography: $1,316
Minister: $250
Church: $500
Reception Venue: $2,775
Catering: $4,355.29
Invitations: $288.77
Rentals: $622.75
Flowers: Free
Day of Coordinator: Free
Wedding Dress: $1,200
Decoration: $550
DJ: $1,000
Cake: $50

Favors: Homemade Peach Jam by my In-laws



How many guests did you have?

124 guests



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

My name is Rebecca and my husband’s name is Isaac. We both grew up in Christian families and were familiar with the couple in the Bible named Rebekah and Isaac. We had our sister’s read the verses that contained their love story during our ceremony.

My paternal grandfather conducted and sang in his own big band called Dick Crist and the Sound of Swing before he passed away in 2003. A few years before he passed away, his band recorded a CD, and he sang on a track called “Slow Boat to China.” My father was extremely close to him, and to honor him we played that song as our father/daughter dance. It was a surprise to my dad’s whole family, and there was not a dry eye in the room!

Isaac and I both grew up with amazing cooks in our family and we both have favorite recipes from that. The cake that we cut was my grandmother’s Pineapple Orange Vanilla Cake, and we also served Isaac’s mother’s Shoofly Cake.

I had found an arbor online that I fell in love with. I asked my fiancé and father if they could build it based off the picture and other specifications. It was a great time for them to talk and bond while building it. They built it for half the price, and now it stands overtop of our bed!
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

My uncle is a second-generation florist based out of South Carolina. As a wedding present to us, he provided all of the flowers and did the arrangements for free. It was a wonderful blessing and was the biggest decoration aspect of our wedding. When you walked into our reception, the smell of roses was the first thing that greeted you! I have been told that the flowers we had were valued around $7,000 and that certainly saved our budget.

Something that we personally did to save money was to have a simple design for our tables. We decided to use mismatched glass pieces with candles to add a glow and elegance to our centerpieces. Part of our engagement was over the summer months, so we were able to go to yard sales and thrift stores to find pieces. Overall, we were able to find all of the glass for our wedding for under $100.



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

Calligraphy is something that I have always found so beautiful. I wanted to have a professional calligrapher design our invitation suite as well as paper materials for our wedding. I shopped around and couldn’t find anyone in our price range. I ended up hand addressing the invitations and getting creative on the computer to create our programs.



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

I was a full-time student in my senior year during our engagement, and even up to a month before our wedding. I was trying to create my perfect wedding with limited amounts of time because of schoolwork. I wish that I had sought someone to help us carry out our vision of the wedding during the planning process. I am very thankful, though, that I had a day of coordinator. My mother’s cousin is a professional wedding planner in Tennessee and she offered to do the day of coordination for free. That helped relax my mind the day of the wedding and enjoy it that much more!



What was your biggest splurge?

The biggest splurge that I pushed for was renting chairs for our reception venue. The ones provided were white plastic chairs that I knew I would not be happy with. They did not have the warm romantic feel that I wanted my wedding to have. I had to convince my mother and fiancé that it was an important aspect, and $622 later on the wedding day, they agreed with me! It made the biggest difference.



What was your favorite detail?

Our guest book! We had a photo booth with pink and white balloons as a backdrop set up as guests entered the reception venue. The couples and families were given a board to write a message on and write their names, and we had a photographer stationed there to take their picture. We now have an album filled with funny, loving messages from our family and friends pictures just as they were the day of our wedding.



What is the most memorable moment of your day?

I remember walking down the aisle after the ceremony with my husband and feeling so relieved and excited and ready to celebrate! We ran off into the bell tower and got to ring the church’s bell as soon as we were married. The moments alone with each other right after the ceremony were so sweet, and they are something I will always remember.




Photographer: Kelly Dean Photography • Bride’s Gown: by Casablanca via The Castle Prom and Bridal • Bridesmaids Dresses: Kanali K via The Castle Prom and Bridal • Ceremony Venue: First Presbyterian Church • Reception Venue: The American Hotel and Banquet Room • Catering: Weddings and Things • Florist: Coggins Flowers and Gifts • Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas • Chair Rentals: M&S Events


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Outdoor Southern California Wedding Wed, 15 Apr 2015 12:00:00 +0000

Today we’re featuring an outdoor southern California wedding. Shannon and Garrett made great use of their personal home to host their family and friends for their big day. The rustic handmade details woven throughout the day give their wedding and reception a personal, authentic feel. Garrett’s craftsmanship is evident with the signs he made. I especially love the “Eat, Drink and Be Married” sign he created! And it’s always fun to see unconventional menu choices for weddings.  Doesn’t their food truck reception look amazing? Be inspired by today’s handmade sunny wedding! xoxo, Jessica

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Shannon + Garrett

Feb 7th, 2015

Valley Center, CA | The Couple’s Personal Home


What was your wedding budget?

We spent a total of $9500.

Dress: $200

Ties: $50

Flowers: $200

Photography: $3000

Decorations: $300

Officiant: $240

Food Truck: $2300

Beverages: $500

Party Rentals: $1207.3

Porta-potty: 1437.5

Cake: $0

Music: $0

Website/Invitations: $60


How many guests did you have?



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

My husband does metal work. He made our wedding sign for out front, as well as the Cornhole boards and the “Eat, Drink and Be married” sign. He did an amazing job. The wedding sign is gorgeous and we’ll keep forever. The roses instead of just the usual holes for Cornhole was so creative and gorgeous. I also loved how the “Eat Drink and Be Married” signs turned out. He intentionally made the i’s small because there’s no more “I” once you’re married :)


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

We kept the guest list down, bought my dress from China and skipped on things that weren’t important to us (like music and dancing).


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

I don’t feel like we made any sacrifice to stay on budget. We decided very early on what was important to us and looked into general prices to figure out our budget. We had exactly what we wanted at a price we were comfortable with.


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

Focus on what matters to you so that you will have FUN on your wedding day and ignore expectations. You should have the day YOU want, not the day everyone else thinks you should have. There is such a “formula” to weddings now but I feel like it really doesn’t fit all couples and you should think about what you want on your wedding day so that you have fun.


What was your biggest splurge?

The photographer. We almost just had a friend do it, but everyone kept telling me photos would be the most important thing. $3000 but SOO glad we did it. Robert did an exceptional job!


What was your favorite detail?

The cake topper. Even though the hair colors don’t match us the sentiment of how they are holding each other just reminded me of my husband and I. It made me really happy. What’s funny is I didn’t show it to him before the wedding and he had the same visceral reaction the day of the wedding when he saw it on the cake.


What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Our kiss. It was such a culmination of things. All the planning and preparation, and we were finally standing up there, holding hands, getting married. The officiant actually used the wrong vows but it didn’t matter. We were so happy.
But jumping in the bouncy house would be a close second…so much fun!


Photographer: Robert Paetz • Caterer: Curiosity Catering • Officiant: Ken Hoelscher from SoCal Vows • Event Rentals: Event Party Rentals
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NYC Bookstore Wedding Wed, 08 Apr 2015 12:00:00 +0000

I always love seeing budget-savvy weddings with unique venues and fun details. This NYC bookstore wedding is no exception. Abbie and Jason kept costs down by using the same venue for both their ceremony and reception and opting for a cocktail-style food with limited alcohol options. Because of the bookstore’s beauty, Abbie discovered there wasn’t a need for lots of decorations. Instead, they chose a few, special details that complemented the venue and tied the event together. I also love how they made the most of the rainy day by pulling out an umbrella and taking some wonderful photos. Happy Wednesday! xoxo, Jessica

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Jason + Abbie

May 16, 2014

New York, NY | Housing Works Bookstore


What was your budget?

Our budget was $20,000.

Venue: $3,000

Food and drinks: $10,000

Dress: $1,000

Band: $2,000

Wedding coordinator: $1,000

Photographer: $1,500

Flowers: $500

Tips & misc: $1,000



How many guests did you have?




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

Jason is really creative and a great artist, and he was able to draw both our save the date and wedding invitation. Our wedding invite was my favorite thing – we created a little book, because of the bookstore theme, and he drew our love story and showed all the adventures we went on. It was the most creative wedding invitation I have ever seen, and it wasn’t expensive because we did everything ourselves.



What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

We avoided having a full sit-down dinner and opted for a cocktail style wedding. This made the wedding more unique and laid back, and we saved a lot by only paying for hors d’oeuvres. Instead of having a full open bar, we had just beer, wine, and champagne, which helped to save a lot. We also asked for help from friends – I have a friend who is a cake decorator, and she was nice enough to make our wedding cake!



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

Know your budget and do what makes you happy! Before you meet your vendors, have a budget in mind that you feel comfortable sticking to, and don’t go beyond it.

And, in the end, this is your day and it’s about you and your future spouse. Try not to worry about what other people want, because this should be the one day where it’s all about you!



What was your biggest splurge?

We got an awesome and expensive mac and cheese bar, but it was definitely worth it! The macaroni and cheese was cheesy and delicious, and was served in a martini glass with your choice of toppings. It was really memorable and the guests loved it.



What was your favorite detail?

I absolutely loved the venue. I think it made for a really unique and romantic setting. The bookstore didn’t require any decorations, so that helped to save money on huge floral arrangements.



What is the most memorable moment of your day?

My husband and I had surprises planned for each other throughout the day. He surprised me with a cotton candy machine (my favorite!) and I surprised him with the famous NYC waffle truck Wafels and Dinges (his favorite!). We love desserts and surprising each other, so it made for a really amazing and memorable day.




Photographer:  Priyanca Rao Photography • Day of Wedding Coordinator: Big Juicy Events • Shoes: Chinese Laundry • Reception Venue: Housing Works Bookstore Cafe • Cake: The Sweetest Thing LI • Tuxedo and Men’s Attire: Hugo Boss • Dress: Maggie Sottero • Flowers: Langdon Florist • Band: Sean Smith Trio

Submitted via Two Bright Lights

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DIY Travel Themed Wedding Wed, 01 Apr 2015 12:00:00 +0000

Planning a wedding far from the bride’s and/or groom’s home comes with challenges and opportunities. Emily and Matt’s event shines in today’s Real Wedding feature. Since many of their guests traveled for their wedding, the couple incorporated travel details throughout their day while showcasing their new home. Their use of maps — from the bouquets to the decor to the favors — unified the event and the catering from local farms gave their guests an opportunity to enjoy the flavors of Washington. Enjoy this DIY travel themed wedding! xoxo, Jessica

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Emily + Matt


Port Townsend, WA | Fort Worden State Park


What was your wedding budget?

Our budget was set at $10,000.

Ceremony site + reception venue: $1,000.00

Reception food & booze                    $4,300.00

Dress & shoes (bride)                      $300.00

Hair/makeup/nails                           $250.00

Grooms clothes                                  $200.00

Decorations                                        $600.00

Reception DJ                                      $500.00

Save the dates/Invites                     $350.00

Photographer                                    $1,700.00

Ceremony music                               $150.00

Total                                                   $9,350.00



How many guests did you have?




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

Matt and I moved to Washington State from the Midwest in late 2013 – we got engaged on Christmas day. We started planning a wedding in Michigan to be close to family but ultimately decided that we wanted to have our closest friends and family travel to Washington and visit our new home for our wedding.

Because of the travel involved and our mutual love of exploration we chose a travel theme. I designed Save the Dates and Invitations that included a map of the US and a personal logo for our wedding. Our airplane logo was used on the invites, gift bags, and reception place cards.

The place cards were encased in a luggage tag from REI that doubled as our wedding favor. I went to the farmers market the morning before my wedding to buy six beautiful bunches of flowers for the tables at our reception. I volunteer for a local community garden so local food and flowers were important to me. In the months before the wedding, I made paper flower bouquets and boutonnieres for the wedding party out of maps. I had small map flowers decorating the tables and our “guestbook” was a calendar with world maps. We had each guest sign by their birthday so we could remember them throughout the year.

I wanted to honor our female family members in attendance, so I made bracelets with a piece of a map from the place they were born or someplace special to them. I gave a map pendant necklace to each bridesmaid and the officiant (who is a sister of the groom) to wear during the ceremony. I gave map-design thermoses to my brother (and best man) and to my good friend that helped set up the reception decorations.

The food we served was a taste of Washington. My husband is a meat eater and I am a vegan – we compromised by serving local meats and having everything else prepared vegan. Local salmon cakes were the main entrée, and Washington apple crisp was served in place of a cake. The day before the wedding, I took our friends and family on a local cider/wine tour and purchased wine and cider for the reception. We also served beer from the local Port Townsend Brewing Company.

Matt and I moved to Washington from Chicago, where a late-night food of choice was often tacos. Our final personal touch was a nod to our old neighborhood as our caterer served late-night tacos (vegan and non-vegan, with beef from Short’s Family Farm located a short drive from our new neighborhood) a few hours into our reception.

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

I purchased my dress off the sale rack from the designer section of Macy’s for $279.00. I pretty much knew this was where I would purchase my dress. After I tried dresses at a bridal salon, ordered an ill-fitting dress online and kind of gave up, I walked into Macy’s in the Chicago Loop and found my dress.

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

I tried so hard not to get caught up in details and to ENJOY what was happening. I did a good job 75% of the time. Take the time to enjoy this event and forget about perfection. I had a lot of fun and let my friends and family help when they offered. Turns out, they wanted to help, and it felt good to have them involved.

What was your biggest splurge?

The reception! We tried to throw a hell of a party for everyone that was willing to fly across the country to celebrate with us! We purchased our own alcohol for the event and took most of the leftovers home (giving some to the catering staff for their efforts) – that never goes to waste.

What was your favorite detail?

The bracelets I made for our guests. First, I love a good project and it took me a long time to make all of these; second, I got to learn a few new things about my guests by asking about their birthplace or special place; third, my sweet home Chicago was proudly displayed on my own wrist throughout our wedding day.

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

The end of the ceremony when I kissed Matt and he wrapped his arms around me and picked me up like he always does like no one else was there.



Photographer:  Samantha McFarlen • Venue: Ft. Worden State Park • DJ: Caleb Peacock • Catering: In-Season Catering & Short’s Family Farm • Hair: Izadoras Salon • Alcohol: Port Townsend Brewing CompanyEaglemount Wine and CiderLullaby Winery & Fair Winds Winery • Decor: Metsker Maps of Seattle  •  Dress: Macy’s

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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

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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

lace dressbootswedding rings and fishhooklace wedding dressbarn bridal photoscrocheted bouquetbridesmaid bootscoral and aqua weddingcrocheted bouquetgroom attirecoral and aqua weddingbarn photosfirst lookbarn wedding photosbride and groom barnwedding dog photoswedding dog photos
coral and aqua weddingwedding ceremony processionalColorado outdoor ceremonyoutdoor ceremonyoutdoor ceremony Colorado outdoor ceremonyexchanging vowsfirst kissColorado outdoor ceremonywedding recessionalbride and groom fishing fly fishingtrash the dressColorado weddingbarn receptionwildflower centerpieceswildflower centerpiecesmason jar glassesmason jar glassescorn holelog guest bookcupcake displaybarn reception




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

embroidered bride shirt bride getting ready with her mom wedding dress bride details something blue shoes wedding garters wedding something blue wedding bouquet bride getting ready with her mom boutonnieres boutonnieres groom groomsmen bride wedding first look wedding first look wedding first look wedding first look bridesmaids navy lace bridesmaids wedding party wedding processional wedding ceremony wedding ceremony wedding first kiss wedding kiss music note wrapped bottles with babys breath - so chic! rustic wedding decor music sheet paper chain rustic chic wedding details wedding details wedding details wedding details wedding centerpieces wedding centerpieces wedding centerpieces wedding centerpieces wedding centerpieces wedding centerpieces wedding centerpieces wedding details wedding details wedding details wedding couple wedding rings wedding the garter toss amazing wedding shot wedding dance wedding exit

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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