The Budget Savvy Bride » Real Weddings helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank Fri, 27 Feb 2015 13:00:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 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
Get the wedding look:

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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

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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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Teal and Orange Wedding Sun, 01 Feb 2015 16:00:00 +0000

In case you haven’t noticed, we’ve started featuring bonus real weddings on Sundays when we have them! We get so many lovely submissions and our readers constantly tell us how much they love seeing real weddings (with real budget breakdowns) so I want to give you all what you want! :) Today I’ve got a lovely wedding to share with you – a teal and orange wedding on an $8,000 budget.  Hope you love this sweet and savvy wedding! xoxo Jessica

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Casey + Gary

August 3, 2014

Dallas, TX Winfrey Point at White Rock Lake

What was your wedding budget?

Dress 250
flowers 400
Photographer 2900
Cake 255
Event Rentals 400
Venue 1100
Decorations 600
Invitations/ STDs 175
Liquor 150
Food 800
Police Officer 200
Gifts 150
planner 500
makeup/hair 170

We topped out right around 8,000. The photography included bridals and engagements as well. We also got really good deals because we knew the Owner of the Taco Shop. The sound equipment was a wedding gift from family friends. Our DJ was also a family member.

How many guests did you have?

We had approximately 105 guests.


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

We wrote our own vows and made the wedding all things that we wanted. We didn’t want a big fancy, traditional ballroom wedding. We did a daytime, Sunday wedding. We had taco’s and single serve desserts with beer and margaritas. We also did a photo booth for our crazy friends to entertain themselves after the ceremony before the reception. Our cake toppers were painted by a friend and are one of my favorite aspects of the wedding.


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

We made almost everything at the wedding. We made the cake stands, table runners, cake toppers, bunting, tassels, all the chalk board signs, we painted the doors, the jars and vases. I also shopped around. I did not book the first person to show up on google. I would say shopping around saved me thousands. And utilizing any discount we could, my husband is a Marine and I’m a teacher, we used that as much as we could for a discount.


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

I would say to my friends, some things are worth their weight in gold. I could not have done the day without a wedding day coordinator. She was phenomenal. She put out fires long before they got to me. I would also encourage brides to do what YOU want to do. Paying for the wedding ourselves was worth every penny because we were able to do what we wanted, without outside influence.


What was your biggest splurge?

Our photography was our biggest splurge. We knew that was the one aspect we would have forever. Rachel is a friend from college and I could not have dreamed of having anyone else shoot our wedding.


What was your favorite detail?

My favorite detail.. Would have to be all of the details. The cake toppers were my favorite single item, I will have those on display forever. But I loved that every single item we had was handmade or painted and picked out by myself or a close friend. It made the day ours.


What is the most memorable moment of your day?

I think the most memorable moment of the day was the first look we did. I was not nervous at all before I started walking out to see him waiting for me. The rest of the day was a breeze after that. And a close second would be leaving the venue in our awesome classic car having confetti thrown in our faces. Priceless.



Photography: Rachel Ledbetter Photography   •   Catering: Fuzzy’s Taco Shops   •   Desserts: Corner Bakery   •   Flowers: Kristin Rucker   •   Day of Coordination: Mary Buchanan   •   Event Rentals: Lakeside Party Rentals   •   Sound Equipment: Key West Concert Event   •   Exit Car: Tom Belluw


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Romantic Wedding on a Farm Wed, 28 Jan 2015 13:00:09 +0000

Such a treat for you all today! This lovely budget wedding was done on a $10,000 budget. The bride shares that keeping things simple is the key to sticking to a tight budget. Simple is chic, after all! I love the bridesmaids dresses and the gorgeous ceremony location. So stunning! I know you’ll love these photos and her breakdown — so check them out below! xoxo Jessica

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Joy + Will

September 20, 2014

Sumter, SC Sans Souci Farm


What was your wedding budget?

$10,000 total

-Flowers: We used flowers from the rehearsal dinner to decorate and also traded branding services for $720 worth of flowers, so I ended up paying $200 from my budget.

– Dress, gift from my mother-in law $1092, Veil was my mothers.

– Food $3777

– Alcohol $400

– Day of Coordinator $500

– Chairs $190

-Tables $150

– Save the Dates: $60 – Fiance designed them

– Invitations: $60 – Fiance designed them

– Hair: $120

– Decorations: $904

– Golf Carts: 200

– Wedding Cake: Free

– Photography $500 Friend Alex Mccleland did it for a discount as our wedding present

– Videographer: $800 by Hayden Antal

– Hotels: Free with Points

– Venue $2000

– DJ: $500

Favors, globe and other minor details: $70


How many guests did you have?

About 210


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

I designed the table centerpieces from my mother-in-laws antiques. I wore my mom’s Belgium lace veil, so there was no added expense. My husband did all of the design and signs for the favors. A friend made us a life-sized Jenga set to use at the reception – it was a big hit!


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

Getting married way out in the country helps, the vendors were very affordable! Especially when compared with a major metropolitan city. Having great friends in the wedding business sure didn’t hurt, either!


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

I originally wanted to get married at my childhood camp, but the venue price was $2000 and then I had to provide everything to turn it into a venue fit for a wedding. This would have been pretty pricey, but I think we ended up with an even better venue in the end. The other sacrifice was only inviting our best friends and family — cutting the guest list is the hardest thing ever!


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

Simplicity is beautiful, and affordable. Don’t take wedding planning too seriously, it is just the beginning of your marriage!


What was your biggest splurge?

My dress!


What was your favorite detail?

My awesome, crazy dancing, guests! We had such a great time at the reception.


What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Seeing my husband cry for the first time. We had dated for almost four years, so it was so special to see him tear up as I came down the aisle!



Catering: Lilfreds Catering   •   Photography: Alex Mcclelland Photography   •   Videography: Hayden Antal Videography   •   Hair: Brittany Cox at Clines Salon   •   Flowers: Kelly and Co. Florist   •   Dress: Bridal Sense   •   Venue: Sans Souci Farm


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Simple Crafty Wedding Sun, 25 Jan 2015 13:00:21 +0000

This very simple crafty wedding is a great example of how to focus on what’s most important to you. This couple created a great day that they were totally happy with at a budget they were comfortable with as well. The super casual vibe and the fact that they included their honeymoon in their budget makes this wedding extra special. I love the handcrafted paper flowers, too — you know how much I love alternative flower options for a wedding! Okay — on with the feature… hope you enjoy this laid-back, simple wedding!  xoxo, Jessica

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Jenna + David

August 2, 2014

Udora Community Hall  |  Udora, Ontario, Canada


What was your budget?

No Budget-As little as possible
Total Cost: $7733.04

Dress & Attire – $907.27
Make Up- $29.32
Dress- $55
Shoes- $70
Groom’s Attire- $100
Groomsmen Attire- $500 (paid by Groom)
Bridesmen Attire- $152.95 (paid by Bride)

Venue Costs & Rentals – $1041.03
Marriage License- $100
Rental of venue from Friday-Saturday- $762.75
Wedding Insurance- $215
Wine Glass Rental- $63.28

Decor and Bouquets – $422.92
70 Paper flowers- $20
Table Cloths & Napkins- $81.08
Floral wire & glue- $27.72
Confetti Supplies- $25.96
16 Baskets- $47.52
Crayons- $16.95
Kraft Paper- $14.68
Signs- $25
Fruit- $64
Miscellaneous- $100

Invitations – $76.39
Invites- $33.89
Postage- $42.50

Jewelry – $47.43
Brides wedding band- $22.60
Grooms wedding band- $24.83

Gifts – $250

Food – $2786.90
Catering- $2,591.65
Pop- $55.30
Water- $19.95
Ingredients for wedding pie- $100
Coffee & Tea- $20

Alcohol – $1401.10
Bartenders- $200
Liquor License- $25
Beer- $815.90
Wine- $360.20

Honeymoon – $800
3 nights hotel- $400
9 nights camping- $400

Paid by Parents of the Bride: $4185.63

Paid by Bride: $1466.31

Paid by Mother of the Groom: $1000

Paid by Groom: $1081.10



How many guests did you have?

In total there were 140 individuals invited to the wedding.  In the end 113 showed up (80%).


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

I made the bouquets out of floral supplies and origami flowers.
Our guestbook was an oar that had hung on the siding of our first house when we bought it.
I painted reserved seating signs for special people for the ceremony.
I painted our order-of-events and seating signs.
Our officiant was my husbands Grandad.
Our photographer was my husbands cousin.


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

We made an effort in every aspect of the wedding to save money, while not sacrificing on things that we really wanted.

In Ontario alcohol sales are strictly regulated, which also results in it being rather expensive. However we knew we wanted to serve alcohol, so we made sure to find a venue that would allow us to provide our own servers and beverages. We also opted to have a beer and wine reception, which cut a lot of costs both with purchasing the actual liquor and with not having to hire very experienced bartenders. I estimate that we saved about $700 by not serving mixed drinks. Also, while we only had to pay our bartenders $200 total, if we had wanted mixed drinks we would have had to go with more experienced servers which would have been $1000 total, saving us $800.

Catering is also a costly item. We opted for BBQ catering, as the cost was only $15 per head for a double portion, plus a travel fee (the venue was a ways out of the city). Also, I had some aunties eager to help and the volunteered to purchase and serve the hors d’oeuvres during the cocktail hour. My parents also purchased a bunch of Filipino food for our after party (which we held on our property, so no rental fees).

We also went with non-traditional dress. I wore a cocktail dress, my brides men were in jeans and dress shirts, my bridesmaids wore jersey dresses, and the groomsmen were in slacks and plaid shirts.

Rather than having an all night dance party, we opted for a lunch reception and then brought the guests to our house (conveniently less than a kilometre away from the venue) for an after party. We had lawn games, brought over the leftover beer & wine, and just hung out. It was a great way to spend some extra time with our loved ones without having to add much cost. Not having a DJ was also a money saver (thank you to a stereo and iPod).

Finally, having family perform the ceremony and take the photos also were a lifesaver. To be fair Grandad is a minister and Michelle is a budding photographer, so we were lucky with that.



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

Rather than focusing on the numbers, focus on what’s important and figure out how to get what you want in an affordable way. Be confident in your decisions and don’t let others make you feel bad or wrong for making the decisions that are best for you. Every wedding is different and every wedding should be a reflection of the couple. Do the things that you want (while being respectful of others) and you won’t regret a thing.



What was your biggest splurge?

I’d say the honeymoon. While there are certain areas that I wish I could have spent less in, I’m confident that I did the best that I could to keep all costs down. While $800 may not be a lot for a 12 night honeymoon, it was more that I had originally planned to spend. Also spending a full two weeks after the wedding on vacation was such a wonderful thing! We had originally been unsure about whether or not we’d be able to take a honeymoon, so the time and money was well spent!



What was your favorite detail?

To be honest it’s difficult to think of a favourite detail. I think that the best thing was just the feel of the wedding. Everyone was so relaxed and the wedding was just laid back and enjoyable for all.


What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Again, I don’t think there was one moment. I think it was just the combination of having our loved ones all together.



Caterer: Simply BBQ  •  Bartenders: Bottoms Up!  •  Venue: Udora Community Hall  •  Invitations: VistaPrint  •  Dress: SheCloth  •  Shoes: ModCloth   •  Photographer: Michelle Pugsley

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Intimate wedding with handcrafted details Wed, 21 Jan 2015 13:00:48 +0000

I just love this sweet intimate wedding with handcrafted details. The bride decided to skip using flowers in her wedding to cut costs, and created her own bouquets out of fabric. I love when brides get crafty! I also love the hand-drawn illustrations included in many of the paper details throughout the day — including the adorable cake topper featuring a custom illustration of the couple. So creative! Hope you love this wedding as much as I did! xoxo, Jessica

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Katy + Eunio Garcia

June 8, 2014

Winston Salen, NC  |  Graylyn Estate




What was your wedding budget?

Our goal was to stay under $15,000.

TOTAL $14,545.49 Notes
Venue and rentals $5,306.00
Food and service $2,550.00
Beverages $2,500.00
Cake $234.50
Miscellaneous fees (Cut Fee) $50.00
Attire $800.00
Gown and alterations $200.00
Headpiece and veil $45.00
Bridal accessories $25.00
Hair and makeup $- Did it myself
Groom’s tux or suit $150.00
Groom’s accessories $20.00
Decorations $200.00
Floral arrangements for ceremony $- Outside ceremony in the garden, didm’t really need flowers
Bride’s bouquet $25.00 Made it myself
Bridesmaids’ bouquets $25.00 Made them myself with fabric
Boutonnieres $25.00 Made them myself with fabric
Reception decorations $200.00
Ceremony musicians $- One of my fiends was a cello player, and played during the ceremony
Reception band, deejay, or entertainment $500.00 DJ coverage during the day for a dicounted rate.
Sound-system or dance-floor rental $- Utilized the dance hall at the venue
Photography $700.00 Only payed for 4 hours of coverage during the day
Photography $69.99 Bought Instant Film Camera (White) for additional photgraphs guests could take
Favors and Gifts (3 percent) $- Hosted a coffee bar instead which was included in the price of the food
Officiant fee or church donation $50.00 Officiant was a good family friend
Invitations and RSVPs $250.00 Designed them myself, just paid the printing fee
Programs $50.00 Designed them myself, just paid the printing fee
Seating and place cards $10.00 Designed them myself, just paid the printing fee
Menu cards $- We had a station style service
Thank-you notes $100.00 $25 for each vendor involved at the wedding
Wedding Rings (2 percent) $300.00
Transportation (1 percent) $150.00


How many guests did you have?

Invited over 100, but we only had about 35 in attendance.


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

The Groom, Groomsmen and Fathers all had cuff links made from coins of their their country origin and state they were born in. Brides bouquet and Bridesmaids and flower girls all had floral elements with hand made fabric flowers that the Bride made herself.


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

I didn’t use any real flowers in the wedding. I am not a fan of flowers, and the fact that they whither. Instead I used lanterns and Tea candles to represent loves eternal flame and pay tribute to the groom, who is a theatrical lighting designer.


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

We didn’t rent a get away car, but it worked out because it was pouring buckets that afternoon and no one would have wanted to watch us drive away in the rain.


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

Keep it simple, borrow whatever you can. Make sure you set aside time for just you and the groom to take location pictures, that was my favorite part of the day.


What was your biggest splurge?

The dress, of course! And I loved it.


What was your favorite detail?

I loved making and picking out the gifts for my wedding party. It made the wedding not just about us but all of our friends who have become like family, celebrating a beautiful relationship.


What is the most memorable moment of your day?

There were so many great moments, I couldn’t say which was the best. Seeing old friends who I hadn’t seen in years was such a treat, dancing with my father, watching my groom watch me walk down the aisle and try not to cry was really hard. All of those, maybe.



Photographer: Cathy Durig Photography   •  Officiant: Rev. Barbara Lodge  •  Car Service: Enterprise  •  Reception Music: DJ Nick Nice  •  Ceremony Music: Jenn Romero •  Venue + Catering: Graylyn Estate

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