School Themed Wedding | The Budget Savvy Bride
The Budget Savvy Bride

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I absolutely love this school themed wedding by JAC Photography, coordinated by Preppy Chic Events. Although this wedding has a higher budget than most of the ones we feature on BSB, the lovely bride Jenn still has lots of good advice to share about cutting costs on your big day. Not to mention the details and the personal aspects of this day are just so cute- this couple really did alot of work to personalize their day! Many of these details could be recreated easily on a budget, by thrifting and repurposing items around the house! My personal favorite detail? They walked down the aisle to the theme song from Friday Night Lights! Too cute :) Hope you enjoy this wedding as much as I did! xoxo-Jessica

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Jenn + Joe

August 18, 2012

Palos Verdes, CA, Chadwick School

 
What was your budget? Please give us a breakdown of how you spent your budget.

Total budget – $24,400
  • Save the dates – $20 on Vistaprint
  • Invitations – $212 on Zazzle
  • Venue – free!
  • Dress – $700, plus $700 alterations
  • Tux rental – $230
  • Catering – $7,500
  • Wine – $800
  • Wedding planner – $1000
  • Photography – $4000
  • Rings – $2000
  • Flowers – $700
  • DJ equipment – $200
  • DJ – free! Laptop with our playlists run by a groomsman
  • Wedding cake – $230
  • Hair and makeup – $300
  • Wedding favors – $140
  • Site rentals – $3,000
  • Decorations – $500

And of course other incidentals.

 

How many guests did you have?

Around 170

 

What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
  • Designed our own wedding invitations on Zazzle
  • Wrote our own vows
  • Handmade fancy nametags for the wedding favor wineglasses
  • Designed and printed programs
  • Created music playlists for each stage of the wedding
  • Ceremony backdrop was two bookcases that we filled with items that are special to us
  • Our first dance was a recreation of the dance number for “The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing,” from White Christmas (which we watched together on our fourth date)
  • My florist did the bouquets and boutonniers, but I made the floral centerpieces and other decorative flowers myself by saving and decorating old jars and filling them with flowers I bought at the LA Flower Mart.  The florist bill was over $500, and I spent under $200 for 2 carloads of beautiful fresh flowers purchased two days before the wedding and kept in a cooler onsite.  It took me and two friends one morning to buy the flowers, cut them, and arrange them in the jars, and I am so proud of how beautiful they looked at the wedding.  We also decided to decorate the tables with bells (because we were getting married in front of the bell pole at the school) and trolled flea markets and craigslist for an amazing collection of bells that we encouraged guests to ring whenever they felt like it — and when they did, Joe and I would kiss!  A fun alternative to tapping on glasses.
  • The cake toppers were two paper origami cranes my dad made and glued on toothpicks
  • Bought picture frames from goodwill and spraypainted them with chalkboard paint, then made my own signs (great idea from my wedding planner!)
  • Instead of a photo booth, we had a VIDEO booth — we got a load of random props and set up one of the rooms in the library with a couple video cameras and some suggestions for “scenes.”  Our guests filmed themselves saying sweet messages or acting out scenes from our lives, ie our first date, as well as some totally random things that were just hilarious (and good potential blackmail material)
  • Crafts area where guests could make us cards or fill out a big calendar with birthday reminders or married couple “to-do’s,” like “cook something together you’ve never made before” or “Call Robbie to say hi!”  (The calendar is now on our living room wall and we try to do everything it tells us to!)
  • Instead of a guest book, we ordered a guest tree on Etsy that I had seen in a bridal magazine, where guests write their names on colored dots that they stick on a backdrop with a blank tree.  The tree is framed and hangs in our bedroom, which is so much nicer than a book that sits closed on a bookcase.
 
 
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
  • All the DIY I described above went a long way to saving us money. We bought a lot of our decorations from goodwill or on craigslist from other brides, like the paper lanterns (and we’ve since sold or given the decorations to other brides too).  We also bought a very small cake for the cutting from a fancy bakery but the cake we served was a fabulous red velvet cake from Costco.  But the absolutely biggest savings came from the fact that we didn’t have to pay for our venue (the school let us use the campus because I was a student AND a teacher there), and that I ended up getting my gorgeous dress from, of all places, Costco!   
     
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
  •  The DIY will save you money AND make your wedding more personal. Make lots of lists early and go through them often. There are only six core principles to a good wedding: (1) good food; (2) good drink; (3) good music and a place to dance; (4) easy access to bathrooms; (5) make sure your guests aren’t too hot or too cold; and (6) make sure it’s the wedding YOU want, ie a wedding you’re having fun at!
  • MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A WEDDING PLANNER/COORDINATOR, especially for the day-of.  My team was amazing (thanks Steph and Preppy Chic Events!).  They made the wedding day run so smoothly and fulfilled their promise that I wouldn’t have to worry about a thing!

 

What was your biggest splurge?

The photographers and my tailor.  Both were completely worth it.  The photos were amazing, and my tailor not only was the one who ended up helping me find my dress (she works for the designer, Kristie Kelly), but she also made into reality my idea for beautiful lace detachable keyhole sleeves that I put on for the reception after I removed my veil, so I wasn’t dealing with the inevitable issues of wearing a strapless dress while dancing.  She also designed and made the jeweled sash that I wore.  Those touches made my dress even more beautiful.

 

 
What was your favorite detail?
 
How can I choose just one?!  I will say one of my favorite details was our New Yorker magazine stand.  Joe had gotten me a subscription the year before for my birthday and I saved every issue.  We put them out in a wicker bin at the ceremony with a sign that Joe built out of a painted 2×4 and some $2 frames from Ikea that encouraged guests to take a magazine to shade, fan, read, and learn.  
 
 

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Coming down the aisle to the theme song from the TV show “Friday Night Lights” to an amazing, personal, and funny ceremony performed by the judge I had clerked for, and exchanging vows with my awesomely handsome and wonderful man.

 

VENDORS
Photography: JAC Photography   //  Venue: Chadwick School in Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA  //   Event Planner + Coordination: Preppy Chic Events   //   Caterer: The Original Red Onion   //   Cake: Lido Bakery   //   Other Desserts: Costco   //   Bouquets: Palos Verdes Florist   //   Centerpieces: DIY by Bride & her friends   //   Rentals & Lighting: Classic Party Rentals   //   Linens: Designer Specialty Linens   //   DJ: iTunes playlist   //   AV Rentals: SSR Rentals   //   Bride’s Dress: Kirstie Kelly   //   Bridesmaid Dresses: Kirstie Kelly   //   Invitation: DIY, included a crossword puzzle of full trivia about the B&G   //   Officiant: Hon. Barry Silverman (a Judge & the Bride’s old boss)

Jessica is the creator of The Budget Savvy Bride; she launched the site in May of 2008, shortly after becoming engaged. Jessica has been recognized as a budget wedding expert by various media outlets and continues to share realistic inspiration and actionable tips to help brides save money on their weddings. Google

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From Our Partners
    • Amy Schultz
    • August 18th, 2013

    Jen, I want to say again that you and your wedding were absolutely stunning! Lots of inspiring details and the love between you and Joe just leaps off these pages. Happy anniversary from an old school pal ;)

  1. February 13th, 2014