I am thrilled to share this beautiful beach wedding with you after taking a week off from the BSWOW last week. I know you'll love this uniquely fabulous casual wedding. Thanks so much to Amanda for sharing her special day with us! 🙂
What was your budget?
Our budget was $10,000 but we were about $3000 over.
(I should mention that this did include a week's worth of rent for the six-bedroom beach house that we used for the ceremony/reception! So it was like a mini vacation before the wedding… and no hotel rooms needed for immediate family members!)
What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
As far as personal aspects go: My family is big into doing “Low Country Boils”, which is basically a big pot of shrimp, crab, chicken, sausage, potatoes and corn boiled with yummy seasonings. When everything's finished cooking, you dump it onto newspaper-lined tables and everyone grabs a plate! It's so much fun and I was so thrilled we were able to share that experience with all of our friends and family. It also worked out great with our casual beach theme (and we were — afterall — in the Low Country!).
We got really creative with a lot of the details: our favors were these cute little mismatched bottles filled with sand from right outside the house, we printed the escort cards and tied them to crab crackers, metal buckets filled with bibs doubled as trash receptacles for guests' crab and shrimp shells, one of my bridesmaids created little flower arrangements in mason jars (we bought the flowers earlier in the week from the local grocery store… 3 bouquets for like $12!), etc.
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
Providing our own food really saved us TONS of money. We spent about $1,000 at Sam's Club and that fed 50 people for the cocktail hour and reception (and we're talking about 50 lbs of crab legs, too!) and about 20-30 at the rehearsal dinner and morning-after brunch.
What's the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you're on the other side?
Be yourself. Don't be afraid to take risks. Everyone kept saying over and over how unique our wedding was and how it was totally us. We just did what felt right… We had an abundance of guys in the bridal party so I put my brother on MY side (he was such a trooper, he didn't even sweat it when somehow my bouquet was handed to him to hold during the ceremony). I couldn't decide on a bridesmaid dress so I picked a color scheme and had the girls choose their own styles. We didn't want to pay all this money for a cake so we got cupcakes instead! And who thought having people eat shrimp and crab legs with their hands while all dressed up was a good idea? But it was fun! I think if you let your personalities really shine through, don't be surprised when everyone keeps telling you it's the best wedding they've ever been to!
What was your biggest splurge?
The house was definitely our biggest expense ($5,500 for the week) but I don't really see that as a bad thing… We had an amazing master bedroom all to ourselves for a week (when will we ever get the master on a family vacation again, right!?). Plus, family members trickled in throughout the week and didn't have to get hotel rooms. And we all got to spend some quality time together as a new family (but don't think we didn't put everyone to work!).
But other than that… The second big thing would be photography. I'm a photographer so having amazing pictures to look at years from now was definitely really important… so we didn't skimp in this area!
What was your favorite detail?
The tables really turned out SO much better than I ever dreamed! I bought all the pieces from different places: brown craft paper from Walmart (Low Country Boils get a little messy!), buckets and water carafes from Cost Plus World Market, table runners from a favors website, silverware and seafood crackers from a restaurant supply website, wood frames for centerpieces (that we filled with sand, shells & candles) from Michael's, glass mosaic plates from Big Lots (my mom stopped at every store between south Florida and our place in Atlanta to find the 14 we needed!), etc., etc. Ok, seriously? I can't believe all that came together as well as it did! When we first walked down into the reception, I was just floored! All that hard work and bargain shopping really paid off!
Also, we were planning on having the reception on the deck out back but earlier in the week we noticed it got really windy and chilly at night. Plus, we figured out it would be pretty tight if we crammed all the tables we needed into that space. So we made the last minute decision to move the reception area to under the house… Ugh, I'm having my reception in a GARAGE??? I thought. But everyone chipped in (this was an awesome project for the dads!) and wrapped Christmas lights (that we got discounted after the holidays were over of course!) and tulle around the wood beams. They also strung lanterns across the ceiling. The total effect was just perfect.
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
One of my cousins stepped up that week and basically became my day-of coordinator… she thought of EVERYTHING including having a bottle of champagne and glasses ready to go in the master bedroom. So right after the ceremony, the bridal party went in, gathered in a circle and everyone toasted us. Because we did everything ourselves, we were constantly on the go both the week before the wedding and the day of. Even during the ceremony I couldn't believe it was actually happening. So I think that moment was the first real moment because we were finally able to stop, breathe and just enjoy it. And how amazing to look around the room and be surrounded by your very best friends and to see how truly happy they were for you… it was just amazing and it's bringing me to tears just thinking about it!
Photography: Kelli Nixon Photography
Cupcake: Fresh Cupcakes
Florist: The Greenery Florist
Rentals: Snyder Event Rentals
Service Staff: Culi Events & Staffing
Music: Palmetto Strings
Accomodations/Event space: Avocet Properties (“Palmetto House”)