The Budget Savvy Bride » $10k wedding helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank Wed, 27 May 2015 17:43:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 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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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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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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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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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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Sweet Southern Wedding Wed, 24 Dec 2014 13:00:50 +0000

This sweet Southern wedding is sure to make you smile! Megan and Chase planned their big day on a budget of $10,000 — and with the help of some talented family and friends they were able to pull it together beautifully! I absolutely love all the DIY details and projects — and the barn makes a truly perfect backdrop for photos. I love Megan’s advice to keep it simple and not overwhelm yourself with too many projects. How sweet are the photos of Megan’s daddy seeing her in her wedding dress? Heart melting!! Love this wedding and I know you will, too! Congrats Megan + Chase!! xoxo, Jessica

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Megan + Chase

May 10th, 2014

Pendergrass, GA | Price Mountain Barn



What was your wedding budget?

We had a budget of $10,000 and we came in just under it!

  • $3000 for venue
  • $3000 photography
  • $1000 food
  • $425 DJ
  • $100 invites
  • $800 decorations/table cloths
  • $30 favors
  • $1100 dress and suit
  • $120 flowers
  • $400 rings
  • $8 alcohol
  • Free Cake – made by coworkers as a gift
  • Free coordinator – family friend
  • Tables & chairs – borrowed for free from church
  • Hair & Make Up – done by a friend



How many guests did you have?

We had 200 guests



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

I had a lot of DIY items. I made all my mason jar centerpieces and hand cut wood slabs. I made all my signage and refurbished old furniture found for free.



What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

We were able to borrow all tables and chairs for free. My mom worked at a church preschool so we asked to borrow tables and the remainder of the chairs that we needed that the barn did not provide. The worst thing that they could have said was no and we would have continued to look. We asked and they said yes! Always ask and use the resources that you have first!

I am a cake decorator so the first question everyone asked was if I was going to make my own cake, No sadly I didn’t. With all the other things I had to do making my own wedding cake was not on the list. My co workers as a wedding present to Chase and I all pitched in and paid for our wedding cake and my Assistant Bakery Manager decorated and delivered the cake to the barn!

Hair and Makeup were done for me, my girls, my mom and mother-in-law as a gift to me by my very good friend who does hair and makeup for a living! She does a fabulous job and I couldn’t have been more happy with the way everything turned out!

My wedding coordinator was a friend of my moms who has had a lot of experiences with weddings and who had recently got married as well. She offered to help me in any way possible from decorating to making sure that everyone got down the aisle and making sure that our bags were loaded for the honeymoon! She was great!
Using my family and friends when needed saved us a lot of money. The main thing is don’t be afraid to ask people for help and the use of their services, you may not always get things for free, but for a discount is a blessing too! The worse thing that they can say is no, but at least you tried!


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

Simple is not always bad. When doing a DIY wedding it’s easy to want to do everything you see, but its not worth the stress. Stay organized and don’t put things off.



What was your biggest splurge?

Biggest splurge was our photographer. I saw her work online and knew we had to sit down with her. We were in love and knew that if we didn’t book her we would have regretted our decision.



What was your favorite detail?

My daddy’s old blue Chevrolet pick-up truck. It was used all throughout the day!



What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Most memorable part of my day was when it was just my daddy and I in his truck driving up to the ceremony site. We were both so nervous! Then when he got me out and we headed down the aisle and I saw my groom all nerves disappeared!


Photographer:  Andie Freeman Photography  •  Venue: Price Mountain Barn  •  Coordinator: Samantha Depue  •  Floral: Publix Supermarket  •  Cake: Publix Supermarket  •  Hair/Makeup: Devan Hightower  •  Videography: Daniel Parris at Speak Up Productions  •  Caterer: Iron Pig  •  Dress: David’s Bridal  •  DJ: CG Sound and Lighting  •  Rentals: Hitched Wedding Rentals  •  Submitted via Two Bright Lights


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Glamorous Grey Wedding Wed, 19 Nov 2014 13:00:57 +0000

Oh my gosh, you guys — today’s featured wedding will take your breath away!! I just love the glamour that this wedding exudes — from the deep grey suits on the groomsmen to the stunning bridesmaids dresses to the gorgeous lighting over the reception! And the best part is the couple was able to create this gorgeous day on a budget that was right for them. You’ll love this bride’s advice and attitude towards saving money — she’s definitely a budget savvy bride!! So thrilled to feature your day, Lauren + John! xoxo, Jessica

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Lauren + John

May 3, 2014

Phoenix, Arizona | The Felch House



What was your budget?

When we started planning our wedding I said that I wanted to spend under $10,000, because I knew I could have everything I wanted for under 10k, even though many doubted me!

The venue was $4500. The DJ was $500 & our photographer was $500. Our caterer was about $2500 & the florist was $350. The table/chairs/linen rental was roughly $200. Our cake was about $200 (we had cupcakes). We spent about $500 for all the alcohol. I used a vintage rental company for some décor and that was about $200. All the other décor was around $200… keeping it under our $10,000!


How many guests did you have?

We invited 125 guests but we had 92 guests attend.



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

I did the majority of the personal/creative aspects of our wedding. For starters, I made all of our wedding invitations. Pearls & lace were a recurring theme of the wedding and the invitations included those things. I had lace that I received from my grandmother that I used on the invitations and then carried that into décor at the wedding as well. I bought classy pearl & silver cardstock at Michael’s and then I created the template of the invitations on my computer & then had them printed at a local Fed-Ex store, only because I didn’t want to use my own ink on my printer at home.

My parents remodeled the house I grew up in & saved their old baseboards for us from the house. We then cut them, painted them & created frames out of those. We then added a backboard to the frame & used pearls to create a number in the frame. Those were our table numbers. We also had a double sided picture frames that had a picture of me & a picture of John at the same age as the table number. So, table five had a picture of John & I when we were five. Also, in the courtyard area of the reception there was a large tree that had little white lights. I collected many pictures of John & and I with our families, friends, and each other over the years. I used clothespins & strung them on some twine and strung those through the tree. It looked really pretty when they lights came on!

We got married on the same date as our first date. So, we created fans that were also programs that had the story of it being three years to the exact date of our first date & a brief background & history on the wedding venue, as it is an old house in a historical district of Phoenix. We also included the names of our wedding party on the other side of the fan. It was the first 100 degree day of the year in Phoenix so the fans were quite handy during the ceremony. During the ceremony I had each bridesmaid give John a hand written note from me when they walked down the aisle. Those made our guests giggle & kept everyone wondering what was on those notes! We had John’s brother in law officiate our wedding. Rather than paying a stranger to officiate our wedding we had his brother in law become ordained & together the three of us created a really personal, sweet ceremony. Also, John’s sister gave a reading during the ceremony. My grandmothers were the flower girls, as well. ‘Family’ was a really big, personal theme of our wedding.

We also made welcome bags for our guests that came out of town. This was a huge success, as almost every single guest thanked us for this & loved that they received the bag when they checked into the hotel. We made chocolate chip cookies and included two of those, we made homemade salsa and I bought the 8oz mason jars for really cheap, I bought a huge bag of tortilla chips from Costco & distributed those into little bags for each bag, we included a mini water bottle that we bought in bulk from Costco & created a label from our computer & printer for the bottles, and then we included a travel size sunscreen. Each bag was really inexpensive, most of it was homemade but a huge hit with guests.



What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

The biggest thing is that John & I did the majority of the work. I wanted to have the personal touches & I wanted to be what I had envisioned, and the way to do that, for me at least, was for me to create these visions myself. Some of it was using stuff I already had, such as the baseboard frames & pictures, those were free; except for the $3 I spent on paint for the frames. I spent a lot of time going back and forth to Hobby Lobby but pretty much waited until the things I wanted were 50% off or I used 40% coupons on anything that was not. I dragged John along many times so we could each use coupons! Also, I chose a venue that I had the freedom to use any vendor I wanted & could decorate anyway I wanted. However, I ended up using a large majority of the preferred vendors from our venue. By doing that I was able to get discounts on pretty much every vendor I used that she had recommended. Some of those discounts were percentages off or delivery fees waived, etc.

Another huge saving was I chose a photographer that had amazing work, believed strongly in not going into debt for a wedding & had the exact style I had envisioned but just had not done a ton of weddings. I booked her about a year before my wedding and at the time she had only done a few weddings but I liked the work I saw regarding other types of shoots she had done. Over the year she shot more weddings, gained more experience. I booked her for $500; she now charges $1500! I also saved a ton of money by using a wholesale florist. It was very personal working with her & she knew I absolutely did not want to spend a ton on flowers. So, she kept my budget in mind, not letting it go a penny over $350 & my flowers were amazing! I received so many compliments on my bouquet yet I saved so much on it!

But really, our strict belief in not spending a fortune on our wedding & being willing to do things myself to create the perfect day is really what kept us saving money!



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

I’d say that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to have a perfect, gorgeous day. Also, know that with a little research & effort, you can find deals & things that are less expensive and by doing that you can justify splurging on things you didn’t HAVE to have. I’d also say, try to stay organized. I was a little over the top on my organizing but it helped to decrease my stress, a little. Speaking of stress, one piece of advice I should have taken: let people help. I knew how I wanted things so I chose to do things myself but that just stressed me out. I should have given people projects and allowed for some help!



What was your biggest splurge?

I used a vintage rental company for some really cool vintage furniture places. It wasn’t a must have but it gave the wedding those added touches that I just loved! I rented really cool chairs & a vintage sweetheart table so our sweetheart table was unique and added some shabby chic/rustic/ vintage décor the reception. I also used some other vintage tables around the venue for different things. We also rented a really cool stand up cupcake stand for our cupcakes. A lot of these items were things I reserved pretty close to the actual wedding date, since I knew I had the money in the budget by then to snag them! We also splurged a little bit on our catering. We upgraded on some aspects such as having a beef option, having our salads plated versus buffet, but we saved using a caterer our vendor had recommended!



What was your favorite detail?

I have so many favorites! But I think that the entire wedding was exactly what I had envisioned. It was so extremely personal and I could see touches of John & I and our families throughout the entire thing.   The entire wedding was my favorite. It was definitely my best day ever.



What is the most memorable moment of your day?

I’d probably have to say turning the corner with my dad and seeing John. Our ceremony was short but very sweet. John isn’t a huge mushy guy, so hearing him read his vows that he wrote was very special and something I will remember forever. Writing our own vows was very sweet & special and vows that I think we’ll actually be able to remember.




Photographer:  Jillian Ryan Photography  •  Venue: Felch House  •  Caterer: AZ Inspirations Catering  •  Florals: Jennifer Knoles  •  DJ: Push Play Entertainment  •  Cake: Lovely Little Cake Shop  •  Rentals: Royalty Rentals  •  Vintage Rentals: Prim Rentals

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Florida wedding with pink details Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:00:25 +0000

real budget wedding

We’ve got a great real wedding for you this week – this couple got really creative with their budget and found some great ways to save. I love the bride’s short wedding dress (such a hot trend right now!) and the punchy pink details. Hope you love this Florida wedding as much as I did! xoxo Jessica

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Kenneth and Kathrine

October 13, 2013

Winter Park, Florida

What was your wedding budget?

Venue $1278
Officiant $220
Ceremony items (Flower girl basket, Ring bearer pillow, guest book, garter) $110
DJ (ceremony and reception) $1450
Food $2500
Cake $350
Flowers $300
Dress $100 (no alterations)
Invitations, thank yous and postage $380
Welcome bags for out of town guests $50
Centerpieces/table decor $50 (votive candle holders and silk rose petals in coral from Amazon, linens and place settings included in catering contract)
Attendant gifts: free (redeemed credit card points for jewelry for each)
Hair and makeup $115
Butterfly release $200
Dance lessons $300
Photography including video $1600
Groom’s attire (Calvin Klein tuxedo, shirt, shoes, tie, pocket square, cufflinks.  Includes price of alterations) $525
Florida marriage license $93.50

TOTAL: $9621.50

How many guests did you have?

70 guests

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

We had a butterfly release, which was a unique and memorable touch.  We had dance lessons and had an expert-choreographed first dance which was had all the guests cheering!

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

We cut down on the cost of décor by selecting a naturally beautiful venue that didn’t need much dressing up.  The huge picture window and cathedral ceilings gave guests a lot to marvel at already.
We did not have separate ceremony and reception venues.  The hotel where guests stayed was across the street from the venue, so transportation was not necessary for us or our guests.
Our wedding was close to where we live, so we didn’t have to worry about transportation.
We chose a venue and caterer that would allow us to provide our own alcohol for the reception.  We may have looked like alcoholics buying cases and cases at the liquor store, but we saved SO much money by providing our own.
I would suggest checking out Groupon.  We got a Groupon for Delphine press, and our letterpress invitations—which would have normally been $800—only cost us the $299 we spent on the Groupon.  They regularly have deals for photography, photo booths, catering and DJs.  Recently, they have had jewelry and even wedding dresses available!
Book early—Vendors tend to raise their prices fairly regularly.  By booking early, we got a 2013 wedding for 2012 pricing.

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

There is a 2 step starting off process I suggest for all brides-to-be.  The first thing you should do is get yourself a binder with plastic inserts to keep all contracts and paperwork together.  Your “wedding book” will be an invaluable resource for keeping it all organized.
After you get your binder, head to a bridal show in the area near where you’d like to have your wedding, if possible.  You can get an idea of what vendors are available in the area as a jumping off point for research and many vendors will contact you with discounts and such after the bridal show!

What was your biggest splurge?

The DJ—They can make or break your event.  We really felt comfortable with this company, even though it was more than we initially had planned on spending.  I’ve never been involved in helping plan a wedding before my own and we couldn’t afford a coordinator.  They helped me consider all the details and put it all together on a timeline that worked for everyone.  We ran ahead of schedule due to how well-organized everything was and we got a little longer to party with our guests!

What was your favorite detail?

Everyone knows the dress is the most important thing!  J  My dress was short, which is a little untraditional, but many people have commented that my dress is so “me,” which is the best compliment I could have gotten.  An outside wedding in Florida in October is not hot, but not exactly cool yet, either (it was in the high 70s-low 80s that afternoon).  A shorter dress let me beat the heat a bit, saved me money on alterations (I’m very petite and would have had to have had any longer dress hemmed at the very least!), and also allowed me to move freely, not having to worry about my hem or train dragging on the ground outside.

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Our first dance was wonderful and memorable.  The reactions of our guests were incredible!



Venue: Rachel D Murrah Civic Center  //  Officiant: Sensational Ceremonies  //  Ceremony items (Flower girl basket, Ring bearer pillow, guest book, garter) David’s Bridal  //  DJ (ceremony and reception) Orlando Wedding DJ  //  Food: Java Lava Coffee Shops  //  Cake: Sprinkles Cakes  //  Flowers: Jonathan’s Flowers  //  Dress: David’s Bridal  // Invitations, thank yous and postage: Delphine Press  //  Thank yous from  //  Centerpieces/table decor: Amazon  //  Hair and makeup: Weddings By Crystal  //  Butterfly release Company  //  Dance lessons: The Sovereign Dance Academy  //  Photography including video: Bella Pictures  //  Groom’s attire: Men’s Wearhouse
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Southern lodge wedding Wed, 17 Sep 2014 12:00:58 +0000 real budget wedding
I just love this lodge wedding! The bride gave a super thorough budget breakdown for you all to check out – I hope it inspires you! This wedding looks like so much fun, it makes me wish I’d been a guest! :) Hope you enjoy this lovely southern fall lodge wedding! xoxo Jessica
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 Amber + Erik

September 14, 2013

Barn at Valhallah in Chapel Hill

What was your wedding budget?

*$3,000 – venue for all day Friday-Sunday at 2 pm. More than we wanted to spend, but we needed the space, wanted outdoors, and needed a place that would allow us to bring in our own alcohol.


  • chairs/tables for 130, but they made our 160 work.
  • upstairs area for getting ready with 4 showers, 4 bathroom stalls, and 4 sinks
  • upstairs area for 16 people to sleep – bunk beds/pull out couches for others and then 1 king bed in a private room for the bride/groom

*$2,200 – catererd bbq buffet for 160 people (including tip for servers)


  • 9 hours of service from 3 people
  • 2 meats, 3 sides, hush puppies, tea, lemonade, plates and napkins — it was absolutely delicious.
  • Servers set up, bartended for us, served the buffet, cleaned up, cut the cake, helped take down tables, etc — anything we wanted for that 9 hours
  • vegetarian lasagna

*$600 – my dress including alterations (only needed a bustle), but my mom paid 1/2, so I spent $300.

*$150 for my hair and makeup

*$20 for my veil

*$6 for my headband

*$30 for my shoes, that I’ll wear all the time again :)

*$800 – his suit, including tailoring, tie and new white shirt (he can wear forever)

*$120 – tablecloths to fit the venues tables (have since sold for $80)

*$80 – cake and cake stands/pretty things for the table (a friend made our “actual wedding cake” and then we bought 2 sheet cakes…another friend made turnovers and another friend made the cookies)

*~300 (maybe 350?) on all decorations. But LOOOOTS of time


  • spray paint for the bottles
  • flowers in the bottles and bouquets (bought on super clearance)
  • picture frames I bought, stained, and made into chalkboard signs
  • the chalkboard paint
  • the plywood for the signs I made
  • yarn and glue for the yarn lanterns
  • paper/sticks/glue/etc for the pinwheels
  • cake topper clothespin that was then painted by a friend
  • card boxes

*$300 – our DJ…the brother of a friend

*400 – our pint glass favors, with the family crest etched in them

*$1,300 for our photographers.


  • 10 hours with 2 photogs
  • 300 edited photos
  • every other photo they took, too, on disk
  • rights to all photos

*$150 for my hair and makeup

*$520 – wine and liquor


  • 6 cases of wine (3 red, 3 white). Not all of which was drank so we have leftover to use in the coming months
  • booze to make a 5 gallon keg of Long Island Iced Tea

*???? — beer. We had 8 friends, the groom, and groom’s father all brew for the wedding. We had 95 gallons of homebrew that we didn’t really pay for – they were gifts to us.

*$150ish (we didn’t pay for this, it was a gift from his parents) Save the dates (magnets)/our awesome i’m totally in love with invitations /day of programs (heres the back of them – all from Vistaprint.

*$400 (again we didnt pay – was a gift) – shuttle to/from hotel for guests so nobody was drunk driving. Includes tip.

That’s all around $9k+, but less than 10k…WAY more than I had ever thought we’d spend but way less than I thought we’d get away with once we started getting into it and wanted that many people and a huge party. We had 160 guests and an absolute blast!


Photography: Hartman Outdoor Photography  //  Venue: Barn at Valhallah in Chapel Hill

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California Budget Wedding Wed, 13 Aug 2014 12:00:08 +0000 real budget wedding

I’ve got such a fun and lovely wedding to share with you that’s just *so* pretty, you’ll hardly believe it was done on a budget! I love the classic styling, the incredible DIY bouquet, the adorable ring shots and the simply stunning photography by Peterson Design and Photography. Hope you enjoy this California budget wedding as much as I did!! xoxo Jessica


Ruth + Daniel

April 11, 2014.

Rancho Cucamonga, California, at the venue Hidden Oaks.

What was your wedding budget?

We had a very tight budget and knew we didn’t want to (couldn’t) spend more than $10,000.

First we booked the venue for $3,000. Then the florist for $800. We bought all of our favors for $150. We booked our wonderful photographers for $800 (this price includes what we paid for our engagement session). Next we booked our caterer for $2,000. Our cake was $500. We didn’t have a DJ for the reception, only the ceremony and that was $175. And we got linens, plates, silverware and glassware from a family friend, not our caterer for $250. My hair and makeup artists were referred to me by my florist so I got a discounted price of $140 for both services. We bought all the material to DIY our invitations, guest books, candy bags, and rice throwers but I can’t remember exact prices.

How many guests did you have?

We ended up having around 120 guests present.

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

Our wedding day was full of details I had created and thought of either through online inspiration or my own imagination. My sister made my bouquet out of fabric from my mother’s wedding dress. An amazing keepsake and saved money on my bouquet. I printed little stickers with our names to go on the bottom of the Hershey’s Kisses candies. I made our guest books on my own. I had our caketopper custom made to fit our lovebirds theme. I also made our invitations, RSVP cards, and maps. My crafty sister calligraphed the invitations for me.

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

Saving money wherever we could took extra effort but worked. It just meant I had to be more creatively involved. I bought a lot of the details, accessories, and material needed directly from the LA fashion district. We made the conscious, and very personal decision, to not have dancing at the reception. For many reasons this made sense, among which: we don’t know how to dance, we didn’t want to pay for extra time just for dancing, and DJ’s are expensive. We just had huge speakers playing music from a playlist I had made with our favorite songs. I made as many of the details (invitations, guest books, stickers) as I could and my sister (maid of honor) helped sooo much). I didn’t buy anything from wedding websites or wedding stores unless I knew I wouldn’t find it anywhere else. This saved me sooo much money, especially on the favors (they were lovebird salt and pepper shakers, I paid $1.20 per set when online they were being sold for $3 a set).

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

Advice…decide from the beginning how much, if anything, you want to DIY. Know that your budget will vary accordingly and accept that. Also, do your research with vendors and don’t assume they will all quote you the same price. We interviewed 3 florists before we found someone that would work within our budget. And didn’t quote us for $3000 when we said we couldn’t spend more than $1000. We called, emailed, and interviewed many photographers before we found Peterson Design and Photography . They were within our budget, had an outstanding portfolio, and we got along perfectly. So never settle on a crummy vendor, you should love the people in whose hands you are placing your wedding day.

What was your biggest splurge?

Probably the moment of memory for my husband’s father who passed away last year. We bought 100 balloons and released them in his memory. That put us out a little bit of money and wasn’t a necessary expense but it was sooo worth it.

What was your favorite detail?

My favorite detail was my bouquet. So unique and will be with me forever.

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

My most memorable moment is hard. And while I want to say “our vows”, I’m going to say the moment when my brother serenaded us on the saxophone right after our vows. It was so beautiful and perfect to be able to savor those moments right after we promised ourselves to each other with a beautiful melody playing, it felt like being in a movie.


Photographers: Peterson Design and Photography  //  Florist: Irises Designs  //  Caterer: Gwen Marlowe Catering  //  Makeup and Hair: Martha Castro  //  Ceremony DJ: Randy Sinner  //  Cake: Dolce Cafe and Bakery  //  Venue: Hidden Oaks  //  Linens, China, Silverware, etc: JJ Party Supplies


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