The Budget Savvy Bride » $12k wedding helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank Wed, 27 May 2015 17:43:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Rustic Yellow Navy and Mint Wedding Wed, 12 Nov 2014 13:00:44 +0000

I have such a gorgeous wedding to share with y’all today! Kristi and Ryan put together a beautiful wedding by doing many things themselves! I love that Kristi made it a priority to find wedding decor that could be re-used in their home — I just love when couples do that! Not only was this couple savvy, but their wedding has some serious style. I know you’re going to love the details just as much as I did! xoxo, Jessica

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Kristi + Ryan

October 4th, 2014

Williamson, Georgia | Sunny D Farms



What was your budget? Please give us a breakdown of how you spent your budget– rough estimates are fine!

Our personal budget was to stay under $10,000

We ended up spending $8,932 – and my parents paid for the cost of food & my dress. I’ve included all the totals below!

Venue – $2500

Photography – $2150

Flowers – $757 – included bridal bouquet, 3 bridesmaid, 1 boutonniere, and 2 small bouquets for the moms. Used – Carnations, Craspedia for the centerpieces

Vintage Rentals – $775 – church pews, couch, wine barrel tables

Event Insurance / Cleaning Fee – $375

DJ – $500

Cost to have Servers – $885

Wedding Cake & Cookie Cakes – $190

Rehearsal – $400

Décor – $400 – glass vases, lanterns, twig balls, our fireplace, etc.


Portion my parents paid – $3202

Catering $1822

Dress $980

Wooden chairs $400


Total wedding $12,134



How many guests did you have?




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

Everything. Our wedding was a complete reflection of Ryan and I. There wasn’t anything that I didn’t put my creative touch on. Honestly, even on the cookie cakes I had Great American cookie copy the font I had used on all of our wedding signage!



What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

The biggest thing we did was we didn’t buy anything for the wedding that in return we couldn’t put in our house. We picked a venue that allowed us to bring in our own vendors, did most of the work ourselves – setup tables, did my own centerpieces, used flowers in season.



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

I should have allowed more people to help, but I am OCD!! Don’t stress the small details if they don’t get done it will be okay, you’re still married at the end of the day!



What was your biggest splurge?

Minus the venue, Photography. I told Ryan, if we didn’t have anything else I was going to have an amazing photographer and I did!!! Tate Cathcart with Taken By Tate, I don’t know what words to use to describe our wedding pictures – they are gorgeous, amazing, perfect… more than I could’ve ever imagined!



What was your favorite detail?

I have so many! I am a detail oriented person, I feel bad for my husband! My bouquet would be in the top five. I only had 3 real flowers in the whole thing. I bought sola flowers from Save-On-Crafts and twig balls from Hobby Lobby. Mrs. Cyndi with Twigs, Leaves and Flowers created my bouquet and she took my vision and turned it into reality!! I cried when I saw it for the first time!



What is the most memorable moment of your day?

The moment that sticks out the most is, I had asked Coleton (our minister and one of Ryan’s good friends from high school) if he would go to Ryan and I individually before the ceremony started and ask each of us “Why do you want to marry him / her?” And incorporate it into the ceremony. As soon as he walked into the room, I was already tearing up. I knew what he was about to ask and when he did, I lost it! It’s one of those questions that you can’t put the answer into words. Especially because Ryan is my everything, he makes me the center of his world, you can tell just by the way he looks at me just how much he loves me!




Venue: Sunny D Farms  //  Photography: Taken By Tate  //  Vintage Rentals: Affairs to Remember  //  DJ: Steve Mayo  // Florist: Twigs, Leaves & Flowers  //   Cookie Cakes: Great American Cookie  //  Wedding Cake: Keisha Robertson  //  Caterer: The Farm House

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Reflections on my Budget-Savvy Wedding Mon, 14 Jul 2014 12:00:31 +0000  It was a day that sung to us.  May 25.  We’ll remember it forever.Murrish-2-3345910072-O

Like I’ve said before, being budget-savvy when it came to our wedding was a means to an end for Mike and me.  It was atool that helped us focus our wedding on what is important to us: our faith, our marriage covenant, and our community.  Being budget-savvy doesn’t mean you sacrifice what really matters; it only enhances that focus as these pictures will show.

We started the day at my MOH’s home where the bridesmaids, moms and I enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and got ready.  A family friend who’s in cosmetology school came down to their home along with two of her friends to do our hair.  Also, while we were getting ready, the florist dropped off our bouquets!

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Mike and his men were at the chapel, putting on their suits and getting ready for photos!

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Slipping into my dress with my mom, mother-in-law, bridesmaids and my MOH’s mom and sister.  I also did a “first-look” with my dad, which was wonderful!


Mike’s mom put on his boutonniere, offering a sweet opportunity to pause as a family.

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The first-look!

Our wedding party are a special bunch!  We had a Maid-of-Honor (my childhood friend), a Best Man (Mike’s college roommate), a Brother of Honor (my brother) and a Best Sister (Mike’s sister).  It was intimate and special, and we had a blast together.


People that made the wedding possible: our families, our pastor and his wife, childhood and college friends, our photographer, and our wedding coordinator and family friend, Catherine.  I am SO sad I didn’t get a photo with Catherine.  She did an impeccable job of putting our plan into action.

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Chapel details!  All the flowers came from Blooms by the Box, and my aunt made the wreath.

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Now onto the ceremony!


Our friends read from the Bible, everyone sang and we exchanged vows.


And just like that, we were married!

It was time to celebrate with food and friends!  Apart from getting married, our guests were the best part of the day :)

Mike’s favorite toys growing up were Legos, so they made an appearance at the reception.


There were backflips (by a college friend, not us :) ), lots of dancing (including an impromptu sibling dance to “Cups”),  a train to “Fine by Me” and roommates and family hoisting us in the air.  A college buddy did a brilliant job emceeing, and a family friend did music from an iPod.

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Eventually, we said our goodbyes and left through a cheering tunnel formed by our friends.

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And that, dear readers, was our wedding.


Mike + Abby

May 25, 2014

Franklin, Indiana  |  Franklin College

What was your wedding budget?

Our original budget as $10,000, but upped it to $12,000 about mid-way through.  We spent approximately $11,400.  However, we received a discount on the venue (chapel and reception hall) because my dad is an employee.  Our wedding coordinator gifted us her services (we still thanked her with a  monetary gift).  I received $250 from Blooms by the Box in exchange for a product review.  If you take all of that into account, the wedding cost would have been just more than $13,000.


Gifts for family and friends helping with the wedding are not accounted for in the above.  I bought those throughout the year and I estimate we spent $600.  I didn’t feel compelled to include those in the above budget because those were for specific people, and did not contribute to the wedding as a whole.  This was also an area where we intentionally decided not to be budget-savvy, so we made adjustments in our personal monthly budgets (versus using set-aside wedding money) to pay for the gifts.

How many guests did you have?


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

Without a doubt, my favorite aspect of the wedding was our ceremony.  Mike and I carefully planned what portions of the Bible to read, what hymns to sing, what music to play and how we wanted everything to progress.  We used traditional vows and lit a unity candle, an image of what our faith teaches us about marriage.  Our pastor from our years at Purdue University tied it all together beautifully.

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

 I ignored the notion that our wedding day had to be “perfect.”  When you put that expectation on yourself, you believe you have to have it all.  Perfect hair, a three-course meal, a stunning cake, air-brushed make-up, the most expensive photographer, a dress that will take everyone’s breath away, etc…  But the fact is, your wedding is just like life—you don’t need to have it all.  You need to have all that matters.

In the same vein, figure out what matters to you, and where and how you’re willing to compromise if needed.  For example, I really wanted real flowers, and lots of them if possible.  I also had a dream bouquet.  Having a florist do all of our flowers wouldn’t have worked.  But, having a florist do the bouquets and a few corsages and boutonnieres for family and attendants did work.  We ordered the rest of the corsages and boutonnieres from Sam’s Club, and decorated with wholesale flowers from Blooms by the Box.  From our flowers to our invitations to our venue, I forgot the “perfect,” sought out what mattered to Mike and me, then compromised happily when needed.  And Mike and I agree we wouldn’t have changed a thing.

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

 Cultivate thankfulness and don’t compare.  Teddy Roosevelt said that comparison is the thief of joy.  And nothing could be more true!  Too often, I found myself focusing on what I couldn’t have and the size of my budget, especially when perusing Pinterest or talking with friends.  I would be sad and frustrated.  Ann Voskamp offers good life advice that speaks to this issue: “…life change comes when we receive life with thanks and ask for nothing to change.”  When I started to consider all of the wedding details I could be thankful for and stopped thinking about my budget, joy over our wedding grew and grew.  And by the time the wedding day came, it was nothing but delight!

What was your biggest splurge?

It wasn’t the biggest line item on the list, but I am SO glad we flew our pastor and his wife up from Texas for the wedding.  They walked with Mike and me through the formative season of college, and the words he spoke to us during our ceremony will be with us the rest of our lives.

What was your favorite detail?

My favorite feature was our centerpieces because of the love and teamwork that made them happen.  Mike and I thrifted frames and vases from Goodwill and my mom spray-painted the frames gold.  Mike’s mom sewed the gray table squares.  A friend and I bundled books from my and my family’s book collections.  Other friends, my mom and I made the paper roses.  My aunt, MOH, mom and I arranged Blooms by the Box flowers.  My MOH’s sister saved the day and hand wrote the table numbers.  The crowning glory of the centerpieces was the stunning quotes on marriage and love that a dear childhood friend lettered by hand as a wedding gift.  Then, friends took the lead and perfectly styled the tables the day before the wedding.

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Kissing at the end of the ceremony, then turning to face our family and friends who were clapping, cheering and smiling.  We felt so loved, and so blessed to have our community share in our joy!


| Photographer: Raindancer Studios | Venue and catering: Franklin College | Flowers: J.P. Parker, Blooms by the Box & Sam’s Club | Make-up: Allison Davis-Mary Kay | Dress: David’s Bridal | Suits: Men’s Wearhouse | Bridesmaid Dresses: Etsy| Favors: DJ’s Test Kitchen |Sound Tech: Family friend | Videographer: Parent’s friend | Wedding Coordinator: Family friend | Invitations: Local printing and this BSB template (I simply had the invites printed and used cream envelopes. Our website and directions to RSVP via email were provided on the response card)|

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Pink and green wedding Wed, 02 Jul 2014 12:00:22 +0000
real budget wedding
I’ve got such a lovely wedding to share with you this week! This couple found a venue that was able to do just about everything – so there were few extra details to sort out. The bride created her own centerpieces and florals using silk flowers from Michael’s to save money. I think it turned out just lovely and I never would know by looking at the photos that this was a ‘budget’ wedding! Hope you enjoy this pink and green wedding as much as I did! xoxo JessicaSONY DSC SONY DSC Pink and Green wedding_0003 SONY DSC Pink and Green wedding_0006 SONY DSC SONY DSC Pink and Green wedding_0008 SONY DSC SONY DSC Pink and Green wedding_0011 SONY DSC Pink and Green wedding_0013 SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC Pink and Green wedding_0022 SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC

Liz + Jonathan

January 10, 2014

San Marcos, CA Twin Oaks House and Gardens


What was your wedding budget?

In total we spent around $12,000.
$1000- dress and accessories
$9000 venue (including cake and catering)
$800 Photographer
$850 DJ
$260 stationery and postage
$115 guest and bridal party favors
$150 flowers and centerpieces

How many guests did you have?


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

Jonathan loves to off-road, so we added small trucks and buggys to our centerpieces. Also, Jonathan made the frame at the guest book table that we clothes-pinned photos of us to. My brother designed a thumbprint tree which he represented our pets in.

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

To save money, we limited our guest count and nixed a videographer. We also used silk flowers arranged by me and homemade centerpieces instead of hiring a florist.

What was your biggest splurge?


What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Jonathan crawling under my dress to retrieve the garter!
Photography: Peterson Design & Photography  //  DJ: Mark Huntzinger  //  Venue: Twin Oaks House and Gardens  //  Flowers: Michael’s 
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Crafty Wedding in Florida Wed, 23 Apr 2014 13:00:56 +0000 real budget wedding

I just know you’ll love this sweet, crafty wedding from Florida! I absolutely adore the baby’s breath bouquets and the crafty details. I love it when couples take a practical approach to planning their big day and keep their heads on straight when it comes to spending. I’m a sucker for burlap, doilies, lace and baby’s breath so I think this wedding turned out quite lovely! Hope you enjoy the lovely photos shot by Emily Katharine as much as I do! xoxo – Jessica

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Amy + John

March 7, 2014

DeBary Hall  |  DeBary, Florida


What was your wedding budget

My total budget was $12,000. We ended up spending about $11,700 not including rehearsal. My parents paid the most, but my in-laws helped out a lot – we are very thankful! John and I used some of our own money too.

Invitations- $100 total – $45 for invitations and $45 for reply cards. $10 for thank you notes.
Venue- $1,300 DeBary Hall, A 121 year-old renovated stable at a historic site in DeBary, Florida (just outside of Orlando).
Caterer- $4000 (our splurge)
Booze- $350
Photographer- $865
DJ and lighting- $950
Decorations- $350
Flowers- $220
Chairs- $350
Dress with alterations- $1000
Tuxes- $550
His ring- $55, the cost to have his grandfather’s resized
Her ring- $350
Officiant- $200
Shoes and accessories- $75
Cake- $350
Candy bar/favors- $100
Attendant’s gifts- $100
Parent’s gifts- $200
License- $100
Photo Booth- FREE!! He was just starting his business and used my wedding to advertise.
Hair, nails, makeup, eyelashes- $115; Hair – $65, Nails – $30, lashes – $20

How many guests did you have? 

We invited 120, about 80 showed up and only 75 ate dinner and cake.

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

I pretty much made everything! The centerpieces, the layout/design of the room, the bouquets, the Christmas lights wrapped in tulle, the arch that we walked through during the wedding (I even sewed that baby), the candy bar table, the guest book table…everything! If I had to buy something, I tried to make sure I would be able to use it again in the future. The dishes at the candy bar, the vases for the flowers, and the Christmas lights will all be used again.

What was the biggest thing you did to save money? 

I didn’t hire a wedding planner. I bought a book, signed up for and stayed organized (and this was all during physician assistant school- hence the tiny budget). I used an unconventional wedding venue. DeBary hall has hosted a few weddings but it isn’t one of those “booked every weekend” venues. I borrowed the burlap squares for the tables from my neighbors who were married in August. I was mindful. I purchased my wedding invitations from because, honestly, I feel like (sadly) people often throw them in the trash anyway. I purchased wholesale baby’s breath for bouquets and centerpieces instead of expensive flowers, except for my bouquet and the groom’s boutonniere. I purchased my dress at an outlet bridal shop— to this day my dress was my favorite thing about my wedding…yes, yes besides marrying my husband. In the end, I think what saved me the most was doing all my decorations by hand. I spent a year preparing decorations and crafting.

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

If you are on a budget, it’s totally possible to stick to it! You just have to want it and have the time and patience for it. It’s not easy but it is worth it. We aren’t in any debt, nor are his parents, and my parents didn’t have to sell their first born son (whom I love dearly).

What was your biggest wedding splurge? 

My caterer. My family and I love food and boy, was that good food!

What was your favorite detail? 

Besides my dress, I adored the colors and overall theme. Everything that I worked so hard to make came together seamlessly. The venue looked rustic and down-to-earth which is what I was hoping for.

What is the most memorable moment of your wedding day? 

Reading my vows to my husband and knowing that my grandmother-in-law was watching the wedding from her hospital bed via Facetime.


Caterer: Creations Catering and Events  //  Photographer: Emily Katharine  //  DJ: Fun to Dance  //  Venue: DeBary Hall  //  Chairs: Orlando Wedding and Party Rentals  //  Cake: Publix  //  Photobooth: Fotobooth Expressions  //  Lashes: By Pia  //  Dress: Minnie’s Outlet  //  Tuxes: Men’s Wearhouse  //  Flowers: Flower Expressions


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Primary Color Wedding Wed, 02 Apr 2014 13:15:23 +0000  

real budget wedding

The primary color wedding color scheme for this feature makes me so happy! The florals in this event are absolutely gorgeous and totally make an impact — I’ve shared my love for sunflowers over and over again. :) You’ll notice in this wedding, like many of our other features, the couple utilized the skills of family and friends to bring their day to life on budget. I love the community aspect- it just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. Hope you enjoy this wedding, the bride’s advice, and the gorgeous photos! xoxo – Jessica primary color wedding_0003 primary color wedding_0007 primary color wedding_0017

Samantha + David

August 24, 2013

Staunton, VA  |  American Hotel



What was your wedding budget

 Reception Food/Plates, Napkins, Cups, etc.- $2,500

Reception Rental- $2,000

Photographer – $1,600

Flowers- $950

Reception Alcohol- $750

Photo Booth- $600

Dress & Accessories- $500

DJ & Cocktail Hour Musician- $450

Gifts for Bridal Party- $350

Invitations & Postage-$250

Church Rental- $200

Decorations- $100

Grooms Wear- $90

Favors (Candy Bar and Glasses)- $75


Cake: $450

Coffee Bar: $250

Videographer: $500

Transportation: $150

Linens: $400

Total: just over $12,000



How many guests did you have?     




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

Each guest upon arrival chose a glass of their choice to enjoy their beverage for the night. The glasses were picked from local estate auctions and were the guest’s to take home and included wine glasses, pint glasses, mason jars, and other unique stemware. We also had photos of ourselves from various years on the tables as centerpieces and featured bottles of local wine also in the centerpieces, as well as the beautiful flowers. We featured local beer in the kegs and Virginia wine as an option from the bar.



What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

We really tried to be efficient with our money. We used family and friends to help with details and did not purchase anything that we felt we didn’t need or we would only have to “look pretty”. We had a friend make our wedding cake, a family friend arrange the flowers, friends serve as bartenders, family and friends provided set up and tear down labor, and many other details of the event. We were able to add in personalized details without using designer anything, and no one noticed the difference! We really played into more of the experience than the “wow” factor, because people are more likely to remember how they felt at your wedding than how good their steak was or how nice the decorations were.

I also purchased my wedding dress from a sample sale, and used coupons for my invitations, use nice plastic-wear instead of renting china, borrowed linens from a friend, and did not purchase something unless I knew it would add to the experience of the event.



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

Do not be afraid to ask for help. Family and friends love helping, and it is a lot of free labor! Have a plan and stick to it, but if you are on a budget, be flexible. Borrow things, really think about how much you are spending, and enjoy the process. Sadly, you will remember many more details of the planning process than the wedding itself, so enjoy!



What was your biggest splurge?

Looking back, I think the flowers were the biggest splurge. I knew my mother would never let me have satin flowers and I was not creative enough to come up with another option (paper, fabric, etc.). We did have a family friend arrange the flowers which saved at least $300 from the florist, but the flowers really added up. However, they were beautiful and worth it!



What was your favorite detail?

I really liked the ability to feature local products and showcase what the area had to offer.



What is the most memorable moment of your day?

We loved riding in the classic from the church to the reception. It was a great time for us to just relax and be together before the craziness of the reception began.



Photography: W.Wooten Photography  //  Photobooth: Photo Booth of Charlottesville  //  DJ: Prime Time Sound & DJ Services  //  Wedding Dress: Bridal Impressions  //  Grooms Attire: Classic Tuxedo  //    Cake & Cake Balls: Cake Ballin’ by Gina Wood  //  Catering: Hank’s Southern Cuisine & BBQ  //  Florist:  Honey Bee’s Florist  //  Invitations: Invitations by Dawn  //  Rehearsal Dinner: Blue Mountain Brewery  //  Rings: Christopher William Jewelers  //  


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Outdoor Wedding With Handmade Details Wed, 06 Nov 2013 14:00:00 +0000 BSWOW

 I just love this outdoor wedding and it is chock-full of fun details! I’m a huge fan of the
very budget friendly baby’s breath bouquets and the sheet music petal cones on the aisles!
I will always love the use of sparklers during the getaway! Isn’t it just so fun and romantic?

The light in the couple and bridal party photos after the ceremony is just divine! 
The way the couple looks at each other is just so dreamy and you can tell they’re in love. 
I think that’s my favorite detail of all! Gorgeously captured by BellaDiva Photography

xoxo – Jessica 

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Cassidy + Anthony

June 22nd 2013

 Vista, CA  |  Shadowridge Country Club



What was your budget?

Our Wedding Budget was $12,000.

  • Venue Package- $6,500 Our Venue had an amazing package deal happening at the time we booked with them! Package included Catering/Tables/Chairs/linens and our Cakes! He got to have a groom’s cake!
  • DJ-$1,095
  • Videography-$1,045
  • Flowers-$1,000
  • Photography-$900
  • Centerpiece Frames-$30 (DIY)
  • Décor/signs/Pictures-$100 (DIY)
  • Favors-$40
  • Popcorn bar-$150
  • Invitations-$300
  • Programs-$40 (DIY)
  • Bride attire-$400
  • Groom attire-$120
  • Day of Coordinator-$300
  • Hair/Make up- Gift


How many guests did you have?     




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

Being able to wear my mom’s wedding veil was very special and personal to me. I have always loved it, and to see it all together with my dress and having my mom help pin it on was an emotional moment for the both of us. Having my Bridesmaids let their own personality show, by letting them pick their own accessories and shoes. It was so awesome to see all put together. We wanted our wedding to be fun and personal. Having photos of our friends and family all along the hallway of our reception was our way of letting them know how much they mean to us.


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

I spent a lot of my time on the computer! Researching, researching, and researching! Most of our vendors were found on wedding blogs that were featured in our area. We were able to get by with our Military discount advantages and most of them offered extra deals. We wanted to keep it simple. Our theme was romantic vintage, so thrift shopping was a must! Most of our décor was DIY projects and pictures.



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

All the hard work pays off! All the time, stress and money is totally worth it.  Getting to live your dream, seeing it all come together with family and friends, is amazingly awesome! Try not to get overwhelmed and just do things one step at a time. Try not to lose sight of what is important to the both of you, and to have fun!




What was your biggest splurge?

Our actual venue was something Anthony and I had always envisioned.  We knew we wanted to have an outside ceremony that was intimate and romantic.  We loved it and knew we had to have it! 



What was your favorite detail?

Our wedding cake topper! I had it costumed made to look like us! It turned out to be so cute! Anthony wasn’t able to see it, so when he did, he thought it was great and loved that it had his white vans!




What is the most memorable moment of your day?

The whole day was surreal. It went by extremely slow for me, so I got to soak in every moment! One of the most memorable moments was holding my husband’s hand while running down the stairs with all of our family and friends surrounding us with sparklers and cheering for us as we got in our getaway car, and headed to happily ever after! 😉




Photographer:  BellaDiva Photography by Melissa Coetzee   //   Event Planner: Courtney Ikeda with Cherry Blossom Dream Weddings   //   Cinema and Video: Crisp Video   //   Cake Designer: Flour Power   //   Invitation Designer: Invitations by Dawn   //   Hair Stylist: Tara Nelson from Irresistible Mess   //   Makeup: Leanne Hayes   //   Ceremony Location:Shadowridge Country Club   //   Floral Designer: Tri-City Florist   //   Reception Venue: Shadowridge Country Club   // DJ: E Starr Entertainment  // Mens Attire: Mens Wearhouse  //   Brides Attire: Bridal and Veil Outlet

Submitted via Two Bright Lights

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DIY Barn Wedding Wed, 24 Apr 2013 12:00:04 +0000 BSWOW

I just adore this wedding! So many fun details and lots of great budget savvy DIY ideas! I especially love the wheat centerpieces- definitely a great budget-savvy idea! I also love the seating card display, their ribbon ‘wedding wands’ and the lovely lanterns as decor! Hope you enjoy this installment of the BSWOW! xoxo-Jessica

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Ricky + Jenn

October 19th, 2012
Bloomsburg, PA

The Barn at Boone’s Dam

What was your budget? Please give us a breakdown of how you spent your budget.
$12,000 -here’s a breakdown:
Venue (included ceremony, wedding cake, dinner catering and appetizers, non alcoholic drinks and mixers) – $7,000
Save the Dates / Invitations / Programs / Place Cards / Guest Book – handmade / designed my own – $50 in paper supplies
Flowers / Center pieces – crafted together my own floral arrangements & decorations with the help of my mom – silk flowers from Hobby Lobby and lots of burlap! – $800
DJ – $450
Photography & Videography – $2650.00
Hair & Make-up- $115.00
How many guests did you have?
What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
  • Designed a wedding logo with our initials that I tried to incorporate in everything like the invitations, save the dates, and programs
  • Used pinterest for much inspiration! Handmade wooden signs, place cards, center pieces, picture frames with quotes, table numbers
  • Handmade a tree swing (with our wedding logo burned into it wrapped in a heart) that I hope to hang in a tree at our home now that the wedding is over
  • Crafted all floral arrangements, ceremony decorations were all handmade, even created the boutonnieres for the guys
  • Used alot of burlap throughout the wedding theme, hand cut and crafted it for the table runners, chair sashes, place cards, ceremony decorations, “here comes the bride” sign which my flower girl and ring bearer carried during the ceremony.
  • My mom had hand sewn our wedding date into the inside the bottom of my dress as my “something blue”
  • My bridesmaid wore boots! Love boots! I even wore boots on my wedding day!!
  • Served Rita’s Italian Ice (with vodka surprise) as our dollar dance shots – that was my husband’s great idea!
  • Steph, My husband’s sister and my Bridesmaid, planned an “Enchanting After Wedding Bar Crawl” through down town Bloomsburg. She created ticket invites where she mapped out all the greatest bars, a time schedule (to which we followed to the T) and placed them at our guests tables . My husband and I with our Bridal Party, family and friends (dresses, tuxes and all) bar hopped all night through town!
  • My husband got creative and changed the traditional “tapping of glasses” for the couple to “kiss”, to shouting “CAWWW” like a raven or crow. As I was skeptical about this idea, I created a sign for each table with a brief instruction on how to get us to “kiss”, and as soon as we were announced and to our seats we hear… “CAWWW”! My eyes were wide open with surprise and Ricky and I looked at each other laughing, then happily kissed! The CAWWs of coursed continued through dinner and made for a good laughs and memories!
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
We tried to save money by “crafting” the details that we knew we could make ourselves for half the price! We had been engaged for almost 2 years before our wedding, so we had plenty of time to work out the details just as we had visioned our dream wedding to be. Time is money, and in this case 2 years of planning saved us money in our pocket!
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
Now that all the planning and big celebration is over, I advise couples to remember that the day is about you and your love for each other. And while planning your wedding to keep your focus on just that. It can get hectic and stressful, but you’ll miss out on the fun parts if you don’t just step back and re-focus. The one thing that I wished I had done more of on my wedding day was take more pictures with the guests that celebrated with us! And the other thing I would have done was to add that extra hour of dancing at the Barn!! I didn’t want the fun to end.
What was your biggest splurge?
Photography & Videography – it was one of the things that I knew I wanted the best of and was willing to spend a little extra! And I’m so glad I did! Photos and video is what you have left when the day is all over and I wanted to make sure to capture as much of it as possible!
What was your favorite detail?
Ricky loved the food – chicken and waffles for dinner! For me, I think there were so many little details that added up to being the best day ever! We had guests come up to us telling us that we really made every little detail a part of who we are as a couple which made for a really unique wedding!
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
The time shared with family and friends on such a special day…everyone had ear to ear smiles! :)
Photos & Video – Carden’s Photography  |  Venue – The Barn at Boone’s Dam   |   Make-up – BreBeauty Makeup Artistry   |   Hair – Jonelle’s Salon   |  Wedding Dress – Jaime’s Bridal – Mount Carmel PA   |   Bridesmaids Dresses & Tux – David’s Bridal & Men’s Warehouse   |   Chair Covers – Unforgettable Events    |   Transporatation – M.S. Bond   |   DJ – Fusion Sound – Bart Koser
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Gorgeous Outdoor DIY Wedding Wed, 17 Apr 2013 12:17:52 +0000 BSWOW
It’s time for another fabulous budget savvy wedding!! I knew I had to feature this outdoor DIY wedding as soon as I saw it! The vibe, the colors, the community- it all just touched my heart. I love when people include their friends and family in the day and use the ‘it takes a village’ approach to make their day happen. I think this wedding reminds me a bit of my own wedding, maybe that’s part of the reason why I love it so much! From the community aspect, to the simple florals, to the disposable cutlery and plates, to the fun and silly bridal party- there’s just so much I LOVE about this wedding! And the fact that they were able to pull it off for just over $12k with 250 guests? Now that’s some budget savvy amazingness :) Hope you enjoy!! xoxo – Jessica
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Anna + Taylor
August 11th, 2012
Corvallis, Oregon
Corvallis Calvary Chapel
What was your budget? Please give us a breakdown of how you spent your budget.
$900-Corvallis Calvary Chapel for venue and music
$1200-Special Occasions (chairs, tables, chafers, serving utensils, linens, and delivery and pick up)
$250-wedding dress and alterations
$500-flowers (including bridal bouquets and 100 centerpieces)
$120-wedding hair and consultation
$40-tanning package
$200-stamps for invitations
$0-invitations (they were a gift)
$200-bridesmaids accessories (tights, necklace, and $10 towards dress for 6 bridesmaids)
$1200- food
$150- drinks
$250- chair sashes
$250-300 canning jars for drinks
$800-bamboo plates
$xxxx-photographer  –  She saved $1000 by booking 1 year in advance! Almost 50% savings. (The photographer asked us to omit the special pricing to avoid confusion.)
$400- bambo utensils
$100-100 glass vases
$300-thank you gifts for people who helped
$100-ribbon for decorating vases
$100-music from itunes
$940-decorating misc
$50-wedding jewelry
$100-bowties for groomsmen
$2350-I can’t remember!
$0-cake, it was a gift as well
How many guests did you have?
What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
Oh boy-the “theme” of the wedding was based on the idea that it was a community event where people felt like they were important to us. We chose not to have a head table because we wanted to be a part of the festivities, not set ourselves apart. Personal aspects: we sang the doxology before we started the ceremony (guests included); we served breakfast for our meal; family style seating (NO seating charts); we wrote our own vows and people still quote them to us to this day; the wedding was at 10:00am; my cousin who has Downs Syndrome gave the opening prayer; farmer’s market flowers for centerpieces that guests then got to take home as favors: 100lbs of blueberries in chinese takeout carriers that guests got to snack on:………and the list goes on.
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
No alcohol, found a sample dress off the rack that was originally $1000 and got it for $200. Also, I didn’t have a caterer even though we served a full meal.
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
Don’t be afraid to ask people to help. Match their skills to your need. Everyone wants to feel like they contributed. My cousin designed the invitations and my aunt took care of the dessert table and they got to feel like they were important, which is also key for eliminating drama…two birds with one stone.
What was your biggest splurge?
Ironically, the bamboo plates. I wanted something that could be thrown away, but that wasn’t paper or plastic. People didn’t know they were disposable, so they tried to clean them and stack them!
What was your favorite detail?
All of them! I can’t pick.
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
When I got down the aisle and was delivered to Taylor, we looked out over the guests and all sung the Doxology together. A cello accompanied and it was the most emotional moment of the whole day. Everyone I loved most in my life was smiling and singing and thoroughly enjoying a moment of true community.
Eugene Pavlov: photographer   |   Special Occasions: rentals   |   New Morning Bakery: bacon and cinnamon rolls   |   Sassy Onion: hashbrowns   |   The Retreat: hair
Everything else was through Etsy or other random companies. I could not have done any of this without the efforts of about 30 willing helper bees (they literally set up the whole wedding in 3 hours!)
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Glamorous Estate Wedding on a $12,000 Budget! Wed, 27 Feb 2013 13:18:07 +0000 BSWOW

Excited to share this glamorous estate wedding today- it just gives off this feeling of classic elegance! This was a marriage that blended two families, since the bride and groom each had children of their own. The day was a family affair- with their children participating as attendants and even the flower girl. I love how simple and elegant they kept things- getting married outside in front of a huge hydrangea bush meant there was no need for lavish decorations. Kristen kept the florals simple and splurged on what was most important to her- photography! I think you’ll agree that it was worth it- just take a look at the shots captured by Altura Studio! LOVE this wedding- hope you do, too! xoxo-Jessica

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Kristen + Rob

August 18th 2012
Jenkins Estate, Beaverton, OR


What was your budget? If you are able, give us a rough breakdown of how you spent your budget.

We originally set a budget of $10k, but we went over by a couple thousand. This budget does not include the rings.

3,000 – photography
2,500 – venue
2,250 – food
800 – floral
500 – cake
200 – alcohol
500 – DJ
350 – Officiant


How many guests did you have?



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

Our kids were our attendants


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

Skimped on floral and didn’t have any kind of wedding favors. Our centerpieces were simply stems of hydrangea in vases. We bought the flowers in bulk.


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

Have really supportive people surrounding you that you can brainstorm with! Decide what is really important to you and spend your money on that. Don’t waste money and time on things that will be forgotten by the next day.


What was your biggest splurge?

Photography, definitely. And totally worth it!


What was your favorite detail?

Floral urns that I put together.


What is the most memorable moment of your day?

The ceremony and the love we felt for each other.


From their photographer, Theresa of Altura Studio: Early Fall is the finest time to marry in Oregon. The weather is uniformly perfect. The trees begin to show a touch of color. But more than that, the ever-so-slight change in the season makes us all feel something special. When the weather starts to change, I think it reminds us that time is passing, that life is important and that every day is special. That sense of autumn’s beginning was definitely in the air for Rob and Kristen’s beautiful wedding on August 18th.

It’s an added gift when your children can join you at the altar as you begin a life together. Kristen’s sweet daughter, Phoebe, stepped in as flower girl. Rob’s children Amanda and Erik stood up with their dad as bridesmaid and groomsman. To that delightful mix add parents, brothers, and dear friends and now you’ve got a whole new family embarking on a future together.

My favorite part of the day was stealing Rob and Kristen away as the light faded in the evening. As it always does this time of year, we were surprised by how quickly the sun dropped in the sky. But my favorite photos area of Kristen and Rob enjoying each other in the dusky light.


Photography: Altura Studio   |   Venue and Catering:  Jenkins Estate  |   Gown: Charlotte’s Weddings    |   Florist: Anna Mara    |   Officiant: A Beautiful Ceremony NW  |   Hair and Makeup: Cassandra Kennedy Beauty   |   Cake: JaCiva’s
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Tennessee Wedding by The Perfect Pear: Emily + Eric Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 So excited to share the wedding of one of our bride bloggers today! As you know, the lovely Emily shared her wedding planning process here on BSB (read all her posts here) and she’s back today to share her special day with us! I absolutely love the look of everything, from the mismatched bridesmaid dresses, Emily’s big yummy bouquet, and the country/rustic vibe of the gorgeous venue, The Loveless Barn! Emily definitely learned alot along the way and had to overcome some budget obstacles but in the end her day turned out beautiful and I’m loving the photos by The Perfect Pear. Congrats Emily!! We hope that married life is wonderful. xoxo-Jessica



Eric + Emily

May 12, 2012
The Loveless Barn– Nashville, TN


What was your budget? If you are able, give us a rough breakdown of how you spent your budget.

We started with hopes of a $10k budget, but as our guest numbers climbed, we had to “up” it to $12.5k:
$6500 Food & Rentals (our venue lumps this together)
$3500 Venue Rental
$800 Photography
$325 Trolley for Guests
$300 Flowers & Supplies
$300 Stationary & Postage
$225 Cupcakes
$250 Favors
$180 Other decorations (mostly centerpieces/runners)
$150 Hair/Makeup
*Not included in this were my dress & our band/sound system, which were gifts from family members.

How many guests did you have?
205 (with so many out-of-towners, we only had initially expected 150)

What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
The music we chose for the ceremony & reception were very personal (I work in the music industry & grew up playing music). Our ceremony musicians (guitar, fiddle & mandolin) were close friends, and I chose to walk down the aisle to one of my favorite instrumental songs, “Angeline the Baker.” Our venue is also a popular site for music, and the vibe was very Nashville. A friend of my mother’s married us, and we tried to include both Midwestern & Southern wedding elements as best we could. I felt like most every element of our wedding was “personal,” because we did everything we could ourselves, and included more close friends & family members along the way than I could have ever expected.

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
In a word– everything. With such a tight budget and way too many ideas, we had to pay close attention to every detail. Although a broad explanation, I’d say the biggest things we did in general would be researching all options before making careful decisions, prioritizing upfront, and also adding up the cost of DIY elements before digging in. It’s easy to get caught up in DIY fever and assume that it’s always cheaper, which isn’t necessarily the case. Never be afraid to ask for a better deal.

What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
This is 100% cliche, but 100% the truth from my experience: Don’t get caught up in the “what if’s,” do your best to ignore unwanted advice when it’s possible, and just know that you’ve done your best with what you have to work with. Yes, you can stretch a dollar, but expecting to have everything your heart could ever desire for a dream wedding on a limited budget, might be unreasonable.

I was so caught up with scenarios of things that could go wrong, when in reality some things DID go wrong and weren’t near the catastrophe I had feared. It rained on our wedding day and we had an outside ceremony planned (with a rain back-up plan). Things probably ended up being easier and more comfortable for our guests being inside with more space & AC, even though it’s not what I had envisioned it to be. We had also hired a shuttle to bring several family members from the hotel to the venue, and the driver was 30 minutes late for the pick-up. We postponed the ceremony until they arrived, and no harm was done.

We had a great time and so did our guests, and above all– WE GOT MARRIED!

What was your biggest splurge?
Our biggest splurges were the venue and food by far, which accounted for the bulk of our final budget. Those were also two areas that we couldn’t technically cut many corners on, as the venue provides food. With that being said, I’d always suggest asking the venue about any additional options if you need to, even though it may appear “mandatory.” For example, when I sat down and simply said we had to cut costs or things weren’t going to work, new options were explored and we were able to save several thousand dollars. IT NEVER HURTS TO ASK!

What was your favorite detail?
I liked most of our decorations because seeing them all together brought to mind the considerable amount of the time and hardwork that went into them. I was probably most pleased with our centerpieces.
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
By the time our ceremony rolled around, we were all exhausted from such a long day already, plus hours of photos. My most memorable moment would still be making it down the aisle. Eric was sweating like I couldn’t believe. I remember looking down as his boutonniere and seeing the flowers shaking. I was sure he was going to actually pass out! With our ceremony having been moved inside, the lights were a little bright and hot that were set up in the venue. Our “first look” session earlier in the day was also very memorable.



PhotographyThe Perfect Pear (Columbus, OH)
Catering: The Loveless Cafe (Nashville, TN)
Cupcakes: The Cupcake Collection (Nashville, TN)
DressGlitz Bridal (Bellevue, TN)
Tuxes: Street Tuxedo (Nashville, TN)
Reception Band: Randy Kohrs Band (Nashville, TN)
Trolley/Shuttle: FADDS Party Bus (Nashville, TN)
Stationary Design: Whitney Waddell Designs (Gallatin, TN)
Favors: Moon Pies (Chattanooga, TN) & Spirit of Nashville/Anderson Design Group (Nashville, TN)
Printing: Midtown Printing (Nashville, TN)
Hair/Makeup: Angel (Nashville, TN)
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