The Budget Savvy Bride » $15k wedding helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank Mon, 27 Apr 2015 14:17:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Intimate wedding with handcrafted details Wed, 21 Jan 2015 13:00:48 +0000

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

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Katy + Eunio Garcia

June 8, 2014

Winston Salen, NC  |  Graylyn Estate




What was your wedding budget?

Our goal was to stay under $15,000.

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


How many guests did you have?

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


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

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


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

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


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

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


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

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


What was your biggest splurge?

The dress, of course! And I loved it.


What was your favorite detail?

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


What is the most memorable moment of your day?

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



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

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Robot Unicorn Wedding Wed, 31 Dec 2014 13:00:05 +0000
Holy cow, you guys. We’re saying goodbye to 2014 with a BANG thanks to this amazingly fabulous real wedding we’re sharing today! Let’s take a look at the details — this wedding includes all of the following: Kate Spade, unicorns, gold glitter, turquoise cupcakes, food truck catering, amazing decor, paper flowers, and so much more. You’re gonna love this so much, I just know it! The bride is a wedding planner herself, so she she had her wedding planner eye for design and a mission to do her big day on a budget and the results are truly out-of-this-world fabulous! xoxo, Jessica
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Emily + Brian

November 9, 2013

Apopka, FL –  Orlando-Apopka Airport


What was your wedding budget?

Total Budget – $15,000

  • Photography – $4,000
  • Catering – $2,500
  • Cakes/Desserts – $200 (many of our desserts were made by family and friends and given to us as gifts)
  • Venue – $400 (for 3 days)
  • Flowers – $750
  • Rentals – $300 (glassware), $2,600 (tables, chairs, linens, draping), $50 (disposable food boats and bamboo flatware)
  • Transportation – $1000
  • Hair/Makeup – $150
  • Wedding Dress – $800 (custom made)
  • Bride’s Accessories – $500
  • Groom’s Attire – $200
  • Design Materials (all decor made by bride’s company, Oh Deer Creative) – $500
  • Papery (paper goods designed by bride’s company, Oh Deer Creative) – $150
  • Officiant – free as he was the father of one of our groomsmen
  • Music – used own sound system
  • Planning/Design – free as I did it myself, but it is usually a $6,000 package that I offer clients

****Because I own an wedding planning and design company, I did not have to pay for someone to do a lot of this work. I did pay an assistant $200 to run our day of from my constructed timelines).

How many guests did you have?




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

Everything! Details are my passion, and creating details that are purposeful and joyful are definitely my heart songs. Knowing that we were going to be working on a pretty tight budget, Brian and I set out to create a super fun, and incredibly unique wedding for our friends and family to experience. Our wedding day was filled with intentional details from the quirky design to the more serious moments. We decided to base our wedding design off a silly iphone game that we played while dating, Robot Unicorn Attack. From there, we went all in. Our wedding was filled with vibrant colors, custom unicorn logos, and the theme song to the game, “Always” by Erasure. Other personal details that we incorporated were food trucks. Brian and I have spent many date nights enjoying meals curbside from the best local food trucks in Orlando. Choosing food trucks as our food for the wedding seemed perfect since it not only incorporated something we loved, but also allowed us to selfishly have every kind of food at our wedding all at once. After we settled on food trucks, we then started our hunt for a venue that could accommodate. I know that is backwards for the way most people plan their wedding, but we made our decisions based upon our priorities. We chose to get married at the Olrando-Apopka airport not only because it worked with our food truck idea, but it also meshed with our story since Brian proposed to me on an airplane. It was just perfect! One of my most favorite personal details from our wedding was the marriage certificate that we had at our ceremony. I designed a poster-sized marriage certificate, and during our ceremony we signed this as a way to publicly acknowledge our vows along with our pastor and our bridal party. This now hangs in our dining room, and is a wonderful reminder of the promise we make to each other daily.



What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

The biggest thing we did to save money was making the decision with my husband that I would take on all the planning and design myself. This is not something I usually advocate since it can end up causing more stress and costing more money for many brides, but this worked out in our situation since I work as a event planner and designer. Because I chose to handle these responsibilities, it meant that I was taking a precious slot for a client and therefore did not bring in that additional income, so it was definitely a trade off. I also saved money by having a local designer/seamstress create my dress from a design I drew up. I really wanted an incredibly unique wedding dress as I didn’t want to associate what I was wearing with any of my other brides, and I’m definitely not good at being traditional. It was definitely a risk going this route, but something that paid off dramatically for me.



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

My biggest sacrifices came in my tablescapes. I chose to use paper products and bamboo flatware in lieu of dishware and simple stems in upcycled vases for our centerpieces rather than full arrangements. Having food trucks provide our catering made the table settings perfect for the style of wedding we had, and we opted for other ways to make our tables shine. Having colorful vintage glassware, custom band buttons on the napkins, and vibrant flowers in upcycled vases (many of which cost $0.10 or less) allowed our tables to still pop without breaking the bank.



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

Prioritize. Know what things are the most important to you, and set your budget around that. Budget weddings are possible, but they are a lot of work. When you have a budget wedding, you will need to get creative with your resources and many times toss the budget planning sheets out the window because you will be planning something incredibly unique. Also, no matter what, budget to have someone at least take the reigns from you the day of your wedding and allow them to handle it all. Being the type-A planner that I am, even with having someone running my day-of, I was constantly concerned with the details the way I am with my clients, and that sometimes got in the way of me enjoying the moment. Remember what matters most, and don’t let anything else get in your way. If you leave that night married to the one you love more than anything, your wedding was perfect!



What was your biggest splurge?

Photography. I am the biggest advocate for spending money on a good photographer. It was extremely important to me to have a skilled photographer that would capture our day exactly as it came together. Memories of your wedding day can be fleeting. It’s a crazy day full of excitement, emotions, and people, and photos are the way that you can preserve all of those sacred memories.



What was your favorite detail?

My favorite detail has to be our marriage certificate from our ceremony. I love all the fun and pretty reception things, but the marriage certificate holds more meaning than anything else can. I also love that this detail hangs in our house today as a reminder of the vows that we took that day, and also as a reminder of the promise our friends and family made to love and support us in our marriage.



What is the most memorable moment of your day?

The most memorable moment from the day wasn’t just one moment, but a combination of many moments watching my husband smile, celebrate, and dance. The pure joy that he expressed throughout each moment of that day makes me feel silly for the stress and frustration that I carried about little things that weren’t going right. His moments of joy were a reminder of what mattered most. A lifetime ahead of marriage, celebration, joy, and bad dancing! Another favorite memory from that day was the speech my dad made at the reception. He read a letter to my mom that he wrote her for their anniversary that year, and there probably wasn’t a dry eye in the place. My parent’s love is something to be admired, and I loved hearing my dad’s wisdom and marriage advice given to us through his expression of love to my mother.



Photographer: Mike & Ann | Visual Storytellers  •  Planning and Design: Emily Grace Design  •  Venue: Orlando-Apopka Airport  •  Flowers: Carolyn Ayres  •  Rentals: Party Time Rentals and Dishie Rentals  •  Catering: The Crepe Company, Sushi and Seoul on a Roll, and The Treehouse Truck  •  Officiant: Rev. David McEntire  •  Hair: Carly Milleson at Porte Noire  •  Makeup: Love & Arrows Makeup by Cristina Jones  •  Dress: Custom  •  Shoes: Kate Spade  •  Cake: Betty Cakes, Becky Bakes, and Family  •  Paper Goods: Oh Deer Creative  •  Hangers: Oh Deer Creative  •  Buttons: Oh Deer Creative






]]> 0 Navy + Red Wedding Wed, 26 Nov 2014 13:00:20 +0000

Such a treat for you today – this navy and red wedding is so preppy and southern! This couple got married in Kentucky and really played up the southern charm with their extra large bridal party and cute details! I love the subtle 4th of July feel to the day and I think that Zach and Valerie did some really fun things to tie in their personalities and personal tastes into the day. I especially love the musical selections for their ceremony, so don’t miss those tidbits in her interview below! Thanks Zach and Valerie for sharing your big day with us!! xoxo, Jessica


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Zach + Valerie

July 12th, 2014

Blessed Sacrament Church | Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky

Ft. Thomas Mess Hall | Ft. Thomas. Kentucky


What was your wedding budget?


  • Reception Venue & rentals: 1,900
  • Cups & Paper products: 300
  • Catering: 4,500
  • Cake: 350
  • Alcohol (beer, wine, and signature drink): 1,200
  • Gown Alterations and Accessories: 1,200
  • Bride’s Hair & Makeup: 200
  • Groom’s suit: 160
  • Ceremony Fee: 225
  • Flowers: 725
  • Other Decorations: 400
  • Reception DJ: 1,000
  • Invitations, Save the Dates, Programs: 250
  • Parent and Bridal Party Gifts: 800
  • Photographer & Videographer: 1,800


How many guests did you have?

Our guest list was about 320.  We ended up with about 260 in attendance.


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

Zach and I tried to add many personal touches throughout our wedding day to make it our own.  We made many of the items ourselves and enjoyed doing this together.  This was a great way to save money and also add personal touches. From our centerpieces and programs to our cake topper and sparkler wedding favors we made everything on our own.  Our colors were Red and Navy and we wanted to have a casual 4th of July Picnic vibe throughout the day.  We are also big College basketball fans.  Zach loves Indiana University and I love the University of Kentucky.  We tried to subtly tie this in throughout the day in different ways.  My most favorite being our IU/UK Mason jar glasses.

For our ceremony we added personal touches through our musical selection.  We had a traditional Catholic wedding so we selected our favorite traditional church music for the mass portion.  We were able to be a bit more contemporary on our song selections before and after the mass by using instrumental versions of some of our favorite songs.  Our Moms walked down the aisle to the Brave Heart theme song and our wedding party walked down to “That’s What Friends are for”.  My Dad walked me down the aisle to Guns and Rose “Sweet Child of Mine” played on the harp.  Finally our recessional was “The Final Countdown” played on the organ!

For our reception, we really wanted it to be a fun party to celebrate with all of our friends and family. Zach and I love music and to dance!  Our relationship actually started on a dance floor of a local 70/80’s themed dance club (Boogie Nights!) and our engagement took place on that same dance floor.  We wanted to incorporate that into our reception in some way.  We had the DJ from Boogie Nights as our wedding DJ.  He not only played all of our favorite 70’s and 80’s music but he also wore his regular Boogie Nights attire which includes a Red, White and Blue Harlem Globe Trotters uniform (which nicely matched our color scheme) and a red afro wig.  In addition to that we had a large 12×20 big screen that played all of the music videos that went with each of the songs just like they do at Boogie Nights.  We really think this made our reception and had all of our guests dancing the night away.  Boogie nights even let us use their Boogie Party Bus for the wedding party!



What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

We were on a very strict budget.  We received a set amount of money from my parents and we promised ourselves we would not go over it.  We are working very hard to save for our dream house and did not want to have to tap into our savings or go into debt in order to have our dream wedding. So we worked on being very creative and frugal!  This was challenging because we both come from large families and we did not want to compromise on our over 300 person guest list.

Our biggest money saver was using a reception venue that allowed us to do everything ourselves.  It was a lot of work but worth it.  Most venues, we would have spent our entire budget on the rental fee, food, and drinks.  The venue we used allowed us to bring in all of our own catering as well as alcohol.  This saved us a ton and also gave us the flexibility to get creative!  We had a build your own Gourmet Hotdog and Hamburger bar that went right along with the theme of our day.  The venue was also a blank slate to decorate how we wanted and create the perfect atmosphere for our reception.

Our second biggest money savor was having a close friend (my boss!) do our flowers.  She loves doing flowers on the side as a hobby.  This allowed us to purchase our flowers at cost.  We were able to create the beautiful look of flowers without the high price tag of a traditional florist.  In addition to that we did anything and everything we could on our own or pulled in friends to help out.  I designed our save the dates and programs and another family friend designed our invites.



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

I have LOTS of advice but I’ll stick to the top three:

  1. Try not to sweat the small stuff.  It can become really easy to get caught up in the little details that no one will even notice.  Try not to worry about them or bypass them all together if you can! For example, I realized at the last minute I forgot to buy a garter so we just didn’t do a garter toss or a bouquet toss.  It ended up giving us more time to dance!
  2. If you are going to invest your time in personalized details like we did, make sure you tell your photographer exactly what they are and what you want pictures of because they cannot read your mind.  We had so many little personalized touches that we ended up not having photos of.  I would have loved a picture of our hamburger/hotdog bar signs or personalized restroom signs that we made but in the madness it didn’t happen.
  3. Negotiate!!! If you are on a tight budget like we were try to work with your vendors to find a solution in your price range.  Name your price and ask what you can get with it.  They will almost always find something that works for both of you even if it’s not on their website.


What was your biggest splurge?

Our DJ was by far our biggest splurge.  We know music can make or break any party and we wanted it to be perfect (and it was!).  Oh and my dress of course.  Once I put it on I couldn’t say no :)



What was your favorite detail?

Our centerpieces. This was really a team effort by Zach and I.  Most grooms do not care at all about centerpieces and I’m so glad Zach was willing to help me out!  We shopped around and tried so many different things until we landed on the paper lantern idea.  I loved them because they were so unique and turned out just beautiful with the flowers.



What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Saying our vowels to one another on the altar.  There is something really powerful about standing in front of everyone you know and love and staring into each other’s eyes and promising yourselves to one another.  It was even more special because our 9 year old son (my son from a previous relationship) was standing up there with us as our ring bearer.  I am so thankful we have those words on video to cherish forever.  That reminds me!  Find room in your budget for a videographer.  You can’t hear your vows through a photo :)




Photography: Lowry Photo  •  Reception Venue: Ft. Thomas Mess Hall  •  Catering: Vertigo Catering  •  Wedding Gown and Bridesmaid’s dresses: Fabulous Bridal  •  Suits: JCPenney  •  Cake: Affordable Wedding Creations  •  Makeup: Makeup by Kyra Keefer  •  DJ and party bus: DJ Travis BellBoogie Nights Hollywood Casino



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Yellow and grey wedding Wed, 01 Oct 2014 12:00:08 +0000 real budget wedding

I just love this sweet yellow and grey wedding! I love how this couple got savvy to save up the funds they needed to pay for their wedding. They really made sacrifices in order to put enough money away to create their dream wedding! I encourage all of you to find ways to save money all year long so that you don’t have to sacrifice on your special day — especially on the things that are most important to you! Be committed and diligent and you will find a way to make it happen. I hope you enjoy these lovely photos and the bride’s advice! xoxo Jessica

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Nikki + Michael

March 8, 2014

Gilbert, Arizona  |  The Barn at Power Ranch



What was your wedding budget?

Our budget was $10,000. We soon after had to increase our budget to $15,000.  We ended up being right under budget.

Catering : $5500

Dress + Alterations : $2000

Venue: $1475

Rings : $1300

Photography: $1000

DJ: $600

Engagement photography: $600

Alcohol: $ 500

Center pieces: $400 (Made ourselves)

Rentals: $300

Stationary: $300

Flowers: $275 (Made them ourselves w/ family)

Suit + Shoes: $200

Hair for myself & bridesmaids: $200

Transportation: $200

Last minute extras: $200

Officiate: $100

Makeup: $80

Nails: $65



How many guests did you have?

Right around 100.



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

My husband and I both wanted our wedding to be a huge celebration and party.  We have attended more formal weddings, and the best ones we have enjoyed were based on the celebration aspect of their weddings.  Our music was fun, the people were all fun, the ceremony and reception were all fun.



What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

We ended up canceling our cable, and went only to online movie services.  We also stopped going out to dinner every week.  We nearly became hermits for a year in order to save money.  Many people did not understand that we had to save, but after the wedding, I think many people understood why we limited our activities throughout the year.



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

My best advice would be to do what you and your fiancé want to do.  Do not worry about others and what they want for your wedding.  Many people like to give advice some is great, and others are not that great.  Do not feel bad for not doing what everyone else wants you to do.  It is your wedding.



What was your biggest splurge?

The biggest splurge was definitely the cost of catering. I wanted to have the best catering service, cake and food.  My dress was also a large splurge, I never thought that I would spend that much money on a dress.  I am thankful to have had outside help from our family.



What was your favorite detail?

My favorite details were the colors, I love yellow and gray and the incorporation of lemons in to our centerpieces.  Another detail that I loved is that the bouquets were all made with dangling charms.  I picked our charms for each of my bridesmaid that made each of their bouquets unique.



What is the most memorable moment of your day?

One of the most memorable moments of our wedding day was when my husband saw me for the first time.  Walking down the aisle I felt like we shared a moment that was so sharp that it could cut through anything.  It was an amazing feeling.




Catering: Roberts Catering  //  Dress: David’s Bridal  //  Photography: Brian Minson Wedding Photography  //  Rentals: Andrews Party Rentals  //  Grooms attire: Nicks Menswear




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Patriotic Wedding – Happy Independence Day! Fri, 04 Jul 2014 15:00:42 +0000

I’ve got a bonus wedding for you this week- so get excited! In honor of Independence Day, I’m sharing this amazingly patriotic wedding shot by the talented Jenna Marie Photography. Not only are the details perfect for Independence day, but both the bride and the groom are in the US Army. Love getting to honor this couple who serves our country on this national holiday! I hope you enjoy these All-American wedding details and that you all have a very happy fourth of July!

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Sarah + Jim

May 10, 2014

Manteno, IL | Manteno United Methodist Church and Manteno Sportsman Club



What was your wedding budget?

$15,000 – Budgeted for Wedding

$660 – DJ

$1,100 – Flowers

$650 – Desert (cake/cupcakes)

$750 – Limo Bus

$5,800 – Reception Hall

$100 – Church gift

$1,000 – Brides Dress

$1,200 – Photographer

$800 – Wedding party gifts

$1,000 – Reception Hall decorations

$150 – Bridal party make-up

$300 – Misc/Honeymoon Suite

$700 – Party/Table gifts

How many guests did you have?

Approx 150


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

Adding own personal military touchs.  Used little green army men as centerpieces, made US Army Candy Suckers as table gifts, personalized cake topper, Groom wore Army Dress Uniform instead of tux, Slide show of bride and groom through the years before the ceremony, Wedding party danced down the aisle, saber detail, groom’s father brewed a special wine for immediate family and wedding party and Groom’s grandparents co-officiated wedding.


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

Having wedding in Manteno (where Bride was from) and not Chicago Area (where Groom is from.) Choosing to get married outside of a big city saved us all across the board!



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

Start planning early to help relieve stress.  We were engaged for a year and half and started planning shortly after we got engaged which helped us get everything done early enough to be less stressed the month before.  Remember it is the bride and groom’s day and no one else’s so do not think you HAVE to please other people or do what other people want you to do.


What was your biggest splurge?

The limo bus.


What was your favorite detail?

We had a saber detail as we had a military themed wedding and both of us are in the service.



What is the most memorable moment of your day?

The ceremony




Photographer:  Jenna Marie Photography  //  Cake Designer: Cake by Jorie  //  Floral Designer: Jan the Flower Girl  //  Makeup Artist:Kelly Knobloch of Mary Kay  //  Reception Venue: Manteno Sportsmen’s Club  //  DJ: Limelight DJ Entertainment  //  Transportation: Reliable Limo and Charter

Submitted via Two Bright Lights


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Rustic Purple Wedding in the Park Wed, 19 Mar 2014 14:06:05 +0000 real budget wedding

A lovely wedding for you all today in a public park– gorgeous location for a ceremony, don’t you think? I love all the touches of color and DIY that ties everything together. As we say time and time again- DIY can save you money when you do it right! I know you’ll love these photos by the talented Kellie Saunders just as much as I did! xoxo – Jessica

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Craig + Janelle

September 15th 2012

Ceremony: Shelby Township, MI at Stony Creek Metro Park at The Sheldon Estates

Reception: Washington Township, MI at The Washington Lions Club



What was your wedding budget?

Our total was around $15,000

  • Dress, alterations and added sash $1200
  • Hall Food, Hall rental and bartender $4300
  • Alcohol $800
  • Flowers and set up $1200
  • DJ $725
  • Photographer $2500
  • Cupcakes $275
  • Rev. $350
  • Ceremony location rental fee $150
  • Chair rental for ceremony, cocktail tables with spandex table clothes and lights for reception $400
  • Limo $500
  • centerpiece supplies $300
  • birdcages $25
  • pictures frames $50
  • chalk boards, easels and lanterns with candles $200
  • Wood S behind head table $40
  • Mr. and Mrs. signs to hold, C&J signs for wine glasses and wood bird cake toppers $55
  • table over lays $100
  • cake stands $75
  • Hurricane candle holders and candles $85
  • Flower girl and ring pillow supplies $25
  • Favor jars, ribbons and jellybeans $250
  • Wood ceremony signs made by my husband and bases painted by me with extra supplies and then professionally painted letters by a friend who paints signs
  • hair styled for free by sister in law who is a hair dresser
  • veil and hair flower $25
  • jewelry $25
  • cello and violin player $250
  • shoes $100
  • wedding party and parents gifts $350
  • my purse $12
  • handmade flowers for all
  • bridesmaids hair made by me $40
  • lavender to throw after ceremony / bags $35
  • place cards free- they were rocks I collected from the ceremony cite beforehand
  • save the dates $100
  • invitations $200
  • thank you pictures and cards $200
  • guest sign in tree $60.

How many guests did you have?

120 guests attended


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

I made the centerpieces which included painting the planters to resemble old crackled wood (a look I was previously unaware could be duplicated), We made the ceremony and “last change arrow signs, I made the flower girl baskets and ring pillow (never made a pillow before but figured it out as I went), I made the flowers that the flower girls and bridesmaids’ wore in their hair and the flowers that I pinned to their purses and mine, I painted and sanded the birdcages for the cards and advice and well wishes cages and tied ribbons to them as well as made the signs that went into the picture frames (fancy scissors and layers of colored cardstock), I attached a picture of my deceased grandmother in her wedding dress to my bridal bouquet, family members and the bridal party helped with a lot of the setup, I had guests throw lavender in the woods at the ceremony instead of something non-natural so that it would be biodegradable, environmentally safe and smell good, along with our rev. we wrote our own vows to reflect our love and respect for mother nature, family and friends and God, I purchased all of the cake plates to display our little cupcakes. I requested Carrie Underwoods “mother” song and dedicated it to my mother as she was the one who raised me. My mom is also the one who walked me down the isle. Instead of a sand ceremony we had a tree sapling planted and added soil from my mom’s home and his parent’s home so that it could be planted with their joint soil, in our yard. I collected rocks at the location where our ceremony was going to be held and used them as place cars for guest to be seated at the correct tables ( I also made up the ‘sorta rhyming’ saying that instructed them what to do).


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

I made most of the things that I was able to which required a lot of research on how to do so. I would find things I loved and then figure out how I could do it myself. We also tried to eliminate unnecessary things that added a lot to the budget like flowers, overpriced reception sites and elaborate invitations.


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

The brides and bridal party flowers are important because they are in many of the photos so make sure you love them and that they are the type of hardy flowers that will hold up well after hours out of water, also contrast in the flowers looks great my flower shop suggested that I remove one of the colors in my bridesmaids bouquets just before the wedding which made them blend right into their dresses I wish I would have went with my gut and left the third color flower in so their flowers popped more against their dresses, I also downsized my bouquet at the last minute and it was smaller than I wanted or expected, find a photographer you love and that you get along well with, you spend most of the day with them and it is important that you not only love their work but do not have clashing personalities, let your photographer know if there are special things you want them to make sure to capture like the little details you worked so hard to create or special pictures with your wedding party or new husband, don’t have expectations of what your day will be like to a tee because there will always be things that are different than you imagined, be relaxed and just go with the flow on your big day, if you are able to see the reception cite before your event it might be a good idea just in case there are things that are not set up to your liking, you can save a lot of money if you get creative and make things yourself. This is also nice because you are saving money and getting exactly what you want. Start looking for wedding shoes early as they seem to be much harder to find than I expected.


What was your biggest splurge?

My dress and the photographer as both of these were most important on my list and well worth the splurge.


What was your favorite detail?

I loved so many things about our wedding but it really was the little details that were so special to me. My centerpieces were my favorite. They were my first project and it was amazing to see my vision come to life. It was awesome to see them placed on the tables after having worked on them for so long. I also loved the flowers on the side of our ceremony table. I feel like they added a lot visually and we were able to bring them to the reception cite and include them as part of the decorations so they served a double purpose. I also loved the Mr. and Mrs. Signs that we held in our pictures as well as the lit up cocktail tables (wish we had more, people used them all night)


What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Walking down the isle and then seeing my handsome groom face to face for the first time as we prepared to start the ceremony and become husband and wife.



Photography: Kellie Saunders Photography  //  Cupcakes: Pink Elephant Cupcakes   //  Flowers: Viviano Flower Shop   //   Dress: Arena Bridal and Formal  //   Rentals: Knights Tent and Party rental   //  Caterer: Chef Raymone Catering   //   Venue: The Washington lions Club   //   Venue: Stony Creek Metro Park   //  Bobbi Crank- Cover me up Chair Covers  //  DIY Projects and Decor: Vista Print, Etsy, save on crafts, Blooms and Branches, Pier One Imports, Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Ebay

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Vintage Country Wedding Wed, 12 Mar 2014 13:00:35 +0000 real budget wedding

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What was your wedding budget?

$15,000 Total

6700 – Venue; All-Inclusive; Ceremony, Reception, Catering, Honeymoon Suite

3700 – Photography; Day-of, Engagement Session, Canvas Print, Album, After Session

1200 –Flowers

1000 – DJ and Photobooth

900 – Videography

600 – Bride’s Dress and Groom’s Attire

220 – Flower Girls and Ring Bearer’s Attire

200 – Stationery (Save the Dates, Programs, and Invitations)

150 – Swings
150 – Decorations

100 – Attendant Gifts

80 – Makeup



How many guests did you have?




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

It was really important to me that the wedding reflected both Trevor and I, as individuals and as a couple. I am crafty, thrifty, and artsy, and Trevor enjoys cigars and beer.  We both embrace our Texas heritage and love the outdoors.  I wanted to include all of these things, so I constantly looked for ways to do so.  I had people collecting beer bottles and cigar boxes to use for centerpieces, while I hunted for various vintage items to use for decoration like Coca-Cola bottles. (I got an entire ceramic bathtub full for FREE from a lady after a garage sale, just by asking about them!) I included many creative aspects such as folding and ironing all of the linen napkins into heart shapes, making the straps for the flower girls’ sandals, handwriting all of the escort cards, reupholstering the sweet heart table chairs, etc.  I also included a lot of personal items like the lace from my mother’s bouquet, Trevor’s grandmother’s ceramic angel statue, and a desk from my late uncle.




What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

The biggest thing I did to save money was making the decision to have our wedding at MD Resort.  I originally wanted our wedding to be on my family land, but as I began adding up the costs of all the preparations to the barn, and then the chairs, tables, linens, lighting, coordination, etc. it started to get overwhelming.  When I found MD Resort, it had every element of what I was originally wanting, just in a different location, literally 10 minutes from my family’s land.  As a big chunk altogether the price seems steep, but when it is broken down into all the different categories of everything they provided the price was very reasonable.



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

Number one: Stick to your guns!  Number two: Prioritize! Prioritize! Prioritize! If you have really strong feelings toward a certain aspect of your day, make it happen.  Other aspects may have to be scaled back to accommodate, but I promise you, you will not regret it.  And, honestly, no matter what, it’s your special day, so it is going to be perfect regardless!



What was your biggest splurge?

My biggest splurge was photography.  Up until that day a lot of people thought I was crazy to spend “that much” on “wedding pictures.”  For me, it was so much more than that.  It was someone that could come in and capture our love story in a way that we would want it captured.  As a graduate of Fine Arts, I studied photography and I’m very skeptical and critical when it comes to photographers.  When I found Leaha, I knew she was the one, so I made it happen with my budget, and never looked back.  She captured our entire love story from our engagement session, to wedding day, and even met up with us at the end of our honeymoon for a Happily Ever After Session!



What was your favorite detail?

I enlisted the help of pretty much all of my family and friends.  (Sometimes it may seem awkward to ask people for help, or feel like you might be putting them out, but, I found out some were chomping at the bit to be able to assist.) I had family and friends helping with everything from the dessert table to making burlap bows to arranging tables.  I also had a cousin who made me a beautiful lace beaded bracelet that complemented my dress beautifully!



What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Aside from our first look which I was looking forward to ALL DAY, I would have to say the moment that we were introduced as Mr. and Mrs. leading into our first dance.  We entered the barn and were completely surrounded by so much love from all of our closest family and friends that were all in one place, ready to celebrate!  I never wanted it to end!


Venue: MD Resort  //  Photography: Popography  //  Flowers: Floral & Décor by Rachael  //  DJ & Photobooth: Mark & Justin  //  Videography: Brad Gamm  //  Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Cocoricooo  //  Flowergirls and Ring Bearer’s Attire: Tree Top Boutique  //  Makeup: Amanda Ryan 

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UPDATE: Bianca’s Champagne Taste on a Beer Budget Fri, 17 Jan 2014 13:00:31 +0000  

In my very first BSB post I told you about my tendency towards champagne priced goods when I’m working with a budget more fit for beer in the wedding market. BSB readers took one look at how I’d parceled out my $15K budget and chimed in with suggestions on how I could trim line items to make my budget work—THANK YOU! With several big decisions under our belts, I am happy to say progress has been made.

My champagne taste-beer budget approach to wedding planning (and life) is more of a value centered one. I believe in having nice things, but I want them for prices that will allow me to have the life I yearn for—a debt free and happy one. When making purchase, I typically follow these three precepts:

  1. It must be something I REALLY want, won’t tire of easily, and won’t have to replace. I don’t buy trendy or cheap items. For me, it’s all about quality.
  2. The price must be really, REALLY good. I won’t see the item at a cheaper price tomorrow or next week and I won’t spend more than I want to; sometimes that means negotiating and sometimes it means walking away. If what I want isn’t available to me at the price I want to pay and it’s within my capability to do it myself, I allow my creativity the space to make it happen.
  3. Absolutely NO TCHOTCHKE! Unless I’m absolutely sure that the item is purposeful, I won’t buy it.

A $15K budget is not a lot in the wedding world, especially for 150 people. I’ve been made very aware of this as I’ve marked through items on my checklist, and there have been many to tell me what I “can’t do” without spending more money. Tisk, tisk, tisk…

I can only laugh when I hear this. Why?…because I’m doing it.

Without further ado, here’s a look at our most recent figures.

Created using Picasa 3
Created using Picasa 3

The bulk of our budget is being spent on food and the reason for that lies with all the conveniences offered by our venue:  no venue rental fees, no need for a ton of miscellaneous rentals (china, linens, etc.), complimentary valet, plated meals with no extra charges for staff, and a prime location.  We chose The Olmsted because it comes with so much that the reception will just about run itself. It also helped us eliminate a good bit of money that would have been needed for rentals (and the logistical nightmares associated with multiple vendors).

Sherrod and I just completed a food tasting at the Olmsted, and it was spectacular! From the moment we walked in, we were greeted by heavenly aromas of fresh baked goods. It smelled so sweet that it was hard to complete the walk-through (which was first on the agenda). We tried two entrees—salmon with couscous and broccoli rabe, as well as, chicken with mashed potatoes and a vegetable medley. Sherrod isn’t a fan of salmon, but he thought it was good enough to not add steak to the menu (which we weren’t able to try at the time). I think the jury is still out on that decision, but we’ll see.

It was my first visit to The Olmsted, and I still can’t believe how lucky we were to snag such a great place. It’s HUGE with lots of areas for entertaining, either in spaces off of the garden or in nooks on the upstairs level. The service was great and The Olmsted has lots of relationships with vendors that would make coordinating rentals (if needed) a snap. This tidbit makes coordination for a DIY Bride like me much more attainable. We will need to rent chairs for the garden ceremony, but the cost for chair rentals will be nominal.

It is true that photography is an investment. However, good photography doesn’t always cost an arm and a leg. We shot our engagement session in DC with Beverli Alford Photography, and our Atlanta wedding will be filmed by Barbara B. Covington Photography with a second photographer for 4 hours. Let me tell you, these women are nothing short of PHENOMENAL. Beverli has been featured in several mainstream publications for her fashion photography, and Barbara recently won WeddingWire’s Couple’s Choice Awards for 2014 (putting her in the top 5% of wedding professionals nationwide). For all of their talent, it’s hard to believe the sum total for all of our wedding related photography falls under $1500.

No decision made here yet. I’ve had a hard time with this one. We want a DJ to bring the energy but also won’t cost us an arm and a leg. If we’re able to trim more in other areas, we may go with our favorite who currently isn’t a consideration because of cost.

Upon the advice of BSB readers, I trimmed down the flower budget a bit to $900. This will be the most challenging area by far.  I’m hoping that our use of candles will offset the amount of flowers needed. With the help of my family and friends, my flowers and décor will be put together with love and lots of laughter.

Who ever said you couldn’t have a fabulous, award-winning, and widely raved about cake maven make a wedding cake for an affordable price? Not I! Early on, I set out to have one of our local grocery stores, Publix, make our wedding cake. I’d heard many times over that grocery store wedding cakes could mean great savings.  Beside, what’s not to love about a Publix’s cakes? If you live in a state with Publix, you know exactly what I mean. However, that all changed when I came across Confection Perfection. Not only were the prices BETTER than Publix, the cake was divine and the overall pricing isn’t affected by flavors, fillings or decorations—just size. I was sold at wedding cake for under $400.

I cosign my fellow BSB blogger, Sarah, on getting a steal of a dress by shopping online. I am very happy with the dress I bought from Light in the Box (LITB) and when it’s all said and done I will have purchased my entire wardrobe for under $400. In fact, LITB has the dime on everything including, veils, undergarments and bridesmaid dresses.  My bridesmaids are also buying their dress from LITB.  Sherrod’s tux rental from Saavi will be free because our wedding party has quite a few rentals.

Paper Goods
I am getting a lot out of my paper budget by designing and printing my own save-the-dates, invitations, and programs. I had to make some changes to my overall design scheme based on the printing trouble I told you about when I posted about how I created our save-the-dates. Ultimately, I may have to increase this budget by a small amount but I’ll be sure to keep you updated.

Wedding Bands
In the same vein that we nixed traditional jewelers for my engagement ring, we will be doing the same for our wedding bands. I found some great advice on BSB to help slash our original ring budget some more. I had never considered buying rings from Amazon before, but Jennifer’s post has me all but sure it’s the way to go.

This area was a tough one for us. The minister at our church is counseling us with only the expectation that we build a Christ-centered marriage. He is also marrying us with the same expectation, nothing more. The value of what he’s giving us is immeasurable and we’d like to give him a hefty payment for the time he’s investing in us—it feels shameful not to. BSB readers suggested we cut back from our original amount and it seems that we don’t have a choice but to, so we came down about half of our original amount. However, this is one area we will definitely pay forward and find additional ways to support our church and minister.


So there you have it. I’ve slashed our original (low) estimated budget by almost $1500 and still believe there’s money to save in there. I’ve got a lot more work to do to pull everything together, but I’m feeling pretty good about our decisions. I have a lot more to share about key areas we’re saving huge sums of money on like wardrobe, rings, flowers and décor.  Stay tuned for those.

In the meantime, if you’re like me and you want nice things on a budget, you’re going to have quite a bit to contend with. When faced with doubters, hit one of these:

…and carry on. One monkey won’t stop no show! You CAN do it!

**Note:  Previously, I mentioned that the Olmsted has permitted us to use their garden space at no additional charge for sharing my opinions with you.  However, all opinions shared are my own and have not been influenced by any special offers.  I did not choose any of my vendors because they offered me special perks.  I contracted with them or made purchases in the same vein as many of you will, and I talk openly about them because I love their work and have found a value in them that’s not easily found for wedding planning on a budget.  This isn’t about gimmicks or kickbacks, just tips to save a dollar or two.**

***Update:  When LITB heard that a BSB blogger bought one of their dresses last week, they were elated and offered me some accessories for my gown that I’d already had in my shopping cart (pending final decisions on bridesmaid dresses).  I didn’t need to be sold on LITB anymore, especially after my wedding dress was everything I wanted.  Plus, I’d already started writing a review on my purchase. I am deeply appreciative of their generosity, but you can be sure that my opinions are just that–my own.  I’ll put all the details in an upcoming post***

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Black and Blue Wedding in Arizona Sun, 08 Dec 2013 19:30:13 +0000 simple weddings

Red Mountain Ranch Wedding Mesa AZ - Brian Minson Photography Red Mountain Ranch Wedding Mesa AZ - Brian Minson Photography Red Mountain Ranch Wedding Mesa AZ - Brian Minson Photography Red Mountain Ranch Wedding Mesa AZ - Brian Minson Photography Red Mountain Ranch Wedding Mesa AZ - Brian Minson Photography Red Mountain Ranch Wedding Mesa AZ - Brian Minson Photography Red Mountain Ranch Wedding Mesa AZ - Brian Minson Photography Red Mountain Ranch Wedding Mesa AZ - Brian Minson Photography Red Mountain Ranch Wedding Mesa AZ - Brian Minson Photography Red Mountain Ranch Wedding Mesa AZ - Brian Minson Photography Red Mountain Ranch Wedding Mesa AZ - Brian Minson Photography Red Mountain Ranch Wedding Mesa AZ - Brian Minson Photography Red Mountain Ranch Wedding Mesa AZ - Brian Minson Photography Red Mountain Ranch Wedding Mesa AZ - Brian Minson Photography Red Mountain Ranch Wedding Mesa AZ - Brian Minson Photography Red Mountain Ranch Wedding Mesa AZ - Brian Minson Photography Red Mountain Ranch Wedding Mesa AZ - Brian Minson Photography Red Mountain Ranch Wedding Mesa AZ - Brian Minson Photography Red Mountain Ranch Wedding Mesa AZ - Brian Minson Photography

Melissa + Dave

FEBRUARY 1, 2013

Mesa, AZ  |  Red Mountain Ranch Country Club


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

$15,000 was our budget:

  • 7,500 for the food and venue
  • 1000 for photography
  • 1000 for flowers
  • 1000 for dress
  • 1000 for DJ
  • 200 for invitations
  • 500 for favors
  • 500 for wedding cake
  • Incidentals



How many guests did you have?     




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

 Favors were little potted plants with quotes we liked on them about growing.



What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

Doing the flowers ourselves.  We ordered flowers from Costco and had them delivered two days before.  This gave them time to open up and be beautiful for the day of the wedding


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

Only invite people who are truly important and keep it simple.  Anything you argue about probably isn’t worth doing.



What was your biggest splurge?

We didn’t need to splurge!



What was your favorite detail?

Loved having all the family give speeches about us at the wedding.



What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Being with friends and family




Photographer:  Brian Minson Wedding Photography  //  Cake Designer: Let Them Eat Cake  //  Event Venue: Red Mountain Ranch Country Club  //  Officiant:Rev Amy Miller  //  Flowers: Costco  

Submitted via Two Bright Lights


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Upstate New York Budget Wedding Wed, 20 Nov 2013 13:30:08 +0000  

 real budget wedding

We’re back with another lovely budget savvy wedding! This upstate New York budget wedding has some truly lovely details and was captured fabulously by Paige Overturf Photography. I love the simple centerpieces on the tables– it goes to show you don’t have to go crazy in order to put together something nice. I also really appreciate the fact that the bride and groom got their families involved in their prep and projects for the big day- it’s definitely one of my favorite ways to be budget savvy! Hope you enjoy this installment of the BSWOW! xoxo – Jessica

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Khrystyne + Nic 


Clinton, New York, Hamilton Chapel (Ceremony)



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

Since my parents were planning the wedding, we had a little more freedom with the budget than most couples that have to pay for their own wedding, but I think in the end our budget was under $15,000

Catering- $5000

Venue- $2000 (this included the church for the ceremony and the tent for the reception)

Photography- $1000 – Paige Overturf did an amazing job!!

Decorations- $500

Flowers- $400

Cake- $300

Dress/Accessories- $300

Suit: $150

Invitations/Programs/Stamps: $400


How many guests did you have?     




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

Looking back on our wedding, my husband and I’s favorite part about the whole thing was that we were able to spend so much time with our families and close friends before the wedding. We had scheduled the rehearsal two days before the wedding, and it was one of the best things we could have done. We were able to fix any minor details the next day, and the whole weekend was spent just chilling and having time with our close friends. Also, everyone who was involved with the wedding was a friend (musicians, photographer, wedding coordinator) and that made it incredibly personal. We also had our family involved a lot throughout the ceremony. My husband’s father is an ordained minister and married us, my dad said something to my husband before he gave me away, and we had both of our parents come and pray with us during the ceremony, all of which led to a really personal and special ceremony. At the reception, we decided to use a journaling Bible as our guestbook and have guests sign by verses or passages that were especially meaningful. I know this wouldn’t work for everyone, but I still love reading through it and finding those notes tucked away. Finally, since my dad and I have no dancing genes whatsoever, we decided to something a little different but special for us. My dad and I both love to play the piano together, so instead of a father daughter dance, we played a father daughter duet that he had arranged of my husband’s favorite song. It was a surprise for my husband and definitely one of his favorite things during the wedding. All in all, I would just encourage brides to make their day as personal as possible by including as many friends and family and just looking for different ways to add their own personal lives into the ceremonies. My husband and I really wanted our wedding to be a celebration not just of our love and future life together, but also a thank you to all the people who had impacted our lives and helped us to reach the point of marriage to each other.



What was the biggest thing you did to save money? 

There wasn’t one thing that I really did to save money. As decisions came my way, I would always ask myself, “Do I really need this? Is it really that important for this wedding to be a success in my mind?” For example, we eliminated wedding favors, substituted pre-invitation rsvps with facebook notices, had a friend print and design the wedding invitations, used postcards for the rsvp cards to save on postage costs, went with a small tiered cake and 2 flat cakes because they were cheaper, had a friend alter the wedding dress, organized cars to take us to the ceremony instead of a limo, used fake flowers as decorations, shopped for decorations during after Christmas sales(we found a ton of stuff marked 90 percent off), had a friend do makeup and hair etc.. Some things were important in the wedding, and we paid for them, but there were a lot of things I realized really didn’t matter and could help lower the cost.



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

 Do as much planning before the week of your wedding so you can enjoy the week of your wedding as much as possible. Since I am a control and planning freak, I literally had thought through every single detail of the wedding and typed it all out weeks before the wedding. It may be a little stressful before, but then the week of my wedding was wonderful and happy because I knew that everything had been thought through. Also, pick someone to share all the details with so that if something happens, they will know exactly what to do and who is supposed to be where. This could be a wedding coordinator or trusted friend. I loved my wedding – the whole thing—and I know this was largely because I did a lot of planning ahead so that the actual week wasn’t stressful.



What was your biggest splurge? 

Catering—my parents really wanted it to be a nice meal because over 60% of our guests were coming from out of town. We did passed sliders and finger food with a few stations sprinkled around the room.



What was your favorite detail? 

We absolutely loved the area that we got married—upstate New York is a beautiful place. We also loved spending time with all our family and friends together.



What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Seeing my husband crying as I walked down the aisle— I was so surprised and thought he didn’t want to marry me!! Lol come to find out he was just overwhelmed with the whole thing.

We wrote our own vows to each other and memorized them, but in the middle of my vows, I forgot them! So, without thinking that it was my wedding and all those people were there, I blurted out, “Oh man! I knew I was going to forget!!”




Photographer:  Paige Overturf Photography  //  Cake: Serendipity Catering – Waterville, New York  //  Flowers: Village Floral – New Hartford, New York  //  Venue: Hamilton College, Clinton, New York  //  Caterer: A Moveable Feast by O’Connors – New Hartford, New York

Submitted via Two Bright Lights

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