The Budget Savvy Bride » $1k wedding helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank Mon, 25 May 2015 13:00:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Sweet Courthouse Wedding Sun, 27 Jul 2014 17:00:41 +0000 simple weddings

Something I like to share every now and again is the sweeter, simpler weddings of the world. Not everyone wants to spend a downpayment’s worth of money on one day, and if that’s not your style, you’ll love today’s wedding. This courthouse wedding is precious and the couple looks so in love! At the end of the day, you don’t need much to get married… so I love that this couple took their siblings to City Hall and became husband and wife in a simple, intimate ceremony. Hope you enjoy these photos! xoxo – Jessica

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Magdalene + Jarrod

April 10, 2014

Saint Paul, Minnesota  |  Saint Paul City Hall



What was your wedding budget?

BCBG Dress: $200

Jessica Simpson Heels: $45

Anthropologie Earrings: $40

Balloons: $35

Judge’s Officiant Fee: $60

Photography: $400

I did my own makeup (former makeup artist) and my sister (hairstylist) did my hair.

Jarrod’s suit/shoes/etc. he already owned.


Total: $780



How many guests did you have?

2 witnesses, my sister and brother-in-law



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

I asked my mom to run the party shop earlier in the day and requested that she get “a handful of heart balloons”; I think she picked the perfect ones to add a cheeky-fun aspect to the photos.



What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

Getting married at City Hall!



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

We wanted the most intimate and personal experience possible, and that is exactly what we got. It was perfect. All we had to do was be there on time and be in love. If you’re considering a destination or city hall wedding – do it. We didn’t have a single bit of stress. And you can always have a party later with those who want to celebrate with you!



What was your biggest splurge?

Having a photographer was the biggest cost for our tiny wedding, but it was the greatest way to capture the moments and share the day with our friends and family. We weren’t even sure if we’d have one, but I randomly met our photographer, Amy, at work a few weeks before the wedding and was like, “have you ever done city hall on a Thursday?” We clicked.



What was your favorite detail?

My ring. It was my great-grandmother Magdalene’s (whom I was named after). I found out a few weeks after the wedding that she was also married at Saint Paul City Hall, in April of 1924.



What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Kissing my husband! I literally couldn’t contain my happiness which was coming out in the form of giggles for a good part of the ceremony. My sister said she’s never seen me so happy in my life. Also, it was 70° and sunny in April in MN, which is amazing.




Photography: Coppersmith Photography



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Simple Civil Ceremony in Alaska Tue, 06 May 2014 15:30:22 +0000  

Many of you might already know Cris, either from her posts here on The Budget Savvy Bride or from her own blog Kiss My Tulle. During her wedding planning, her father became very ill and Cris thought it was important to have a wedding ceremony that her father could attend in case he didn’t make it until her original planned wedding day. What was created out of a rushed situation turned out to be lovely, heartfelt, and focused only on what mattered most: celebrating the love of the couple and family. The lack of a fancy dress, detailed centerpieces and excessive decor doesn’t make it any less of a wedding. It’s still an absolutely beautiful day and a sweet reminder that at the end of the day if you focus on the things and people that matter, the rest will fall into place. xoxo – Jessica

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Cris & The Boy

July 22, 2011

Salcha Fairgrounds in Salcha, Alaska

(this was a quickie civil ceremony – read more about why we did it here.)

What was your budget? 

Nothing – this was completely unplanned and unexpected so we decided to focus on the ceremony and getting married part. I think we spent under $200 total.

For a grand total of $171.93. That’s not a typo. Everything else for the ceremony and informal reception was skipped completely, borrowed, or “donated” (friends brought food for a potluck, another friend made The Boy’s wedding band, and this sweet woman donated her photography services.) We didn’t have time for formal invites so a family friend started a phone tree and someone else posted it on Facebook.


How many guests did you have?

I think about 60-70 people showed up after work or straight from fishing camps. We had everything from days old babies to senior citizens. It was awesome.


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

In addition to the DIYs above (which were a nice distraction for my family after all the bad news about my dad), I loved writing my wedding ceremony at 2AM the morning of the ceremony. My sister helped me read it out loud to see how it flowed and then she and my mom actually did readings during the ceremony. I also made sure to leave a spot for my dad to speak spontaneously from his heart (since he was the one who introduced us in the first place). It is such a cool memory.


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

I figured out what was important and ignored the rest. Really – it was a must to do the ceremony legally so we made sure to pay all the fees and do all the paperwork. Everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING, else was extra. Period.


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

Pick your Top 5 Most Important Things. Do those. Be flexible about everything else – this will guarantee that you get the wedding you really want.


What was your biggest splurge?

The commemorative marriage license. It was not a necessity but I fell in love with its Native Alaskan wood carving look and really, really wanted it. Once we got home, I framed it and people always comment when they see it.


What was your favorite detail?

This cute hand drawn picture of us getting married was created by my niece, Cortney. I love it! She carefully created each person in our family and even remembered to include my dad’s signature red bandana!


What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Dancing with my dad. I picked one of his favorite songs and it was basically the only thing that happened at the wedding reception. We hadn’t practiced and I was barefoot. He kept dancing me in circles in a mud puddle (and giggling about it). I love that memory.


Please also include a list of all your vendors including any website links.

Golden Heart Memories Photography

*My dad passed away five months after we got married and this was the last time I was with him. By sheer luck, someone videotaped our ceremony which ended up being the last thing we have of his voice. This past Christmas, someone dug out the video and the entire family stopped to watch and remember. I am eternally grateful that I got this opportunity.

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Country wedding with rustic details Thu, 26 Dec 2013 13:00:23 +0000 Another gem of a wedding here for you today! This couple really took the ‘it takes a village’ approach to planning their day and managed to pull it all off for under $1,000. The couple focused on the joining of their two families above all else and included their 6 children in their day. The whole thing just feels so laid back, casual and fun- allowing everyone involved to focus on love and family and what matters most. Some of the biggest ways they saved was by choosing to do a potluck meal and finding a venue that was free. HUGE savings in both areas! Hope you enjoy this country wedding!! xoxo Jessica

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Sara Lynn & Joshua Ray 

October 12, 2013

Outdoors at Oak Park along the ledges, Grand Ledge, MI


What was your budget? 

From start to finish our wedding was something borrowed, something made- with almost no real budget. In fact even our wedding venue outside was reserved with the local park service at no cost. From the guitarist friend of our son’s who played music to my father’s modern party barn for our reception- our family came together for us to make our day a reality. The minimal costs we did have were for my thrifty vintage style dress which only cost $25, the amazing Mike Angell cake for $50, and the DIY simple elegant decor, and small floral arrangements we purchased and broke apart into my DIY gold sprayed vases. With Pinterest help, I created the majority of our harvest theme nuptials. Because we took a potluck style approach to catering, that cut out a huge cost as well. In all, we spent well under $1,000. 

We are so grateful to everyone who helped us plan and pay for our day. Before we were married we were single parents of three amazing kids each, Josh’s three boys and my two sons and daughter. Our priority was to bring us all together as an official family, without breaking the bank!


How many guests did you have?

We had under 100 close friends and family attend- and after the ceremony some of our friends became family! Our middle sons best friend of many years became his cousin when we exchanged vows.


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

From the moment Josh and all the boys carried bales of hay to our ceremony site the day was filled with family and personality! My step father gave me away, and my ring was passed down to me from my mother, it had been her wedding ring with my father who passed away. We hand made all of the boys boutonnieres, I wrapped our daughters sunflower, and I even arranged my own bouquet.

For our reception everyone was included in a gourmet chili cook off -potluck! Every kind of chili, from traditional to white bean and spicy chicken- even a special batch of my grandmas vegetarian chili recipe made by our eldest son. Add toppings and salads you can imagine and we had a harvest feast. We dressed everything up on the buffet table harvest shabby chic with chalkboard tag accents and more of the floral and burlap charm as the individual tables.

Later my dear friend DJ’d a set list she planned just for a us, starting with my first dance with my husband, then my dad. Another of my favorite things is the large cheese tray hand made by my new husband- out of Maple burl. Our card table held a custom made tree trunk canvas painting by my new sister in law, which all of our guests personalized with stamps of their thumbprints and initials- our memory to keep of their part in our day. Josh’s sister, Anjeanette, was our photographer. While she photographs many families and weddings in TN, she did our wedding ceremony, portraits and reception photos as her gift to us. She included many photos of each of the kids, and them all together for us as well. From my favorite high heeled suede boots to the tiny pumpkin our youngest son carried the rings on, every detail of our intimate ceremony  had a special personal touch.


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

Our DIY know how and asking the help of our families to participate saved us so much. Also, we had our priorities in the right place- our hearts. Celebrating this day was not just for us but for our children and their new sister and brothers! We were most focused on this new family, and not so much on the little unimportant things.


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

Get your whole family: children, parents, siblings and friends involved! Not to foot the bill but just having them there a part of the activity and building memories together. Getting married means starting a new life with your spouse, as well as their family!


What was your biggest splurge?

Definitely the wine and beer was the largest splurge at our reception! One of our close friends had a cake connection, and so that only cost $50 with delivery- and it was amazing! There were many seconds for the chocolate cake and cake pops.


What was your favorite detail?

The fall theme. We really focused on bringing it all together and it turned out wonderfully!

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Photographs before the wedding. Having that time before to relax and be together as a family.


Photography: Anjeanette Illustration

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Oregon Elopement Sun, 10 Mar 2013 15:30:01 +0000 simplysavvysunday

Love this adorable Oregon elopement ceremony! Just goes to show, even if you can’t afford/don’t want to pay for a big wedding celebration, you can still have a lovely day. This couple opted to splurge on a photographer to capture the day, which I think is definitely money well spent since your wedding day is a day you will never want to forget! There aren’t lots and lots of pretty details in this feature like in our wedding of the week, but I think the happiness on the new family’s faces are the BEST detail ever! Don’t you just LOVE love? :) xoxo-Jessica













Matt + Jennifer

April 6, 2012

Dallas, Oregon

Polk County Courthouse


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

Our total expense was about $670. License: $54; Reserved courtroom: $100; Bride’s dress: $120; Shoes for bride and groom: $130; Flowers: $12; Photographer: $250


How many guests did you have?

Nine guests total: Five present and four on Skype


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

Our entire wedding day required lots of creativity because other than a set time to meet with the judge, it was impromptu. And that was exactly how we wanted it to be. The details that made our day so special happened without any plans or preparation. From an early morning run to the store for flowers, a stroll in our neighborhood arboretum to collect additions for our bouquet and boutonnières, to calling the bride’s parent’s on Skype at the court room so they could “attend” our wedding, everything felt very personalized and creative.


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

The biggest thing we did to save money was to get married at the courthouse. Period. No fuss, no reception, but loads of fun!


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

My advice is that whether you are planning in advance for a large wedding, or are wanting something small and simple, remember to make it your own and enjoy yourself every step of the way. Also, make sure you have a reliable photographer to document your special day so that you can look back and relive those priceless moments.


What was your biggest splurge?

Hiring a photographer!


What was your favorite detail?

One of the highlights of our day was the photo shoot that followed our I do’s. It started at the courthouse, went across the street to a picturesque alleyway and coffee shop, and ended on a bridge at the city park.


What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Saying our vows to each other was the most memorable part of our day. Even though we repeated the vows as told to us by the judge, we felt they were written for us and we spoke them from our hearts.



Venue: Polk County Courthouse   |   Photography: Tekoa Rose Photo   |   Dress: Nordstrom   |   Food: Safeway

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Virginia Wedding with Rustic Wedding Decor Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000

Today I have a little different wedding to share with you! The bride worked tirelessly with the help of family and friends to craft the most perfect wedding details- you will love all her rustic wedding decor! The couple focused mostly on their reception and even hired a photographer just to take detail shots of their hard work so that is what I am sharing with you today! All in all this couple spent only around $1,000 on their wedding day. It’s pretty amazing! If you can find a free venue, even if it’s a church gymnasium, you can still turn it into your dream venue with a little DIY and creativity. Hope you enjoy these lovely details as much as I do! xo- Jessica







Amanda + Micky Brown


Appomattox, Virginia : Black Rock Hunt Club


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

This includes :

Bride and Groom shoes – 37.78
bride and groom wedding bands – 138.95
dress – 149.31
building rental – 300
table cloths-  120
necklace and earrings – 12.34
food – 125
brides bouquet 21
decor 58
burlap, ribbon, bottles, jars-free or borrowed
decor- woods and yard
all other decorations were borrowed
cake pops instead of wedding cake was made by family and the stand was made with scrap wood materials that was just laying around


How many guests did you have? 

31 at wedding, less than 125 at reception


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

The woodsy, earthy, natural feel of the wedding matched my country lifestyle. The creative details were from friends and family around me.


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

Had family and friends help with DIY decorations


What was your favorite detail?

The fire place, elegantly decorated with simple candles. and the cake pops and the display.


What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Walking in the hunt club building and seeing it transform from a cold concrete hunt club building to the warm inviting wedding venue of my dreams.



If we didn’t make it ourselves, we got it from etsy, ebay or amazon. Our main vendor was Sarah Goodwin Photography, who we hired to shoot detail photos of our reception.

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Super Intimate Rustic DIY Wedding Wed, 29 Sep 2010 13:00:16 +0000 BSWOW

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

I am a giant fan of DIY, not just because its cost effective- mostly since I am a crafty Jane of all trades (artist, graphic designer, photographer etc etc)!

The dress was a Target brand dress I found at Goodwill for about $10.00. As a costume maker and sometimes seamstress I am always hunting for good stuff to alter or reinvent there. If as some sites say you use the dress as a marker for your budget…well my total budget except photography was under $200. Now to find the perfect dress you would have to be on the hunt for some time :) I have had that dress over a year.

I made everything from the boutonnieres and bouquets to invitations and the veil!


How many guests did you have?

If you include our Pastor and Photographers- three!

We wanted to elope without being selfish, and so we had a very private intimate ceremony, just us and two of our kids, with a reception planned for cool crisp October- and not worried about the budget there either- my man can cook!

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

Just about everything for our DIY wedding was personal to us- we are bird lovers, and so we picked Brian’s favorite bird, the Chickadee, for our announcements and invites to the reception, and the guys boutonnieres. My son Rocko was the Best Guy, and my daughter Oonagh, my Best Lady. Everyone except the bride wore brand new black Chuck Converse Allstars and jeans :)


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

I think that making my own invites started as a money saver, and I was very worried they would look ‘cheesy’ and cheap- but low cost can still mean classy!

They turned out wonderful though, and I even decided to splurge and buy an embossing kit and stamps for $9 on clearance as an added embellishment to the envelopes and etc- and wow! they looked great. I should note, I already own a very high end photography printer- if someone wanted to design and make their own invites but only had a HP home printer or something most professional printers would print on great quality paper for a really low cost.


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

Enjoy it- enjoy each other and get a good photographer! Do not let concerns over what other people think you should or shouldn’t do worry you endlessly. It’s the basis of the rest of your life together, not just a popularity contest or party!


What was your biggest splurge?

The best wedding photographer in Nashville! Stephanie of La Photographie- worth every penny and more! I have many friends who photograph weddings, and her costs are not as astronomical as I had heard by any means- I cannot stress how much a good capture meant to us. We just loved the pictures, plan on hanging one huge one on canvas over our mantle :) the pictures truly are all you have left! As a photographer, sure this means something to me, but so many of the women in my friends and family regret their pictures. you do not want to look weird or discolored or just have a bad 3×5 of your big day!!!


What was your favorite detail?

I love how simple and sweet it all was, I love the circus- just not for that day


What is the most memorable moment of your day?

When we both started crying- everything stopped!



Photography: La Photographie

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