The Budget Savvy Bride » $20k wedding helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank Fri, 22 May 2015 17:30:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Colorful Outdoor Wedding Wed, 20 May 2015 12:00:14 +0000

 Today’s wedding is the perfect event to get us in the mood for all the summer weddings that are just around the corner! The vibrant colors, outdoor venue and rustic decor blend together beautifully. The classic Chrysler and their crossbow hobby were such a fun elements to incorporate into the photos. At the reception, I absolutely love the hot chocolate bar, antique dishes Nicole and her mom thrifted for the meal and the birch tree-inspired wedding cake. Enjoy this colorful outdoor wedding! xoxo, Jessica

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 Nicole and Joe Donahue

September 20, 2014

 Hamburg, NJ | Family Residence



What was your budget?

Our budget was $20,000.

Dress: $800 David’s bridal

Photography budget: $1600

Flowers: $200 ShopRite, bouquets and centerpieces

Makeup and hair: free

Shoes: $150 country outfitters

Rentals for venue: $6,000

DJ: $1500

Catering: $7,000 for 180 people buffet

Alcohol: $1000

Cake: $2000

Bridal accessories and jewelry: $50 etsy

Arbor: $1000

Hay: $500

Dance floor accessories and antique dishes: $300 garage sales

Groom attire: $50


How many guests did you have?

Number of guests: 180



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


We went to garage sales to get all the vintage tableware (dishes, mugs, silverware, etc.) We made the place cards with paper and an assortment of sticks to make a pretty tree. We used couches from our house and brought them to the dance floor area.  Bales of hay were the seats for the ceremony and the fire pit area and we just draped them with blankets.  My sister made a hot chocolate stand with candy and toppings and we bought all our own alcohol (beer and wine only).  My mom found the chandelier for the reception at a garage sale and most other things were from Etsy if we didn’t DIY them. And the arbor, my favorite part, was made by a family friend, we bought the wood and the flowers to go on it and he made it into a masterpiece.



What was the biggest thing you did to save money? 

Hired mom as planner and coupons and DIY!  We did all the work ourselves.



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

Don’t spend a lot of money on cake. Buy a sheet cake  and a small pretty cake to slice and take pictures, then everyone else can eat the sheet cake



What was your biggest splurge?

Our cake was the biggest splurge.



What was your favorite detail?

The arbor was my favorite detail.



What is the most memorable moment of your day?

 The cows coming down to the ceremony while I said I do!



Jeweler: D’Andreas Jewelers • Flowers: Shoprite (local grocery store) • Dresses: David’s Bridal • Hair and make-up: Family friend • Catering : Family friend • Cake: Pink Cake Box • DJ: Global Productions DJ • Decor: Etsy and DIY • Photography: Laura Lee Photography


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Texas Hill Country Wedding Wed, 13 May 2015 12:00:43 +0000

Today’s wedding comes from the beautiful Texas Hill Country! The bride and groom did of beautiful job of keeping their outdoor wedding sophisticated and seasonal while incorporating the culture of Texas. I love the simplicity of their ceremony venue and the reception decor is rustic and stylish. And how darling is their dessert bar with the monogrammed napkins and mini pecan pies? Enjoy this wedding from the Lone Star State! xoxo, Jessica

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Kristen + Bradley

April 11, 2014

Georgetown, TX | Gabriel Springs


What was your budget?

$20,000 total

$3,500 Photography

$5,000 Venue

$2,500 Dessert bar

$2,000 Flowers

$750 Wedding coordinator

$600 Make-up & hair

$700 DJ

$500 wedding invites

$2,500 Decorations & misc.

$2,500 catering & food




How many guests did you have?




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

My mom and I hand made all of our ‘thank you’ gift bags as well as made ‘Texas’ welcome bags for all of the out of town guests. Bradley and I wrote our vows and I had all of the music sung and played guitar by my best friend and bridesmaid- Laura Mock.



What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

I made my own wedding invitations, decorations & gift bags.



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

Have a backdating calendar and work with a reputable wedding coordinator especially if you are an ‘out of town’ bride (in which, that was me).



What was your biggest splurge?

Honeymoon :)



What was your favorite detail?

My husband and I writing our own vows. I asked my Husband what his favorite detail was and he said: my dress 



What is the most memorable moment of your day?

The ceremony.




Photography : Addison Studios • Flowers & Décor :  Six Pence Floral Design, LLC • Music & DJ : Tunes Across Texas • Venue : Gabriel Springs • Make-up : Houston Make-up Artistry • Caterer : Heart of Texas BBQ • Wedding Coordinator : A Bunch of Weddings •  Dessert Bar: Hill Country Cupcakes • Rentals : Illusions • Dress : Terry Costa  • Tuxes : Vera Wang


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NYC Bookstore Wedding Wed, 08 Apr 2015 12:00:00 +0000

I always love seeing budget-savvy weddings with unique venues and fun details. This NYC bookstore wedding is no exception. Abbie and Jason kept costs down by using the same venue for both their ceremony and reception and opting for a cocktail-style food with limited alcohol options. Because of the bookstore’s beauty, Abbie discovered there wasn’t a need for lots of decorations. Instead, they chose a few, special details that complemented the venue and tied the event together. I also love how they made the most of the rainy day by pulling out an umbrella and taking some wonderful photos. Happy Wednesday! xoxo, Jessica

wedding memorabiliabridal photoslace keyhole wedding dresswedding ringsgray groom attirewedding first lookindoor wedding couple photoswedding rain photos wedding rain photospink and white bridal bouquetwedding bookstore photoswedding processionalbookstore wedding ceremonybookstore wedding ceremonyfirst kisswedding photosfirst dancebirdcage card holdervintage wedding decorwedding photo boothwedding cotton candywedding photo boothwedding favorswedding cupcakeslive reception musicbookstore couple photowedding guests photowedding rain photosfood truck wedding receptionfood truck wedding reception

Jason + Abbie

May 16, 2014

New York, NY | Housing Works Bookstore


What was your budget?

Our budget was $20,000.

Venue: $3,000

Food and drinks: $10,000

Dress: $1,000

Band: $2,000

Wedding coordinator: $1,000

Photographer: $1,500

Flowers: $500

Tips & misc: $1,000



How many guests did you have?




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

Jason is really creative and a great artist, and he was able to draw both our save the date and wedding invitation. Our wedding invite was my favorite thing – we created a little book, because of the bookstore theme, and he drew our love story and showed all the adventures we went on. It was the most creative wedding invitation I have ever seen, and it wasn’t expensive because we did everything ourselves.



What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

We avoided having a full sit-down dinner and opted for a cocktail style wedding. This made the wedding more unique and laid back, and we saved a lot by only paying for hors d’oeuvres. Instead of having a full open bar, we had just beer, wine, and champagne, which helped to save a lot. We also asked for help from friends – I have a friend who is a cake decorator, and she was nice enough to make our wedding cake!



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

Know your budget and do what makes you happy! Before you meet your vendors, have a budget in mind that you feel comfortable sticking to, and don’t go beyond it.

And, in the end, this is your day and it’s about you and your future spouse. Try not to worry about what other people want, because this should be the one day where it’s all about you!



What was your biggest splurge?

We got an awesome and expensive mac and cheese bar, but it was definitely worth it! The macaroni and cheese was cheesy and delicious, and was served in a martini glass with your choice of toppings. It was really memorable and the guests loved it.



What was your favorite detail?

I absolutely loved the venue. I think it made for a really unique and romantic setting. The bookstore didn’t require any decorations, so that helped to save money on huge floral arrangements.



What is the most memorable moment of your day?

My husband and I had surprises planned for each other throughout the day. He surprised me with a cotton candy machine (my favorite!) and I surprised him with the famous NYC waffle truck Wafels and Dinges (his favorite!). We love desserts and surprising each other, so it made for a really amazing and memorable day.




Photographer:  Priyanca Rao Photography • Day of Wedding Coordinator: Big Juicy Events • Shoes: Chinese Laundry • Reception Venue: Housing Works Bookstore Cafe • Cake: The Sweetest Thing LI • Tuxedo and Men’s Attire: Hugo Boss • Dress: Maggie Sottero • Flowers: Langdon Florist • Band: Sean Smith Trio

Submitted via Two Bright Lights

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Pretty Purple Wedding Wed, 03 Sep 2014 12:00:09 +0000 real budget wedding

I just know y’all are gonna love this pretty purple wedding! It definitely has lots of rustic details, but some really great timeless ones as well. I love how the couple used DIY where they needed to add extra special touches to their day. The purple details are just to die for – how about that gorgeous cake and the chic bridesmaids dresses? Hope you love this wedding and the bride’s advice for cooling it on the Pinterest front 😉 xoxo Jessica

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Whitney + Tyler

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Zanesville, OH  |  EagleSticks Golf Club



What was your budget?

Budget: $20,000

Venue: $7700

DJ: $800

Photographer: $3500

Wedding Cake: $400

Flowers: $1600

Dress and Accessories: $2000

Decorations and Misc Items: $3000


How many guests did you have?




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

I made a lot of the decorations myself, and incorporated a lot of details that were centered around my husband and I. Some details that were really personal were: our ring bearer carried my grandmother’s Bible instead of a pillow, my headpiece was made from my mom’s wedding dress, I wore my great-grandma’s wedding band as my something borrowed, flowers were placed in memory of loved ones who had passed away, and our families were incorporated into our special day as much as possible.



What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

I knew I wanted to splurge on certain aspects, so I really wanted to save on money when it came to the decorations. The bases for our centerpieces were made by my aunt. We took wood from an old barn at my husband’s family farm so that the trays could be made. This wood was also used throughout other aspects of the wedding as well.  A majority of the mason jars were found in the basements of my mom’s, grandma’s and mother-in-law’s houses. The wine bottles were drank and then painted by my mom and me. A lot of the other décor items, came from family farms, and thrift stores. I made and then assembled a lot of the decorations and details. I shopped sales for paper, ribbon, and fabric and stocked up while it was on sale. Then I assembled the pieces on my own. I made my own programs, wedding wands, ceremony decorations, and then assembled the centerpieces for the reception.  I also bought a portion of our invitations and then assembled them and added the details that I wanted, instead of spending the hundreds of dollars that our local store wanted.



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

Limit the amount of ideas you take from Pinterest. As much as I loved Pinterest to get ideas, I think it can be very overwhelming. There are constantly new ideas and details. The day is about the love you and your spouse have for each other, some of the extreme details don’t really matter. Choose a theme and decorations, and then stick with them. And start thinking and researching how you can make items on your own. It is fun, adds more of a personal touch to your wedding, and will save you money.



What was your biggest splurge?

Our photographer. I knew from the very beginning that this would be where I spent a lot of money because in 30 years from now people aren’t going to remember the centerpieces or cake flavors. They are going to remember what has been captured in the pictures I have on display. I wanted a photographer that fit my husband’s and my personality and was willing to have fun with all of us. I am in love with our wedding pictures, and definitely made the right choice in photographers. I also splurged on some of the flowers. Since I saved so much money on our centerpieces, I was able to spend more money on beautiful and detailed flowers.



What was your favorite detail?

When planning our wedding, I wanted simple details that made our wedding feel special and simple. I wanted our wedding to be remembered, but not over the top. So it is really hard to choose my favorite detail I loved our wedding favors! They were little heart-shaped suet cakes that had a little tag with our initials on it. I also loved the area for our head table. Ivory table cloths covered with ivory lace, mason jars with the bridal party bouquets, wooden crates with our initials, burlap, and lanterns. My maid of honor assembled it, and it looked awesome! We also had guests sign a photo frame as a guest book, and I love walking past it every day in our house and reading what they wrote to us.



What is the most memorable moment of your day?

My most memorable moment is when I saw my husband for the first time. We chose to do the “First Look” that our photographer offered. It was just the two of us (besides the photographers) and we were able to let our emotions flow and not have to worry about what other’s said. We then spent an hour taking pictures with just us, and it was so special. Seeing the look and emotions on my husband’s face will always be in my head. He said later that it was hard to see me as I walked down the aisle from where he was standing, so I was glad that we had done the “First Look.”



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

Venue: EagleSticks Golf Club  //  Photographer: Harvest of Memories  //  Florist: Rooms that Bloom Florist  //  DJ: K Sound Entertainment–Kurtus Nichols  //  Bridal Gown + Bridesmaids Dresses: Universe Prom and Bridal  //  Cake Baker: Darcy’s Buttercream Dreams, Darcy Ogden




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Budget Savvy Brooklyn Wedding Fri, 04 Oct 2013 13:00:48 +0000 Ashley is back with her wedding recap today!! Check out her Brooklyn wedding from this summer below! xoxo- Jessica7/5/13 - Ashley + Matt's wedding at BLDG 92 in Brooklyn 7/5/13 - Ashley + Matt's wedding at BLDG 92 in Brooklyn 7/5/13 - Ashley + Matt's wedding at BLDG 92 in Brooklyn 7/5/13 - Ashley + Matt's wedding at BLDG 92 in Brooklyn 7/5/13 - Ashley + Matt's wedding at BLDG 92 in Brooklyn 7/5/13 - Ashley + Matt's wedding at BLDG 92 in Brooklyn 7/5/13 - Ashley + Matt's wedding at BLDG 92 in Brooklyn 7/5/13 - Ashley + Matt's wedding at BLDG 92 in Brooklyn 7/5/13 - Ashley + Matt's wedding at BLDG 92 in Brooklyn 7/5/13 - Ashley + Matt's wedding at BLDG 92 in Brooklyn 7/5/13 - Ashley + Matt's wedding at BLDG 92 in Brooklyn 7/5/13 - Ashley + Matt's wedding at BLDG 92 in Brooklyn 7/5/13 - Ashley + Matt's wedding at BLDG 92 in Brooklyn 7/5/13 - Ashley + Matt's wedding at BLDG 92 in Brooklyn 7/5/13 - Ashley + Matt's wedding at BLDG 92 in Brooklyn 7/5/13 - Ashley + Matt's wedding at BLDG 92 in Brooklyn 7/5/13 - Ashley + Matt's wedding at BLDG 92 in Brooklyn 7/5/13 - Ashley + Matt's wedding at BLDG 92 in Brooklyn 7/5/13 - Ashley + Matt's wedding at BLDG 92 in Brooklyn 7/5/13 - Ashley + Matt's wedding at BLDG 92 in Brooklyn 7/5/13 - Ashley + Matt's wedding at BLDG 92 in Brooklyn 7/5/13 - Ashley + Matt's wedding at BLDG 92 in Brooklyn 7/5/13 - Ashley + Matt's wedding at BLDG 92 in Brooklyn 7/5/13 - Ashley + Matt's wedding at BLDG 92 in Brooklyn 7/5/13 - Ashley + Matt's wedding at BLDG 92 in Brooklyn 7/5/13 - Ashley + Matt's wedding at BLDG 92 in Brooklyn 7/5/13 - Ashley + Matt's wedding at BLDG 92 in Brooklyn 7/5/13 - Ashley + Matt's wedding at BLDG 92 in Brooklyn 7/5/13 - Ashley + Matt's wedding at BLDG 92 in Brooklyn 7/5/13 - Ashley + Matt's wedding at BLDG 92 in Brooklyn 7/5/13 - Ashley + Matt's wedding at BLDG 92 in Brooklyn

Ashley + Matt

July 5, 2013

Brooklyn, NY  |  Brooklyn Navy Yard’s BLDG 92.



What was your budget?

Our budget was $20,000. While in most areas of the country this budget will go far and can even be a bit lavish, in New York City, $20k is practically peanuts. Nearly two-thirds of our budget went to our venue and food/bev. To keep things as easy as possible for our out of town guests, we wanted to have the ceremony and reception in one space, and that was very easy to do at Brooklyn Navy Yard’s BLDG 92. We wanted an atypical wedding venue that felt very old school New York, and it was the perfect fit. We were lucky to work with the awesome people at Parker Red / Ted & Honey, who work with the venue exclusively.  Not only were we obsessed with their catering, but their events manager, Joanne, helped us create an amazing reception experience, too.

Partially because of my work-travel schedule, but primarily because I wanted to create a low-pressure wedding day for myself (and my family and wedding party), I decided to hire a wedding planner for the month of our wedding. Meena, owner of 5th Avenue Weddings, was immensely helpful and on July 5th I had no problem focusing on our day, and not our décor.

Our other significant expense was photography. To best represent our day – and our relationship – we wanted a lot of candid, silly photos with a photojournalistic feel, and my old friend Adena Stevens, owner of Studio A Images, was well worth the price.

Thanks to my fantastic brother, who gifted me my After Six wedding dress, I was able to wipeout a typically huge expense from the budget, and instead purchased the Wtoo bridesmaids’ dresses for the incredible women whom I asked to stand with me.

  • Venue/catering (including service/staffing) – $14,000
  • Venue décor – $1,800
  • Wedding planner – $2,000
  • Dress (gifted!) and alterations – $400
  • Bridal party gifts –
    • Bridesmaids dresses – $600
    • Groomsmen Yankees jerseys – $300
  • Photographer – $2,700
  • Stationery – $700
  • Wedding rings – $275


How many guests did you have?



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

The most creative aspect of our wedding was our walks down the aisle – Matt and his groomsmen set the mood to the ceremony to “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns N Roses; the bridesmaids entered to Beyoncé’s “Run the World (Girls);” and then my father and I danced down the aisle to “SexyBack” by Justin Timberlake. We wanted to make a memorable entrance, and really create a fun atmosphere for our guests.

Since we also aimed to make our day as personal as possible, we asked Matt’s uncle Phil to officiate our wedding. He became ordained online, registered with the city, and then wrote and performed a moving ceremony for us.


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

As BSB readers know, Matt and I chose to DIY a few elements of our wedding, to both make our day a bit more personal and to stay budget savvy, including our cake and music. Minimizing these expenses easily saved us $1,500!


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

Planning and budgeting can be incredibly stressful, even if you’re organized and know exactly what you want. Don’t be afraid to take a break – two days or even two weeks without thinking too much about invitations or seating arrangements – and focus on the rest of your life. Weddings can feeling all consuming, but don’t let it. You (and your fiancé!) will thank you later.


What was your biggest splurge?

While we didn’t consider it a splurge – just good hosting! – the largest piece of our overall budget was food. It was important to us that we served a delicious, sit-down dinner of pasta (Matt is half-Italian, and really, who can resist ravioli?!) and our guests had grateful tummies! It was a very HOT day, so the ravioli wasn’t too heavy and certainly didn’t taste like “wedding food.”


What was your favorite detail?

About a month before the wedding I decided to add (non-alcoholic) milkshake shooters to the menu as a refresher before our dessert cupcakes. They were so tasty (I was kinda sad I only had one!) and served as another personal touch to the reception.


What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Matt comes from a musically talented family, so we asked his sister and youngest brother to perform at the party. His brother Christian performed a wonderful stripped-down version of the Foo Fighters’ “Everlong,” as our first dance. Then, Christian played guitar for my new sister-in-law, Melanie, to sing a slow “Across the Universe” version of “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” by the Beatles. It meant so much to Matt and me.


Photography:  Studio A Images  //  Venue: BLDG 92  //  Catering: Parker Red / Ted & Honey  // Planner: 5th Avenue Weddings  //  Wedding gown: After Six  //  Bridesmaid Dresses: Wtoo


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Georgia Garden Wedding Wed, 04 Sep 2013 14:20:12 +0000  BSWOW

Love this wedding from one of our dear readers, Annie! She and her new hubby had alot of help from family and friends to make their Georgia garden wedding happen- friends and family even gifted them some of their wedding services like photography and videography! This helped them keep their personal spending down, but we made sure to include the total costs to give you an accurate representation of the day. Overall the day was totally glamorous and classic and gorgeous! Hope you enjoy this edition of the BSWOW! xoxo – Jessica 

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Annie + Austin

May 10, 2013

Atlanta, GA

Park Tavern Piedmont Garden Tent


What was your budget? 

We spent $15,000 and were gifted close to $5,000 in services by family and friends, so the actual total was around $20,000.

Venue $800

Food/Bev/Service/Tax $10250

DJ $650

Stationary $680

Groom’s Attire $480

Bride’s Attire $ 1385

Rings $780

Makeup $125

Hair Gifted ($50)

Decor $235

Centerpiece flowers Gifted ($270)

Bouquet flowers $75

Cake and Cookies $175

Photographer Gifted ($2200)

Videographer Gifted ($1600)

Wedding Favors $175

Transportation Gifted ($150)



How many guests did you have?



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

All of our centerpieces, reception decor and bouquets were DIY.  I also made all the table photo props and the A&A etched mason jars for drinks and as favors for the guests.


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

I had many items gifted so photography and videography saved me tons of money. Since I was not particular about the date of the wedding, I chose a date that the venue had available 3 months before and saved almost $5000 on venue and catering.  I felt like I had plenty of time to plan it in 3 months and never felt overwhelmed or stressed.  Also, instead of having a tiered wedding cake we ordered 6 single 9″ and 12″ cakes from one of the best cake bakeries in town and placed them on different height cake stands.  My maid of honor also made cookies the day of so that there was another dessert option.  Another  thing I did was instead of having a photobooth, I made my own photo props (about 130), placed them at each table and created an Instagram hashtag #aawedatl.  And lastly, I hand etched all of our mason jar wedding favors with A&A which cost me $1.10/jar instead of getting them made at $6+/jar


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

Use what you have!!!  I took whatever decor me and my friends had to make up the centerpieces.  The remainder was bought at thrift stores and the Goodwill.


What was your biggest splurge?

Alcohol was our big splurge.  We opted for a premium open bar with a fully stocked Coffee Station.  We like to think of ourselves as fun time ambassadors and we wanted to have an amazing party!!  I don’t call a party a success until someone looses an article of clothing and all I can say is, it was a success!!!


What was your favorite detail?

Our day of, hand made signage

“today two families become one so pick a seat and not a side”


What is the most memorable moment of your day?

It’s a toss up between unconventional “london bridges” or pants dropping…



Venue: Park Tavern  //  Photography: Benjamin and Grace Photography  and  Austen Risolvato Photography  //  Cake: Piece of Cake  //  Groom’s Suit – J.Crew  //  Dress and Alterations – Ruby V  //  


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School Themed Wedding Wed, 29 May 2013 13:28:05 +0000 BSWOW

I absolutely love this school themed wedding by JAC Photography, coordinated by Preppy Chic Events. Although this wedding has a higher budget than most of the ones we feature on BSB, the lovely bride Jenn still has lots of good advice to share about cutting costs on your big day. Not to mention the details and the personal aspects of this day are just so cute- this couple really did alot of work to personalize their day! Many of these details could be recreated easily on a budget, by thrifting and repurposing items around the house! My personal favorite detail? They walked down the aisle to the theme song from Friday Night Lights! Too cute :) Hope you enjoy this wedding as much as I did! xoxo-Jessica

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Jenn + Joe

August 18, 2012

Palos Verdes, CA, Chadwick School

What was your budget? Please give us a breakdown of how you spent your budget.

Total budget – $24,400
  • Save the dates – $20 on Vistaprint
  • Invitations – $212 on Zazzle
  • Venue – free!
  • Dress – $700, plus $700 alterations
  • Tux rental – $230
  • Catering – $7,500
  • Wine – $800
  • Wedding planner – $1000
  • Photography – $4000
  • Rings – $2000
  • Flowers – $700
  • DJ equipment – $200
  • DJ – free! Laptop with our playlists run by a groomsman
  • Wedding cake – $230
  • Hair and makeup – $300
  • Wedding favors – $140
  • Site rentals – $3,000
  • Decorations – $500

And of course other incidentals.


How many guests did you have?

Around 170


What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
  • Designed our own wedding invitations on Zazzle
  • Wrote our own vows
  • Handmade fancy nametags for the wedding favor wineglasses
  • Designed and printed programs
  • Created music playlists for each stage of the wedding
  • Ceremony backdrop was two bookcases that we filled with items that are special to us
  • Our first dance was a recreation of the dance number for “The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing,” from White Christmas (which we watched together on our fourth date)
  • My florist did the bouquets and boutonniers, but I made the floral centerpieces and other decorative flowers myself by saving and decorating old jars and filling them with flowers I bought at the LA Flower Mart.  The florist bill was over $500, and I spent under $200 for 2 carloads of beautiful fresh flowers purchased two days before the wedding and kept in a cooler onsite.  It took me and two friends one morning to buy the flowers, cut them, and arrange them in the jars, and I am so proud of how beautiful they looked at the wedding.  We also decided to decorate the tables with bells (because we were getting married in front of the bell pole at the school) and trolled flea markets and craigslist for an amazing collection of bells that we encouraged guests to ring whenever they felt like it — and when they did, Joe and I would kiss!  A fun alternative to tapping on glasses.
  • The cake toppers were two paper origami cranes my dad made and glued on toothpicks
  • Bought picture frames from goodwill and spraypainted them with chalkboard paint, then made my own signs (great idea from my wedding planner!)
  • Instead of a photo booth, we had a VIDEO booth — we got a load of random props and set up one of the rooms in the library with a couple video cameras and some suggestions for “scenes.”  Our guests filmed themselves saying sweet messages or acting out scenes from our lives, ie our first date, as well as some totally random things that were just hilarious (and good potential blackmail material)
  • Crafts area where guests could make us cards or fill out a big calendar with birthday reminders or married couple “to-do’s,” like “cook something together you’ve never made before” or “Call Robbie to say hi!”  (The calendar is now on our living room wall and we try to do everything it tells us to!)
  • Instead of a guest book, we ordered a guest tree on Etsy that I had seen in a bridal magazine, where guests write their names on colored dots that they stick on a backdrop with a blank tree.  The tree is framed and hangs in our bedroom, which is so much nicer than a book that sits closed on a bookcase.
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
  • All the DIY I described above went a long way to saving us money. We bought a lot of our decorations from goodwill or on craigslist from other brides, like the paper lanterns (and we’ve since sold or given the decorations to other brides too).  We also bought a very small cake for the cutting from a fancy bakery but the cake we served was a fabulous red velvet cake from Costco.  But the absolutely biggest savings came from the fact that we didn’t have to pay for our venue (the school let us use the campus because I was a student AND a teacher there), and that I ended up getting my gorgeous dress from, of all places, Costco!   
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
  •  The DIY will save you money AND make your wedding more personal. Make lots of lists early and go through them often. There are only six core principles to a good wedding: (1) good food; (2) good drink; (3) good music and a place to dance; (4) easy access to bathrooms; (5) make sure your guests aren’t too hot or too cold; and (6) make sure it’s the wedding YOU want, ie a wedding you’re having fun at!
  • MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A WEDDING PLANNER/COORDINATOR, especially for the day-of.  My team was amazing (thanks Steph and Preppy Chic Events!).  They made the wedding day run so smoothly and fulfilled their promise that I wouldn’t have to worry about a thing!


What was your biggest splurge?

The photographers and my tailor.  Both were completely worth it.  The photos were amazing, and my tailor not only was the one who ended up helping me find my dress (she works for the designer, Kristie Kelly), but she also made into reality my idea for beautiful lace detachable keyhole sleeves that I put on for the reception after I removed my veil, so I wasn’t dealing with the inevitable issues of wearing a strapless dress while dancing.  She also designed and made the jeweled sash that I wore.  Those touches made my dress even more beautiful.


What was your favorite detail?
How can I choose just one?!  I will say one of my favorite details was our New Yorker magazine stand.  Joe had gotten me a subscription the year before for my birthday and I saved every issue.  We put them out in a wicker bin at the ceremony with a sign that Joe built out of a painted 2×4 and some $2 frames from Ikea that encouraged guests to take a magazine to shade, fan, read, and learn.  

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Coming down the aisle to the theme song from the TV show “Friday Night Lights” to an amazing, personal, and funny ceremony performed by the judge I had clerked for, and exchanging vows with my awesomely handsome and wonderful man.


Photography: JAC Photography   //  Venue: Chadwick School in Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA  //   Event Planner + Coordination: Preppy Chic Events   //   Caterer: The Original Red Onion   //   Cake: Lido Bakery   //   Other Desserts: Costco   //   Bouquets: Palos Verdes Florist   //   Centerpieces: DIY by Bride & her friends   //   Rentals & Lighting: Classic Party Rentals   //   Linens: Designer Specialty Linens   //   DJ: iTunes playlist   //   AV Rentals: SSR Rentals   //   Bride’s Dress: Kirstie Kelly   //   Bridesmaid Dresses: Kirstie Kelly   //   Invitation: DIY, included a crossword puzzle of full trivia about the B&G   //   Officiant: Hon. Barry Silverman (a Judge & the Bride’s old boss)
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All White Wedding Wed, 26 Dec 2012 16:45:13 +0000 BSWOW
Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas! Today I have a lovely wedding to share with you today from the talented John Defiora. The images from this wedding really spoke to me for some reason- it feels like John and his additional shooters captured this day in a natural way and I really love that. I truly feel like every bride is most beautiful on her wedding day because the happiness in her eyes just radiates out, and this bride is exceptionally beautiful! This couple spent a little more than our typical BSB features but I thought that Lindsey had some great words of wisdom to share when it comes to saving money- including recruiting talented friends to keep costs down. And I always think it’s interesting to see all white wedding parties! Hope you enjoy this edition of the BSWOW! xoxo-Jessica
new-jersey-wedding_004new-jersey-wedding_001new-jersey-wedding_003        new-jersey-wedding_013 new-jersey-wedding_002new-jersey-wedding_006new-jersey-wedding_005new-jersey-wedding_015  new-jersey-wedding_007new-jersey-wedding_008new-jersey-wedding_009new-jersey-wedding_014new-jersey-wedding_010new-jersey-wedding_012new-jersey-wedding_011
Lindsey + Shaun
September 30, 2012
Spring Lake, NJ at The Breakers
What was your budget? If you are able, give us a rough breakdown of how you spent your budget.
About $20,000
Allaire Chapel in allaire state park $600
Venue 13,000
Music (two bands and a dj @ venue plus guitarist at ceremony) $1600
Flowers $1100
Photographer $400
Grooms suit jcrew $500
Limos $1000
Dress $1000
How many guests did you have?
What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
I used a lot of old frames jars and bottles for centerpieces and decorations
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
We had our wedding on a Sunday which saved 15% at the venue, we hired local musicians that we know and love so we didn’t get charged “wedding band” prices, I had all my own vases for the florist (mason jars and medicine bottles), and it doesn’t hurt to know people … The photographer is a childhood friend of the groom!
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
Don’t obsess over the small stuff!
What was your biggest splurge?
There really wasn’t any one big splurge, I guess it would have been my dress but my mom purchased that for me.
What was your favorite detail?
I loved the chapel, it is from the 1800’s and it was just perfect in the middle of a park on a fall day.
What is the most memorable moment of your day? When I was about to get out of the limo, I could see everyone but no one could see me it was a surreal moment
Entertainment: String Bean and the Stalkers + Dub Assassins  |  Florist: Wildflowers Florist  |   DJ: Elite Entertainment   |   Photographer: John Defiora,
second shooter: Nino Gallego, third shooter: Liz Cassano
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Post-wedding budget breakdown Fri, 03 Aug 2012 15:30:03 +0000 Well, all the planning is finished, the wedding is over, and married life has begun. It’s crazy to think that all of that hard work is finally complete, and there is nothing left on my to-do list. The day was truly amazing, more than I could have imagined or planned.

We got married on April 28, 2012 in the small rural town of Orangeville, Ontario (Canada), at a golf & ski resort tucked in the hills of Hockley Valley at Hockley Valley Resort and Spa.

We had 190 Guests. With a lot of Sam’s family coming from overseas, it was a truly special day for Sam to see how far they all had come for us.

We tried to make our wedding as personal as possible, and allow our guests to see who we are individually and as a couple. I included some DIY projects and my mom and sisters were a big part of pulling it all together. One of my favourite details was the floral archway that my mom made for our ceremony. We brainstormed long and hard to try and figure out the best option for the trellace, and I think it turned out beautiful. (The wedding after ours actually asked to use it as well!) I don’t know how I can just pick one most memorable moment of our day, so I will share a few with you…

During the small Indian portion of our ceremony, our dad’s picked each other up (as is part of the Indian tradition)! I was shocked and everyone had a good laugh.

Seeing my 9 yr. nephew cry during our ceremony. So precious.

Sam and his mom doing their “Jai Ho” dance!

Here is the final breakdown of our $20,000 budget:

Stationary $400

Beauty & Attire $1,400
(Second outfit was a gift from groom’s parents)

Rentals & Decor $1,200

Photography $2,000

Flowers (Gift from my parents)


Food & Bar service $12,000

Band/ Entertainment $1,700

Our biggest splurge was the entertainment. We really wanted our guests to be wowed and enjoy the night with us. Going with a band was definitely a budget breaker, but we have heard so many people raving over them still a month later.

Cake/ Rings/ Gifts/ Misc $1,300

One of the ways we saved money was by using friends and family as vendors. My mom did the flowers, cousin did the decorating, friends did makeup and photography, and Sam’s dad was the officiant.


My advice for those of you who are in the middle of planning, is to go with your heart. There are so many decisions to make and so many different options to choose from, so when you know that you love something, don’t second guess it. Make decisions as quickly as possible to avoid getting over worked and stressed about every minor detail. In the end, you will be married, and no one else will remember the colour or amount of tea lights you had on the table.

To see more photos of our wedding day, you can check out some recent posts on my blog.

All photos credited to Erin Leydon Photography.

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Patriotic Wedding Rerun at Cedarwood by Bledsoe Photography Wed, 04 Jul 2012 14:49:45 +0000

In honor of the holiday, I just had to share this subtly patriotic wedding- it just brings a huge smile to my face! The bride is a member of the National Guard Reserve, so the patriotic themed, holiday weekend wedding is just perfection! (It was actually a Memorial Day weekend wedding). They stuck to their American theme in a non-cheesy way with the help of the fabulous team at Cedarwood in Nashville. I’ve attended a couple of weddings at this location and it’s fabulous! Their photographer, Shanell Bledsoe, captured every gorgeous detail that the Cedarwood team included in the big day. I’m especially in love with the flowers– *swoon*! Hope you all love this wedding as much as I do! :)

Michael & Morgan

May 30, 2010
Nashville, TN

What was your budget? Give a rough breakdown of what you spent if possible.
Under $20k for all the necessities (though, thanks to some support from family members, we were able to have some extras like a limo ride at the end of the night and a beer/wine/spirits selection at the bar)

Wedding Package @ Cedarwood for 100 guests with a few upgrades added on : Approx. $15k (The package includes everything from invitations, to decor, food, cake, DJ, etc.) For perspective purposes, ours was the “Mid-Range” package. You could be at a lower package price point or higher one given your preferences (e.g. Whether or not you choose to include food for a cocktail hour, etc.)

Photography: Approx. $2k

Dress: $1k

How many guests did you have?

What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
We chose instrumental acoustic guitar versions of more contemporary songs for our ceremony music: (For instance, I walked down the aisle to “All You Need is Love” by The Beatles, and the Groom/Wedding Party entered to Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On A Prayer”).

We put our bar menus in picture frames made by a family member.

Our wedding favors were chocolate sugar cookies made by Michael’s mother. We attached a note to the favor boxes letting our guests know that (since we didn’t spend lots of money on the favors) we made a donation to the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee to help with flood relief efforts. (Nashville and our home city of Clarksville, TN had major damage due to flooding earlier in the month.)

Because I am a member of the Maryland Air National Guard and because we got married on Memorial Day weekend, we included a “Thank You” to our military friends and family in attendance and listed them by name.

During our Father/Daughter and Mother/Son dances we played picture slideshows of our childhood and teenage years. It was special for our parents and helped deflect some attention off of nervous dancers.

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
We chose Cedarwood!
We did some searching on wedding locations and weighed the pros and cons of a “DIY” wedding vs a “All Inclusive” location. Since we live in Maryland now and didn’t have the time and resources to plan every detail of a wedding in Tennessee from states away, we chose to have our wedding at an all-inclusive location. After researching options, Cedarwood was our choice because of their ability to scale the package(s) and pricing up and down dependent upon our budget and preferences. (This is NOT the case with ALL All-Inclusive venues, so brides should be sure to ask lots of questions and request package details in writing to avoid confusion or tons of “add-on” costs at the end.)

What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
Prioritize your budget! There is absolutely no need to go into debt for your wedding, so communicate with all the parties involved in the financial aspects of your planning and be on the same page from the get-go.

Beware of the mark-up associated with all things “wedding”. You don’t HAVE to buy your shoes and jewelry from the bridal boutique. (I found the EXACT earrings I tried on in a bridal store for half the price online!)

You most certainly cannot please everyone ALL the time, so take opinions and good advice when you come across them and leave everything else behind without guilt.

What was your biggest splurge?
We put a little extra money aside for more flowers. They were beautiful!

What was your favorite detail?
We loved ALL of the decor and ambiance at Cedarwood. The rose petal aisle way was super romantic.

What is the most memorable moment of your day?
The kiss! It was perfect.

Ceremony and Reception Location: Cedarwood , Nashville TN  |  Caterer: A Dream Come True Catering (Through Cedarwood)  |  Florist: Cedarwood Florist
Cake: PattyCakes (Through Cedarwood) |  Bridal Gown: Bridals By Elena (Severna Park, MD)  |  Bridesmaid Dresses: The Dessy Group  |  Photography: Bledsoe Photography – Shanell Bledsoe  |  Hairdresser and Make Up: Sara Andrick   |  Ceremony Music: Rob Higginbotham (Through Cedarwood)  |  Reception Music: Frank Flemming – DJ (Through Cedarwood)


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