The Budget Savvy Bride » $6k wedding helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank Thu, 28 May 2015 20:29:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Backyard wedding in Texas Sun, 18 Jan 2015 16:00:36 +0000

Better late than never, we’re sharing the wedding of Cris, one of our previous bride bloggers! Cris blogged about her wedding planning process here on BSB, and shared her Alaska wedding already, but today will be our first look at her beautiful backyard wedding in Texas. I have to say, my favorite detail is that ribbon backdrop under that beautiful tree where they held the ceremony. So beautiful — and a simple DIY that really makes a big impact! Check out Cris’ advice and insights below — and for more from Cris check out her blog Kiss My Tulle. xoxo Jessica

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Cris + The Boy

May 26, 2012

Our backyard in the Texas Hill Country


What was your wedding budget?

Ceremony – $257.16

Welcome Bags – $33.96

Paper Goods/Stationery – $424.98

Wedding Party Gifts – $162.42

Reception Décor – $828.24

Reception Food/Beverages/Dessert/Cake – $1001.56

Rehearsal Dinner – $259.37

Photography/Videography – $3350.00


TOTAL: $6,317.59

You can find out the nitty gritty details on every aspect of our budget (including tax deductions that brought the wedding’s total down to under $3,000!) here.


How many guests did you have?

75-100 (we lost count)



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

Oh man. What didn’t we have? One of my favorite little personal bits was the fact that we got married under an enormous oak tree on our property. Now, every time I drive past it (nearly every day), I think about that day. Creatively, we DIYed nearly everything – the ceremony’s huge fabric backdrop, the wedding cake, all the centerpieces and bouquets, the reception tables were made out of wooden pallets, I designed all the stationery and paper goods. Oh yeah, and we even catered our own reception cocktail hour and buffet.



What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

Instead of renting all the tableware (plates, glasses, flatware) we found them at thrift stores and on clearance for a song. Then, after the wedding, we donated the entire lot for a sizeable write-off (and even “made” money on about half of it).



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

I didn’t get the all the flowers I wanted. I was dying for gorgeous peonies and garden roses but it was far cheaper to source the flowers wholesale from a local wildflower farm.



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

Always be thinking, “Do I need this? Is this really important?” So many people get caught up in what they’re “supposed” to have or do instead of just focusing their energy and money on the things they actually want. For example, I could have cared less about my wedding dress. So, instead of forking over a bunch of money and spending hours trying on a dress that I would wear for one day – I found a bride giving hers away for free! I loved the story behind my dress and proudly wore it all that day (plus, now the original bride and I are fantastic friends!).



What was your biggest splurge?

The photography. And it was worth every single penny.



What was your favorite detail?

The fabric backdrop that hung from an oak tree during our ceremony. It was huge and super time consuming to make (but incredibly cheap!). It made SUCH a visual impact though and all our wedding ceremony photos look even more spectacular because of it.



What is the most memorable moment of your day?

One of my flower girls was my niece who has mid- to severe-spectrum autism. We knew that we wanted to do as many photos as possible before the wedding started so that she would be at her best since it was early on. She did great but near the end of it she started to meltdown. To help calm her, I leaned down and quietly sang “Itsy Bitsy Spider” in her ear. Before I knew it, the entire wedding party was singing along and she was all smiles. And that? Is why you get a wedding videographer.




Photography – Miranda Laine Photography   •   Videography – Lovebird Productions   •   Day of Coordination – Piece by Piece Events   •   Rentals – Great Event Rentals   •   Flowers – Arnosky Family Farm   •   Desserts – Blue Note Bakery    •   Bride’s Dress – David’s Bridal   •   Bride’s Shoes – TOMS   •   Groom’s Suit – Target   •   Groom and Groomsmen TiesExpress


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Grey and yellow rustic wedding Wed, 14 Jan 2015 13:00:04 +0000

Happy #WeddingWednesday, y’all! I’ve got a lovely rustic wedding for you today. Let me tell you why I love it: the groomsmen style is totally on point. I’m always a fan of mismatched bridesmaids dresses. The couple took advantage of the natural beauty of their venue space, so tons of decorations weren’t needed, but the ones they did use were created in a pretty savvy way. Of course the couple also utilized the talents of family and friends, which is one of our biggest tips! I hope you love this wedding as much as I do! xoxo, Jessica 

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Zachary + Lauren

Dudley, NC. Goldsborough Bridge Battlefield

What was your wedding budget?

DJ-family friend
Decor – $60
Rentals- $100
Invitations + Programs- done for free by family friend

In total we spent a bit over $6,000.


How many guests did you have?


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

I tried my best to put my personal touch on every thing that went on that day. From my dads childhood bible we used to carry the rings to the quilt laying on the gift table that belonged to my great grandmother who is passed away now. Every single centerpiece was designed by me and every single centerpiece was different. Not one centerpiece was the same. Mason jars, old vintage books, tea light candles, delicate babies breathe, rustic lanterns, twigs, anything old and rustic-you name it- we had it. The table cloths were various laces I had borrowed from a few different people, all of which were similar but different and it was absolutely breathtaking once it came together. I’m a huge coca cola fan so of course we had the old glass cokes for the guest to enjoy with a red and white striped straw. Grey bridesmaid dresses so they’re eggplant, mustard, and burnt orange flowers would pop. The men wore their sleeves rolled up sporting a grey vest and a mustard colored bow-tie with a billy ball boutonnière. Every nook and cranny of that barn was decorated. Old vintage luggage on the gift table, and old vintage luggage at cocktail hour that the sweet tea and lemonade were set on so perfectly. I could go on and on about all the vintage and rustic things and all the personal touches but I’ll stop here.


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

We compared prices like crazy and researched everything before we went with them. I got my dress from an outlet center and saved a lot of money on my wedding cake by going with someone that bakes delicious cakes on the side verses using an established bakery. I saved a chunk of money with flowers by only ordering flowers I absolutely had to have done by someone professional. For example…My bouquet, bridesmaids bouquets, the mens boutonnieres, and the family members corsages and boutonnieres. All the other flowers were babies breathe and sunflowers from a local Harris Teeter that were used for the reception for centerpieces and decoration.

The wedding wouldn’t have been possible on this budget without help from family and friends. One family friend acted as our DJ, and another actually did invitations and programs for free. Almost every single decoration came from another family friend that owns her own business so she happened to have all the centerpiece items and furniture, vintage decor and candles, etc. I probably spent $ 60 total at hobby lobby but everything else was borrowed. The same lady that helped us with the decor had most of the chairs and tables for the ceremony/reception so we were fortunate to only spend about $100 on rentals. It really pays to take advantage of any resources you have in your family and friends!


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

As cliche as this may sound I honestly can not think of anywhere that I sacrificed. There is nothing I would change about that day and where my money went. In my opinion a wedding that cost $20,000 and has no personal touch is not as satisfying as a $6000 wedding where your personal touch and ideas are apparent for the guests and yourself.


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

Don’t go with the first person you meet with. Research all your options and go with your gut. Just because someone is cheaper doesn’t mean their not as good. The cupcakes that my guest were served were some of the best cupcakes I had ever had. And I was told by a local bakery my cake with them was going to be $490 and keep in mind I spent $300 on the grooms cake, 250 cupcakes, and a 6in cake for my husband and I to actually cut into. Payment plans are awesome and if you have a long enough engagement then payment plans are the way to go. They allow you to splurge in the areas you want and still keep your feet on the ground and not have to take out a loan. Don’t be afraid to borrow things from people! It saves money! Remember to have fun while planning it. It’s really easy to get stressed out and forget what is actually going on. Enjoy it all, it’ll be over before you know it.


What was your biggest splurge?

The moment I got engaged I had already decided the places we were going to splurge was going to be the food and the photographer. In my opinion they’re the most important things. If your guest want anything-its good food. And they’ll remember if it was good or not. Trust me I’ve been to a few weddings and I remember the food with every single one of them. Some not so good. I also believe the photographer is SO important if not the most important thing (after the bride). Think about it your banking on your photographer to capture things you won’t remember from that day. It’s up to them to capture the essence of your wedding in some pictures. You’ll have the pictures for the rest of your life so make them good.


What was your favorite detail?

My favorite detail had to be cocktail hour. It was everything I had imagined. It was located outside to the right of the barn. We had old vintage tables and chairs set up randomly for the guest to sit and enjoy their snacks. Old wooden church pew, beautiful colorful rustic chairs, antiqued tables, and even a vanity were placed around the food and drinks.


What is the most memorable moment of your day?

The most memorable part of the day had to be directly after the ceremony when all my awesome wedding party and my new husband :) began taking pictures with the photographer. It was such a relief to know everything was going smoothly and we were having so much fun! I had the best wedding party and they were a huge part in enjoying my day.


Cake: Nanas Cakes. Goldsboro NC.   •   Photography: Chelsea Collins Photography  •  Flowers: Cheryl Watson  •  Venue: Goldsborough Bridge Battlefield  •  DJ: Family friend  •  Wedding Dress: Formal and Bridal Outlet Center. Fayetteville. NC  •  Bridesmaids Dresses: David’s Bridal  •



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Teal + Orange Wedding Wed, 07 Jan 2015 13:00:51 +0000

I just love this teal and orange wedding!! Kristin and Cory incorporated some personal details into their day to make it special, but overall kept things simple and sweet! Love Kristin’s perspective on the real importance of the wedding and being focused on what matters most to avoid overspending. Of course I love this wedding because of the teal hue that is woven throughout the day — and I’m a huge fan of the paper decor on the altar as well. Such a lovely day! Congrats, Kristin + Cory — thanks for sharing your day with us!  xoxo, Jessica

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Kristin + Cory

September 14, 2013

Grace EV Free Church in La Mirada, CA

What was your wedding budget?

Dress and suit plus alterations: $1200
Invitations: $120 plus postage
Church “rental” for ceremony + reception: $800
Flowers: $170 (LA flower district!)
Food/refreshments: $600
Cake: $140
Photographer: $800
Tables, chairs, and linens rental: $792
Decorations, guest book, etc: $200
Musicians: $410
Marriage license: $104
Help from friends, website registration, other costs: $180
Our total came to under $6,000!

How many guests did you have?


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

All of our centerpieces at our wedding reception were recycled mason jars/ bottles that we put gerber daisies in.  Very simple, but vibrant and colorful!  Had a very artistic friend make some welcome signs which turned out beautifully.  During the bouquet and garter toss, Cory attached a Starbucks giftcard to the garter in an effort to get more guys interested in actually trying to catch it, and it worked!  Kristin grew up for most of her childhood in Indonesia (as an “MK” Missionary Kid) so at the reception tables we had little Indonesian coffee candies.  We included the hymn Great Is Thy Faithfulness in the ceremony, which was one of Cory’s Grandpa’s favorite hymns (he had passed away recently).  Also we made our own website from scratch and used it for guests to RSVP.  We designed our own invitations and printed them through

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

We got our flowers from the LA flower district and had friends who were able to arrange them for us!  We also got some friends from church to make snacks & refreshments instead of paying for a caterer or a full meal.  We decided to just snacks (tea sandwiches, fruit & veggie platters) with lemonade and tea instead of a full meal.  We purchased the ingredients (or gave them cash to buy things the day before) and they very kindly & generously worked to make some great food that cost a lot less than using a catering company.

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

Be open to less expensive ways that maybe are different than how you had ideally imagined things or than what is popular and hip :) It’s not worth spending huge amounts of money, because the day will be special and beautiful no matter what!  Be flexible to changes that may come up along the way.  And while it’s good to be organized and diligent, remember to take breaks from planning (go for a walk together!) and keep a humble perspective. A wedding is not about a party where you need to meet people’s expectations.  It is a covenant that you can celebrate with joy before family, friends, and God!

What was your biggest splurge?

We ended up spending more than we wanted to on tables and chairs for the reception.  We also rented tablecloths, and it just added up quickly.  The other option was to try to borrow tables and chairs from another church, since the church we were at didn’t have enough available, but we just decided to pay a rental company for convenience sake.

What was your favorite detail?

The hand-painted signs that our friend made

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Walking back up the aisle at the end of the ceremony, just beaming and completely happy!
Photography: Peterson Design & Photography  •  Wedding Cake: Paty’s Cakes & Deserts in Fullerton, CA  •  Rentals: Events by Noonan in Palcentia, CA  •  Invitations and Envelopes:


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Intimate Wedding on a Boat Sun, 10 Aug 2014 15:30:24 +0000 simple weddings

I absolutely love this simple and sweet wedding! The couple held their wedding on a boat in an intimate ceremony. There’s something so romantic about getting married on a boat, isn’t there? The couple chose to focus on the people and the meaning behind the day instead of small, unnecessary details and the result is still fabulous. I hope you enjoy this sweet wedding! xoxo Jessica 

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Amanda + Jay

December 4th, 2013

Naples, FL | Sweet Liberty -Catamaran Sail Boat


What was your wedding budget?

My budget was $10,000, including the honeymoon! We spent about $6k on the wedding.


$1,000 -Ceremony venue

$1,000 -Dinner reception

$1,000 -Dress

$700 -Flowers

$200 -Hair and make up

$150 -Cake

$1000 -Photographer

$200 -Invitations and calligrapher

$700 -Miscellaneous- favors, decorations, gifts

$4000 -Honeymoon



How many guests did you have?




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


The ceremony aboard a catamaran sail boat was definitely unique and our guests loved every minute of it. I made the favors- personalized M&Ms in a mini jar.


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?


I chose what was most important to me to spend money on. I wanted a good photographer and a nice honeymoon. The photographer was important because the pictures are what you have left after everything is over. It is important to find a photographer with pictures in their portfolio that you love. It was also important to me to have a nice honeymoon after the wedding.


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


Don’t worry about the small details so much, no one will notice but you. Everything will turn out perfectly.


What was your biggest splurge?


The honeymoon, I think it is so important to spend that time together as a married couple after the wedding. The honeymoon was at Couples Swept Away in Negril, Jamaica.


What was your favorite detail?


My favorite detail was my bouquet I went back and forth on what type of flowers I wanted. I changed the bouquet last minute and it turned out gorgeous. I was going to do yellow and white flowers but I’m glad I added in more color.


What is the most memorable moment of your day?


The emotions of saying I Do and being announced as married is unbelievable.


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


Ceremony- Sweet Liberty Catamaran Sail Boat  //  Dinner reception- Roy’s Restaurant  //  Photographer- Brooke Price Photography  //  Hair and Makeup- Hope Artistry  //  Florist- Naples Flowers, Inc  //   Cake- Mikkelsen’s Pastry Shop  //  Invitations- Minted  //  Dress- Shelly’s Bridal




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Rustic Wedding on a Budget Wed, 06 Aug 2014 12:00:46 +0000 real budget wedding

You know I love a good rustic wedding on a budget – and that’s just what I’ve got for you today! Rather than tell you all the things that I love about this day, I’ll share what the couple’s sweet photographer, Sarah Beth had to say about this wedding:

I had the absolute pleasure of capturing Jen & David’s big day. Their wedding was almost completely DIY- and a labor of love from all who know and love them. Jen is a country girl at heart, so she incorporated two different pairs of cowgirl boots- my favorite being the mint/teal pair! Jen is also a volunteer firefighter- and the firehouse has been a huge part of her life, so her home firehouse in Lewes, Delaware, lent the firetruck for her and David to use for the wedding- making for tremendously fun pictures! All of the details at the reception venue were put together by a few sweet and crafty ladies from Jen’s home church, Redland Baptist. They focused on the rustic feel of the overall day to pull together an incredibly sweet venue. It was such a wonderful treat to shoot one of my best friend’s weddings!

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Jennifer + David

November 23, 2013

Wedding location Rockville, MD  |  Redland Baptist Church, Adelphi Mills


What was your wedding budget?

We did not really start with a budget because we did not have anything to work with! We prayed and as we went we just tried to find the best deals and do things the smartest way possible and God provided the rest. This is totally a rough estimate, but our wedding was probably no more than $6,500.

$50 (Save the Dates designed by my bridesmaid and then printed)

$750 (Reception hall, already had tables and chairs so we did not have to rent them separately)

$300 (Church usage)

$150 (Sound guy to run the equipment for ceremony)

$150 (Wedding Coordinator, depending on your venue, sometimes you must use one)

$150 (Set up and breakdown of sanctuary)

$2,000 (wedding gown, veil, jewelry, boots)

$500-1,000 (food- we had friends donate BBQ, we bought buns, coleslaw, ect from Costco)

$150 (drinks- apple cider, sweet tea, unsweet tea, hot chocolate donated by mom)

$150 (cake- we actually had a friend make one anniversary tier and pie to cut, but bought the rest apple

and pumpkin pies from Costco for like $7.95 and they are HUGE)

$100 (favors- CD soundtrack of songs that were part of our story)

$200 (linen like paper table clothes, real looking plastic silverware, fine china plastic plates from Costco)

$800 (flowers for Bride, bridesmaids, and around the reception just babies breathe and accent pieces,

used bouquets at head table)

$100 (Paper cups, hot cups, napkins and dessert napkins)

$150 (Bridesmaid gifts and groomsmen gifts, a collaboration of things some handmade by me)


Things our friends helped us with or we got for free through a coupon!

  • Tux – with every 5 rented, you get one free… 5 groomsmen = free tux!)
  • Invitations – my brother handmade them
  • BBQ – our friends have a farm and killed a deer and pig for us
  • DJ – we made up a playlist and asked our friend to emcee
  • Food prep – we bought all the ingredients and our friends helped put it together
  • Decorations – gathered old mason jars, lace table clothes and friends made it incredible
  • Photography – would have been over $1,000, but my best friend’s gift was our pictures
  • Pastor – my dad is a pastor and performed the wedding
  • Music for ceremony – My cousin and best friend from childhood played guitar/piano
  • Videographer – My uncle videotaped the ceremony and the reception

How many guests did you have?

150 invited, 140 attended.



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

I wore cowgirl boots with my dress because I am always in boots!

Our pre-ceremony music was classic rock remakes by the Vitamin String Quartet. Our program was actually a booklet with the story of how my husband and I met and how we got engaged told from each side of the story. Our rings were carried in on my great-grandfather’s bible that he preached out of when he was alive. We walked out of the ceremony to the Pirates of the Caribbean theme song played on piano. We rode from the church to the reception in my fire department’s fire engine driven by my captain. Our reception had a rustic theme of burlap, lace and mason jars. Each table was a different bible verse and each place setting had the verse on a card in their silverware pouch. The song I walked down the aisle to, “How He Loves Us” was the song he proposed to and then became our first dance as well.


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

The biggest thing we did to save money was to ask around to our friends who had specific skills to see if they would be willing to help us out. I know that I have done that for people in the past and you would be surprised how your friends can come together and help make your day more special than anyone else could have.  I would also say praying was a big part. God put specific people in our lives that were so willing to lend a hand, sometimes without even being asked.


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

Don’t sweat the small stuff. There are so many little things that you can add to your wedding to make it unique. However, when you are finally there with the ring on your hand and enjoying all the celebration, you barely have time to notice those little things. Some are worth it, and some can be pushed to the side. Figure out what the most important aspects are and focus on those. Also, don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about not inviting them to your wedding. If you have a small wedding and cannot invite the world, true friends will understand. It is your day and you only get to have it once! On that note, GET A GOOD PHOTOGRAPHER! You will want the best photos possible to keep for the rest of your life. Get it videoed too if you can!



What was your biggest splurge?

I think the biggest splurge was my dress. I always thought I would get a great deal and not spend much on my dress. After I tried on about 30 of them, I could not walk away from this one. It had every bit of my personality in it. It was cheaper at the bridal consignment shop than the retail stores, so I still technically got a deal!



What was your favorite detail?

My favorite detail was probably having my fire truck to ride in. It meant so much to me that my brothers from the firehouse drove almost three hours to be there and brought the fire truck like Cinderella’s carriage to escort me to the reception. It felt like home and was so special to me.



What is the most memorable moment of your day?

The most memorable moment of my day was the dancing at the reception. I loved our first dance because we practiced it so much and the song is so dear to our hearts. The dance with my dad to “My Girl” was fun and sweet. My husband’s mom broke out into air guitar during their dance to “Sweet Child of Mine”, and that was a bucket of laughs. After those dances, everyone just laughed and danced together. It was a beautiful picture to see all friends and family together in one room.




Photography: Photography by Photos by Sarah Beth  //  Bride’s Hair : Meghan at IRA Ludwick Salon   //    Apple and Pumpkin Pies by Costco  //  Wedding Gown by Allure, purchased at I Do, I Do Wedding Gowns  //  Tuxedos by Men’s Warehouse  //  Bridesmaid Dresses by David’s Bridal  //  Bridal Jewelry by Etsy Shops Glamorous Bijoux and MyLittleBride and Waxing Poetic  //  Bride’s Boots by Corral Boots  //  Apple Cider by Heyser Farms  //  Flowers by Creative Floral  //  Adelphi Mills 



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Fall cotton wedding Wed, 28 May 2014 12:00:04 +0000

real budget wedding

I absolutely adore this simple fall wedding with cotton details. How AMAZING is the bride’s cotton bouquet? So chic! Hope you love these details just as much as I did! xoxo – Jessica

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Jacquelyn + Jordan

October 11, 2013

Eventful at Locust Grove, Weston, MO

What was your wedding budget?

    *Venue-$2200 (This included ceremony, reception space, rehearsal space/time, tables, chairs, and alcohol for most of the reception.)
     *Food – $1000 (barbecue for the reception food, and alcohol for the party bus)
     *Decorations- $180
     *Flowers – $10
     *Favors – $60
     *Party Bus- $300
     *Cake – $75
     *Smore’s bar – $70
     *Music – Free
     *Dress – Free
     *Shoes – $40
     *Rings – $200
     *Wedding video – $100
     *Beanbag toss games – Free
     *Tree for planting ceremony – $50
     *Tux – $133
     *Photography – $100
     *Day of coordinator – $160
     *Hair & Makeup – $140
     *Bridesmaids/groomsmen gifts – $100
     *Transportation – $120
     *Programs – $50
     *Invitations, Save the Dates, Thank You Cards – $30
     *Extras (postage, unexpected expenses) – $300
     *Total for Wedding  – $5418

How many guests did you have?

We planned for 100 guests, but about 85 showed up.

What creative or personal aspects did you incorporate into your wedding?

We had a LOT of creative details.  There are so many things you can do to make your wedding memorable without costing any money.  We did a ring-warming ceremony, which most of our guests had never heard of before.  Most of our guests said that was their favorite part, and it was a unique touch that didn’t cost a thing!
We also had several aspects that were very “us.”  I’m from the south, so I wanted to represent that by having a cotton bouquet.  My mom picked the cotton and made the bouquet for me.  The only flowers we bought were single sunflowers for the bridesmaids to carry and corsages for the moms.  The guys bout’s were a single boll of cotton with a guitar pick nestled inside, since my husband is an avid guitar player.  We also handmade our programs that folded out into fans (with fun facts about the bride and groom on the back).  We offered small water bottles at the guest book table before the ceremony.  We offered an extensive s’more’s bar and also DIY’ed our favors (which were boxes with our monogram on top, and two plantable seed bombs inside.)  As a gift, the best man made us beanbag toss games, and I painted “Mr.” and “Mrs.” on top with paint I had at home.  Rather than having centerpieces we would never use again, we got flowerpots, filled them with rock and sterno cups, and had the guests roast the smore’s at their table.  Now we have the flowerpots to use in the spring!

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

I think the best advice I could give for saving money on a wedding is do your research!  The first thing I did was plan out a budget for ANYTHING I could think of that I would need for a wedding.  I wrote it down and figured it in.  There were things (like buying a new garter) that got dropped along the way, but my unexpected expenses turned out to be very low.  I got great deals on all my stationary because VistaPrint did a deal for $70 worth of product for $15.  I ended up with two of those deals and got all my stationary and most of my bridesmaids gifts for a very good price!  (The reason the gifts part was so high in my budget breakdown was because I splurged for custom silk-screened ties for all the guys.)
Also, advice part two…be laid back.  You may have an idea of what you want for your wedding in your head, but be open to how it happens.  I knew I wanted a photographer.  I couldn’t find any for less than a couple of grand, so I reached out on facebook and found a friend that wanted to get into the industry.  She had already shot some great photos and she agreed to shoot the wedding AND an engagement shoot.  I also knew I wanted wedges under my dress.  Guess where I found them?  In a consignment shop.  I knew I needed a wedding dress, and my parents offered to pay for it, since it was really all they could afford to do for the wedding.  I walked in to the bridal shop without a set idea, and found an $800 dress marked down to $200.  This was a bit under my parent’s budget, so that came free.  And so many people raved about the dress.  One lady even said it was the most beautiful dress she had ever seen!  None of these things happened how I thought they would, but all turned out great!

What was your biggest splurge?

We had two real “splurges.”  One was the venue.  I was never a girl that grew up dreaming about her wedding…but I knew if I ever did get married, I’d want it in a beautiful spot.  We chose an outdoor location just outside of a quaint little town in NW Missouri.  There was a field next to us with a tobacco barn in the distance and a huge oak tree in the front.  It really was a beautiful location.  The second splurge was the party bus.  Almost 95% of our guests were coming in from out of town, and most of those guests were first-time visitors to Kansas City.  We rented a party bus to show up after the reception and take a tour of the city.  It was a neat thing for people to see our town, and was so much fun!  Definitely worth the investment!

What was your favorite detail?

My favorite detail of the day was the necklace I wore.  It was my great-grandmother’s lavaliere necklace that was presented to her in 1917 in lieu of an engagement ring.  All the women in my family have worn it in their weddings since then.

What was the most memorable moment of your day?

My favorite moment was during our photos.  I’ve been a bit of a tomboy growing up, and I said when we signed on the venue that I wanted to take pictures IN the Oak tree on our wedding day.  Sure enough, when the day came, the ladies at Eventful found me a step ladder and Jordan and I (while I was in my wedding dress) climbed into that tree for pictures.  Those are some of my favorite pictures of the day.
Photography: Be Vivacious  //  Venue:  //  Dress:  //  Day of Coordinator: Two by Two: Events & Productions
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Rustic Chic Wedding Wed, 26 Feb 2014 13:21:23 +0000 real budget wedding

Such a fun wedding to share with y’all today! This lovely rustic chic wedding features some of the most budget savvy details ever! I LOVE that the bride upcycled old tin cans with spraypaint, twine and lace– who knew that what some people would consider ‘trash’ could look so fabulous as a wedding centerpiece?! Now that’s what I call budget savvy. And I’ve said it many times before but I just love sunflowers in weddings- so their DIY bouquets just make me so happy!! I think you’ll love this sweet wedding just as much as I did! xoxo – Jessica

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Meghan & Cory 

September 7, 2013

Wedding location Bellingham, WA  |  Sudden Valley Dance Barn



What was your wedding budget?  

$6,000 was our budget.
$ 700 on the venue,
$1,500-ish on food and cake
$300 on beverages (two buck chuck wine, three kegs, water bottles and some juice).
$1,000 on my dress
$500 was spent one wine glasses, white string lights, party favors, plates, décor (mostly homemade)
25$ was spent on flowers for everyone’s bouquets. I made the bouquets myself which is a lot more cost effective. My mother in law and a friend let us use their flowers for centerpieces. 
$50 was spent on invites. I purchased a template via Etsy and printed them myself then added lace and personal touches to each.
$200 dollars on stamps to send out invites. (Crazy that the stamps cost more than invites themselves!)
$200 for groomsmen and bridesmaids gifts.  
Photographer was around $750  
DJ was a musician friend who put together all the songs I requested and charged us for the equipment rental which was $250.
We were very lucky to have a friend gift us some personalized Jones Soda.  



How many guests did you have?     

100 give or take.



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

I tried to have it be a DIY wedding. It seemed so much more cost savvy. I started collecting tin cans from home and friends. I spray painted a few of them copper and some I wrapped in rope to use as centerpieces for the flowers. We also made our own party favors making mini s’more kits. Using a tag punch we wrapped them in cellophane and twine with a tag saying S’More Love, Cory and Meghan 9/7/2013. Also I purchased a heart punch from the local craft store and used old books to punch out hearts to have on twine to use as our backdrop when we got married.



What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

A tie between not purchasing tons of flowers and not using the caterer’s dishware/glassware. We purchased clear plastic plates and bought mismatched wine glasses from garage sales, thrift stores and the dollar store. All of the glasses were a 1.00 or less and the great thing is we were able to sell them for at least .50 which gave us some of our money back.



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

Think about what you’ll remember the most. For most people (and for me) we remember the I do’s, food and music. Putting money and thought into the photographer, food and playlist is key. No one remembers the centerpieces or flowers. Don’t stress yourself out. Also from a person who doesn’t like to ask for things. DO NOT be afraid to ask for help. So many people have “wedding décor” in their garage or storage. Reach out and save yourself on big price tags because it says wedding on it.



What was your biggest splurge?

 Food and cake along with the photographer.



What was your favorite detail?

My cake topper. It was Robin Hood and Maid Marian from Disney’s Robin Hood. Silly I know but I love looking at it every day in my hutch.



What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Waiting in the back room while my bridesmaids left to go walk down the aisle, I heard the song we choose start to play and I thought to myself this is it. I stood up and took three deep breaths and walked to my future.




 Venue: Sudden Valley Dance Barn   //  Photography: Maegan Hay Imaging  //  Food: Haggen Market Street Catering  //  Dress: Davids Bridal  //  Hair: Sam Claire Hair

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Intimate Outdoor Wedding Thu, 26 Dec 2013 16:30:00 +0000


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Jennifer & John 
August 31st, 2013
Olivet, Michigan


What was your budget? 

Our original budget: $6,000

Wedding total spent: $ 5,600 ($400 under!)

Total Guests: 62 (invited 88)

THE “BIG” STUFF (where we saved!): 

Dress + Alterations: $405 + $80 = $485

Wedding Bands: $69.99

Boutonnieres + Handmade Bouquets //materials, fabric, pins, brooches// $395

Chair, Table , Dance Floor and Tents Rental: $500

DJ Rental: $400 (discounted rate for referrals)

Photography: $600 (discounted rate being friends of the vendors!)

Videography: $600 (discounted rate being friends of the vendors!)

Programs & Brochures: $27 (with Groupon savings through Vista Print)

Beer Brew & Hard Cider brew materials: $40


Venue:  Free (Bride’s Parent’s House)

Officiant: Free (Father-of-the-Groom officiated)

Bales of Straw: Borrowed from Bride’s Grandfather’s Farm

Food: Gift (paid for and made by mother-of-the-groom)

Cake/cupcakes/cookies/brownies: Free (gift)

Ring Bearer Handmade Pillow: Free (gift)

Keezer: made by the groom, paid for by the groom and not with wedding expenses



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

Pretty much everything was DIY.  But, the hardest, most creative thing we had to come up with, was how to decorate the garage/barn as our reception area. We had cocktail tables, a dance floor and we would have our DJ … but the ceiling was open, the walls metal with wood beams and nothing about the 2 stall garage even remotely looked like a wedding. After several ideas on the table, and a few trial and error runs, we realized that a lot of white plastic table cloth draped from the center to the walls and then covering the walls, topped with a lot of tulle and lights would be exactly what we needed. It took 4 days of hard work and there was blood, sweat and tears put into it, but it turned out exactly as we had envisioned it would. If not, better!

My grandfather, who I was very close to, passed away in March of 2007. In his honor, I, as often I see this done, had a charm with a photo of he and I when I was just a baby on my bouquet. In addition, I made a reserved seat in the front row, last seat on the end, exactly where he would have sat had he been with us today. 


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

The largest and most expensive thing on the list was cut. A sit down dinner with catering. This would mean a larger tent rental (being outside at my parent’s there was no telling if it would be raining to pull a brave “tables in the woods” maneuver), tables, chairs, linens, centerpieces, and then of course, the actual catered food. We went with two meats, salads, coleslaw and rolls along with the candy bar for our small wedding of 62 to enjoy around the property and mingle while we took our photos. This ended up working perfectly and everything flowed smoothly, nobody stood around hot and hungry and we didn’t feel rushed to get through our photos.


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

Know that this is just one day. It’s about you and your husband and the two of you making a commitment that binds the two of you together, with your family. The people who are there, they mattered to us, in terms of privacy and keeping it to only immediate family, bridal party and 10 of our closest friends invited. On that note, know what’s important to you and stick to it. Don’t bend. I had to hold my ground and I was thankful for not only a husband who stood by my wishes to not allow family/friends to invite people who we didn’t know but also to have our parents back us up as well. This is a very, VERY touchy subject with most families and friends, but as long as you stand your ground and explain why you have chosen to keep your wedding day private (if that’s your wish) then your friends and family who love you and respect your wishes will understand.


What was your biggest splurge?

My hair extensions in lieu of a veil and my floral headpiece. (Adding 12 inches to my current length.) Worth it! 


What was your favorite detail?

I had  a hard time choosing just one. We put so much into every piece of our wedding, that everything was special and meant something. I thought about the “unexpected” details of my dad showing up with fireworks that were set off at dusk, or the chain mail that showed up (a friend makes it for fun) and another friend (who is taking a fencing class) just happened to having his fencing sword in his trunk …

Then there was the moment at the end of the day when we lit off 40 paper lanterns – it was so much fun, everyone was involved and we all stood together, as a family, watching them disappear across the horizon.

When it came down to it, my favorite detail was a handmade banner reading “All I Ever Wanted”, which was the title of the song for our first dance. Our story starts when we were just kids in youth group together. When I was 16 I stopped going to that church and it was 13 years before we saw one another again. In those 13 years, I married the wrong man and lived a life that I always had a feeling that something was wrong. And it was. John always kept coming to mind. It turns out, he was all I ever wanted. He was the one who made my heart skip a beat (and still does) and he was the one I was in love with. After 13 years, we found one another again … and I’ve never been happier! 


What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Aside from my husband coming out dressed as MC Hammer for the Garter removal and doing a full dance to “Can’t Touch This”?! (Seriously have never laughed so hard in my life!)

I was standing in my mom’s bedroom suite where we had all gotten ready and everyone had left to go outside to get in line to walk down the aisle … I could hear the music starting up outside as my friend and artist, Wesley, started playing the guitar. I could hear the girls and guys outside laughing and talking about order and where everyone needed to be, the flower girls getting excited and even my Ring Bearer chatting away with the girls … I was standing alone, for the first time all day, in my wedding dress and it was the first moment I saw myself in the dress, with my hair and headpiece … and I did my best not to let any tears out but I pulled back and sobbed inside. It was the happiest moment. To see it all coming together, and to glance out the window, see the gazebo decorated and our guests sitting down on the bales of straw, watching my mother and mother-in-law and grandmother getting seated, and trying to keep from seeing my soon-to-be husband. As I stood there, in that two, maybe three minutes of quiet where it was just me, I felt the most calm I had ever felt. It was the moment I was about to marry the man I scribbled hearts around our names when I was ten, who even over the last 13 years apart kept popping into my mind randomly and wondering if someday I’d be so lucky that my entire life would turn upside down and things could be different … and knowing, in that very moment, that it did. I was marrying that boy.

I walked out and my dad was standing outside the door on the deck at the end of the line, facing forward, calmly waiting. I stepped through the door and he looked at me and smiled and asked “So, are you ready?”. I was a bit choked up but was able to make out a firm “yes” as I put my arm in his and walked up to the edge of the porch to our “decent” down the stairs.

I looked up and I saw John, I could see the look on his face, seeing me for the first time. And I lost it. Everything about the day came flooding into my soul and then, I looked over to the “reserved” seat for my grandfather who has passed away, and I was pretty sure at that point that nothing could save me from this point where I was about to just start crying uncontrollably, filled with so much happiness, and the wishing that my grandfather were there in that chair.

Fortunately, my ring bearer was a flirt and had plans of his own to re-dictate the plan of the ceremony and would be escorting the flower girls down the aisle himself – yes, both of them and he called them his girls. I’m not sure how the basket was being held let alone the pillow as all of this happened, since there was one big basket the girls were sharing to throw petals. I looked up, tears welling up and ready to loose all control, when I see the trail of yellow and purple flower petals starting at the base of the steps and veering off to the left … away from the gazebo and the aisle … I look up to see the three of them, running and giggling as petals are going everywhere, at a dead run for the POND! I could see the looks on the guests faces and some of the family calling them to come back to the aisle … which they did … and continued their walk down the aisle (and might I add that at rehearsal, the ring bearer walked the girls down just the same except he stopped at the altar with the girls as if HE were the one getting married … this kid … I tell you, his parents better be ready!).

I walked down the aisle and my eyes were on John the entire time. The tears of joy came back and I was sobbing and then started giggling nervously because, well, I was crying. My dad gave me away …and in that moment, I felt this incredible feeling of fulfillment. My dad (is actually my step-dad) and being married before, my brother had given me away. Having him give me away (my stepdad) meant more than I think he knows. Probably more than I’ll ever be able to describe.



Photography: John Kurtz Photography & Sky12 Studios   //   Videography: Jonathan Caswell & Sky12 Studios  //   Hair & Makeup: Lauren Robinson, Ulta, Kalamazoo, Michigan and Jamie Koyl, Pure Eden Salon, Marshall, Michigan  //   Live Music: Wesley Jay  //  DJ Services: High Voltage, Marshall, Michigan  //  Table, Tents, Chairs, Dance Floor Rental: Grand Rental Station, Battle Creek, Michigan

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Orange Fall Wedding by Simply Couture Wedding Photography Wed, 16 Jan 2013 13:00:56 +0000 BSWOW
Loving this wedding by Simply Couture Wedding Photography! This couple had lots of cute fall-themed details, including a guestbook quilt that they will get to enjoy for many years to come! They also saved money by having the wedding at their home and borrowing chairs and tables from their church! Just goes to show you don’t need a fancy hotel ballroom to have a beautiful wedding day! Hope you enjoy this fabulous $6k wedding! xoxo-Jessica


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Darrell & Amy
October 20, 2012
Our backyard, Allison Park (Pittsburgh), PA

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

Roughly $6,000


Venue-Home $0
Invitations $250
Catering|Food|Desserts|Bar|Favors $3,000
DJ $250
Minister $150
Jewelry & Shoes $50
Veil-Something Borrowed
Tables|Chairs-Borrowed from local church
Hair & Makeup $100

How many guests did you have?

We had about 70 guests. It was close family for the ceremony (14 guests), and then we had an adult only reception to follow.

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

We had a sign our quilt guest book that my grandmother-in-law is stitching together for us as a wedding keepsake. We had several different edible favors, such as caramel apples with custom hand crafted tags, A for Abbott on the one side, and the other side said, “Sticky & Sweet, Loves a Treat.” Cut from fleece, with edges stitched by Darrell’s grandmother we offered blankets to help keep our guests warm. The blankets were rolled and then held together using twine and displayed in wooden crates. The blankets were orange, brown, and white to match our color theme. The tags for the blankets had an A on one side and on the reverse side it said “Warmest Wishes From the New Mr. & Mrs.” We used picture frames that I painted white with chalkboard paper to label things like the catering stations, signature drinks at the bar, etc.

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

We used our backyard as our venue. We also did a lot of things ourselves. My dress was a gift, and we borrowed things when we could. Most of our tables and all of our chairs were borrowed from a local church, we borrowed heat lamps from a friend, and my veil and bracelet were my “something borrowed”. Darrell wore a suit he already owned. Our centerpieces were milk glass and mason jars that were also borrowed. To cut costs we ordered all of our flowers from Sam’s Club made all of the arrangements ourselves. Our DJ and officiate were family friends and charged us a very fair price.

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

The best advice I could give and have given is to try and be as carefree about your wedding day as possible. Your day will be perfect no matter what; hot or cold, rain or shine. In our case it was cold and rain, but hey, it was still perfect. Any imperfections in the day that you notice will not be noticed by anyone else. As long as you have each other and an officiate, you have yourself a wedding; nothing else matters and everything falls into place. Take a deep breath and enjoy planning because it all happens so fast.

What was your biggest splurge?

Catering was our biggest splurge, but it was well worth it. Everyone couldn’t get over how good the food was.

What was your favorite detail?

I loved our flowers. They looked beautiful with all of the fall colors. I loved the orange roses on our cake; the orange and white contrast was beautiful. I think my bouquet against my white dress and the fall leaves made our pictures some of the most beautiful pictures I have ever seen. I also loved our invitations. The burlap and lace was so pretty and set the tone for our outdoor wedding.

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Our portrait shots at Hartwood Acres were a lot of fun. Not only are the pictures beautiful, but it was also fun to have our pictures taken with such beautiful scenery as our backdrop. Our portrait shots were so enjoyable because it was the only part of the day where it was just my hubby and I (and the photographers of course!). We were able to enjoy our newlywed bliss, take it all in and were lucky enough to have it all captured so beautifully.


Flowers: Sam’s Club  |  Photographer: Simply Couture Wedding Photography LLC.  |  Invitations: Etsy  |  Sweets: Tin Man Sweets  |  Shoes: My Glass Slipper  |  Fabric for blankets, wedding odds-n-ends: JoAnn Fabrics  |  Catering: L’eglise Fine Catering

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Mark + Emily : Georgia Budget Wedding by Lauren Wright Weddings Wed, 30 May 2012 13:00:48 +0000 I just love this sunshiney, lovely wedding from the talented Lauren Wright Weddings! I love the wildflower centerpieces, the outdoor setting, the easy-breezy feeling of this sweet, simple wedding! This couple focused on only what was most important, and managed to have their big day for a very budget-savvy six thousand dollars! Hope you all enjoy this edition of the BSWOW! –xoxo, Jessica


Mark + Emily

April 2, 2011
Hampton, GA  :  Nash Farm Battle Field

What was your budget?

Around $6,000 total, here’s the breakdown:

$300- Carriage House at Nash Farm for 2 nights
$2500- Shane’s Rib Shack catering rehearsal dinner & reception
$816- dress, veil, shoes (David’s Bridal)
FREE- photography. Our photographers are friends of ours and offered to shoot our day for free
$350- flowers (Hobby Lobby)
$60 Hair style
$260 wedding party gifts
$400 both cakes (Publix)
FREE Tux rental when you rent the groomsmen’s tuxes (Men’s Warehouse)
$250 Rentals- punch bowl, candelabra, linens, extra chairs (Patrick Rentals)
$400 DJ & guitarist
$450 Wedding stuff 2 Ring bearer pillows, flower basket, champagne flutes, cake topper, vases, river rocks, toss garter, bird seed tulle (Hobby Lobby), flower petals, jordan almonds, favor boxes, invitations, bird seed (Walmart), Signature frame (David’s Bridal).
Total: $5386

How many guests did you have?

120 of our closest family and friends were in attendance.

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

We had an I-SPY game at every table and provided disposable cameras at each table. You can find it on Martha Stuart’s wedding website. We also made a timeline of childhood photos around the room pinned to twine with mini clothespins.

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

We chose a beautiful, yet sensible location :-) We also opted to not have a photographer. However, my wonderful friend, Lauren Wright, was training a new wedding photographer, Megan Dougherty, and together they made the gracious offer to photograph our big day for free. We were overjoyed & cherish those photos so very much! We were also fortunate enough to have good friends that DJ events and sign locally. They were wonderful and gave us a great price :-)

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

Stick to your budget and spend wisely! Why spend 20k on a wedding when you could save 15k to put toward the down payment of a new home? It’s a memorable day, but it goes by in the blink of an eye. Make it special, but keep it sensible :-)

What was your biggest splurge?

My dress. I bought it on the spot after I feel in love with it. I had admired it in David’s Bridal commercials for years and I knew it was “the one” as soon as it was zipped up. :-)

What was your favorite detail?

Our wild flowers as the center pieces. They were from Hobby Lobby & I created them myself. They were green, white & yellow and they matched the whole theme :-)

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Our “First Look” before the wedding began. Lauren and Megan created the best first look where I walked up to Mark and he turned around to see me near a big oak tree. They did a great job of capturing every look and all of the smiles and laughter.


Photography: Lauren Wright Weddings Venue: Nash Farm  |   Rentals: Patrick Rentals DressDavid’s Bridal  |  Tuxedos: Men’s Warehouse  |  DIY Materials: Hobby Lobby   Catering: Shane’s Rib Shack

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