The Budget Savvy Bride » $7k wedding helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank Fri, 22 May 2015 17:30:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Budget Friendly Brunch Wedding Wed, 06 May 2015 12:00:52 +0000

So much about this wedding is unconventional, and everything about this wedding works. Today we’re featuring a fun and beautiful budget-savvy brunch wedding. Where do I begin? I love that Rebekah and Kevin weren’t afraid to have their wedding on an “off” day. Their Monday morning ceremony followed by a darling brunch is absolutely perfect! Their reception is thoughtful, chic and sweet. The mimosa bar is such a classy touch. Their consideration for their littlest guests is especially considerate. The donut cake is unique, fun and so pretty. And, make sure you read the details behind Rebekah’s stunning blush dress in the Q&A below! Happy Wednesday! xoxo, Jessica

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Kevin + Rebekah

April 6, 2015

Rixeyville, VA | Rixey Manor



What was your wedding budget?

Initially, our budget was going to be about $3,000 – if we could scrimp and save that much over the six months we were engaged. We were extremely blessed to receive a gift from my parents that allowed us to splurge a little (or maybe a lot), and our final budget ended up being about $7,500. SO MANY PEOPLE helped us with nearly all the aspects of our wedding – without them it just would not have come together like it did! From a family friend altering my dress as her gift, to all the flower arrangements being done by a then-stranger who happened to message me on facebook… we felt so, so lucky and showered with love!

Venue: $1500 (because we were the first couple to break in their newly renovated venue and had our wedding on a Monday, they gave us an AMAZING deal! I will never forget their generosity)

Photographer: $875 (and she surprised us with a complimentary second-shooter!!)

Catering: $1,800 (not only did they give us half-off for kids, but kids under 5 years were free – soooo helpful)

Mimosas: $200 (this was a last-minute splurge)

Donuts: $80

Flowers: mostly a gift from our dear Facebook helper Beth, but I did purchase a bundle of pussy willow for $100

Save-The-Dates: $0 (used a weddingwire website for this)

Invitations, including postage: $134

Dress: $200 (bought from St. Anthony’s Bridal and dyed by Metro Dyeing)

Bridal Details, including hair and such: $300

Groom’s Outfit: $120

Wedding Bands: $847

Officiant: $100

Other Gifts/Tips: $400

Fujifilm Guestbook: $137

Music: $0

Ribbon Wands: $80

China and Glassware: $175

Linens and Napkins: $180

Easter Eggs: $100

Decorations: $200



How many guests did you have?

83… 24 of which were children!!



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

Oh gosh – what WASN’T personal? I work in wedding photography as a second-shooter, so having been to over 30 weddings in the past couple of years I was set on putting our own spin on nearly everything. :) First of all, Kevin and I met in person on April 6, so we knew we wanted to get married that day too. The fact that it was a Monday? No problem! About 80% of our guest list was still able to celebrate with us! Plus the fact that we got married NOT on a weekend ended up working in our favor in regards to our budget! We also knew we wanted to get married in the morning and have a brunch reception right afterwards. We love breakfast food, and we were happy about the symbolism of starting a new day and a new life together. To top it all off, we had a donut cake instead of a traditional wedding cake (Kevin is borderline obsessed with Krispy Kreme)! Other personal aspects included our custom-made mobiüs-style wedding bands, a time of communion and footwashing during the ceremony, and using an instrumental version of the song “Latch” by Disclosure for our processional song – Kevin’s friend Matt used his outstanding musical talent to arrange this for us and it is SO special to us.

When it came to my dress, it was time to get creative! I bought my dress on clearance for $75 from St. Anthony’s Bridal in Rockville, MD. It was originally white, strapless, and had a lace-up back – NONE of which was part of my vision! Nevertheless, I knew it was “the dress”… there was just a lot of work to be done! I sent it up to NYC to have it dyed blush pink (fun fact: originally the dyeing company turned me down, but I asked them to reconsider and they agreed!) and from there it went further north to my mom and her friend so they could cut it apart and basically redesign it. My mom’s friend, Janet, took out the lace-up back and made it a low-back with a zipper, and my mom stringed each individual bead to create the draping sleeves. I swear – it was a dream come true!

Something else that was really significant at our wedding was making it kid-friendly. So many of our guests were the parents of small children – I alone have almost twelve nieces and nephews. What this meant was having activity books for the kids to enjoy at the reception, followed by an easter egg hunt on the front lawn! We also had a little “library” for the kids in the ballroom… basically it was just a little suitcase filled with books my sister-in-law brought along so that kids could read if they got bored. Let me tell you though – as far as I know, there were no bored kids! After the ceremony, the kids picked up their goody bag which held the activity book, some crayons, a crazy straw, and a little plastic maze game. They later used those bags to collect their eggs, which were filled with all sorts of fun things such as finger puppets, bubbles, pennies, and raisins. As a parent, it can be so hard to take kids to a wedding… they’re all primped and preened, none of them really want to sit still and be quiet for a ceremony, and then most reception activities are geared towards the adults. It was really important to me that the kids have fun too! :) We were thanked by multiple people for being kid-friendly, so I would definitely recommend it to future brides.

Oh, I feel I should also mention the decision to not have bouquets or boutonnieres! I just found them unnecessary. Until Beth offered to treat us to floral arrangements for our tables, the only thing I was planning on doing was throwing together some greenery for the centerpieces (without any flowers at all). I was thrilled to be able to have what Beth put together for us (she really went above and beyond), but still decided against bouquets to carry. Instead, I went down the aisle arm-in-arm with both my parents, and my bridesmaids carried little glass ornaments filled with gold glitter… because why not? :)



What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

Searching, asking, collecting, and deciding what was really important to us (for instance, wedding favors! In my experience, most people don’t even care about these in the first place so we decided to go without).

Let’s see… our table spreads were created out of thrifted/recycled items. I spent six months saving tin cans, which we spraypainted gold and used as vases. I snatched up a box of empty, clear wine bottles that we cleaned up and used as part of the centerpieces as well. I went to thrift stores to find frames for our Kissing Menu, which I designed and printed myself. I picked up a load of free pallets which Kevin and his brother used to make road signs for the venue. And I shopped sales and used coupon codes! I tried to buy as much as possible instead of renting so I can resell items afterwards. At least that’s the plan!

I would urge brides to accept the help people offer you. My brother said he would design the invitations for us, and I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect first-glance into the feel of our wedding day. My soon-to-be sister-in-laws helped me for hours assembling those darn ribbon wands and other small tasks I needed to get out of the way. I posted a last-minute ad on Craigslist because we were short on china place settings, and another bride with an October wedding offered to let me borrow hers. One thing I hold to is that if you never ask, you will never know. I was upfront with people in saying that my then-fiancé and I had a very small budget and was wondering if they would be able to work with us… and they were! It was a beautiful opportunity to see the good in people, and really lightened the load financially.



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

Not having a DJ. This is something I really went back and forth on, and if I could do it again… honestly, I would have one. It’s one area I was clueless about as far as how to find a budget-friendly option, and in the end we just decided to do Spotify playlists. Well, that may have worked out fine if we had enough speaker power and a connection that didn’t keep cutting out when people were trying to dance!! haha! Our dance floor was pretty much a flop – but oh well! It was a beautiful day outside so everyone ended up meandering out there to hang out and play.



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

Be organized, but be flexible. It was so helpful to me and others in charge to have a detailed timeline and list of what people’s responsibilities were. I had copies for myself, the wedding coordinators, the wedding party, and a couple others. That way everyone knew exactly what was going on, and if they didn’t – someone else did. But then there are always hiccups, and you know what? It’s totally normal, and it is certainly nothing to get upset about! You know the only person who knows exactly how everything is supposed to go? You. Will your guests notice if one of your decorations isn’t perfectly in place? No. Will they know if the food is 15 minutes behind schedule? No. One specific example from my day was the timing of the processional… there was a VERY particular part of the song I wanted to walk down the aisle to, but everyone else started too early. So, there ended up being an unusually long pause in the timing before I appeared at the doorway (because I waited until “my” part). It wasn’t how I had planned it, but that’s the way it happened – and it’s a memory to be cherished along with the rest of them! So don’t worry, and be at peace! It’s not worth stressing over.



What was your biggest splurge?

The catering – and it was worth every penny! I’ve always found that food is very important at a wedding. If the food runs out – no good. If the guests have to wait two hours to get food? No good! If everyone gets to enjoy a fresh meal with tasty treats in a timely fashion – bingo!! I was actually really nervous about this up until the very moment we walked up to the buffet table. I had never done a tasting with the caterer, I couldn’t find a ton of reviews for them (although the reviews they did have were great), and the closer the date got the more I began to doubt my decision to go with scrambled eggs, home fries, and bacon. Would the eggs be cold? Would the bacon be chewy? Would the home fries be dry? What if people wanted more options than we had? Was it going to be just plain underwhelming? Obviously I was a bit off my rocker. Everything turned out FINE! In fact, it was incredible! The food was delicious and people were so excited about it. AND it was arranged so beautifully. I was beyond impressed! No regrets at all.



What was your favorite detail?

This is a toughy! Hmmm… I loved the way our donut cake turned out. Kevin’s sister Janet is talented at making real cakes, so we asked her if she could go ahead and arrange our donuts to look like one. I just remember walking up to it and thinking how adorable it was! And it looks perfect in the pictures. :) It really was a very nice touch to the room, especially with the pussywillow branches and hanging glitter balls accenting the table.

But then there were the mimosas too!! This was something Kevin kept bringing up over and over. I was hesitant for a long time, but finally decided to go with it and it was a HUGE hit. We actually ended up running out of champagne – oops! It was such a fun aspect of the brunch, and people were all over it! AND I loved the fabric garland I made to hang behind our sweetheart table 



What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Kevin says it was the time right after we kissed and walked back down the aisle, before we opened the ballroom doors to greet our guests. It was just the two of us, freshly married and glowing with all that pure joy. :)

I think for me, it would be when we were all hanging out outside (after the dancing wasn’t working out so well). I’m not kidding when I say the weather was stunning that day! The week before had been cold and calling for rain, and somehow we ended up with a perfectly sunny, 75-degree spring day. The orchard trees even decided to start blooming that day! It was absolutely beautiful…. everyone was out there talking and smiling, the kids were running around looking for eggs, and we were enjoying the company of all the people we love dearly. Excuse me for getting all cheesy, but it really was the perfect end to a perfect day!


Venue: Rixey Manor • Caterer: Savory Fare • Photographer: Emily Sacra Photography • Dress: St. Anthony’s Bridal, Metro Dyeing (dyeing services) and Janet Rigby and Karen Graham (alterations) • Bride’s Jewelry: Susan Gray • Bride’s Shoes: Jewels By Wanda • Groom’s Outfit: Kohl’s (shirt and pants), Marc Darcy Suits (vest), Sears (tie),  Gordon Rush (shoes) • Wedding Bands: Elite Jewelers • Processional Song: Matthew Clevenger • Flowers: Nettleton Hollow and Beth Miller • Donut cake: donuts from Krispy Kreme, arranged by Janet Kemp • Hair: Tabatha from Jane of All Trades (up-do),  BB World Bridal (comb)




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Colorful Handmade Colorado Wedding Wed, 11 Mar 2015 12:00:48 +0000

Happy Wednesday! Today’s wedding is a gem with lots of color and a stunning outdoor venue. Miriah and Craig did a wonderful job of beautifully pulling everything together with interesting details while maintaining a casual, unfussy atmosphere. The handmade bouquets, guestbook, cupcake stand and mason jars are charming. I love that they took photos with their furbabies after their first look. And how awesome is it that they went fly fishing in the Colorado after their ceremony? Their wedding shows that what makes a wedding special isn’t what you spend money on, but embracing what makes you unique as a couple! xoxo, Jessica

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Craig + Miriah

August 2014

Grand Lake, Colorado | AA Barn

What was your wedding budget?

We needed to keep it to a minimum since we were trying to do it all on our own. We spent approximately $6,800 on everything for our day.

Dress: $1,500

Barn rental: $200

House rented for bride, groom and the wedding party for 3 nights: $1,700

Food for the reception: $450

Invitations: $200 (includes the postage since I designed and printed them myself on card stock I got on sale)

Decorations: $200 (We silk printed the glasses and bought the flowers in bulk and did the arrangements ourselves, all the burlap was on sale when I bought it as well)

Flower bouquets: $50 (Spent on yarn, then crocheted by the bride)

Hair/makeup: $300

Photographer: $2,200



How many guests did you have?

We ended up having 83 people at our wedding.



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

I tried to do everything myself and I gave myself plenty of time to get it all done so I didn’t feel rushed in the last couple of weeks. I started crocheting my flowers a year in advance. I gathered a couple of friends to help with the silk screening for the glasses. My maid-of-honor and another friend did the flower arrangements for the tables. My dad made the wood piece for our guest book along with the cupcake stand. My maid-of-honor baked all the cupcakes.



What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

Not needing to have a fancy catered meal for the reception, we were getting married at a barn on the river. I don’t think a fancy catered meal would have fit in with what we envisioned. I ordered deli meat and cheese trays from City Market and it was the perfect fit.



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

I don’t think I sacrificed anything to stay on a budget. The day was perfect celebrating with close family and friends. I wouldn’t change a thing if I had an open budget to do it all again. I had a lot of fun doing the majority of it on my own. I love crafting so it made the day more special knowing I did a lot of what made my wedding so unique.



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

Be realistic, know what you want and start planning early. If you do a lot of the stuff on your own with plenty of time before the wedding you can find deals on almost anything to save a lot of money.



What was your biggest splurge?

Definitely the photographer and I think that is one part you should not skimp on. They capture your day in a way that you can look at the photos and remember your exact feelings at that moment.



What was your favorite detail?

I loved the way my crocheted bouquets turned out, it was tedious and sometimes I got bored crocheting the same four flowers over and over but it was totally worth it. What is the most memorable moment of your day ?First look with my groom and having those moments with just each other before the day got chaotic.



Photographer •  Urban Safari Photography, Ltd. • Venue: AA Barn • Flowers: Crocheted by the bride  •  Dress: Wtoo for D’Anelli Bridal • Hair + Makeup: Nancy Small, Apres Ski Hair Design in Grand Lake • Desserts/cupcakes: Maid-of-Honor • Reception band: Old Town Pickers • Rings: Custom design by Nick Mansanares • Jewelry (aside from rings): Charming Charlie • Cowboy boots worn by the bride: Old Gringo Cowgirl Boots • Bridesmaids’ dresses: David’s Bridal.



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Elegantly Rustic California Wedding Wed, 04 Mar 2015 13:00:00 +0000

Today, we’re featuring a lovely northern California wedding with 180 guests that comes in at $7,000! Laura and Kyle made their big day beautiful on a budget through focusing on the natural beauty of the venues, incorporating family heirlooms into the decor and accepting help from family and friends. Laura’s dress, the soft pink and white flowers and lace table linens provide elegant touches. They did a marvelous job making the most of their reception venue, working with — instead of distracting from–  the beauty of the outdoors by creating picnic feel with the BBQ dinner and games.  Enjoy this rustic California wedding! xoxo, Jessica

invitations pink and white bouquets on staircasebride shoes and dresstandem bike card and rignsbride and bridesmaids with dressesbridal hair and makeup

back of dressbridesmaidsgray suitpink dresses and gray suitsflower wreathwedding ceremonywedding ceremonychapel doorfirst kisswedding couple photowedding church photoschurch photosrustic barn couple photonorthern Cali weddinghand lettered signsweeping willows at the receptiongift table notes for happy couplecanned jam wedding favorphoto displayreception seatingcenterpiecespicnic utensilswatermelon and brisketBBQ mealdrink stationgiant jengabunting, lanterns and lightsfirst dancecakeat the reception end of the day

Laura + Kyle

July 19, 2014

Tulelake, California | St. Augustine Catholic Church



What was your wedding budget?

Kyle and I both agreed early on to keep our wedding costs low by sticking to a $7,000 budget. We did a lot a research and discovered just how many costs we could scale down or completely eliminate to treat our guests to a fantastic celebration without blowing our budget.


Save-the-Dates:          $200

Invitations:                 $200

Wedding Gown:         $800

Bridal Party Gifts:      $400

Bouquets & Bouts:    $100

Ceremony Venue:     $0

Photographer:           $1,900

Ceremony Décor:      $100

Reception Venue:      $0

Officiant:                    $200

Flowers:                      $500

Reception Décor:       $300

Tables and Chairs:    $0

Paper Goods:             $300

Food:                           $900

Beer & Wine:             $400

Favors:                        $400

Misc. Donations:        $200

Grand Total:               $7,000

How many guests did you have?

We celebrated our wedding day with 180 of our closest family & friends.



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

We tied in lots of elements that were closely connected to our lives to infuse our entire wedding day with personality. We used lots of heirloom family items as props for our reception including wine barrels, a vintage trunk, antique radios, grape crates, quirky coolers and more. I spent a little time during each week of our engagement working on DIY projects including signs, paper lanterns, paper flowers, buntings, table runners, lawn games & more.



What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

One key piece to keeping our costs low was to focus on a family-centric, easy, fun, backyard environment that would make everyone feel right at home. We also focused on the natural beauty of our ceremony & reception venues to eliminate the need for excessive décor. The biggest thing that made a difference in our costs was the kindness & generosity of our family, friends & community. We were loaned tables & chairs, linens and sound equipment and were gifted with a beautiful cake and exquisite paper flower pew decorations to add special touches to our wedding.



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

Graciously accept help. It can seem awkward to accept or enlist help from your friends & family while planning your wedding, but it is so rewarding (and relieving!) to share the preparation of your big day with those you love.



What was your biggest splurge?

Our biggest splurge was our photographer. We shopped around & found a great photographer that shot in a style we loved at a price that made sense. We wanted to make sure that every little detail was captured for us to look back at for the rest of our lives. We are so grateful that we can now revisit our wedding pictures and remember sweet moments that just didn’t last long enough!



What was your favorite detail?

We (and our guests!) just loved our adorable mini-jam jar favors. We dressed each jar up with a sweet doily & twine cover to tie in with the rustic theme of our wedding. It was so fun to “spread the love” with our guests.



What is the most memorable moment of your day?

We will never forget seeing each other for the first time at our wedding ceremony. All of our hard work & planning came together in that moment and immediately focused us on the importance of our MARRIAGE, not just our wedding.




Photographer: Pixy Prints Photography  •  Invitations: Swell & Grand  •  Wedding Gown & Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal  •  Bridesmaid Robes: Plum Pretty Sugar  •  Tuxedos: Men’s Wearhouse  •  Flowers: Fifty Flowers


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Simple Crafty Wedding Sun, 25 Jan 2015 13:00:21 +0000

This very simple crafty wedding is a great example of how to focus on what’s most important to you. This couple created a great day that they were totally happy with at a budget they were comfortable with as well. The super casual vibe and the fact that they included their honeymoon in their budget makes this wedding extra special. I love the handcrafted paper flowers, too — you know how much I love alternative flower options for a wedding! Okay — on with the feature… hope you enjoy this laid-back, simple wedding!  xoxo, Jessica

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Jenna + David

August 2, 2014

Udora Community Hall  |  Udora, Ontario, Canada


What was your budget?

No Budget-As little as possible
Total Cost: $7733.04

Dress & Attire – $907.27
Make Up- $29.32
Dress- $55
Shoes- $70
Groom’s Attire- $100
Groomsmen Attire- $500 (paid by Groom)
Bridesmen Attire- $152.95 (paid by Bride)

Venue Costs & Rentals – $1041.03
Marriage License- $100
Rental of venue from FridaySaturday– $762.75
Wedding Insurance- $215
Wine Glass Rental- $63.28

Decor and Bouquets – $422.92
70 Paper flowers- $20
Table Cloths & Napkins- $81.08
Floral wire & glue- $27.72
Confetti Supplies- $25.96
16 Baskets- $47.52
Crayons- $16.95
Kraft Paper- $14.68
Signs- $25
Fruit- $64
Miscellaneous- $100

Invitations – $76.39
Invites- $33.89
Postage- $42.50

Jewelry – $47.43
Brides wedding band- $22.60
Grooms wedding band- $24.83

Gifts – $250

Food – $2786.90
Catering- $2,591.65
Pop- $55.30
Water- $19.95
Ingredients for wedding pie- $100
Coffee & Tea- $20

Alcohol – $1401.10
Bartenders- $200
Liquor License- $25
Beer- $815.90
Wine- $360.20

Honeymoon – $800
3 nights hotel- $400
9 nights camping- $400

Paid by Parents of the Bride: $4185.63

Paid by Bride: $1466.31

Paid by Mother of the Groom: $1000

Paid by Groom: $1081.10



How many guests did you have?

In total there were 140 individuals invited to the wedding.  In the end 113 showed up (80%).


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

I made the bouquets out of floral supplies and origami flowers.
Our guestbook was an oar that had hung on the siding of our first house when we bought it.
I painted reserved seating signs for special people for the ceremony.
I painted our order-of-events and seating signs.
Our officiant was my husbands Grandad.
Our photographer was my husbands cousin.


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

We made an effort in every aspect of the wedding to save money, while not sacrificing on things that we really wanted.

In Ontario alcohol sales are strictly regulated, which also results in it being rather expensive. However we knew we wanted to serve alcohol, so we made sure to find a venue that would allow us to provide our own servers and beverages. We also opted to have a beer and wine reception, which cut a lot of costs both with purchasing the actual liquor and with not having to hire very experienced bartenders. I estimate that we saved about $700 by not serving mixed drinks. Also, while we only had to pay our bartenders $200 total, if we had wanted mixed drinks we would have had to go with more experienced servers which would have been $1000 total, saving us $800.

Catering is also a costly item. We opted for BBQ catering, as the cost was only $15 per head for a double portion, plus a travel fee (the venue was a ways out of the city). Also, I had some aunties eager to help and the volunteered to purchase and serve the hors d’oeuvres during the cocktail hour. My parents also purchased a bunch of Filipino food for our after party (which we held on our property, so no rental fees).

We also went with non-traditional dress. I wore a cocktail dress, my brides men were in jeans and dress shirts, my bridesmaids wore jersey dresses, and the groomsmen were in slacks and plaid shirts.

Rather than having an all night dance party, we opted for a lunch reception and then brought the guests to our house (conveniently less than a kilometre away from the venue) for an after party. We had lawn games, brought over the leftover beer & wine, and just hung out. It was a great way to spend some extra time with our loved ones without having to add much cost. Not having a DJ was also a money saver (thank you to a stereo and iPod).

Finally, having family perform the ceremony and take the photos also were a lifesaver. To be fair Grandad is a minister and Michelle is a budding photographer, so we were lucky with that.



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

Rather than focusing on the numbers, focus on what’s important and figure out how to get what you want in an affordable way. Be confident in your decisions and don’t let others make you feel bad or wrong for making the decisions that are best for you. Every wedding is different and every wedding should be a reflection of the couple. Do the things that you want (while being respectful of others) and you won’t regret a thing.



What was your biggest splurge?

I’d say the honeymoon. While there are certain areas that I wish I could have spent less in, I’m confident that I did the best that I could to keep all costs down. While $800 may not be a lot for a 12 night honeymoon, it was more that I had originally planned to spend. Also spending a full two weeks after the wedding on vacation was such a wonderful thing! We had originally been unsure about whether or not we’d be able to take a honeymoon, so the time and money was well spent!



What was your favorite detail?

To be honest it’s difficult to think of a favourite detail. I think that the best thing was just the feel of the wedding. Everyone was so relaxed and the wedding was just laid back and enjoyable for all.


What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Again, I don’t think there was one moment. I think it was just the combination of having our loved ones all together.



Caterer: Simply BBQ  •  Bartenders: Bottoms Up!  •  Venue: Udora Community Hall  •  Invitations: VistaPrint  •  Dress: SheCloth  •  Shoes: ModCloth   •  Photographer: Michelle Pugsley

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Turquoise Beach Wedding Wed, 27 Aug 2014 12:00:44 +0000 real budget wedding

I’ve got a lovely aqua / turquoise beach wedding for you today! I just love how simply sweet this wedding is – the couple incorporated just the right amount of DIY details in their crafty wooden signage and rustic burlap touches. I especially love that this couple chose to spend half their wedding budget on photography – it’s so important to prioritize, and this couple definitely showed where their prioroities lied with their wedding budget dollars! I think they made the right choice as the photos by Megan Manus Photography are stunning! Enjoy! xoxo Jessica

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Bridget + Kyle

May 3, 2014

Huntington State Park Beach + Atalya Castle, Murrells Inlet, South Carolina.

The reception was held at a Family members’ home In Turbeville, South Carolina (a couple of hours after the ceremony)

What was your wedding budget?

I broke up my wedding budget to accommodate hiring a great photographer. I wanted to splurge on my wedding photography (which was about $3400) because I wanted the best. I wanted to be able to remember my wedding day and how I felt through my pictures and be proud to show them off – which I definitely am! We spent more than half our total budget on photography! For having my wedding on the beach it was a couple hundred dollars ($350) for the spot and paying for my guests to get in the park. My wedding dress was a little over $1000. The decorations and boutiques for the wedding party and mothers of the bride and groom were about $300 because my family made all of them. The food was about $450 including the wedding cake, which my husband’s family made for us. His family cooked all of the wedding food and set it up. It was definitely a budget savvy wedding – all in all we spent under $7,000.


How many guests did you have?

About 30 at the actual ceremony, and about 60 at the reception


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

My wedding was a beach theme so I used lots of shells and coral elements in my décor. My sister in law made my reception centerpieces and my rustic wedding signs. My mom made all of my wedding flower arrangements, bows, garter belt, and bouquets   Blue and white were my wedding colors. I also put something of my late grandparents inside my dress (my granddad’s suit cuff and my grandma’s dress pin) I wanted them to be there with me on my special day, so I pinned both items right above my heart.


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

I used all of my resources. My family was my biggest one. They really stepped in and helped me save a lot of money on a florist, decorator, caterer, and coordinator. I shopped for decorations, flowers, and dresses during sales and I really saved a lot of money. I shopped at Hobby Lobby often because they would have 50% off sales on flowers and decorations. I even shopped thrift stores for decorations. I went to small businesses to buy things also like my wedding party attire and wedding dress.


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

Don’t stress too much about the details of what will make everyone happy. This is your day and you and your spouse are the only ones that matter. Everyone will have an opinion but just listen to your heart and your spouse because being with that person and your family is the only thing that matters on your wedding day. I thought details would matter to me but when the day came, I was just happy being with my husband and family, the details didn’t matter.


What was your biggest splurge?

My wedding pictures because like I said I wanted the best wedding pictures and I knew Megan Manus would do the best job.


What was your favorite detail?

The beach. It was so pretty that day and the ocean was beautiful. Just listening to he waves and the seagulls as we said out vows…..It was a perfect day for a wedding. The Atalaya castle was amazing too.  It provided a perfect backdrop to our “first look ” pictures, as well as the wedding party images that we took prior to the ceremony.


What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Saying “I Do” to my husband and our first dance together. Those are two things I will never forget about our wedding day. Those were the two most special moments to me.




Wedding Dress (made by Signature) from Special Occasions and Such – Manning SC  //  Grooms shirt, tie, linen pants : Mayo Discount Suits  //  Wedding venue: Atalya Castle, Huntington Beach State Park  //  Photographer: Megan Manus Photography

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Vineyard wedding on a budget Fri, 08 Aug 2014 12:00:52 +0000 So happy to share one of our own bride blogger’s weddings! Today we are sharing the lovely Laura’s real budget wedding- she got married in a vineyard in North Carolina and pulled it off on an impressive budget. Everything turned out so great and it looks like they had a fabulous time, too! I hope you enjoy the lovely photos from Laura and Josh’s vineyard wedding shot by the talented Christopher Bell Photography. And if you want to get a little behind the scenes info about Laura’s plans leading up to the big day, be sure to read her previous posts! Congrats Josh & Laura– hope married life is treating you well! xoxo- Jessica

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Laura and Josh

April 26, 2014

Asheville, North Carolina at Fontaine Vineyards

What was your wedding budget?

Photographer-$1,650 (including engagement session)
Officiant-$100 (donation to church)
Hair, Nails, & Make-Up: $140
Dress & Bridal Accessories-$600
Groom’s Tux-$180Flowers-$150
Invitations, Stationery, & Postage-$200
Wedding Party Gifts-$150
Sparklers for Send-Off-$30
TOTAL: $7,430

How many guests did you have?

50 guests attended

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

A very personal aspect to us was the ceremony. The best man’s aunt was our officiant, and we carefully chose our vows and the scriptures she read. I also chose to walk down the aisle with both my mom and my dad because they raised me to be the woman that I am today. I consider myself a modern woman and a feminist, so it was important to me have these aspects in our wedding.
Similarly, we used the ampersand (&) a lot to denote our joining together. Initially, we selected our invitations which had that detail, and then I found a silver ampersand to place on the head table. On that day, I wore a ring I had made with L & J engraved into a heart.
We did a few DIY projects with the signage, aisle markers, and centerpieces. I didn’t want to spend money on things I wouldn’t be able to give to another bride or reuse myself.

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

Having a small guest list was a huge savings, and we did our ceremony and reception at the same venue. They had tables and linens, chairs, and pretty much everything we needed already there, so we didn’t have to do any rentals.
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
Don’t be afraid to do what you want. We chose to keep wedding planning between the two of us to decrease conflict, and that way we were able to do a lot of things

What was your biggest splurge?

The venue and caterer, photographer

What was your favorite detail?

If I could only choose one, I’d say the chalkboard that Josh and I made together. My mom had a mirror at the end of the stairs in the house I grew up in, and she hadn’t put it up in the new house. I asked about it one day, and we found it in the garage. The mirror was broken, but she let me take the frame. We painted a piece of plywood with chalkboard paint and painted the frame. We used it as a program for guests when they came in to see who our attendants were, etc. We now have it in our house as an “I love you because…” board. It is a special part of my childhood that is being incorporated into our new life together.

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Our first look! I walked down the hill to where Josh and our photographer were, and I was so nervous! My heart was pounding. When he turned around and saw me, it was like we were just meeting again. We were both giddy with excitement, and neither of us had slept well the night before. It was so nice to just see him, and it made me feel okay with everything else.


Venue & Catering: Fontaine Vineyards  //  Photography: Christopher Bell Photography  //  Blue Ridge Event Staffing
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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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Eclectic and Colorful Church Wedding Wed, 23 Jul 2014 12:00:54 +0000 real budget wedding

I just know y’all are going to love this eclectic and colorful church wedding! This couple was able to pull of a fabulous day on an amazing budget, and I just love all the colorful details. The bride kept such a level head about things and asked for help from family and friends to pull together the details of the day. She included aspects in her day that honored her family, such as using her mother’s antique quilts and decor, as well as surprising her parents with their wedding song at the reception. Hope you enjoy these lovely images! xoxo Jessica

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Katie + Cory

March 8, 2014

Nampa, ID  |  Still Water Hollow



What was your wedding budget?

Dress- $1000

Menswear- $200

Bridesmaid Dresses- $300

Flowers- $500

Catering- $600

Alcohol- $200

Venue- $1600

Cake- $200

DJ- $750

Photographer- $1500

Total: $6850


How many guests did you have?

30 guests



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

My mom designs quilts and fabric as a living, and she has a house filled with quilts and antiques.  We gave her free reign to decorate our Reception space as she saw fit.  She had us wait until the last minute to see it, and I was so in love!  There were special touches everywhere, and it was so vintage and beautiful.



What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

We had a lot of help from friends!  My mom decorated, a friend married us, and because we were married in the “off” season, we were able to get a lot of great deals!



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

My mom bought me an expanding file folder and labeled each category for me (dress, photographer, venue, DJ, etc.).  At the time, I thought that I wouldn’t need it, and thought I would be extremely organized on my own.  That file folder saved my life, and my sanity!  I was able to keep everything together, and it helped me keep track of payments.



What was your biggest splurge?

Our venue and our photographer were our biggest splurges, and it was so worth it!  Our photographer included engagement pictures as part of the package, and our venue included the chapel we were married in, the building we held our reception in, and they provided chairs, tables, and linens.



What was your favorite detail?

We had a friend marry us, so our ceremony was very personal.  We were able to design something that held a lot of meaning for us, including an explanation of the time of our wedding (6:15).  We wanted to be married before the sun set.



What is the most memorable moment of your day?

My parents have been married for 26 years, and Cory and I asked the DJ to play the song from their wedding as a surprise for them.  When the song came on, my mom ran over to my dad (who hates to dance, but does for her), and took him out on the floor.  After watching them dance for a moment, I went over to Cory and held out my hand to him.  I was dancing with Cory, and I looked over his shoulder to meet my mom’s eyes, who was still dancing with my dad.  She smiled, I blew her a kiss, and it was a very special moment.

Cory has said so many times that our wedding day flew by so fast, and that he wishes he had taken the time to really take things in that day.  He has a hard time picking his favorite moment, but our first dance together was definitely one of them.  It also meant a lot to him to see our friends and family having such a fun night all together.




Photography: Hearts and Horseshoes Photography  //  DJ: VCI Audio  //  Venue: Still Water Hollow  //  Catering: GoodWood Barbecue  //  Cake: Amaru Confections  //  Flowers: Flutterby Floral


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Intimate Rustic Wedding Wed, 16 Jul 2014 12:00:42 +0000 real budget wedding

I adore this intimate rustic wedding I have to share with you today with photos by the talented Twinkling Eye Photography! This couple kept their costs down by keeping their guest list small – and were able to treat their loved ones to a nice time as a result! I know you’ll love these photos and details… check out this gorgeous wedding below! xoxo Jessica

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Caroline  + Rob

November 11, 2013

Alpharetta, GA  |  Chukkar Farms



What was your wedding budget

Our budget was a tad over $7,000


Venue- $1,600

Décor- $270

Flowers- $425

Dress- $1,570 (including alterations)

Minister- $250

Photographer- $1,200

Food- $ 790

Insurance for bringing our own alcohol -$145

Alcohol – my dad brought the alcohol – I’d say around $250

Linens and Tableware – $156

Hotels for guests -$388

Servers- $200

Cakes- $200

Hair- $150

Music – $free, my mom sang and we played an ipod during the reception.


How many guests did you have?     

23 including Bride and Groom


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

I made all of the decorations myself. (table decorations, place cards, signs etc)


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

We got married on a Monday, which helped on the venue cost.  It also made sure that most everyone we requested to be a part of our day was available.  We planned this wedding in 28 DAYS so we had to move fast.  Our venue site was where everything took place so we did not have to pay a separate church fee.

Our cakes were also CHEAP since we used a family member of the person who owned the venue.



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

It is only ONE day. Spend the time, energy, and money investing in your future together.



What was your biggest splurge?

My dress, was the biggest splurge because I had to buy it off of the rack and it had to fit the farm venue theme. We had to spend a little more that I had planned, but I do not regret that because I loved my dress and was just happy that we found such a great dress in such a short time.  The Photographer was also a priority to me because after it is all said and done, all you have to remember the day is the pictures.


What was your favorite detail?

I really enjoyed all of the things I made and seeing them all come together the day of. We had many pictures displayed, which was nice. I loved that my husband is active duty military and we got married on Veteran’s Day. The pictures of him in his uniform are priceless.


What is the most memorable moment of your day?

I loved that during our reception lunch, everyone shared toasts and well wishes. It was such a small group and the time of the wedding was 11:00 so there wasn’t a need for dancing. We just listened to every guest share special stories as we ate lunch.



Dress: Treasures  //  Venue: Chukkar Farms  //  Catering: Maggiano’s  //  Flowers: Flowers From Us  //  Photographer: Twinkling Eye Photography


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Budget savvy beach wedding Wed, 21 May 2014 14:00:46 +0000 real budget wedding
I absolutely love this beachy blue wedding that I have to share with you today!! The couple pulled it all together for around $7,000 and have some great tips to share – don’t miss ’em! Oh, and for the record: I totally love naked cakes! Doesn’t theirs look scrumptious? Hope you enjoy our wedding of the week! xoxo – Jessica
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Laura + Caleb 

July 27, 2013

Long Beach, Mississippi

Long Beach Harbor  | Long Beach Pavilion

What was your wedding budget?

Ceremony venue- Free!
Reception venue- Free!
Photography- $2000
Gown- $1500
Officiate- $150
Decor- $200
Seating rentals- $120
Florist- $600
Music- $200
Cake- Free! (done by my sister-in-law)
Catering- $800
Videographer- $75
Hair (bride & maids)- $200
Makeup (bride & maids)- $50
Hotel accommodations- $900
Favors/gifts- $200
Stationery- $120


How many guests did you have?


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

It was at sunrise! 7:15 a.m. We involved many friends and family members in the ceremony, which make the wedding feel very special AND saved us money. (My sister-in-law made our cake, my cousin played his guitar in the ceremony, my brother sang, my best friend did our makeup, a close family friend coordinated for me.) Our small guest list made the whole weekend very intimate, and much less overwhelming for the groom and myself!

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

We kept the guest list short. We recruited friends and family to help, as I said above. Our venues were both free, and naturally beautiful so we didn’t need to spend much on decor. The decor we did use was done ourselves using jars, glass coke bottles, and rustic embellishments. Our apparel was kept very simple- my groom in pants and vest from Express, and my gown with all borrowed accessories. I didn’t buy a single thing to wear besides my gown. Also, we didn’t feel bad about leaving out elements that many people deem necessary. We skipped out on bachelor/bachelorette parties, unity candles, photo booth, alcohol, and a limo.

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

I worried a lot about whether I was talking to my bridesmaids too much about the wedding or not enough. Keep your girls informed, but make sure every conversation you have with them isn’t about wedding plans. Let them know you care about what’s happening in their lives, too. What was your biggest splurge? Because we had a destination wedding, my parents wanted to provide hotel rooms for the people that were helping us out. That was almost our greatest expense, but we wanted to help our lovely guests be a part of our wedding.

What was your favorite detail?

I loved that we got married in the morning. We had a grits bar at our reception, which wouldn’t have been right at any other time of day! We were on the plane, on our way to our honeymoon, by noon. The day felt less about being overwhelmed by tons of guests, and more about appreciating and celebrating each other.

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

After the ceremony, our wonderful photographer took some shots of just my husband and me. Those pictures are so special to me! After our “just the two of us” session, we went on a stroll down the beach together before heading to our reception. We had a few moments to ourselves so we could slow down and take in the day.



Venue: Long Beach Pavilion //  Photography: Lizard Nickel Photography  //  Dress: Imaginations Bridal  //    Flowers: The Village Florist  //   Catering: Darwell’s Cafe and Catering  //   Invitations: Paper Source

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