The Budget Savvy Bride » $9k wedding helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank Mon, 04 May 2015 16:00:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Outdoor Southern California Wedding Wed, 15 Apr 2015 12:00:00 +0000

Today we’re featuring an outdoor southern California wedding. Shannon and Garrett made great use of their personal home to host their family and friends for their big day. The rustic handmade details woven throughout the day give their wedding and reception a personal, authentic feel. Garrett’s craftsmanship is evident with the signs he made. I especially love the “Eat, Drink and Be Married” sign he created! And it’s always fun to see unconventional menu choices for weddings.  Doesn’t their food truck reception look amazing? Be inspired by today’s handmade sunny wedding! xoxo, Jessica

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Shannon + Garrett

Feb 7th, 2015

Valley Center, CA | The Couple’s Personal Home


What was your wedding budget?

We spent a total of $9500.

Dress: $200

Ties: $50

Flowers: $200

Photography: $3000

Decorations: $300

Officiant: $240

Food Truck: $2300

Beverages: $500

Party Rentals: $1207.3

Porta-potty: 1437.5

Cake: $0

Music: $0

Website/Invitations: $60


How many guests did you have?



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

My husband does metal work. He made our wedding sign for out front, as well as the Cornhole boards and the “Eat, Drink and Be married” sign. He did an amazing job. The wedding sign is gorgeous and we’ll keep forever. The roses instead of just the usual holes for Cornhole was so creative and gorgeous. I also loved how the “Eat Drink and Be Married” signs turned out. He intentionally made the i’s small because there’s no more “I” once you’re married :)


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

We kept the guest list down, bought my dress from China and skipped on things that weren’t important to us (like music and dancing).


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

I don’t feel like we made any sacrifice to stay on budget. We decided very early on what was important to us and looked into general prices to figure out our budget. We had exactly what we wanted at a price we were comfortable with.


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

Focus on what matters to you so that you will have FUN on your wedding day and ignore expectations. You should have the day YOU want, not the day everyone else thinks you should have. There is such a “formula” to weddings now but I feel like it really doesn’t fit all couples and you should think about what you want on your wedding day so that you have fun.


What was your biggest splurge?

The photographer. We almost just had a friend do it, but everyone kept telling me photos would be the most important thing. $3000 but SOO glad we did it. Robert did an exceptional job!


What was your favorite detail?

The cake topper. Even though the hair colors don’t match us the sentiment of how they are holding each other just reminded me of my husband and I. It made me really happy. What’s funny is I didn’t show it to him before the wedding and he had the same visceral reaction the day of the wedding when he saw it on the cake.


What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Our kiss. It was such a culmination of things. All the planning and preparation, and we were finally standing up there, holding hands, getting married. The officiant actually used the wrong vows but it didn’t matter. We were so happy.
But jumping in the bouncy house would be a close second…so much fun!


Photographer: Robert Paetz • Caterer: Curiosity Catering • Officiant: Ken Hoelscher from SoCal Vows • Event Rentals: Event Party Rentals
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Magical DIY Winter Wedding Wed, 03 Dec 2014 13:00:23 +0000

Today’s wedding is nothing short of a Winter Wonderland Fairtytale Wedding! This Magical DIY Winter Wedding will knock your socks off — the talented and creative bride made pretty much every detail herself and brought her vision to life with the help of her friends and family. The result is a lovely transformation into the world of Frozen! I just know you’ll love the lovely wintry details of this gorgeous wedding. xoxo, Jessica

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Justine + Josh

January 1st, 2014

Schofield, Wisconsin

What was your wedding budget?

Our budget goal was to spend between $5,000-$10,000. Our total ended up being about $9,000!

Here’s some more info about how we spent our budget:
  • I used one location for the ceremony and reception which is a municipality building, The Rothschild Pavillion. That was around $700 to rent because it was a weekday (New Years Day).
  • The photography was my splurge because I am a photographer and I truly value good photographs. I can’t say enough about the quaity and professionalism of James Stokes Photography. I would recommend brides to splurge on their photography to get the best memories from their day.
  • Our videographer was just starting out with his buisness and he gave us a very reasonable price. It helps to use up and comers if you’re confident in their work / style.
  • The food was also very reasonable as far as wedding food. We did soup, salad, and breadsticks and a potato bar for “cocktail hour.” Rockmans also provided the table cloths. The potato bar was less than $5 a person and the entree was around $10 per person. So $15pp total = $3500ish
  • The caterer also provided coffee and lemonade. I set up a cocoa bar with mix in ingredients. My husband and I do not drink, so we had no alcohol. Not much spent on drinks- it definitely saved us alot!
  • I loved my dress and was happy to pay around $1000 when it was all said and done. I decorated shoes from a thrift store to create a custom look. The shoes were $3 and I spent $10 for supplies.
  • I made the bouquet from old brooches. One is from my grandmother who passed away only a few weeks before my wedding. My mom is an artist and antique dealer and I got the supplies generously donated from her. I also made the bridesmaid’s bouquets out of pinecones. I only had to buy a few big ones to complete it.
  • Our cake baker was just getting started with her business and we got our cake and cupcakes for a very reasonable price.
  • The makeup artist is my cousin and she just worked for tips!
The decorations I made or bought at an auction or rummage sales. I made the tree aisle liners from trees in my parents woods and paid minimal cost for supplies for the bases.  The tablescapes had fairytale books I bought at thrift stores and vases were bought for a steal at a rummage sale. I am allergic to many flowers so we used pine cones and branches instead of hiring a florist.  I am a perfectionist and had a certain vision for the decor so I was very happy with paying around $1000 for all the decor and making the rest.  I will say the set-up took around 8 hours though… so DIY weddings aren’t for the faint of heart!
We spent $500 on a DJ and I would say it’s my one wedding regret. I wish I would have just played songs off of an IPod because our families are not much for dancing and I was not happy with the DJ’s service.
Overall to keep a tight budget I would recommend DIY and searching out people just getting started with their business like I did for the videography and cupcakes.

How many guests did you have?

We had 230 guests


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

I am a creative perfectionist so if I could make something I did.  I made my bouquet and shoes. I made the wedding favors which were slices of branches custom stamped and glazed.  My dad helped me make the stands to hold up the decorative trees I cut and painted.  My dad also make the cake stand and “fairy house” card box.

My bridesmaids and I made stamped coffee cozies for the hot cocoa bar and we dipped plastic spoons in chocolate and sprinkled candy bits on them.  The programs were made to look like the literary works of Hans Christian Andersen, the Danish author and poet, who served as inspiration for our fairy tale themed wedding. I made the programs myself by scanning a vintage fairy tale book we used in our engagement photos and creating a storybook program message on the inside.

I made the boutonnieres and corsages for the bridal party and family out of mini pinecones, and the bridesmaid bouquets out of large pinecones.  My husband and I cut branches and frosted decor for the tables as well.  The only elements I bought for decoration were the table vases, snowflakes, vintage fairytale books, and some of the birch candle holders which I purchased at flea markets, rummage sales, and auctions.  I also planned a DIY ceremony painting to tie in our marriage and faith! So in short, everything was creative or personal!


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

The biggest thing I did to save money was make the bouquets and not use flowers.

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

Delegate what you can and don’t be afraid to ask for help! Everything went very smoothly and the details came together like my vision thanks to all of the help from my husband, family and bridal party!


What was your biggest splurge?

My wedding splurge was the photographer and it was well worth it!


What was your favorite detail?

The potato bar!


What is the most memorable moment of your day?

My favorite moments were marrying my best friend, of course!


Venue: Rothschild Pavillion  •  Photography: James Stokes Photography  •  Video: Fancy Horse Films  •  Catering: Rockman’s Catering  •  Gown: Brandi’s Bridal Galleria  •  Bridesmaids Dresses + Tuxdeos: Thelma’s Bridal  •  Cake: Spoonful of Batter  •  Makeup: Cosmetic Coppadge
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Classic and fun wedding in Florida Wed, 24 Sep 2014 12:00:12 +0000 real budget wedding

The couple in today’s feature planned their wedding in only three months, so I find that really impressive. The bride planned most of the wedding in Florida while the groom was stationed in Connecticut so almost the entire wedding was a surprise to him, which makes it even more fun! This wedding is a great combination of classic and fun wedding details – I just love all the photos by the talented Rudy and Marta Photography. You can tell that Felicia and Anthony are a fun-loving couple by the amount of smiles and giggles and pure joy captured in their wedding photos.  I hope you enjoy this wedding as much as I did! xoxo Jessica

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Felicia + Anthony

April 5, 2014

Groveland, FL  |  Magnolia House

What was your budget?

We had originally hoped to spend $8,000 we ended up right around $9,000.

Venue (including food for 75)-$4,000



Candy bar- $200

Cake- $260

Invitations- $30

Lighting- $30



Small details-$700

How many guests did you have?




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

We had a lot of little things to make it personal. We had pictures lining the hallway for all our guests entering, we had the candy bar because I’m not a huge fan of cake and my husband loves the publix elegance cake, and my favorite was garter it was made from the lace of my mother’s dress and my mother in laws dress as well as my husband’s name plate from his Navy uniform.



What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

We did as much on our own as we possibly could, the biggest thing we did was making our own bouquets, centerpieces, and aisle runners. We only spent $300 on flowers in total.



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

Enjoy it! I was so stressed about money and time that didn’t make the most of planning it and in all reality there were a lot of really great moments along the way. Enjoy the process, the DIY stuff is more fun then you know.



What was your biggest splurge?

My dress



What was your favorite detail?

My centerpieces, they were everything I had imagined.



What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Walking down the aisle, I hadn’t seen Anthony in over three months.




Photography: Rudy and Marta Photography  //   Venue: Magnolia House  //  Flowers: Whole Blossoms  //   Cake: Publix




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Destination Wedding on a Budget Wed, 11 Jun 2014 13:00:44 +0000 real budget wedding

I’m back with another budget savvy wedding for you! This couple planned a destination wedding in Florida all the way from Canada – and managed to pull it all off for under $10k including the honeymoon!! Talk about budget savvy! I absolutely love the bride’s advice so don’t miss it. I love the idea of renting a private home and using it for lodging and the wedding venue – it definitely helped this couple keep costs down! Hope you enjoy this fun wedding! xoxo – Jessica

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Joey + Kirstie

April 4, 2014

Star Lake Manor, Kissimmee, FL

What was your wedding budget?

We are from Canada and wanted to go somewhere warm for our wedding, but also wanted our friends and family to be able to have a family vacation at the same time. Our budget for our entire wedding and honeymoon was $10,000. We came in under budget at $9,300. Yay!

This budget covered EVERYTHING for our destination wedding (accommodations, flights, car rental, wedding attire, gifts, invites, officiant, marriage licence, rings, reception food and drinks, music, rentals, decor, food and drink for the week in Florida, entertainment for the week, and also our honeymoon cruise).

We rented a huge home in Kissimmee, FL called Star Lake Manor. The wedding party and other close friends stayed with us in the 7 bedroom home and we had the rest of our family and friends rent homes close by. We had the ceremony and reception on the pool deck of Star Lake Manor and it was absolutely perfect! Here are the costs for our entire 13 day wedding/honeymoon vacation:

  • Rental home (also the venue) $3266
  • Flights for bride and groom $438
  • Car rental and gas for the week $145
  • Bride’s attire $670
  • Groom’s attire $430
  • Groomsmen attire (also their gifts) $200
  • Bridesmaids attire (also their gifts) $30
  • Invites and postage $52
  • Officiant’s online ordination $17
  • Marriage license $100
  • Wedding rings $463
  • Reception food and drinks $400
  • Daiquiri and ice cream machines $350
  • Rental chairs and tables $420
  • Linens, plates, glasses, utensils $40
  • Flowers $40
  • Favours $100
  • Decor $135
  • Food and drinks for the week $100
  • Theme park tickets FREE (Air Miles)
  • NHL hockey game tickets $130
  • Honeymoon (4 night cruise, 1 night at our pre-cruise hotel, cabs, onboard purchases, etc) $1774
  • GRAND TOTAL (CAD): $9,300



How many guests did you have?




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

We really wanted to keep our day personal. We didn’t want any strangers at our wedding, so we put our family’s talents to good use. My aunt was our officiant. She became an ordained minister online months before the wedding and did a wonderful job of the ceremony. Another one of my aunts was our photographer. She is so talented and our photos turned out beautifully. Two more aunts did the readings at our ceremony. Also, my brother played the mandolin while we signed our marriage certificate. The whole day was very personal and family oriented.



What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

We did everything ourselves, with amazing help from family and friends and it helped save a TON of money. Some examples are:

– We bought EVERYTHING on sale or second hand.
– We used Air Miles to lower the costs of flights from Canada to Florida.
– We shared a car rental with friends to help save money.
– We made all of the food for the reception.
– We bought all of our own drinks, including alcohol.
– We held the ceremony and reception at the same place which helped keep costs down.
– We did all of the decorating ourselves.
– We didn’t have a DJ – just a Spotify playlist and a Bluetooth speaker system.
– A friend did my hair and I did my own makeup.
– We bought flowers at Publix the morning of the wedding and our friends made the bouquets.



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

Have the wedding you want. We decided that we wanted a casual, fun wedding – and that’s what we got! We were so happy with our day and wouldn’t have changed a thing about it. Don’t let anyone pressure you into having a certain type of wedding. Stand by what you and your partner want and your day will be perfect!



What was your biggest splurge?

The venue was definitely our biggest splurge. We spent 1/3 of our overall budget on the rental home, but it was absolutely worth the money. Not only was the home our venue for the ceremony and reception, but it was also our accommodations for the entire week in Kissimmee. It helped us save money on our food costs by having all of our meals at home. It had a games room, a movie theatre, and an amazing pool deck so it was also a lot of our entertainment for the week! The 9 friends that stayed with us also helped cover some of the cost of the home, so in the end – it was an extremely affordable venue!



What was your favorite detail?

We had a daiquiri machine and a soft service ice cream bar set up at the reception. It was so fun to help yourself to a daiquiri and ice cream sundae throughout the evening!

But I also just really loved the fact that we had a perfect, casual wedding day surrounded by our loved ones. And not only did we have a great day, but also a great “wedding week” with our friends and family in the sun! We spent the week shopping, going to theme parks, going to an NHL hockey game, and lounging by the pool. So many amazing memories were made and we’re already planning a 2 year reunion!



What is the most memorable moment of your day?

When my husband read his vows to me. We had both written our own vows for each other and in his vows, he had mentioned that “today, we have been together for 7 years, 8 months, and 9 days”. It turns out that I had also written that in my vows! I didn’t know that he had written that in his vows and he had no idea that I had written that in mine. He read his vows first, and I was in complete shock! Great minds think alike – guess we’re meant to be!




Bride’s attire: David’s Bridal  //  Groom’s attire: Moore’s  //  Bridesmaids’ attire: Old Navy  //  Groomsmen’s attire: Moore’s  //  Invitations: Shutterfly  //  Bride’s wedding ring: Blue Nile  //  Groom’s wedding ring: Tungsten Affinity  //  Venue: Star Lake Manor   //  Reception food: Costco  //  Reception drinks: Wal-Mart  //  Flowers: Publix  //  Rental tables and chairs: Orlando Party and Wedding Rentals  //  Daiquiri and soft serve machines: Frozen Drink Man  //  Pre-cruise stay: Hampton Inn and Suites Fort Lauderdale Airport South and Cruise Port  //  Honeymoon: Celebrity Cruises

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Rustic Vintage Wedding on a Budget Wed, 18 Dec 2013 13:00:58 +0000 real budget wedding

So excited to share this rustic vintage wedding with you from reader Stephanie! You might remember her DIY wedding invitations that we featured here on the blog, and now she’s shared her wedding with us! Stephanie was able to plan a lovely DIY wedding on a budget and still host about 90 guests! Did I mention that she had a FOOD TRUCK cater her wedding and that they served Breakfast for Dinner? I would’ve died of happiness if I was a guest at this wedding- what a fun and unique idea! Check out the lovely photos, fun details, and all of her great advice below! Thanks Stephanie, for sharing your wedding with us! If you’re interested in sharing your budget savvy wedding with us here on BSB, click here for more info. xoxo-Jessica

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Stephanie + Garrett

June 15th, 2013

Yellow Springs, OH, Birch House (Historical House)



What was your wedding budget

$9000 ($3000 of that total was gifted from our parents)

Venue: $1050

Chairs, straw, tent: $1025

Food truck: $1700 (paid by family)

Photography: $550

DJ: $200 (friend)

Flowers: $1110

Decorations: $800

Pie favors: Made by family

Dress: $1500 (paid by family)

Vintage fabric BM bouquets: Supplies roughly cost $120

Gifts for family and wedding party: $200

Invitations: (Featured on BSB!) $150

Cupcakes: $150

Cakes: Made by family

Escort Cards: 50



How many guests did you have?



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

Everything in our rustic vintage wedding was DIY’d—I loved doing the projects leading up to the wedding and it meant so much to me when family members pitched in to help.


Thankful tree-guest book

Mason Jars & Wooden boxes made by family

Water-colored dollies as escort cards

Handmade bouquets and boutonnieres

Greek cookies for dessert made by my Greek grandmother

Pie jars as favors

Hoop fabric for cake table

Wooden tables made by family


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

We saved the most on having our wedding catered by a food truck. The food truck allowed us to save money and have unique food served. It fit perfectly into our outdoor wedding and it served one of our favorites—Breakfast for dinner!


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

While I was planning my wedding, I read a lot from other brides that things will go wrong. I believed it when I was planning my wedding and I still agree after having my wedding. Things will go wrong but the most important part is how you handle it. We got scammed by our wedding coordinator 3 months before our wedding along with several other minor issues.

Don’t let negative issues or people stand in your way of your wedding. Your wedding is about YOU and celebrating the love that God has brought into your lives.  


What was your biggest splurge?

Flowers were our biggest splurge but we still got a great deal on them due to my husband’s cousin being a florist.  


What was your favorite detail?

My head table that had a gold sequin table runner, custom made wooden tables, hand dipped tea towels, and vintage china.


What is the most memorable moment of your day?

My favorite moment from the day was listening to the vows written by my husband



Catering: Fressa Food Truck  //  Photography: Kreative Expressions Photography  //  Flowers: The Weedhopper  //  Dress: Allure Bridals  //  Venue: The Birch House 



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Southern Wedding on a Budget Wed, 09 Oct 2013 13:00:48 +0000 BSWOW

I am always so thrilled to feature weddings of brides who have been readers of this site, so I was very excited when Kayla emailed me with her wedding! It means so much to me that readers find valuable resources and ideas here, and even more so that they want to ‘pay it forward’ by sharing their weddings with us! As you probably know, our wedding features and budget breakdowns is what makes BSB unique in the blog world. I am always so appreciative of brides for sharing this information as it really can help so many others who are planning their weddings! I know you will just love this southern wedding on a budget! Kayla and Troy planned their wedding on a $9k budget, and it turned out beautifully! This is a great example of thinking outside the box for your wedding venue– by finding a free venue they were able to allocate more of their money to things that were important to them- like photography! Tiffiney Photography captured the day beautifully – especially all the lovely details! Lots of inspiration to be found in this wedding, because everything looks amazing! Hope you enjoy this week’s featured wedding! xo – Jessica

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Kayla and Troy

April 27, 2013

Westminster, South Carolina

What was your budget?

In total we spent about $9,000. Here is a rough breakdown:

Photography, prints, albums, framing, pre-wedding portraits- 3,500
Food (some catered, some homemade)- 2,700
Rentals- 1,500
Bridal Attire- 700
Bar (local beer, wine, and a signature drink)- 650
Flowers- 400
Misc. decorations and lights- 150
Plates, cups, utensils- 120
Stationary- 80
Tablecloths/runners-  40
Grooms Attire- free
Venue- free
DJ- free

Further info on the free items: The venue was actually a burial ground called Ramsey Creek Preserve (don’t freak out, keep reading!) Our close friends own an eco-friendly burial service on 40 acres of their land in the foothills. They recently saved a historic school house church from being destroyed and had it moved to their property. The moment I saw it, I knew I would be married there! When we showed interest about having our wedding there, they offered it to us at no charge. The DJ was also a close friend, Troy designed a website for him in exchange for his DJ services. And the tuxes were free because we did so much business there. The joys of living in a small town where everyone knows everyone!


How many guests did you have?



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

Everyone thought we were crazy to plan a wedding at a burial ground. However, It was important for us to be married in a place that fit our personalities, and somewhere we could visit the rest of our lives. We included many personal touches to give the wedding sentiment. I wore my great-grandmother’s wedding jewelry that day and wrapped my bouquet in lace from my mother’s wedding dress. Our flower girl’s dress has been in the family for 25 years, worn in many family weddings. The processional was the same song playing at the concert when my husband proposed – a good friend of ours sang it as I walked down the aisle.


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

Thrift stores and DIY projects! Our mis-match wine glasses, vintage frames, lace table clothes and fabrics, milk glass, and dessert plates were all thrift store finds. We made the fabric banners, stationary, centerpieces  and signs. One of my patients from work even contributed by making the lace doilies! My mother in law did all the flowers herself. We cooked the appetizers and baked the desserts and my grandmother made the wedding cake! 


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

Don’t be afraid to step outside of tradition. Even though I received criticism about my decisions for the wedding, I never let it stop me. Everyone thought our venue would be morbid, but I see it as a place to celebrate life! And that’s exactly what we did at our wedding, celebrate! My husband and I are so happy with the way it turned out, and everyone had a wonderful time!


What was your biggest splurge?

Photography, it was important to have someone we could trust. I’ve always loved our photographer’s work and was thrilled to see what images she would capture! I love looking through the pictures and feeling as if I am back at our wedding once again! That truly is priceless!


What was your favorite detail?

I’ve always loved vintage jewelry. So, I gave each of my bridesmaids a vintage cameo necklace, even my flower girl had a tiny cameo to match mine. Such a classic fashion statement. I also loved the dessert table, that was a huge hit! Not only was it a beautiful spread, but delicious as well! The women in our family are famous for our baking skills. The supply of fresh, home-made cakes was endless! 


What is the most memorable moment of your day?

The first look, I will never forget that moment. I was so anxious to see Troy that day; my emotions flooded when he turned around. We were able to have time together alone, it was very peaceful and relaxed. It was just perfect, I’m so glad we decided to do a first look! 



Venue – Ramsey Creek Preserve   //   Photography – Tiffiney Photography   //   Caterer – All J’s Catering   //   DJ – Jeremy Miller   //   Tuxes – M.H. Frank

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Rustic Vintage Wedding Wed, 31 Jul 2013 13:00:55 +0000 BSWOW

I know y’all are just going to LOVE this wedding as much as I do! The rustic details, the GORGEOUS flowers- this wedding is stunning! I absolutely adore the large burlap sign they made for behind the altar during the ceremony– it looks amazing! And this couple employed the help of family and friends to make their special day happen- a great way to save money! Till next time, xoxo-Jessica

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Crystal + Trey

May 18, 2013

Covington, GA, Gaither Plantation


What was your budget?

Around $9000 (Some are rough estimates)
     Venue – $1350
     Photography – around $2000
     Dress – $600
     Cake – Free/Gift
     Food – Around $500
     Invitations – $75
     Decorations – $1200
     Flowers – $1000
     Coordinator/Decorator – $850
     Favors – around $250-300
     Entertainment/DJ – Around $900


How many guests did you have?  

Around 80-90


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

We added some special touches by including pictures from our 6 years of dating set out for people to look at as they walked in. Also, as our unity symbol we created a unity braid and we used our rock climbing rope that we both learned how to tie belay knots on, which was really special for us.


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

Our biggest money saver was having my maid of honor’s mother cook all of our food for us. She cooked for her own wedding a year and a half before ours with a bigger guest list so she already had some experience. She shopped at Sam’s Club, Walmart and the local grocery store for the best deals. But she was more than happy and willing to cater for us and she did an amazing job! Our cake and cupcakes were also free because the best man’s wife baked and designed them for us as their wedding present for us.


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

Our best advice would be enlisting friends and family for any help and support they can give. A lot of our families and friends pitched in to help with various details such as favors, signs, food, and many other things. It never hurts to ask and they will be more than happy to help on your special day.


What was your biggest splurge?

Our biggest splurge was on photography. We wanted to make sure we had beautiful pictures to remember our special day. We knew that our photos would be the one detail we keep the longest and would treasure the most.


What was your favorite detail?

Our most special detail was our foot washing ceremony we performed during the ceremony. It was a symbol of our faith and it showed how in our marriage we are committing to serve one another in a loving and caring way.


What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Our most memorable moment was due to the weather. It rained early that morning and was at 70% chance of rain all day but it held off for us. Throughout the ceremony it was partially cloudy and as soon as we were done with our first kiss the clouds parted and the sun was shining down right on us. It was a beautiful moment and everyone mentioned it to us later at the reception.

Photography: Amy E Photography  //  Venue: Gaither Plantation  //  Flowers: Le Petit Jardin   //  Bride’s Gown: David’s Bridal  //  Invitations and Favors: Michael’s Art and Crafts  // Rentals: Black Tie Events 

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Classic Plum Wedding Wed, 22 May 2013 14:04:05 +0000 BSWOW

I absolutely LOVE this classic Plum wedding shot by the talented Kristin Vanzant photo! The photos are so gorgeous! I love the bride’s advice to slow down and enjoy the journey, and to really do your research. Don’t assume a venue is out of your budget- make the calls necessary to find out the info, you could surprise yourself! Hope you enjoy this wedding as much as I do!!!  xoxo- Jessica

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Jonathan + Whitney

October 16, 2010 
Knoxville, TN. 

Wedding was at Holy Ghost Catholic Church and reception was at BridgeView


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

Our budget was $9,000

Dress (including accessories) $1000
Photos $1050
Reception Venue/Catering/Cake $4000
Invitations $270
Flowers $500
Wedding Music $450
Reception DJ $650
Wedding Planner $350
Videographer $380
MISC Items (Wedding favors, reception décor, programs, etc) $300


How many guests did you have?



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

Jonathan and I wanted to incorporate our late grandparents into the reception, so we tried to keep their memory there by putting pictures of them on a bookshelf behind the cake. I think this definitely added a very personal and memorable aspect to the wedding.


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

The biggest thing that I did to save money was try to search for the best deal I could find for everything. This included my invitations, save the dates, wedding décor, etc. For the save the dates I searched the web for ideas and we finally decided to go with post cards from Zazzle. This alone only cost us about $70.00 not to mention a stamp for a post card is cheaper than a stamp for a card so we saved money going that route. I also saved a ton of money with our reception décor. Every weekend I would literally try to go to every craft store, wholesale store, or discount store searching for cheap vases, candles, picture frames, and lanterns to find the best deal. Doing this cut down a lot of cost for décor and I was actually able to bring every idea I had to life.


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

My best advice for planning would be to really take the time to stop and enjoy every single minute of it. Sometimes you become so wrapped up in the planning that you forget what the day is really about. People always say that this day goes by in an instant, but I don’t think until it is your day, do you really understand this. So my advice is to slow down and enjoy the whole journey!


What was your biggest splurge?

My biggest splurge definitely was our reception venue. Having a wedding in Knoxville in the fall is a challenge in itself with trying to compete with college football. So every girl tries to book her wedding on the one Saturday that there is an away game or a by-weekend. Right after I got engaged and after we decided on a date, picking and reserving the reception venue was the first thing I wanted to nail down. I had a couple of things in mind, but somehow came across this beautiful space that overlooked the Tennessee River in the heart of downtown and I just had to have it. I had known that this space used to be a restaurant but that it had closed down a few years back. I went home and did some research and found out that you could rent the space and that they also did their own catering, which was perfect! The only thing I was worried about was that it would be out of our price range, but after calling and more research I found out that it was totally in our budget. After having our reception here and hearing all of our guests say how beautiful it was, I am definitely glad we decided to splurge on it.



What was your favorite detail?

My favorite detail was incorporating fall into all of the wedding details without going over board and tacky on the décor. At my reception I definitely wanted it to have an intimate feeling, but yet have fall integrated into that. I had lots of fall decorations including lanterns, glass pumpkins, mums, etc.


What is the most memorable moment of your day?

My most memorable moment of the day would definitely be after arriving to the reception venue before we went inside, my parents and aunt and uncle stayed back to toast Jonathan and I and to give us their special marriage advice. That moment just stuck in my mind as one of my most memorable from the day, because it was just so special for us to be able to spend those couple of uninterrupted minutes with them.



 Photographer: Kristin Vanzant Photography   //   Event Planner: Absolute Wedding Perfection   //   Dress Designer: Allure Bridal   //   Floral Designer: Echelon   //   DJ:Gary Loe Productions   //   Transportation:Knoxville Area Transit   //   Venue: Bridge View   //  Submitted via Two Bright Lights



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Blue and Yellow Plantation Wedding Wed, 01 May 2013 12:00:01 +0000
Spring is in the air! It’s technically been Spring for a few weeks now but the weather here in NY is just starting to get the memo! That’s why looking at this sweet, classic wedding just makes me so happy! The sunny yellow and powder blue color scheme just makes me think of daffodils and blue skies. I really enjoyed the details from this wedding and think you will, too! I love the chalkboard art they created and that the bridesmaids wore cardigans with their dresses- it just has a sweet, vintage vibe to me! Hope you enjoy this wedding as much as I do! xoxo- Jessica
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Jesse & Amber
October 27, 2012
Gallatin, TN
Rose Mont Mansion | Epic Event Centre
What was your budget? If you are able, give us a rough breakdown of how you spent your budget.
Our original budget was $5,000 but we ended up spending close to $8,500
Wedding Venue: $1,000
Mansion (to get ready/first look) $500
Catering: $2,224
Dress: $850
Suit: $160
Toms: $470
Flowrs: $900
Cake: $360
Decor/gifts/invites: $1880
Total: $8344
How many guests did you have?
Approx. 125
What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
We definitely wanted the wedding to be ‘us’…from the venue and food to the invites and shoes! The bridal party wore Toms and we based the blue used in our wedding on the logo! I also created a graphic that we used throughout the wedding to help tie everything together (a mason jar with a+j inside).
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
Jesse and I made the invitations and a lot of our own decor – some decor was handed down to us from Grandparents. We also had a lot of help from family and friends (moving, decorating, coordinating, etc). They were all so terrific throughout the year of planning and on the wedding day!

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

My best advice would be to get the ‘big things’ taken care of first (venue, food, dress, etc) so you have time to focus on all of the ‘little things’. Those are the most important and help make your wedding YOU.


What was your biggest splurge?
Our biggest splurge was probably Rose Mont Mansion. We knew we wanted a location to get ready and to do our first look. We ended up renting the mansion for 4 hours that morning. The wedding venue and food were already understood – even though that was the biggest chunk of our budget.
What was your favorite detail?
Actually, I have two: The dragonfly pin on my bouquet of flowers in memory of my Grandpa, and a chalkboard painting we had made with our silhouettes and favorite quote.
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
Definitely the first look! I am so glad Jesse and I were able to have that moment together…I will always remember the look on his face when he turned around and saw me for the first time on our wedding day!
Photography: Melissa Rena Photography   |   Venues: Rose Mont MansionThe Epic Event Centre  |  Catering: Chef Christopher’s Catering  |  Cake: Covered with Icing   |   Flowers: Debbie Denny   |   DJ: Michael Holland  |  Wedding Dress: David’s Bridal
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Purple + Grey Wedding with Books as Decor Wed, 20 Mar 2013 12:00:32 +0000 BSWOW

Loving this colorful wedding from The Burks! I have a special place in my heart for all geekdom, so I couldn’t help but love the shot of the groomsmen exposing their super hero tshirts underneath their tuxedos- so fun! And I always love when brides use books as decor! Hope you enjoy this wedding of the week! xoxo-Jessica

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Josh + Jessica

June 15, 2012

Greenville, NC at Reimage Church and City Hotel & Bistro


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

Cake -$260

Reception Venue & Catering for 140 ppl – $3500

Ceremony venue with sound techs – $400

Dress with Alterations – $800

Veil – $5 (we made our own)

Shoes – $5 (TJ Maxx sale)

Favors – $75 (we donated to a charity)

Flowers for Bride and bridesmaids – $110 (we made our own)

Invitations – $148 (we bought ours from Michaels and Hallmark will print a box of invites for $10)

Officiant – $50

DJ – $40 (we used music we already had and paid a friend to DJ)

Bridesmaid Gifts – $200

Photographer – $1800

Event Rentals (pipe and drape) – $200

Groomsmen gifts – $240

Live Band for Ceremony – $300

 Total: about $8500


How many guests did you have?

We ended up with approximately 130 guests when it was all said and done but had planned for 150


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

We used old books and candles of all sizes for our centerpieces. My husband and I are avid readers and so most of the books came from our a collection. A few we picked up at second hand stores and thrift shops. We borrowed the candles and holders from a friend who’s daughter had recently been married.

The other thing that was very important to us was the music. That’s why we chose a band for the ceremony and had all our own music picked out for the reception.


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

My mom and I are very crafty and we did A LOT of things our selves. My mom and sister set up all the centerpieces, we made the bouquets, the invites, all the favor cards at the tables, etc.


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

Make your budget first! And be realistic, the last thing you want is to get your heart set on something and realize you can’t afford the dress of your dreams AND a photographer. In your budget, prioritize what’s important to you. For us it was having good photographers and as a result that took up a good chunk of our budget.

Lastly, saving money is easier than you think – having our wedding on a Friday night instead of anytime on a Saturday saved us over $1000 on the reception venue and $1000 on our photography. Recruit friends and family to help you DIY favors and decorations.


What was your biggest splurge?

Our photography! We had to convince my parents on this item actually. With photography, you get what you pay for. We wanted really great pictures and knew those wouldn’t come cheap. Turns out, we managed to get a really great deal with The Burks and got $1800 photography by amazing, professional people that look like we should have paid at least twice that.


What was your favorite detail?

My favorite detail was all the details! The eclectic modern theme was everywhere (my mom has a really good eye for that) we had old glass bottle soda caps to mark what each guest was eating (my husband is widely known for his Sundrop addiction) and used old books for our centerpieces because we both love to read. Our additions to the reception space gave it a clean modern look. The whole thing felt very us.


What is the most memorable moment of your day?

The most memorable moment might have been Josh and I’s first look. With our time schedule we had to do all the photography before the ceremony and I wouldn’t have done it any other way! I was so nervous and excited and freaking out that day and as soon as I saw Josh I felt very calm and happy. We were able to get some amazing couple shots while the sun was still out and I’m so glad we got to be right with each other when we first saw each other instead of fighting back all that emotion in front of everyone at the ceremony.



Meet The Burks Photography –

City Hotel & Bistro –

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