– Jessica, founder of The Budget Savvy Bride
I am so excited to feature this wedding of longtime reader Ashley. Not only was she a Nashville bride, but she also happened to win a free photography contest that she found out about from BSB! I had the pleasure of meeting her once over chai tea at Panera and she is super down to earth just a cool person to be around- you can really see her personality in the details of her wedding. Ashley and Brandon had such a unique, eclectic wedding that really reflected who they are as people. I know you are going to enjoy all the handmade details that she put into their uber-savvy eco-chic nuptials. Ashley is super creative and talented and you should follow her blog because it’s great! Thank you so much Ashley for allowing us to feature your wedding!!!
Where did you get married?
Blakemore Church of the Nazarene in Nashville, TN
What was your budget?
$3,000… and we actually came in under. And they said it couldn’t be done. Tisk tisk, wedding world.
What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
Um….. it may be better to ask what wasn’t creative or personal. The answer to that is the plates. I bought cheap ones. Ha.
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
Get ready. It’s a long list. I created a pretty strict rule of thumb: If I can’t use this fill-in-the-blank after the wedding, I have to figure out a way to make it dirt cheap, or find a new idea. (Case and point: our tablecloths and photobooth background tapestries are now our shower curtains and bedspread covers.) So when I couldn’t reuse something or find it for the right price, I did almost everything myself that could be done myself: the actual planning, my dress, hairpiece and sash, invitations, flowers for all 8 bouquets, flowers for all arrangements and centerpieces, 17 fabric-flower corsages and 29 bouts, programs, choosing and sewing the mix-and-matched fabrics for tablecloths, collecting bottles from friends who would have thrown away to serve as vases, paper signage, burning and decorating cd soundtracks, stamping napkins, creating our guestbook, sewing birdseed pouches from mismatched fabric scraps uncovered in my apartment, making wreaths for front door decoration, the Tree of Life quilt with wilderness scene, and iPod playlist.
Oh, and there was free. I can thank Jessica of Budget Savvy Bride: We won our wedding photographer, after finding the contest on her site. Oddly enough, the photographer was even from Brandon’s teensy hometown outside of Raleigh, NC. Thank the LORD for April Sirit of Evoke Photography. I can’t thank her enough. Also, my best friend bought my make-up artist as a gift (it was out of my budget, but the only thing I worried about)…and a good friend ran sound as a wedding gift/ surprised us by showing up with an HD video camera and making us an AWESOME video, also free. Guess it pays to have friends with connections and talent.
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
Buying from “wedding” stores is the biggest gimmick you could ever fall for. Truthfully. Not only do those vendors feel like they can overprice their items, but you’ll also be more likely to have repeated the exact move of many brides before you. Think outside the “wedding” box. This way you’ll also be more likely to use it afterwards, too. Example: our 8 cake stands were purchased at TJ Maxx for $6 each. A few were gifts to women who helped throw the shindig together. Others are now used for jewelry organization, decorative floral get-ups, and, you guessed it, cake stands. ; )
What was your biggest splurge?
Technically, the largest expenditure for a single item was cake. Mid-afternoon wedding, so a full meal was unnecessary. I’m partial, but I’ve never had such good cake. We went with Publix, as in the high-end grocery store. 6 small cakes of varying, exquisite flavors plus 1 actual “wedding cake.” $415 after delivery. Oddly enough, this is also what we got the most male compliments about.
What was your favorite detail?
The birdseed pouches. Not because they were the best, or the most creative concept, for sure. More so because they were the first project I did that was out of the box. They don’t match. They’re loud colors and vintage fabrics. But it really started something, a freedom that said fun and maintaining our eclectic personalities was so much more important than a color scheme. After that, everything fell in line…and our color scheme became “color.” All of them. : )
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
How much stinkin’ fun the whole day was. It’s a toss up between the really personal moments. We served communion to the congregation ourselves, and it was such a great way to slow down and make eye contact (enough to melt your heart) with almost every guest. That was so special. However, I almost died laughing at the end of the ceremony::: After Brandon and I kissed, the entire congregation stood up and cheered us out! I’m talking throwing fists style. Bahahaha. That’s not typical wedding behavior, and I like it.
Hair and makeup: Amy Lynn Larwig // Photographer: Evoke Photography (except for photobooth shots, taken by guest with Lomography cameras) // Cakes: Publix // Video: Josh Kelley Productions // Everything else, quite literally: Radiant Studios Eco-chic Weddings and Interiors
Editor’s note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more pandemic wedding resources here.