If you’re looking for a low-key wedding for the perfect summer day, today’s wedding is for you. Sydney and Nate created a beautiful ambience with their park wedding, incorporating sweet vintage details like Coca-Cola in glass bottles and mason jar centerpieces. I especially love all the fun elements of their wedding. Who wouldn’t want to play yard games on a summer afternoon? Make sure you check out their s’mores bar — what a treat! Enjoy this $5K summer wedding! xoxo, Jessica
Sydney + Nate
August 7, 2015
Spanaway, WA | Summitville Park
What was your budget?
Our wedding cost less than$5,000, including the dress, rings, bridesmaid and groomsmen outfits, groom’s outfit, reception and ceremony.
My dress was on sale, so after alterations it was roughly $250.
The venue cost was $750 for the entire day + setup the day before (in which we included the rehearsal dinner).
The decorations cost around $800 in total, which mainly consisted of DIY crafts and cute décor from Hobby Lobby.
The catering was complimentary (my kind and amazingly talented brother gave us a catered meal for a wedding gift).
The photography was done by the ever-so-lovely Christina Klas Photography, and cost about $1,350.
Chairs, tables and such were about $300.
Rings were around $450.
Attire for the wedding party cost in total about $140.
Wedding invitations (we only sent out Save the Dates and did the rest through a Facebook event) cost around $170.
Flowers were roughly $70.
Then, I would factor in about $200 of miscellaneous items and details that I am unable to recall at this time.
This brings the total cost (estimate) of our wedding to $4,480. I’d say that’s pretty good!
How many guests did you have?
It was family & close friends only for a very intimate and enjoyable time, so our guest count was roughly 50 people.
What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
One thing that I absolutely loved was the cork board that I had a map of the US on. I made some thumb tack pins with miniature luggage tags on them for guests to sign their names, and then they would place the pin from where they came. This was special for us, as both Nate and I are from military families that live all across the US. The majority of our wedding party had traveled many miles to join us on that day.
Did you do any DIY projects or create any handmade items for your weddings?
The map (mentioned above) was one DIY project that I was quite proud of, but yes I had a few other DIY items to decorate my wedding.
Since it was an outdoors wedding, we wanted lights scattered among the trees, but didn’t have outlets or power sources. So, I took the frosted ornaments (globes) people hang on their Christmas trees and put LED lights that last up to 6 hours (battery powered) in them. Then I strung these up in the trees and elsewhere for a whimsical feel.
We also had many signs and banners that I had made to decorate the trees.
Oh! And we had yard games that we had made from so many different random items. We had a giant tick-tack-toe, made of tent stakes, rope and large wooden letters. We had horse-shoes, and we had a ring toss (the pool-rings you find at swim shops, and saved glass bottles from over a few months.)
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
I would honestly say that it was nothing I did to save money – it was the help and generosity of my family and friends that helped make this wedding so inexpensive, yet so delightful.
As I mentioned previously, my brother is a chef and caterer, and he decided to contribute the wedding dinner (a BBQ buffet line, but extremely high-end!). He took care of the entire meal prep and catering. That saved us hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars, and it was better than any food I could have picked out.
Then, my family came together to help with setup and teardown, and to help with decorations such as my flower arrangements (flowers purchased from Safeway, then arranged by my dear family). I also had my aunt do my hair and make-up, as she does this quite regularly for students of her ballet studio.
Without the help of my family and friends, this wedding would have been a lot more expensive!
However, I did stick to purchasing on the low-end of things when making wedding decisions. Such as my dress (it was the cheapest one I tried on!) and the venue (which took me forever to find, and yet was absolutely perfect!).
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
Don’t stress. I was a wreck the whole time and yet everything was even better than planned. I was worried about every detail coming together, and in the end it was all perfect. Every piece of it. But that is all due to my amazing support system!
What was your biggest splurge?
The most expensive part of the wedding was my photographer, Christina Klas. I knew going into this that if anything, I wasn’t going to skimp on the pictures. I know Christina as a friend and think she is an incredible photographer, and I wanted to pay her in full for her amazing skills. Everything else I could cut the budget on, but she was a necessity! And worth every penny!
What was your favorite detail?
It is hard to choose one detail that I particularly liked, as I really enjoyed the wedding as a whole. Seeing everything come together to create a fluid and beautiful event was the most rewarding.
If I had to choose, I might say that I enjoyed the fire pit. The venue I had chosen (an outdoor, backyard wedding) had a beautiful fire pit that we were able to roast s’mores over. We had a s’more bar instead of a cake, which was one of the best decisions of the night! It brought people together and was a great way to socialize with our guests. If people didn’t want to dance, they had something to do!
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
The first dance with my Husband. Our story is much different than most; we are both 20 years old (engaged by 19) and the majority of our relationship was 3 years of long-distance dating. Over 3 years, we saw each other for about 3 months. Then, Nate took a final exam (he went to the University of North Dakota for Aviation) packed the car up and drove 23 hours straight, arriving finally in Washington three days before our wedding. After so much time apart, it was very emotional that we were finally, inseparably reunited. During our first dance under globe lights and a whimsical pavilion, with Ed Sheeran’s Tenerife Sea playing, Nate broke down in tears out of the pure joy of us being together at last. My heart swells when I think of this, of how tender and pure our love is. Our wedding was incredible, but Nate was the most amazing part of it.
Photography: Christina Klas Photography • Venue: Summitville Park • Flowers: Safeway • Catering: Bryce Conrad (bride’s brother) • Rentals: The NAC on JBLM • DJ: Robert Wade (bride’s dad) • Bridesmaids Dresses: Old Navy • Bridal Shop: David’s Bridal • Shoes: Chacos • Ties: Express for Men
Editor’s note: During this time of quarantine and social distancing, 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! Learn more here.