Such a fun, colorful and delightfully savvy wedding to share with you today! This wedding is chock full of lovely details from all the chalkboard wedding signs to the mismatched bridesmaids dresses! Every detail is personal and integrated seamlessly into the decor to make a beautiful handcrafted DIY day! I just know you’ll love it! I especially love the bride’s advice about getting over the feeling of entitlement- so important to keep things in perspective when you’re planning. And that perspective is what helped this couple plan this GORGEOUS wedding for under $3k!!! Enjoy! xoxo Jessica
What was your budget?
Our goal was to keep the budget between $2,000 and $3000, so I set up the budget at the $2500. The guest list was on the large side and we were strongly encouraged to shorten it, it was the one thing we didn’t want to flex on.
Here is a rough breakdown of the budget:
- Dress and attire- $300. Dress was closeout from David’s bridal and was a perfect fit. We added straps and I made the belt from $22 of beads and rhinestones. Veil was borrowed. Garter was handcrafted for $5). Sandals were from Target.
- Favors and gifts- $120. Mini chalkboards were made from raw wood templates and sprayed with chalkboard paint, holes drilled and strung with a roll of bakers twine.
- Flowers- $120. We grew 20 feet of white zinnias from seed and bought the rest wholesale, arranging them ourselves the day before the wedding.
- Food- $380 for toasting cider, candy for the dessert bar, coffee bar ingredients, popcorn bar supplies, cutlery and paper goods.
- Invitations- $255. This covered card stock, printer ink, floral stamps, envelopes and postage stamps.
- Misc. $70 for picture printing (Costco), thrift frames, and supplies to make bridesmaid and groomsman gifts.
- Videography- $500
How many guests did you have?
About 230 guests
What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
After 3 1/2 years of dating the man of my dreams got down on one knee and popped that special question! Instantly, after getting engaged we knew we had a small budget and wanted to do a DIY wedding. Thankful we had a FANTASTIC, out-of-this-world wedding planner friend who made it all possible. We made everything from invitations and paper products, to centerpieces and bouquets, burlap banners, salvage window programs and even our very own photo both! At first I wasn’t so sure about this whole DIY thing, but my mind instantly changed when I realized how easy it is to make things!!! We over look so many beautiful things that turned out to be so simple to make. However, I am so glad we learned to not overlook these little details because when it came to our special day the details brought so much more emotion and meaning. For example, seeing our centerpieces and knowing we created them from recycled bottles and stamped paper made such a difference! Dancing on the dance floor with the beautiful lights that we strung up by hand made it so worthwhile. We instantly appreciated our wedding so much more!!
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
The biggest thing we did to save money was making the decision not to serve a meal. The goal was to create a wedding that would witness their special moment, and a reception where guests could have a great time celebrating together. Bottom line was we didn’t need to serve lunch or dinner to accomplish that goal, saving thousands of dollars. Instead we planned for an after dinner wedding with a gorgeously designed dessert bar using carefully coordinated desserts from family and friends who were happy to get involved in some small way. So ultimately serving dessert was free, and those who brought them were honored with special dessert labels stating the baker and relationship to the couple.
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
My advice to other brides would be to forget the entitlement. I started thinking “this is my one and only wedding I NEED, no I DESERVE that $8000 dress”, when in reality if you look around you could easily find one cheaper and in your budget, and that attitude truly makes a difference. Especially with DIY items, once you realize you don’t need certain purchased items and that you can make something similar instead it was easy to let go and flex. In the end we felt it was the perfect day and couldn’t have been happier with every little detail!”
What was your biggest splurge?
Videography was definitely the biggest splurge. This was a high priority item, along with photography (which was gifted by a family member). Photography and videography would be all that was left after the day was over, so those were two services we didn’t skimp on, although we did get great deals on these services. $500 for a short highlight reel of the wedding day may not seem like a big splurge, but it was a big chunk coming from a $2500 budget.
What was your favorite detail?
My favorite details would be that we got to personalize everything!! Our centerpieces were two sided frames with pictures on one side with the date and place it was taken printed on the other. This really let our guests take a journey in time throughout the milestones of our relationship. However, my absolute favorite decor item would have to be the 6 foot tall “S” we made!! It stood on the dance floor and was embedded with large bulb lights. It was absolutely beautiful and looked so great in pictures!!! Plus, it gave that pop of a statement that this was the “Shafto” wedding.
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.