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I'm officially naming Melissa as the DIY queen. She did SO many projects for her autumn inspired budget wedding that really pulled off an amazing look on a tight budget! From her paper flower bouquets to all the custom paper products she made herself- she really carried out her theme and the result is amazing! When you take on alot of DIY projects, not only do you save money, but you also create an atmosphere that doesn't feel like a ‘budget wedding.' The bold orange color scheme is so warm and yummy- how can you not love this personality-filled wedding?? Thanks Brian & Melissa for sharing your big day with us! xoxo – Jessica

What was your budget?

Our budget was $10,000 not inlcuding items paid for by family members.

All paper products: Invites/RSVP/STD/Envelopes/Stamps/Seating Cards/Table #'s – $675

Photography – $1600

Paper Flowers – $90

Bride's & Groom's Attire – $960

Hair & Makeup $585

Cupcakes – $300

Food – $3000

Decorations – $1085

Favors – $60

Rentals (linen, floor, dishes) – $1475

DJ – $800

Bridesmaid/Groomsmen Gifts – $475

Church/Reception/Marriage License, etc – $820

How many guests did you have?


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

I made so many things that were all personal since I did them myself. We had huge banners that I hand painted to say “We Do” and ” Eat, Drink & Be Married” to hang in the reception hall since the walls were really high and plain. I designed and made all of the paper items (seating cards, table numbers), crossword puzzle favors (since i love crosswords), patterned paper door covers, signage, pom poms for the ceiling, paper flower bouquets, boutonnieres, cupcakes, monogram cake topper, earrings for the bridesmaids and flower girl, my jewelry, unity candles, LED lights for the lanterns, corsages, programs, etc. If I could have made everything I would have!!

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

I made as many things as I possibly could myself!

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

Start early and do things as you have time so that you don't get overwhelmed closer to the actual date. I never got stressed doing things because I started, literally, the day after I got engaged by designing my invitations.

What was your biggest splurge?

The photographer. We were going to have a friend shoot it who is starting a photography business but we were worried about the images being too dark since it's an evening wedding and she hadn't shot that before. So we decided to splurge and get a professional. And we are SO thankful we did. I love the pictures more than I could have thought possible!

What was your favorite detail?

The cupcakes. I thought they turned out so super fun and bright looking.

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

When I got to the altar and there was no groom, best man or pastor standing there for several minutes.

When the guys left to check on the progress of things before the ceremony they left the groom in the reception hall. No one went back to get him when the ceremony started a few minutes later because we thought the guys were ready to go since they all showed up in the front of the church. So none of them went back to get the groom and take him to his spot.


Photography: (Ellie and Andrew Kurz) Dearly Loved Photography  //  DJ: Jason Brown  //  Table linens: Connie Duglin Linen  //  Rentals, Glasses, Dance Floor: Party Rentals Unlimited  //  Catering: Good Buddies Barbeque  //  Design of paper products and details: Melissa Van Hoose, graphic designer

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About Jessica

Jessica is the creator of The Budget Savvy Bride; she launched the site in May of 2008, shortly after becoming engaged. Jessica has been recognized as a budget wedding expert by various media outlets and continues to share realistic inspiration and actionable tips to help brides save money on their weddings. Google

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  • koandpo

    Those paper flowers are amazing! I don't think I would have even noticed they were paper if I hadn't read it in the text.

    And I love the banners! I wish I had thought of that…

    • I know- the banners are awesome!! they totally complete the reception space!

      • they actually had a bunch of banners up most of the time for the church but they let us take them down and put up the paper ones. it was great!

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  • Melissa

    I would LOVE to know how Melissa made the patterned paper door covers and the paper wall signs. The wall signs really fill up the space of the high ceilings and catch the eye. The door coverings would be perfect for keeping the reception private. LOVE HER DYI's.

    • i made the door covers by tracing the swirl design onto kraft paper using an overhead projector and inket transparencies that let you print onto them. i taped them to the wall and allowed space for the area between the doors then used a white pencil to draw an outline from the projection. i then spent an insane (and at times painful) few days poking all of those holes to fill in the pattern with a wooden awl. i did it on a jute rug i have so that it would punch through the paper and not ruin my floor. it was the only thing from the wedding that i truly got tired of doing and swore i would never do on the scale i did again (i do love how it looks though so i would do it for smaller jobs). i used the same projection method for the large banners. i printed the text on them then traced them out. i had to roll the banners and trace in sections since they were so large. then i just painted them in with craft paint.

  • @GenevievesWedd

    I wish the wedding of the week included the total cost of the wedding. Most of them seem to exclude the cost of things "donated" or "paid for by family." It makes the budget kind of deceiving since it isn't the total budget including all wedding costs.

    • I can understand that. Everyone's situation is different though! There are plenty of BSWOWs that do include the entire budget, but lots of couples receive assistance these days! 🙂

    • we spent a total of around $12,500 on this wedding if you count everything we paid and donated 🙂

  • um this girl is amazing!!!! love it all! HUGE props to her!

  • Stephanie

    WOW. The banners are great, the crosswords are creative, but I'm totally blown away by those flowers. I've sent this post on to at least 3 people now and they are equally impressed. How did she do them? Did she have a pattern or did she just make them up on the fly? She did a great job, nice find.

    • i scoured the web for patterns, purchased a martha stewart kit and made some patterns myself from looking at pictures of flowers. you can also find old dennison crepe paper flower books for sale on ebay that give patterns or are copies of the original book (and super cheap since they are photocopies). i actually posted an entire section on my blog about some of the patterns i tried and how easy or hard they were. some people sell paper flowers on but they aren't cheap and i wanted to be able to say i made them all by myself with my mad paper skills! if you go to the oldest posts on my blog you can find info on the flowers. i didn't do tutorials for most but i think i have links to websites where i got the patterns.

  • Love love love that crossword puzzle idea. Did I mention how much I love it? Yes, LOVE!

  • I would love to know how she made the cake topper. It's so simple and perfect, and I want one!!

    • i used a site called to make our topper. i used the same fonts i used on our invitations and just made a monogram. they let you choose from a ton of materials and you pay for the material you choose and then the cutting. i loved the topper so much i use it as decor in our house!

  • The Un-Wedding Blog

    I can't get over the fact that this was $10,000 – – just beautiful! I love the color orange that she used and the banners "eat, drink and be married."

  • Mecia

    Would love to know where you got the info to make the paper flowers. I'm planning on make as much as I can and making some of the flowers with paper was part of my budget savings. To be able to make all of them out of paper would help so much. thanks in advance Mecia b2b in Nov 2011.

  • Connie

    Where did you have the reception?

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