I love this simple and sweet baby blue wedding – the couple kept their guest list incredibly intimate which saved them tons of money. Courtney shared some great words of wisdom for planning your wedding with a budget in mind. I especially love how she incorporated an heirloom into her day– check out her favorite detail in the questionnaire below! A perfect and sweet celebration of family. Hope you enjoy this simple and sweet wedding! xoxo – Jessica
Jonathon + Courtney
October 12, 2013
Rapid City, South Dakota, First United Methodist Church
What was your wedding budget?
$5,000 total budget.
Roughly $3000 spent.
Our biggest expenses were the photographer (but she was such a steal!) and the flowers (Almost $300).
How many guests did you have?
12, just our immediate families—parents, grandparents, siblings.
What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
We tweaked the traditional ceremony a bit. Instead of processing all the way out of the church at the end (there were only 4 of us to process!) we went pew by pew down the aisle, getting hugs and congratulations from our family members while upbeat, recessional style music played in the background. It was fun, unique, and something we couldn’t have pulled off with a larger crowd.
We had a groom’s pie instead of a groom’s cake. I knew my husband wasn’t crazy about traditional cake, so I decided to do something out of the box for him at the reception. I asked my baker to make an apple pie. It was delicious, the surprise hit of the reception. I should have ordered two! (Pie is also cheaper than cake—the single tier cake cost us $30, but the pie was only $15!)
And finally, our guest favors were customized luggage tags with our names and wedding date on the front, plus a map with Rapid City marked by a heart. The favors reflected the destination feel of the event (“destination” because although my husband and I live in Rapid City, all of our guests came in from Alabama, North Carolina, and Tennessee).
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
Skimped on the flowers. We didn’t use any live flowers in the sanctuary of the church, and only baby’s breath in the mason jars on the tables (I recommend baby’s breath to everyone. It’s super inexpensive and still looks lovely.). Instead of decorating with flowers on the pews, I framed 8×10 portraits of my husband and me growing up, from pre-school to senior year. It was a great personal touch for our guests! I carried a white hydrangea bouquet (another cost effective flower option) and Jonathon wore a spray rose bout. The BM’s carried baby’s breath, MOB and MOG had baby’s breath corsages, and FOB wore a baby’s breath bout.
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
Don’t cave in to the pressure to have a million people at your wedding. Your mom might not like that you didn’t invite her 4th cousin twice removed, but it’s not her wedding is it? If you and your groom crave the intimacy of a small, private affair then stick to your guns. After all, there’s a lot less pressure to be perfect when all of your guests are close family.
Planning a destination wedding on the other side of the country is VERY effective for reinforcing the limited guest list! Because only a handful of our family members could make the trip, we were able to sight see and spend more time with them individually. We wanted the weekend to feel like a vacation, with an amazing wedding thrown in for spice!
A compromise is to have the intimate ceremony, followed by a big bash afterwards with everybody invited (even your mom’s 4th cousin twice removed). We plan on having a large get together back in Alabama next March.
Oh, and don’t rent a cake stand from the bakery. Save money by buying cheap from your local antiques store, then you’ve got a keepsake and your first family heirloom to pass down!
What was your biggest splurge?
The photographer. We weren’t doing a video, so it was very important that we capture all the little details in photographs. We were very pleased with her work.
What was your favorite detail?
My maternal grandmother passed away when my mother was only eight years old. She doesn’t have many personal possessions that belonged to her mother, but she did manage to keep a few silk slips. My mom cut one of the slips and sewed it into a handkerchief, then had my new initials embroidered on it in blue. She gave it to me as my something blue—we pinned it onto one of the bottom layers of my dress, so it could go down the aisle with me! It was a very special detail.
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
When I dropped the cake! We were doing the traditional cake cutting and I didn’t realize how top heavy our cake was. When I started to pull the slice out to put it on the plate that my husband was holding, it tipped over and fell onto the table, breaking into about 5 chunks and getting cream cheese icing everywhere. Instead of helping me pick it up, Jonathon dipped his finger in the icing and smeared it onto my nose. We got lots of laughs! My last tip: SUPPORT the cake slice, even if it means getting icing on your fingers!
Bakery: Piece of Cake Bakery // Florist: Victoria’s Garden // Photographer: Amber Tjeerdsma // Bride’s Hair & Makeup – Eclips on 6th // Bride’s Dress & Bridesmaid’s Dresses: David’s Bridal // Groom’s Suit: Halberstadt’s // Guest favors: Love Travels Favors
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 resources for planning a pandemic wedding here.