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helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank

I absolutely love this rustic outdoor forest wedding from Adept Ink + Pixel that was submitted via Two Bright Lights! This couple got SOOOOO ridiculously lucky to find Ryan McCarthy- their fab photographer- on Craigslist where he was advertising to shoot a free wedding to help build his portfolio. Ryan actually LOVES to work with brides on a budget because he finds that they are truly creative. He gave away 3 weddings last year in order to give 3 lucky couples the joy of a professional photographer on their special day. The couple prioritized their venue and food high and made sure to do their research and pick up other not-so-important items on sale. Hope you enjoy this edition of the BSWOW!

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Lindsey and Ben
October 4, 2010
Estes Park, Colorado

What was your budget? Give a rough breakdown of what you spent if possible.


Dress, shoes, and alteration- $750

Groom's Suit- $250

Venue -$4,500

Food and cake-$4,100

Flowers- $1,350

Music- $400

Photography- FREE


How many guests did you have?


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

My family has a tradition of always getting a new Christmas ornament every year. We came up with the idea of using ornaments as favors/place cards. My dad carved wooden ornaments for every family and we attached a place card with ribbon.

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

Our biggest budget saver was moving our wedding date to a Monday night instead of a weekend night. We fell in love with our venue, but the cost for a weekend wedding was way out of our budget! Most of our guests were traveling in from out of town so we turned it into a weekend long celebration. We kept our guest list small, inviting just family and close friends.

We had the caterer do the cake. The price per serving was about half as an outside baker.

We bought both of our attire during store sales.

Our DJ was an old family friend who gave us a friend and family discount.

My sister-in-law is a hair and make-up artist and did my hair and make-up as a wedding gift.

Another huge blessing was we got free photography. We randomly found an ad on Craigslist for a photographer giving away a few free weddings while trying to build up his portfolio.

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

It goes by so fast! It's your day and don't give in to what other people want just to make them happy. Enjoy it and try not to stress too much. It all comes together in the end.

What was your biggest splurge?

Venue and food. Most budget breakdowns tell you to spend about 50% on your reception, ours was more like 70%. We didn't want your typical city wedding venue and the chateau was exactly what we had imagined. It was so romantic and perfect. The outdoor ceremony site and indoor reception were perfect for a fall wedding. It was big enough so it didn't feel crowded, but small enough to feel intimate.

My mom was actually really picky with the food. The staff was great and very attentive. Our food was good- especially the appetizers during cocktail hour. We had a ton of compliments on them!

What was your favorite detail?

The flowers and my shoes. The flowers were very simple, yet elegant. I had 2 pair of shoes for the day. Heels for the ceremony, that I had dyed to match the bridesmaid's dresses, and sparkly Converse for the reception.

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

I have 2 most memorable moments. We had most of our pictures done before the ceremony. The moment when Ben saw me for the first time was really memorable to me. Our photographer had Ben standing outside of the Chateau and had me walk out to surprise him. The butterflies in my stomach were going crazy as I was walking up on him!

The other memorable moment was our first dance. We were officially married and it was time to celebrate!

Vendor List:

Venue- Della Terra Mountain Chateau

Caterer- Gourmet Fine Catering

Photographer- Ryan McCarthy, Adept Ink and Pixel

DJ- Tony DeLorenzo, Eltie DJ

Flowers- Painted Primrose

Attire- David's bridal and Men's Warehouse

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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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  • So lovely and an incredibly romantic vibe!

  • I got married on a Monday too for the same reason! I think it's a great decision and great way to save money!

    • savvybride

      That's awesome! I love it when brides are savvy! 🙂 Would love to possibly feature your savvy Monday wedding! Would you consider submitting?

  • Steph

    I have followed this blog religiously since we began wedding planning last year and was pleasantly surprised to log on this morning and see this post because we will be getting married here too! Just like Ben and Lindsey we fell in love with the venue but found weekend prices way out of our budget, so we will be getting married on a Tuesday night with 80-90 or our closest friends and family in attendance 🙂 Cheers to week night weddings!

    • savvybride

      That's so great! Having your wedding on a week night can definitely help your budget! Good for you for thinking outside the box! 🙂 I'm sure it will be fabulous!

  • Angela

    $4500 for a Monday venue? Yikes. It was gorgeous though!

  • Your photos are wonderful…. love the picture of the ring.. it looks like an antique engagement ring.. i love it!

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