Budget Friendly Brunch Wedding
So much about this wedding is unconventional, and everything about this wedding works. Today we're featuring a fun and beautiful budget-savvy brunch wedding. Where do I begin? I love that Rebekah and Kevin weren't afraid to have their wedding on an “off” day. Their Monday morning ceremony followed by a darling brunch is absolutely perfect! Their reception is thoughtful, chic and sweet. The mimosa bar is such a classy touch. Their consideration for their littlest guests is especially considerate. The donut cake is unique, fun and so pretty. And, make sure you read the details behind Rebekah's stunning blush dress in the Q&A below! Happy Wednesday! xoxo, Jessica
Kevin + Rebekah
April 6, 2015
Rixeyville, VA | Rixey Manor
What was your wedding budget?
Initially, our budget was going to be about $3,000 – if we could scrimp and save that much over the six months we were engaged. We were extremely blessed to receive a gift from my parents that allowed us to splurge a little (or maybe a lot), and our final budget ended up being about $7,500. SO MANY PEOPLE helped us with nearly all the aspects of our wedding – without them it just would not have come together like it did! From a family friend altering my dress as her gift, to all the flower arrangements being done by a then-stranger who happened to message me on facebook… we felt so, so lucky and showered with love!
Venue: $1500 (because we were the first couple to break in their newly renovated venue and had our wedding on a Monday, they gave us an AMAZING deal! I will never forget their generosity)
Photographer: $875 (and she surprised us with a complimentary second-shooter!!)
Catering: $1,800 (not only did they give us half-off for kids, but kids under 5 years were free – soooo helpful)
Mimosas: $200 (this was a last-minute splurge)
Flowers: mostly a gift from our dear Facebook helper Beth, but I did purchase a bundle of pussy willow for $100
Save-The-Dates: $0 (used a weddingwire website for this)
Invitations, including postage: $134
Dress: $200 (bought from St. Anthony's Bridal and dyed by Metro Dyeing)
Bridal Details, including hair and such: $300
Groom's Outfit: $120
Wedding Bands: $847
Other Gifts/Tips: $400
Fujifilm Guestbook: $137
Ribbon Wands: $80
China and Glassware: $175
Linens and Napkins: $180
Easter Eggs: $100
How many guests did you have?
83… 24 of which were children!!
What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
Oh gosh – what WASN'T personal? I work in wedding photography as a second-shooter, so having been to over 30 weddings in the past couple of years I was set on putting our own spin on nearly everything. 🙂 First of all, Kevin and I met in person on April 6, so we knew we wanted to get married that day too. The fact that it was a Monday? No problem! About 80% of our guest list was still able to celebrate with us! Plus the fact that we got married NOT on a weekend ended up working in our favor in regards to our budget! We also knew we wanted to get married in the morning and have a brunch reception right afterwards. We love breakfast food, and we were happy about the symbolism of starting a new day and a new life together. To top it all off, we had a donut cake instead of a traditional wedding cake (Kevin is borderline obsessed with Krispy Kreme)! Other personal aspects included our custom-made mobiüs-style wedding bands, a time of communion and footwashing during the ceremony, and using an instrumental version of the song “Latch” by Disclosure for our processional song – Kevin's friend Matt used his outstanding musical talent to arrange this for us and it is SO special to us.
When it came to my dress, it was time to get creative! I bought my dress on clearance for $75 from St. Anthony's Bridal in Rockville, MD. It was originally white, strapless, and had a lace-up back – NONE of which was part of my vision! Nevertheless, I knew it was “the dress”… there was just a lot of work to be done! I sent it up to NYC to have it dyed blush pink (fun fact: originally the dyeing company turned me down, but I asked them to reconsider and they agreed!) and from there it went further north to my mom and her friend so they could cut it apart and basically redesign it. My mom's friend, Janet, took out the lace-up back and made it a low-back with a zipper, and my mom stringed each individual bead to create the draping sleeves. I swear – it was a dream come true!
Something else that was really significant at our wedding was making it kid-friendly. So many of our guests were the parents of small children – I alone have almost twelve nieces and nephews. What this meant was having activity books for the kids to enjoy at the reception, followed by an easter egg hunt on the front lawn! We also had a little “library” for the kids in the ballroom… basically it was just a little suitcase filled with books my sister-in-law brought along so that kids could read if they got bored. Let me tell you though – as far as I know, there were no bored kids! After the ceremony, the kids picked up their goody bag which held the activity book, some crayons, a crazy straw, and a little plastic maze game. They later used those bags to collect their eggs, which were filled with all sorts of fun things such as finger puppets, bubbles, pennies, and raisins. As a parent, it can be so hard to take kids to a wedding… they're all primped and preened, none of them really want to sit still and be quiet for a ceremony, and then most reception activities are geared towards the adults. It was really important to me that the kids have fun too! 🙂 We were thanked by multiple people for being kid-friendly, so I would definitely recommend it to future brides.
Oh, I feel I should also mention the decision to not have bouquets or boutonnieres! I just found them unnecessary. Until Beth offered to treat us to floral arrangements for our tables, the only thing I was planning on doing was throwing together some greenery for the centerpieces (without any flowers at all). I was thrilled to be able to have what Beth put together for us (she really went above and beyond), but still decided against bouquets to carry. Instead, I went down the aisle arm-in-arm with both my parents, and my bridesmaids carried little glass ornaments filled with gold glitter… because why not? 🙂
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
Searching, asking, collecting, and deciding what was really important to us (for instance, wedding favors! In my experience, most people don't even care about these in the first place so we decided to go without).
Let's see… our table spreads were created out of thrifted/recycled items. I spent six months saving tin cans, which we spraypainted gold and used as vases. I snatched up a box of empty, clear wine bottles that we cleaned up and used as part of the centerpieces as well. I went to thrift stores to find frames for our Kissing Menu, which I designed and printed myself. I picked up a load of free pallets which Kevin and his brother used to make road signs for the venue. And I shopped sales and used coupon codes! I tried to buy as much as possible instead of renting so I can resell items afterwards. At least that's the plan!
I would urge brides to accept the help people offer you. My brother said he would design the invitations for us, and I couldn't have asked for a more perfect first-glance into the feel of our wedding day. My soon-to-be sister-in-laws helped me for hours assembling those darn ribbon wands and other small tasks I needed to get out of the way. I posted a last-minute ad on Craigslist because we were short on china place settings, and another bride with an October wedding offered to let me borrow hers. One thing I hold to is that if you never ask, you will never know. I was upfront with people in saying that my then-fiancé and I had a very small budget and was wondering if they would be able to work with us… and they were! It was a beautiful opportunity to see the good in people, and really lightened the load financially.
What was the biggest sacrifice you made to stay on budget?
Not having a DJ. This is something I really went back and forth on, and if I could do it again… honestly, I would have one. It's one area I was clueless about as far as how to find a budget-friendly option, and in the end we just decided to do Spotify playlists. Well, that may have worked out fine if we had enough speaker power and a connection that didn't keep cutting out when people were trying to dance!! haha! Our dance floor was pretty much a flop – but oh well! It was a beautiful day outside so everyone ended up meandering out there to hang out and play.
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
Be organized, but be flexible. It was so helpful to me and others in charge to have a detailed timeline and list of what people's responsibilities were. I had copies for myself, the wedding coordinators, the wedding party, and a couple others. That way everyone knew exactly what was going on, and if they didn't – someone else did. But then there are always hiccups, and you know what? It's totally normal, and it is certainly nothing to get upset about! You know the only person who knows exactly how everything is supposed to go? You. Will your guests notice if one of your decorations isn't perfectly in place? No. Will they know if the food is 15 minutes behind schedule? No. One specific example from my day was the timing of the processional… there was a VERY particular part of the song I wanted to walk down the aisle to, but everyone else started too early. So, there ended up being an unusually long pause in the timing before I appeared at the doorway (because I waited until “my” part). It wasn't how I had planned it, but that's the way it happened – and it's a memory to be cherished along with the rest of them! So don't worry, and be at peace! It's not worth stressing over.
What was your biggest splurge?
The catering – and it was worth every penny! I've always found that food is very important at a wedding. If the food runs out – no good. If the guests have to wait two hours to get food? No good! If everyone gets to enjoy a fresh meal with tasty treats in a timely fashion – bingo!! I was actually really nervous about this up until the very moment we walked up to the buffet table. I had never done a tasting with the caterer, I couldn't find a ton of reviews for them (although the reviews they did have were great), and the closer the date got the more I began to doubt my decision to go with scrambled eggs, home fries, and bacon. Would the eggs be cold? Would the bacon be chewy? Would the home fries be dry? What if people wanted more options than we had? Was it going to be just plain underwhelming? Obviously I was a bit off my rocker. Everything turned out FINE! In fact, it was incredible! The food was delicious and people were so excited about it. AND it was arranged so beautifully. I was beyond impressed! No regrets at all.
What was your favorite detail?
This is a toughy! Hmmm… I loved the way our donut cake turned out. Kevin's sister Janet is talented at making real cakes, so we asked her if she could go ahead and arrange our donuts to look like one. I just remember walking up to it and thinking how adorable it was! And it looks perfect in the pictures. 🙂 It really was a very nice touch to the room, especially with the pussywillow branches and hanging glitter balls accenting the table.
But then there were the mimosas too!! This was something Kevin kept bringing up over and over. I was hesitant for a long time, but finally decided to go with it and it was a HUGE hit. We actually ended up running out of champagne – oops! It was such a fun aspect of the brunch, and people were all over it! AND I loved the fabric garland I made to hang behind our sweetheart table
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
Kevin says it was the time right after we kissed and walked back down the aisle, before we opened the ballroom doors to greet our guests. It was just the two of us, freshly married and glowing with all that pure joy. 🙂
I think for me, it would be when we were all hanging out outside (after the dancing wasn't working out so well). I'm not kidding when I say the weather was stunning that day! The week before had been cold and calling for rain, and somehow we ended up with a perfectly sunny, 75-degree spring day. The orchard trees even decided to start blooming that day! It was absolutely beautiful…. everyone was out there talking and smiling, the kids were running around looking for eggs, and we were enjoying the company of all the people we love dearly. Excuse me for getting all cheesy, but it really was the perfect end to a perfect day!
Venue: Rixey Manor • Caterer: Savory Fare • Photographer: Emily Sacra Photography • Dress: St. Anthony's Bridal, Metro Dyeing (dyeing services) and Janet Rigby and Karen Graham (alterations) • Bride's Jewelry: Susan Gray • Bride's Shoes: Jewels By Wanda • Groom's Outfit: Kohl's (shirt and pants), Marc Darcy Suits (vest), Sears (tie), Gordon Rush (shoes) • Wedding Bands: Elite Jewelers • Processional Song: Matthew Clevenger • Flowers: Nettleton Hollow and Beth Miller • Donut cake: donuts from Krispy Kreme, arranged by Janet Kemp • Hair: Tabatha from Jane of All Trades (up-do), BB World Bridal (comb)