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Budget Savvy Wedding Inspiration

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So thrilled to share this lovely inspiration shoot today! I don’t often accept styled shoots on The Budget Savvy Bride, because often times they seem way too perfect, unattainable, and out of reach for our readers. This submission received a warm welcome to my inbox because it breaks the mold of a typical styled shoot! This shoot was headed up by Christine Thornton of West Coast Wedding Photographers & West Coast Wedding Design – and she strived to put together a beautiful wedding look while spending as little as possible- and she definitely achieved her goal! This shoot was intended to be an inspiration pallet for brides interested in DIY and romantic, woodsy themes who are looking to plan a wedding on a budget. The vendors wanted to show that gorgeous details don’t need to be passed up because of budget restrictions. This whole inspiration shoot was put together for under $150!! (Can you say, incredible?!) Check out this gorgeous shoot below and read all about their concept and process:

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A warm late winter day in the woods was the perfect time for an intimate celebration of love. As a wedding and couples photographer, putting together a wedding inspiration shoot full of natural beauty was the perfect way to show newly engaged couples what a beautiful choice a winter or spring wedding could be. With the golden light and the mossy old trunks of the tall west coast cedars surrounding everyone, a woodsy location was the right place to give the shoot a fairy-tale romantic feeling.

When shopping and planning for the shoot I looked for all types of décor made from natural materials – one tip that I want to pass along to brides looking to save money by doing DIY projects or buying their own décor is to have a strong theme in mind. Because the inspiration for this shoot was natural beauty, I used many elements with a neutral theme, such as wood, branches, twine, and burlap. My greatest find was a tree that had been cut down by some landscapers in my community – I asked if I could have a portion of it, and then began breaking it down into pieces which I used to construct the wedding arch, the table center piece, and as the stems on the homemade bouquets! Contrasting those natural elements with refined pieces of china, delicate glass and crystal, and elegant gold accents pulled the whole concept of ‘romance in the woods’ together.

Because I was funding the whole event myself, I was very budget conscious. I wanted to show future brides and couples that a small budget wedding does not need to have less elegance or less detail than a big budget wedding. All the items used in the shoot were sourced from local nonprofit thrift stores or made by hand. I made frequent trips to thrift stores to look for vintage accents, such as the china and crystal pieces. Using second hand items is not only a great way to save money for yourself, but to help support the charities and foundations that are often funded by profits from local thrift stores. With a little creativity and time, simple materials and locally found items can be transformed into unique and personal wedding décor giving the wedding an intimate rustic-chic style.


Cost Breakdown:

  • Flower Bouquets: 200 Coffee Filters + Food coloring – $3.00
  • Desert table: DIY Ingredients for confections – $25.00
  • Furniture – Goodwill, $30.00
  • Escort Cards – $2.00 for 10 mini plant pots + recycled cardboard
  • Bridesmaid Dresses – $10 – $15 each
  • Bride’s Dress – Jubilee Reach Heart and Home Thrift Store – $30
  • Groom’s Suit – Jubilee Reach Heart and Home Thrift Store – $12
  • Favors – Mason Jars – $10 for 12


Photographer: West Coast Wedding Photographers, Christine Thornton  //  Stylist/Event Planner: West Coast Wedding Design, Christine Thornton
Make up and Hair: Web of Love, Sarah Leann 


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