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Jessica + Stefan

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Things I love about this wedding: 1) It’s from my hometown in Murfreesboro, TN. 2) The super creative programs and favors 3) The bridesmaid dresses! 4) The super hot photos against the dark cloudy sky- the weather might not have been perfect but they still got great shots! 5) The fun photobooth pics! Hope you all enjoy this installment of the Budget Savvy Wedding of the Week!

What was your budget? If you are able, give us a rough breakdown of how you spent your budget.

Our budget was roughly $15,000. We did end up going over the budget a bit, but we had some room for flexibility. We enrolled in a honeymoon registry, which really helped us to focus the money we had on the wedding and use the money gifted to us in the Honeyfund for the honeymoon itself. We spent the most on our venue and photography. The venue package included all catering and bar costs so it was our biggest expense, but well worth it not to have to find caterers on our own. And the food was beautiful and delicious!

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

I really wanted our wedding to be very personal and reflect who we are as a couple, so we jumped right in did a lot of things ourselves. We love to travel and have traveled quite a bit as a couple so we tried to make travel and our new journey together as a married couple the underlying theme of the wedding. We designed our wedding invitations to look like luggage tags, with an antique map on the front cover and a compass design inside. For our favors, we handmade coasters with old maps on the front. For our guestbook, we scattered blank postcards from our travels on a table and asked our guests to write messages to us to drop into a suitcase. We also designed our day of programs to look like U.S. Passports, complete with our compass and a picture of us.
For the ceremony itself, we had a good friend read an excerpt from Dr. Seuss’s “Oh the Places You’ll Go” and it just fit us and our wedding so perfectly.

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

We just tried to DIY everything that we thought we could. We probably saved the most money by designing and printing all of our save the dates, invitations and thank you cards ourselves. We ordered our cardstock from Paper and More then designed everything in Inkscape and printed on our home printer. We had 5 page wedding invites shaped like a luggage tag, so we spent hours and hours cutting paper on a manual paper cutter which we borrowed from Stefan’s work. Then there were the countless hours designing and figuring out wording, not to mention endless trips to WalMart for more ink. In the end though I think it was definitely worth it. We did it all for about $3 per invite and ended up with something really unique and totally us.

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

When your friends and family offer their help, take it! Earlier in the planning process I tried to take on a lot of big projects on my own and it could get a bit stressful. But towards the end, when the real time crunch began, I was definitely ready for some help. My friends and family were absolutely invaluable, spending their nights after work stuffing out of town bags, tying ribbons, folding paper and much more. I don’t know what I would’ve done without their help.

What was your biggest splurge?

Our biggest splurge was on the photography. I’m a picture fanatic because I’ve always felt that pictures can immediately bring back memories that put you right back in the moment — and I knew from the start that we’d have to have stellar wedding photographs. We worked with Chris and Adrienne Scott, Photographers and they were absolutely amazing. Chris and Adrienne are so easy to work with — just like having two more friends at your wedding. In addition to the traditional photography, they set up a photobooth at our reception, where our guests could jump in with a variety of props and signs and everyone had an absolute blast with it. The pictures from the day are incredible — they could be something out of a magazine. The splurge was worth every penny.

What was your favorite detail?

Our favors were definitely my favorite detail of the day. For months before the wedding, every Sunday night we would open a bottle of wine, put on a movie and decoupage maps onto 4×4 tiles for our homemade coasters. We had so much fun doing it and I think they turned out as a really unique and useful keepsake from our day. And the best part? They ran us less than $1.50 per set!
I also am in love with my hair flower which I purchased from etsy seller TessaKim.

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

I think the moment that stands out to me the most was the brief period of maybe a minute after the ceremony, when Stefan and I reached the end of the aisle just out of the room. After being so jittery from standing in front of everyone we know and reciting our vows, there was this moment alone after our processional, when he just grabbed me, dipped me down and planted this huge, happy, we-finally-did-it-we’re-actually-married kiss on me and it was just the most intimate, amazing moment.


Venue: Stones River Country Club
Photographer: Chris and Adrienne Scott
Cake: Jackson Bakery, bakery owned by bride’s family
Flowers: Nila Gail Hunton, Murfreesboro, TN
DJ: Bobby Howard of I Do Weddings
Hair/Makeup: Heather Johnson of I Do Weddings
Hair Flower: TessaKim , etsy seller
Wedding Gown purchased at: Ever After Bridal


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