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DIY Outdoor Public Wedding

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Hannah & John’s wedding is just going to knock your socks off, folks! They chose to get married outside on the lawn of an abandoned church which cost them nothing for their location- talk about budget savvy! Hannah is a wedding photographer herself and she crafted some picture perfect details with some thrift store shopping and some help from Etsy! She couldn’t resist getting in on the action of the day and even grabbed a camera during the ceremony to snap a photo of her new hubby! So adorable!

This wedding, shot by JHenderson Studios, is full of sweet details and lots of fun. This post is picture heavy- because I just couldn’t leave out some of these fun shots! Hannah incorporated some of my favorite flower alternatives: using paper and vintage brooches instead of real flowers! The result is stunning! Some of my other favorite details: the bride’s blue shoes, her handmade wedding dress, the non-matchy jewel toned bridesmaid dresses, the fauxtaux booth and quite possibly the coolest ring shot I’ve ever seen (if that is in fact a real life iguana!) Overall I just really love the personality of this wedding- and even better, it cost them less than $5,000! I hope you enjoy this mega-segment of the Budget Savvy Wedding of the Week!

What was your budget?

Our goal with our budget was to spend as little as absolutely possible. We estimate it ended up being between $4000 and $4500. 50% of that went towards the photography. Reception venue was $400. Alcohol $300. We served sandwiches, chips and salad and that cost probably close to $300. All decorations were either handmade or from ebay, etsy or goodwill. That along with our attire, wedding party gifts, and miscellaneous stuff make up the rest of the budget.

How many guests did you have?

around 100

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

The more appropriate question would be, “what traditions did you include in your wedding?” that would be a lot quicker to answer 🙂

We got married in front of an abandoned church building on a street where I used to live. Our guests waved “YAY” flags instead of throwing rice or blowing bubbles. We set up my fauxtaux booth for our guests to take fun self portraits. The groomsmen (and 2 bridesmen) were told to wear a gray suit of their choosing, fun shoes, fedoras and everyone carried black umbrellas. My bridesmaids each picked their own dress, each in a different color. My bouquet was made out of vintage flower brooches. My sister made the boutonniers out of feathers and ribbon, each one sporting a charm that represented their own personality (ie., a guitar for my dad, a clover for the Irish guy, a Gamecocks charm for the South Carolina fan). Our guests sang hymns acapella for the processional music. My dad sang a song during the exchanging of the rings. At the reception, table decorations included old, rusty barn lanterns, vintage table cloths, hundreds of handmade pinwheels instead of flower arrangements, and a myriad of different candle holders I collected over the years from thrift stores.

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

My mom and I made my wedding dress (one- because it was cheaper, two- because i couldn’t find what I was looking for anywhere else). My groom wore a suit he found at Goodwill for $9. Also, we bought all of our wine for $3 a bottle from Trader Joe’s (and it was delicious), and we went without a wedding cake because neither of us cared anything about having one.

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

Doing it all in 2 months was the best idea we ever had. Stress is going to be a factor no matter what so you might as well just knock it out quick. The only thing I wish I would have done differently is to have hired our photographer’s assistant in addition to her. I’m a wedding photographer myself so I just figured I would be able to better regulate the flow of things the day of and communicate what I wanted. But in actuality everything was just a blur all day and the responsibility of trying to focus on those specifics in addition to everything else was too much. I found it hard to balance overseeing things and communicating what I wanted while still trying to enjoy the moments of the day and be with my family and friends.

What was your biggest splurge?

Photography. It was 50% of our budget.

What was your favorite detail?

The “YAY” flags were definitely the best detail. everyone got really into them and used them all day long to celebrate. it kept me smiling the entire time.

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

I never would have thought this but oddly enough, the ceremony. We kept it really simple and fairly traditional. But the setting, the perfect weather and sunlight, the energy and excitement from our guests, the laughter and personal moments….it was an unbelievable happy exaggeration of everything i had hoped it would be and so, so, so much more. it was really special and terribly perfect.


Wedding Planner: Kirsten Hawkins, (206.755.2343)

Reception Venue: Customs House Museum in Clarksville

Photobooth: the Fauxtaux Booth

Photographer: JHenderson Studios


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