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It's Wednesday, so of course you know that means it's time for the Budget Savvy Wedding of the Week! I have something personal and special to share today, my very own budget wedding that took place on this day THREE years ago! I can hardly believe how fast the time has flown since we tied the knot. As you probably already know, this blog was born out of the fact that Eric and I were planning our wedding on a tight budget. I always knew that marrying my best friend would enrich my life, but in addition to our marriage it has given me something else that I am passionate about and love– this blog! (Which turns FOUR on Monday, BTW)

Today I want to wish my wonderful husband Eric a very happy anniversary. I am so very lucky and grateful to have him as my partner in this journey of life. I hope you all enjoy this little trip down memory lane, I sure did. 🙂
xoxo – Jessica

Budget Savvy Wedding
Budget Savvy Wedding
Budget Savvy Wedding
Budget Savvy Wedding
Budget Savvy Wedding
Budget Savvy Wedding
Budget Savvy Wedding
Budget Savvy Wedding
Budget Savvy Wedding
Budget Savvy Wedding
Budget Savvy Wedding
Budget Savvy Wedding
Budget Savvy Wedding

Eric + Jessica

May 2, 2009

 The Sam Davis Home : Smyrna, Tennessee

What was your budget?

We spent around $10,000 on our wedding. Here's a breakdown of our budget:

Hair/Makeup: $155

Attire: $700 (dress, shoes, accessories)

Alcohol: $530

Ceremony/Legal: $240

Music: FREE

Venue: $1000

Photography: $500 (I bartered graphic design/photo editing services for my the remainder of our photography bill)

Miscellaneous Décor: $250

Coordination and Flowers: $900

Paper Products: $270

Rentals: $2700 (chairs, tables, linens, dishes, tent, dance floor, etc)

Catering: $2,700

Candy Buffet/Favors: $225


How many guests did you have?

We invited around 175 and around 150 attended.

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

So many! It was really important to us to have the day be reflective of us as a couple. We were very intentional about all the decisions we made for the wedding. We chose to serve our guests communion and our pastor shared our love letters to each other during the ceremony, both were incredibly personal to us and gave our family and friends a glimpse into our relationship and what matters most to us.

In terms of creativity, I spent countless hours designing every last detail of the paper goods and decor. I designed everything from our save the dates, invitations, programs, signage, candy buffet labels, candy bag labels, wine labels–  you name it, I probably monogrammed it! 🙂 We spent tons of time making tissue paper flowers to be part of the decor. We used biodegradable utensils instead of renting silverware and we wrapped them in colored cardstock and tied them with twine for an extra cute detail. We served good ‘ol soul food for our wedding meal- since most of our family was from out of town we wanted to treat them to some delicious local fare. I spent tons of time scouring thrift stores and ebay to find tons of mason jars and milk glass vases to use for centerpieces. We had a huge candy buffet with all different varieties of yellow candy because Eric is a candy fanatic. We walked down the aisle as husband and wife to ‘Don't Stop Believin' by Journey played on an acoustic guitar by my uncle. We just tried to incorporate alot of our favorite things and it resulted in a day that was so very us– we had a blast!

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

I spent tons of time doing research. I gave myself a full year to plan the wedding so I didn't have to make any snap decisions. I did lots of thrift store shopping and repurposing and diy. One of my favorite things we did to save money was we purchased Two Buck Chuck wine from Trader Joe's to serve at the reception, but we created custom wine labels for the bottles so they looked extra special and none of our guests knew that we bought pretty much the cheapest wine ever. I have to say, although the wine is cheap it's actually a decent wine– everyone loved it and it saved us a bundle!

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

Don't let anyone tell you that you HAVE to do anything you don't want to do. Don't want to toss the bouquet? Don't do it. Don't like cake? Have an ice cream buffet instead. Don't want to wear a big poofy dress? Wear a short chic one. It's YOUR day. Do what feels good to you.

If you don't hire a wedding planner or coordinator, designate a trusted friend or family member (not in your immediate family or wedding party) to oversee the details of the day. You don't want to worry about setting up all the centerpieces, signage and decor yourself. Take the time to designate someone to handle that for you– you will be so much happier and calm if you can just relax and take it all in. The day goes by in SUCH a blur, you will want to spend every moment fully present with your bridal party, your family, friends, and new hubby!

What was your biggest splurge?

I don't know that it was a ‘splurge' per se but at the last minute I decided to change our rental order from white chairs to brown natural wooden ones. It was a silly little change that was totally for visual reasons only, and it cost us an extra $50 or $100 I think, but I am SO glad we did it. The wooden chairs looked so much better with our color scheme, I think the white chairs would've washed things out too much.

What was your favorite detail?

I loved all of the paper products, the candy buffet, the wine labels. I really loved carrying our theme across all aspects of the day.

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

SO many! I loved the first look moment with Eric. We got to spend some time alone and really be with each other for about 30 or 45 minutes. After the ceremony was over and the reception begun we were in a whirlwind of talking with guests, dancing and celebrating so it was nice to have those quiet, sweet moments together to take pictures and revel in the occasion together! I also loved dancing with my new hubby, my dad, and my grandfather during the reception– all such sweet and special moments!


Photography: Chris & Adrienne Scott for Evin Photography  |  Venue: The Sam Davis Home  |  Flowers and Coordination: Tara Milam  |  Wedding Gown and bridesmaid dresses: A Special Touch  |   |   Catering: Miller's Cafe   |   Paper Products: JessLehry Designs   |   Makeup: Amy Lynn Larwig   | Rentals: Classic Party Rentals

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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

Connect with Jessica
  • Happy Anniversary Jessica! Hope it’s wonderful! 🙂

  • Stunning!!

  • Happy Anniversary!! Love the photo of the groomsmen with their socks exposed. What a great idea about the wine – I WISH our venue let us bring our own alcohol, there is a law in our county that prohibits all venues from doing that – so the liquor board makes more $$$$$! I like the mix of vases in your centerpieces too – beautiful wedding!

    • Thank you so much! Yeah, being able to supply our own alcohol was a HUGE budget saver for us. Many other places we looked were charging $40 per bottle of wine. We had 8 cases of wine, 12 bottles per case… so… $3840 vs $250. Holy cow!! That’s a bummer that your county has those restrictions… Hope it doesn’t bust your budget too much!

  • Tina @ Wedding Favors

    I love the details of the wedding.

  • Whitney

    I’m new to the blog, but absolutely love it! I am planning a wedding in TN and this has been a great help. Do you have more information on your paper products (e.g., wine labels, invites)? I have found discounted DIY invitations but they still don’t seem that original.

  • Lauren

    Hi! I’m new to your blog & so far I LOVE it! How & where did you design your paperie items? Your wedding looked beautiful!

    Thank you!

  • Stephanie

    Hi! Love your site and I find myself on here quite a bit for ideas! I am getting married June 28th 2014 in Lascassas. Any vendor recommedations? Marrying Stuart Hawkins too! Carol mentions your wedding quite a bit and how great it was 🙂

    • Hi Stephanie!

      Thanks for the comment! So happy you’re finding the site useful! Congrats on the engagement and upcoming wedding! The Hawkins are wonderful people- you really lucked out in the in-law department 🙂

      In terms of vendors, which items specifically do you need recommendations for? I’m happy to help! 🙂

      xo, Jessica

      • Stephanie

        Wow – I am late on the reply! So sorry! What did you do about your flowers? Is it better to go with a florist or wholesale diy? I contacted one place and their minimum cost was $1250… which I think is a little steep for flowers. Just wondering what you did for yours and what you may have seen/heard from other weddings.

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