Fairytale Park Wedding on a $10K Budget

We have a darling real wedding for you today. Arianna and Tanner had a short 3-month engagement in which they planned a beautiful and budget savvy wedding in the public park! They said their vows in front of a beautifully decorated cross, and rode into the ceremony on a horse-drawn carriage! Enjoy this Fairytale Park Wedding on a $10K Budget! Xoxo, Jessica

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Arianna + Tanner

August 18th, 2018
Thompson's Station, TN | Thompson Station Park

What was your total budget? Please provide a budget breakdown.

  • Venue and Rentals: Free
  • Photography: $1600
  • Flowers: $1500
  • Dress and Shoes: $1000
  • Catering: $3000
  • Horse-drawn carriage: $500
Total budget of $10,000 for this wedding.

How did you meet?

My husband and I met in a sociology class in college. We were the only two students who stayed for questions after a lecture. Total nerds. After the questions, we ended up chatting for a minute which turned into two hours. And the next a coffee date that lasted for hours.

What is your proposal story?

My husband took me to the town where he grew up. We spent all day driving around and then at the end of the day he drove me to this beautiful lake surrounded by poppy fields. He told me “this is where my life started and where I want to start my new life with you.” Then he pulled out the most beautiful ring. It was so magical. Just the two of us with the poppies dancing in the wind and waves crashing.

Tell us about your wedding vision.

We knew we wanted to get married soon but when we looked at our families availability we quickly realized it would be happening much sooner than anticipated. Three months after our engagement we were married. The biggest roadblock we experienced was lack of venue availability due to our short time. So we decided to think outside of the box!

We got married at a park where we went on some of our first dates. This was free. Our reception was at my husband's church and this was also free. However, we chose to tithe to the church in thanks for the use of space.

I knew I wanted a very romantic, sentimental and almost whimsical wedding. My husband and his stepdad made the cross we used for our altar. I love the natural wood and beautiful spray of flowers created by Dana. We wanted a day filled with family and love.

Tell us about your attire choices.

My wedding dress had romantic lace, pearl beads, a tulle skirt and a heart made from lace in the back. It was very whimsical and my complete dream dress. We chose to keep the guys more casual since we did get married in the warmer summer months.

I selected a color scheme for my bridesmaids to stick to and told them they could choose whatever design they liked. Somehow all five of the girls selected the same dress. It was so funny to me and yet it reminded me how like-minded all my people truly are!

What was most important to you two while planning. Was there anything you chose to splurge on or skip?

When planning our wedding we focused on creating a day that was all about us. We aren’t big fans of late nights and chose to have our wedding in the afternoon. This ended up actually saving us money and it was so nice to have quality time after our wedding to reflect on the day.

Our biggest saving was on alcohol. We actually chose a booze-free reception. Our biggest splurge was on catering. We had a lovely charcuterie board to greet guests which they enjoyed until the wedding party arrived. For food, we had a variety of hearty appetizers for guests to choose from. Dannie our caterer was absolutely incredible.

What were your favorite parts of the day?

My favorite part of the day was walking down the aisle towards my future husband. The moment I saw him I got instant butterflies. I couldn’t help but cry.

Buy Used Wedding Dresses

Speaking of butterflies. There were so many beautiful butterflies flying around and resting on guests shoulders during the ceremony. It was beautiful and perfectly magical.

Tell us about your wedding flowers.

Our wedding flowers were lovingly designed by Dana with One Wildflower Design. I walked her through our ceremony and reception spaces and told her about my vision. What she did with my vision was above and beyond what I could have imagined.

Since we were on a budget we wanted to focus on a few main floral focal points and then incorporate extra greenery in the reception. For my bridesmaids, I knew I wanted something unique. Dana brought that vision to life in the most beautiful way. I still dream about my bridal bouquet. It was stunning and more beautiful than I had imagined.

Tell us about your wedding cake.

Triple Crown Bakery helped us create our wedding cake. We went with carrot cake on top (my husband's favorite flavor) and a lemon cake with berry filling for the base. We had our florist add greenery to the cake and kept the design very simple. It ended up being so simple and elegant. Not to mention delicious.

What did you do for favors?

Favors are so tricky when it comes to weddings. They are in some sense obligatory and yet many times they go to waste or are never used. One idea I have seen many times before was little potted flowers which is what I had originally wanted to do. However, over half of our guests had traveled from other states to attend our wedding. We chose little seed packets that said “Let love grow” that I ordered from Etsy. They were cost effective and I loved that our guests could easily take them home to spread in their gardens and enjoy this spring.

Describe any handmade, DIY or personal items.

My husband and his stepdad hand made the cross we had our ceremony in front of. It added so much sentimental value to our ceremony.

My family is filled with a team of decor warrior women. When we arrived at the church the day before the wedding they all jumped quickly to their delegated tasks. Just like that, we had homemade backdrops hung and centerpieces set up. There are so many fabric backdrops for sale and they can get very pricy. My mom and I took measurements for the places we wanted backdrops and headed to our local craft store. We bought fabric that we used to drape around the reception space which made it seem much more whimsical and elegant than it had when we first arrived.

Did you include any family heirlooms or special traditions?

My mom lent me her pearl earrings the morning of my wedding. These earrings were a gift to her from my father on her first mother’s day with me. They contain a pearl (my birthstone) and a diamond (her birthstone) side by side. This was such a special moment and memory I treasure.

Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?

Find a photographer who you LOVE. At the end of the day, all you have left are photographs and wedding bands. Mandy was the perfect photographer for us and beautifully documented our day. Each wedding is unique and beauty is in the details of your love displayed that day, not the price tag of the event.


Photography: mandy liz photography • Ceremony Venue: Thompson Station Park • Floral: One Wild Flower Designs • Wedding Cake: Triple Crown Bakery • Wedding Dress: Davids Bridal • Submitted via: Matchology

Editor's note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more resources for planning a pandemic wedding here