Today we’re featuring a beautiful garden wedding from South Carolina! Chelsea and Josh kept their wedding costs to $7K by crafting their own wedding decor and cutting out items that weren’t important to them. I absolutely love all of the magnolia leaves they used to decorate their ceremony and reception venue. And make sure you check out their naked wedding cake; absolute perfection! xoxo, Jessica
Chelsea + Josh
September 12, 2015
Irmo, South Carolina | River Road and Jasmine Houses and Gardens
What was your budget?
We set our budget at $7,000.
We chose a venue that was a one stop shop. They included the catering, the wedding cake, the venue itself, tables and table linens, chairs, and a wedding coordinator for the day of. The price for the venue was based on the number of guests and the menu we chose; it totaled at $4,100. The price included a deposit of $250, which was returned to us within 45 days after the ceremony.
We chose Picture This photography, to photograph our wedding and got a great deal at $500 for 5 hours wedding/reception, 2 hours engagement session, and 1 hour bridal session.
The DJ was a family member of my husband’s who is a professional wedding Disc Jockey. He gave us a great deal at $350 for four hours.
Our wedding party was gracious enough to purchase their own attire, so we only had to pay for our attire and our children’s (our flower girls and ring bearer). On attire (including shoes, belts, alterations etc.), we spent roughly $1,300.
On decorations, centerpieces, card box, guest book, artificial flowers and other miscellaneous items we spent roughly $400.
For stationery, such as invites, save the dates, RSVPs and stamps we spent $300.
My best friend of 18 years became a notary and officiated our wedding, so we did not have to pay an officiate.
We spent roughly $250 on gifts for the wedding party and our parents.
I also purchased a printable PDF for the programs and printed them myself. I spent $40 on the rights to the PDF, paper and ink.
How many guests did you have?
We had an estimate of 80 adults and 20 children, although we aren’t sure of the exact number.
What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
Since we chose to have our wedding in the garden, we let nature shine with minimal décor. We also went with a vintage themed wedding. Our flower girls (our daughters) were dressed in ivory lace and ribbon dresses, and our ring bearer (our son) was dressed in a vintage style charcoal gray page boy outfit with a lavender dress shirt. The centerpieces were wine bottles, stained wooden boxes with faux pearls inside, and a jar filled with lavender, oil and a vintage style photo of my husband and I, taken at our engagement shoot. I made our card box out of a vintage suitcase, ribbon, twine, ivory paper, and artificial flowers. I fell in love with the wedding tree guest book idea on Pinterest, but it was a very expensive buy. Instead, I pulled from my childhood artistic talent and made it myself. I painted a tree on canvas and put out ink pads with a sign, asking our guests to “leaf your thumbprint and sign your name, so we can look back and know who came.” All of the décor was made with low-cost items I purchased from a craft store.
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
Knowing what we wanted, and doing LOTS of research. I researched venues, caterers, vendors and everything in between. We didn’t have a lot of money, so knowing what was out there and at what cost helped to figure out what we could cut down on and what we couldn’t avoid a high cost on. The research really helped put into perspective what was a necessity and what was just a desire. We had to make decisions on what was most important on our desire list, and what we could live without if our budget didn’t allow it. The biggest things we did to cut costs were the decisions to not serve alcohol, to minimize the guest list, and to make the décor, bouquets, boutonnieres, and etc. myself, rather than pay a big company or vendor to do so.
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
Have a plan and know what you want before you dive into actually planning the details. It’s good to at least have an idea of what you like before you are bombarded with millions of wedding ideas and advice. Once you know what you want, stick to it and have fun. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and stressed by all the decisions to make, big and small, you have to remind yourself to relax. Things will never go exactly as you planned it, and that’s completely ok, because at the end of the day, your wedding will be perfectly imperfect and you get to marry your best friend.
What was your biggest splurge?
Our biggest splurge would have to be our honeymoon. We still didn’t really go crazy, just a four day trip to Myrtle Beach, SC. After budgeting every penny for the past 10 months, we were tired of being frugal. We booked an oceanfront suite, and took the money we received as gifts from the wedding and just splurged. We went out to dinner and lunch every day. We went to the aquarium, to Medieval Times, to Broadway at the Beach and shopping. We threw our budget out the window and just enjoyed ourselves. After all, we had paid all our bills, and took care of all of our responsibilities before we left, and having three children, we don’t get much time alone with each other.
What was your favorite detail?
My favorite details would have to be the card box, the guest book painting and the page boy outfit I found for my son (the ring bearer). I love the vintage feel it gave our wedding and I worked very hard to find and make them.
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
The most memorable moment of the day, for me, would have to be dancing with my father in law to Footloose. He ran inside to find me, told me to give my son to my husband and grabbed my hand saying “I need you outside!” I thought something was wrong, until he flung me out on the dance floor and said: “We have to dance, this is my favorite!” So, still kind of in shock, I kicked off my shoes and danced with him in the goofiest and fun way possible, with a little shag thrown in. My husband’s family has always treated me like part of the family, but that moment, truly made me feel accepted and I will always cherish it.
Photography: Picture This Photography • Venue, rentals and catering: The River Road and Jasmine Houses and Gardens • Attire: Men’s Wearhouse & David’s Bridal • Decor & Misc.: Etsy.com, Michael’s, Hobby Lobby & Amazon
Love garden weddings? See more garden wedding inspiration here:
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 pandemic wedding resources here.