Fall wedding with cotton details

Of course I love all the weddings we feature here on BSB, but this is probably one of my very favorites! I had the hardest time choosing photos for this feature because there were so many gorgeous ones– well done to the photographer, Nolen PhotographyEverything from the choice to use cotton instead of flowers, the hayride and all the fun games at the reception– this wedding just has so much character and heart and it didn’t cost a fortune! I also LOVE that both the bride AND the groom shared their advice and input with us, so please enjoy this gorgeous fall wedding with cotton details – it’s sure to make you crave a Pumpkin Spice Latte. 🙂   xoxo- Jessica

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Nathan + Jessica 

November 3, 2012

Tuscaloosa, Alabama  |   bride’s parents’ backyard

What was your budget? 

Our max was $8,000. We came in around $7700-ish. There might be a few items I’m forgetting, but here’s a rough estimate!


Photography: $2,000

Rentals (chairs and tables): $632.00

Dinner (including snacks and beverages): $1,091

Dress (including alterations & undergarments): $720

Makeup: $50

Flowers: $0 (We used cotton given to us by a kind farmer whose name we do not even know. We just stopped off of the side of the road and knocked on his door- true story!)

Decorations: $808

Wedding Party Gifts & Other Wedding Gifts (e.g., wedding coordinator): $925

Bridesmaid Brunch & Groomsman Breakfast: $380

Wedding Certificate: $50

Invitations, Coloring Book, Program, Address stamp:$338

Wedding Guest Favors: $248

Wedding Bands: $350

Honeymoon clothes: $148

How many guests did you have?

   About 120

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

When we started planning our wedding, we decided up front that we wanted it to feel like “home”. We tried to use personal touches everywhere. Growing up, my granny picked cotton, so we used that in place of flowers. Our ring-bearer carried Nathan’s belated grandfather’s bible down the aisle. We even got married in my parents’ backyard! Every role and every detail that day was carried out by our kind friends. The presence of loved ones was by far the best aspect of our wedding day. While we loved and enjoyed the details of our wedding, it would have been empty without our family and friends. It felt amazing to have so many loved ones there.

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

The biggest thing we did was have great friends. And we called them for help. We also did a lot of DIY projects. My mom had the brilliant idea of re-hemming $5 flat sheets from Walmart to make tablecloths. My parents were able to sell them at a yard sale after the wedding.

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

   Jessica: One thing I wish I would have done is assigned a couple of people to help my mom. She wound up with extra work on the day of the wedding. I wish that she could have relaxed more. Otherwise, the only thing I’d advise is to not worry about everything being perfect. There are larger, more wonderful things that deserve your focus.

 Nathan: Make peace with the fact that some things are going to cost more than you’d like to spend. It’s ok to DIY a lot of things because then it becomes personalized. There are so many things you would pay money for that just get tossed when the wedding is over. Don’t sweat small stuff. Get the people you want there. People are most important.

What was your biggest splurge?

We spent the most on photography, but we don’t regret it. We wanted good pictures and our photographers were wonderful. They helped keep us moving through the evening. However, one splurge we made was a disappointment: our sparklers – they did not even last long enough for us to run through them! I felt like we wasted money.

What was your favorite detail?

   Jessica: One of my favorite details was when our sparklers went out before we had a chance to run through them. Everyone rushed back into the yard to grab a jar with a candle inside to hold as we walked out. It was beautiful! You just can’t plan moments like that.

   Nathan: I loved the variety show reception, and having so many people involved.

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

   Jessica: One moment I remember vividly was when my dad and I turned the corner to walk down the aisle. I looked around and saw the faces of those whom I love dearly, with the most important one waiting for me at the altar. I was overcome with love. That has to be what heaven is like.

   Nathan: Our first kiss!


Credits: Photography: Nolen Photography  //  Flowers: My mom, Deb Burns, and me  //  Event Design: My mom. A friend, Clinton Snider, decorated the day of the event. He had help from other friends.  //  Ceremony Location: Tuscaloosa, Alabama  //  Reception Location: Tuscaloosa, Alabama  //  Invitations: We got a template from the Wedding Chicks website and printed them at Kinko’s using paper from Hobby Lobby.  //  Dress: David’s Bridal  //  Bridesmaid Dress: Belk  //  Groom Suit: Jos. A. Bank  //  Catering: Chicken Cabana in Tuscaloosa, AL  //  Set-up: Nathan, My dad, Nathan’s dad, my brother, groomsmen  //  Clean-up: Family and Friends   //  Pies: Family members  //  Guest “book” Quilt: Michelle Rhein  //  Hayride Driver: Gregg Roberts  //  Musicians: Tim Munyon and Michael Boukas  // Pastor: Rev. Adam Young

Editor’s note: During this time of quarantine and social distancing, 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! Learn more here

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