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Grey + Green Wedding with tons of DIY details

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I’ve got a fun wedding for you guys today filled with tons of details! I love that the bride and groom incorporated their personalities, interests, professions and talents into their day in a MAJORLY budget savvy way! Can you believe they used twigs gathered in their neighborhood for centerpieces and they look THAT fabulous? FREE is the ultimate budget savvy. And I have to say that their videos must have made for one killer personalized ceremony that left their guests feeling like they were in on their love story from the very beginning. I just LOVE it! Hope you enjoy this feature and definitely be sure to check out their video links below!! xoxo-Jessica

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Leslie + William

October 6th, 2012
The Historic Green Acres Building, Saint Joseph, Missouri


What was your budget? Please give us a breakdown of how you spent your budget– rough estimates are fine!

• Venue Rental (Green Acres Ballroom & Courtyard): $1,100 (The venue included a restored ballroom, rose garden & patio area, and was adjacent to our hotel.)
• Invitations & Save The Date Cards: $225
• Flowers: $400
• Bridesmaids dresses, flower girls dresses, suit rentals, & bridal party gifts: $980
• Wedding Dress, veil, shoes, accessories: $1,140
• Reception & Ceremony decorations, linen rentals, & dinnerware: $740
• DJ: $250
• Photographers: $1,600
• Food (including cupcakes, cake topper, bartender): $2,010
• AV Rental (Televisions, stands, media center): $0 – Borrowed from a friend.
• Wine & Beer:  A gift from friends (We had six 5-liter boxes of wine for wine by the glass and sangria, as well as 200 bottles of beer in mixed varieties… All purchased at bulk pricing. So I would ballpark $350 to $450 for alcohol.)

• Total budget: $8,445


How many guests did you have?

120 attendees, 200 invited. Almost exactly the number we planned for- whewww!


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

Our ceremony was written by the bride with help from her screenwriter maid-of-honor, and was anchored by multimedia elements edited by the groom. This allowed us total freedom to craft a ceremony that had all of the elements that we wanted to share with family and friends, while cutting out the parts of other weddings that you always feel like you’re being drug through because it’s what you’re SUPPOSED to have in a wedding. Leslie was working in Public Radio at an NPR station, and Will is a video engineer and university instructor in a mass media department, so media is a big part of our lives. We threw out all of the rules, and that really helped to make our day into OUR day.

  • The ceremony was laced with personalized multimedia events
  • Played our engagement video to begin the service – Viewable at https://vimeo.com/30969485
  • Created video mashup of our favorite story from our favorite radio show that talked about the history of love. We attended a live taping of this show while on a trip a year before and knew that we wanted to share it as part of our story. The audio is from an episode of Radio Lab called Desperately Seeking Symmetry, and the video is cut together from an animation from the play Hedwig and the Angry Inch. It is viewable at: https://vimeo.com/53127466
  • We cut together a personalized animation Viewable at: vimeo.com/53127411
  • We brought a photo booth built from an iMac computer that guests used during the night. At the end of the night we emptied the hard drive and edited together the images to create a video thank-you to those who attended. It is viewable here: https://vimeo.com/50954116
  • Bride and Grooms favorite cookies as appetizers at the reception.
  • Leslie used a kit to create a personalized, handmade guestbook tree with leaves for guests to sign. The guestbook has now become a featured piece of artwork in our home.
  • Centerpieces handmade from neighborhood elements (see money savers below!)
  • Bride wore the grooms grandmothers’ ring and mothers’ ring as necklace.


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

  • Centerpieces made from neighborhood birch branches, with dried split peas as filler, glassware purchased on sale, craigslist, and elsewhere. The paper birds were cut by the bride from swatches of her favorite colors.
  • The black sand in the candle holders was actually sandblasting media instead of the super-expensive decorating colored sand – $12 vs. $80 for the candle holders.
  • Using resources: Broadcasting students as videographers, as our bartender, and using a friend with his own service as our DJ.
  • Designing our own invitations and date cards, printed in B&W on a standard paper size, worked with the local printer, total cost (with postage) $1.30 per invite and date card set.
  • Family and friends scoured sales and online listings to help us gather the supplies we needed for our decorations, dinnerware, etc; following the ceremony we re-listed everything we didn’t want to keep as a kit, recouping a sizable portion of that investment.


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

  • Have a separate wedding flash drive to keep yourself organized
  • Ask for help from family and friends, but spread it around.
  • We were able to purchase the dresses for our bridesmaids and flower girls as well as rent the suits for our groomsmen and ring bearers – This took a lot of financial load off of some of our family and friends.
  • Don’t follow the norm; be creative and plan in all of the elements that you like. It’s YOUR day, make it one that you will enjoy to the fullest. We were a little worried that some of our unconventional approaches would throw off some people, however we received nothing but rave reviews on our original ceremony.

What was your biggest splurge?

  • The venue – we loved the look and the location of the renovated hundred- plus year old ballroom and building complex, choosing to go well over our rental budget, but saving a lot by not having to decorate due to the gorgeous classic style of the building.
  • Our photographers – Ginger and Sarah were amazing to work with, and, as media folks, Leslie and I had a very specific candid style that we were looking for from our photographers. We researched dozens of photographers before finding them; while it was nearly our largest expense, we were not disappointed.

What was your favorite detail?

Our favorite part of our day was starting the ceremony out with the video from our engagement; it gave some back-story as well as providing cover for the entrance of the groom and our officiant.


What is the most memorable moment of your day?

  • Bride: Waiting for music to begin, coming around the corner, walking down the aisle to favorite song.
  • Groom: We had two ring bearers lined up, dressed like miniature secret- service agents with a locked briefcase; on was three and the other five. The three year got a little spooked and looking down the aisle I could see Eli, the older ring bearer, straighten up with an “Don’t worry everybody, I’ve got this!” look and march down the aisle, saving the day.


Venue: The Historic Green Acres Building   |   Photography: Creative Events Studio  |   Grooms Attire: 2 Trendy Formalwear   |   Bride’s Gown: Davids Bridal   |   Catering, Floral, Bakery: HyVee Catering, Floral, and Bakery


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