Desktop and Tablet header image Mobile header image

helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank

Gotta love a beach wedding! This couple managed to pull off a casual chic beach wedding for over 200 guests for around $12,500! I love the rustic details! Michelle has some really great advice to share so I hope you enjoy this feature as much as I do! ūüôā xoxo-Jessica

Michelle + Josh

June 30, 2012

Traverse City, MI

Ceremony: Sunset Park Beach, Reception: Aunt and Uncle's front yard on the Boardman River

What was your budget? If you are able, give us a rough breakdown of how you spent your budget.

$10,000 was our iniital budget and we upped it to $12,000. We actually went over budget and ended up somewhere around $12,500.

Reception catering = 3059, photography = 1378, ceremony site = $300, tent, tables, chairs, dance floor = 1650, hotel = 250, cake, cupcakes = 190, porta potties = 215, decor, favors, details = 715, DJ = 650, shuttle bus = 300, gifts for people involved = 600, officiant = 150, paper for programs etc., invites, thank yous, stamps = 330, Wedding snap app = 90, flowers = 300, dress, shoes, veil, jewelry, hair and makeup = 620, wedding bands = 550, tux = 125, marriage license = 45, rehearsal dinner = 350, alcohol for reception = 650

How many guests did you have?


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

Birch tree details, mason jars doubling as favors and as glasses to drink out of, mason jars with candles hanging in the trees around the yard, my dog :), homemade photobooth, wedding dvd with interviews instead of just pictures and music.

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

Having the reception at a place without a liquor license so we could buy our own alcohol. Also, create a homemade photobooth rather than getting a professional one from our photographer, and lastly buying in bulk for rehearsal dinner and cooking out rather than going to a nice restaurant. One more thing that was really easy was in one simple email to my caterer, I just asked if we could have a price break after 100 guests. He compromised and said that we could have $14/guest up to 150 guests and then $13/guest after that. That was the easiest $60 I saved…just by sending one quick email and asking nicely! I keep thinking of more things….one thing was I decided we didn't all the extra flowers for centerpieces and for moms/grandmas/dads/grandpas and just went with flowers for the wedding party and that cut my cost in half. The very last thing was I borrowed mirrors for centerpieces and borrowed table linens from friends/family who have recently been married. I got lucky on the linens…those would have been expensive.

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

SOMETHING WILL GO WRONG…but 9.5 times out of 10, nobody else will notice it but you (the bride) so don't sweat it!! Have a great itinerary and make sure your bridal party knows everything they can so that when people want to ask questions, they don't ask you or your groom (that gets sooo annoying when you're asked 40 questions/day!). Everybody who is available…put them to work to help set up and tear down! And lastly, when you're at the reception, make sure you take a step back in a spot that nobody can see you with your groom and just stand there watching all your loved ones having a good time!

What was your biggest splurge?

Photography…I knew she would be worth it though. She proved me right!

What was your favorite detail?

My cake topper…we are big sports people and my husband is a football coach. so my cake topper wasn't cheesy (like some sports ones can be) and it was the bride on the groom's back with the groom holding a football. Everybody loved it!

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Right before I walked down the aisle, my ring bearer said, “Aunt Shell, you look like a princess!” Another one was realizing that once our dance floor opened up to everybody, it was packed for the entire night and by the end of the night, everybody was using the props from the photobooth on the dance floor…it was so fun and very humorous!


Photography : Jenna Rose Photography  ||  Catering: Chef's Pride Catering  ||  Porta Potties: Houdek's Pumping Service  ||  GJ's Rentals = tent, chairs, tables, dance floor  ||  DJ: Rhythm Management  ||  Davids Bridal/Mens Warehouse: dress, veil, jewelry, tux || decorations ||  Party = decorations and invitations  ||  Gordon Food Service = food for rehearsal dinner || = personalized thank you postcards (I bought a Groupon for 75% off vistaprint services)  || Wedding = application for our guests' smart phones that allowed our guests to upload all their pictures they took to one online album


Share this post:

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
  • S.

    Cute wedding! However, I’m not sure I agree with the advice given about using everyone to set up and break down. Guests are there to have a good time, not pick up after your party, and that’s the LAST thing I want to do at 3 am after a night dancing in heels.

  • Photography was our biggest splurge too. The pictures were the most important part because that was the biggest way we were going to remember everything. We saved in places like doing our own flowers and centerpieces as well. I couldn’t believe some of the quotes we were getting for flowers! I love the pics and the rustic vibe of the wedding!

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!