Desktop and Tablet header image Mobile header image

helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank

I love SO many things about this wedding! The super happy color scheme, the laid back feel of the day, the yard games, the S'MORES bar!! Oh yes, I said, s'mores. So fun! This wedding really focused on the important things – the couple did alot of DIY and even hired vendors who were trying to build their portfolios to keep costs down. Hope you enjoy this edition of the budget savvy wedding of the week as much as I do! -xoxo, Jess

Lauren and Ben

June 16 2012
Dakota Lodge in West St. Paul MN

What was your budget?
Our budget was around $5000- I would say we made it a little under.

How many guests did you have?
160 guests

What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
We kept it very in the family.  My sister and his sister were the bridesmaids and his dad and brother-in-law were the groomsmen.  My usher was my cousin.  And my 4 month old nephew was our “ring bear” (yes, we had him wear a crochet bear hat down the aisle).

One of my favorite details was when my husband wrote a sweet message on the bottom of my wedding shoes.  So romantic!

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
All of our decorations were hand-made by myself and my husband with the help of our family for assembly.  He used photoshop to make our save-the-dates, invitations and wedding programs.  I searched Craigslist for mason jars and used tons of craft store coupons to stock up over time.

We used a very talented photographer who was building his portfolio to save on money there (we got the rights to our photos so we could use them however we wanted).  I bought my dress at a consignment shop and had it custom-tailored.  We had a friend of the family make our cake and we decorated it ourselves.  Our florist was a recent graduate also building her portfolio so we got the flowers arranged for at-cost price!

What's the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you're on the other side?
Take advantage of time and family support!  We were engaged for a year and a half and nearly every weekend was spent working on something. It was much less stressful than a last-minute crunch to get it all done.  It all came down to the details which is why I think our wedding was so special.  We were so thankful we had the help of our family and friends to tie it all together!

What was your biggest splurge?
I hired a professional hair and makeup artist to get us all ready for the big day!  She came to our venue and made it stress-free!  As part of their gift I bought each bridesmaid a full hair and air-brush makeup package.  Well worth it!

What was your favorite detail?
I really loved all the mason jars!  From decorations to drinking glasses they just added a touch of fun to everything.  One of my favorite moments was walking outside seeing people eating s'mores, playing bean bag toss and drinking from mason jars!

What is the most memorable moment of your day?
The start of the wedding dance: I shared a special song with my new husband, followed by my dad and then my grandfather.  All three of the best men in my life!

Photography: George Hausler Photography ||  Location: Dakota Lodge || Flowers: Randa Roo Roses  ||  Music: Pro Light Sound DJ  ||  Cake: Ann Flann  ||
Hair/makeup: Nicole Patterson  ||  Officiant: Paul Menard  ||  Catering: Dana Torborg

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
  • Floofy

    This wedding looks like a dream! I love that they made it fun. The bright colors, the games…the s’mores!

  • Cassie

    Hi there,

    LOVE the pictures, the wedding looked so beautiful! Congrats 🙂

    My quick question is did you serve dinner? Thanks so much!


  • ES

    Just an fyi, the link to the Dakota Lodge is incorrect. It takes you to another lodge an hour out of Mpls, the correct link I believe for this wedding is:

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