Such a treat for you today – this navy and red wedding is so preppy and southern! This couple got married in Kentucky and really played up the southern charm with their extra large bridal party and cute details! I love the subtle 4th of July feel to the day and I think that Zach and Valerie did some really fun things to tie in their personalities and personal tastes into the day. I especially love the musical selections for their ceremony, so don't miss those tidbits in her interview below! Thanks Zach and Valerie for sharing your big day with us!! xoxo, Jessica
Zach + Valerie
July 12th, 2014
Blessed Sacrament Church | Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky
Ft. Thomas Mess Hall | Ft. Thomas. Kentucky
What was your wedding budget?
- Reception Venue & rentals: 1,900
- Cups & Paper products: 300
- Catering: 4,500
- Cake: 350
- Alcohol (beer, wine, and signature drink): 1,200
- Gown Alterations and Accessories: 1,200
- Bride's Hair & Makeup: 200
- Groom's suit: 160
- Ceremony Fee: 225
- Flowers: 725
- Other Decorations: 400
- Reception DJ: 1,000
- Invitations, Save the Dates, Programs: 250
- Parent and Bridal Party Gifts: 800
- Photographer & Videographer: 1,800
How many guests did you have?
Our guest list was about 320. We ended up with about 260 in attendance.
What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
Zach and I tried to add many personal touches throughout our wedding day to make it our own. We made many of the items ourselves and enjoyed doing this together. This was a great way to save money and also add personal touches. From our centerpieces and programs to our cake topper and sparkler wedding favors we made everything on our own. Our colors were Red and Navy and we wanted to have a casual 4th of July Picnic vibe throughout the day. We are also big College basketball fans. Zach loves Indiana University and I love the University of Kentucky. We tried to subtly tie this in throughout the day in different ways. My most favorite being our IU/UK Mason jar glasses.
For our ceremony we added personal touches through our musical selection. We had a traditional Catholic wedding so we selected our favorite traditional church music for the mass portion. We were able to be a bit more contemporary on our song selections before and after the mass by using instrumental versions of some of our favorite songs. Our Moms walked down the aisle to the Brave Heart theme song and our wedding party walked down to “That’s What Friends are for”. My Dad walked me down the aisle to Guns and Rose “Sweet Child of Mine” played on the harp. Finally our recessional was “The Final Countdown” played on the organ!
For our reception, we really wanted it to be a fun party to celebrate with all of our friends and family. Zach and I love music and to dance! Our relationship actually started on a dance floor of a local 70/80’s themed dance club (Boogie Nights!) and our engagement took place on that same dance floor. We wanted to incorporate that into our reception in some way. We had the DJ from Boogie Nights as our wedding DJ. He not only played all of our favorite 70’s and 80’s music but he also wore his regular Boogie Nights attire which includes a Red, White and Blue Harlem Globe Trotters uniform (which nicely matched our color scheme) and a red afro wig. In addition to that we had a large 12×20 big screen that played all of the music videos that went with each of the songs just like they do at Boogie Nights. We really think this made our reception and had all of our guests dancing the night away. Boogie nights even let us use their Boogie Party Bus for the wedding party!
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
We were on a very strict budget. We received a set amount of money from my parents and we promised ourselves we would not go over it. We are working very hard to save for our dream house and did not want to have to tap into our savings or go into debt in order to have our dream wedding. So we worked on being very creative and frugal! This was challenging because we both come from large families and we did not want to compromise on our over 300 person guest list.
Our biggest money saver was using a reception venue that allowed us to do everything ourselves. It was a lot of work but worth it. Most venues, we would have spent our entire budget on the rental fee, food, and drinks. The venue we used allowed us to bring in all of our own catering as well as alcohol. This saved us a ton and also gave us the flexibility to get creative! We had a build your own Gourmet Hotdog and Hamburger bar that went right along with the theme of our day. The venue was also a blank slate to decorate how we wanted and create the perfect atmosphere for our reception.
Our second biggest money savor was having a close friend (my boss!) do our flowers. She loves doing flowers on the side as a hobby. This allowed us to purchase our flowers at cost. We were able to create the beautiful look of flowers without the high price tag of a traditional florist. In addition to that we did anything and everything we could on our own or pulled in friends to help out. I designed our save the dates and programs and another family friend designed our invites.
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
I have LOTS of advice but I’ll stick to the top three:
- Try not to sweat the small stuff. It can become really easy to get caught up in the little details that no one will even notice. Try not to worry about them or bypass them all together if you can! For example, I realized at the last minute I forgot to buy a garter so we just didn’t do a garter toss or a bouquet toss. It ended up giving us more time to dance!
- If you are going to invest your time in personalized details like we did, make sure you tell your photographer exactly what they are and what you want pictures of because they cannot read your mind. We had so many little personalized touches that we ended up not having photos of. I would have loved a picture of our hamburger/hotdog bar signs or personalized restroom signs that we made but in the madness it didn’t happen.
- Negotiate!!! If you are on a tight budget like we were try to work with your vendors to find a solution in your price range. Name your price and ask what you can get with it. They will almost always find something that works for both of you even if it’s not on their website.
What was your biggest splurge?
Our DJ was by far our biggest splurge. We know music can make or break any party and we wanted it to be perfect (and it was!). Oh and my dress of course. Once I put it on I couldn’t say no 🙂
What was your favorite detail?
Our centerpieces. This was really a team effort by Zach and I. Most grooms do not care at all about centerpieces and I’m so glad Zach was willing to help me out! We shopped around and tried so many different things until we landed on the paper lantern idea. I loved them because they were so unique and turned out just beautiful with the flowers.
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
Saying our vowels to one another on the altar. There is something really powerful about standing in front of everyone you know and love and staring into each other’s eyes and promising yourselves to one another. It was even more special because our 9 year old son (my son from a previous relationship) was standing up there with us as our ring bearer. I am so thankful we have those words on video to cherish forever. That reminds me! Find room in your budget for a videographer. You can’t hear your vows through a photo 🙂
Photography: Lowry Photo • Reception Venue: Ft. Thomas Mess Hall • Catering: Vertigo Catering • Wedding Gown and Bridesmaid’s dresses: Fabulous Bridal • Suits: JCPenney • Cake: Affordable Wedding Creations • Makeup: Makeup by Kyra Keefer • DJ and party bus: DJ Travis BellBoogie Nights Hollywood Casino
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 resources for planning a pandemic wedding here.