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New Orleans Mardis Gras Theme

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I am happy to be back today with a lovely December South Carolina wedding that I’ve had in my queue for bit and need to feature before we get in to full-blown summer mode! I am in love with the little chalkboard signs (I personally still love this trend) especially the rustic, wintery feel of them along with the added detail of the fleur-de-lis puts a sweet spin on it. I love their Mardis Gras Themed Wedding and how subtle and classy it is- they really pulled it off! Thanks so much to longtime reader Kimmy and her new hubby Dan for sharing their special day with us!  -Jessica

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Kimmy & Dan

Dec. 11, 2010
Walker Hall @ South Carolina School for the Deaf & Blind, Spartanburg, SC

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

We had a budget of $8,000 that my parents graciously gave us. That made us want to be even more wise with our money. We did go over that some, but was able to stick to that budget pretty closely! A general breakdown:

  • $2700 on photography
  • $2100 on venue
  • $2000 for catering, florals, decorations, and rentals
  • $400 ($520) for wedding dress, $220 for alterations
  • $200 on coffee favors for our guest
  • $250 on invitations, programs, and children’s books


How many guests did you have?

We had around 125 guests for our rather large day.



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

We loved being able to add personal touches throughout our wedding weekend. We handmade all of our invitations, programs, children’s activities books, and coffee favors for our guests. I also wore some very special items that I brought back from living in Northern Africa such as my earrings and my wedding shoes. Wearing those items reminded me of my sweet friends who I wanted to be at our wedding but who couldn’t be because of the distance. Our reception was a little bit different. We decided on having a coffee and dessert bar and putting out board games for our guests to play. The desserts that we chose were important to us like the king cake which reminded me of my time in New Orleans. We wanted a relaxed and fun atmosphere that would allow us to spend time with our friends and family and also would give them a chance to mingle and have fun together. My bridesmaid, who currently lives in New Orleans, also brought quite a few things from there to make it a special day. Who doesn’t love beads, boas, and masks??? It was a lot of fun to use those in our first dance and as we left the wedding. My Bridal luncheon was also different than the traditional “Bridal Luncheon”. I was able to treat all of my gals and some special ladies with a morning of painting pottery, which was LOTS of FUN!


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

We set priorities and goals from the beginning and revisited those often as we planned our wedding. We decided the proprieties would be on photography and on the venue. We also decided on the look that we wanted and set out to find ways to make that happen for “less”. We asked our families to pitch in and help with many of the personal touches that we added to the wedding, which reduced a lot of the cost. The biggest thing we did to save money was to put together all of our printed items and many of our decorations. We had our invitations printed at a local print shop and then we assembled them. We knew from the beginning that invitations and stationary could get expensive and it’s only used for that day and then thrown away. We set out from the beginning to create and bring together our invitations and programs for as a cheap as possible, yet still classy. That saved us LOTS of money! We made our decorations by buying small chalkboard and staining and putting a fleur de lis applique on them to match our wedding invitations and stationary. We also shopped locally – using local vendors and friends to help us put together our big day. We borrowed the burlap and lanterns (which are identical to lanterns that you can get in my North African home!) from my friend who got married this summer.


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

We only had about four months to plan our wedding – which was plenty of time. There will always be details to work on, no matter how long you have to plan your wedding. Enlist the help of family and friends. Make it personal! Add things that are a symbol of you and your hubby! Remind yourself constantly that at the end of your wedding day, “you’re gonna be MARRIED!” and that is all that matters. While your wedding day is a really important day, it’s just that – a DAY. The marriage is more important than the wedding and we set out to focus on our marriage, not just the wedding.


What was your biggest splurge?

We splurged in two areas: our photographer and our venue. Those two things were crucial for what we wanted – a special place that could be “us” and a photographer that was talented and creative and that could capture our day long after the food has been consumed, the coffee drank, and the dress put away!


What was your favorite detail?

Our coffee bar and coffee favors were our favorite part! We both LOVE coffee and wanted to include that in our rather large day. We spent many nights sippin’ coffee together on dates and couldn’t imagine not having coffee and our love for coffee as a part of the day. We had our friend Amy, a former Starbucks Barista, there to help! She made us special coffee drinks for our first drink. We had several flavors of creamer and locally roasted coffee. Our favors were handmade burlap bags with coffee – which we loved to give to all of our family and friends!!


What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Seeing Dan and spending some one on one time with him before the wedding ceremony was hands-down my favorite moment. Our “first look” time was super intimate and calmed my nerves and reminded me to just breath and focus on us during the day. We were able to talk and have a conversation without anyone interrupting us or pulling us to the “next” thing. It also gave us some time to pray together before our ceremony. It gave our photographer some amazing photos and it saved lots of time after the ceremony for pictures, which made all of our guests happy!!



Photographer: Chris Isham Photography  •  Venue: Walker Hall  •  Hair: Randi (friend) at Magnolia’s A Salon  •  Catering, Flowers, Decorating, Directing: Brenda Rogers (friend)  •  Coffee Favor & Coffee Bar: Little River Roasting  •  Dresses and Tuxes: David’s Bridal & Men’s Wearhouse  •  Invitations: Una Print Shop (local print shop)  •  Our Website has more pictures and more of our story.


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