Time for another budget savvy wedding! This outdoor wedding in Texas has lots of unique details to love — including the bride’s brooch bouquet and the fun cigar bar at the reception! I’m also obsessed with the ombre wedding cake and the punchy color scheme! Hope you enjoy this fun golf course wedding! xoxo, Jessica
Brittany + Court
October 4, 2014
New Braunfels, TX – The Bandit Golf Club
What was your wedding budget?
Our overall budget was about $8,000. We were definitely budget-conscious but also wanted to throw an awesome party and have everyone enjoy themselves so getting as much as we could full-service for the lowest price was our goal.
Venue – $1,325
Photographer – $1,000 (but some of that was gifted to us by family)
Coordinator – they charge $1,800 for day-of coordinating but we got a discounted rate because a friend of mine is a coordinator there
Officiant – free (my grandfather married us)
Music – $700 (classical guitarist playing before and during the ceremony was $200 and a DJ for 5 hours for the reception was $500 including travel costs)
Hair and makeup – $120
Cake – $200 (a decorative 4-tier cake with three fake tiers plus a large sheet cake)
Invitations, save-the-dates, address labels, thank you cards, and postage – $150
Food – $1,600 for a three-course full-service seated meal
Alcohol – $1,200
Miscellaneous – $300 (babysitter for the reception, marriage license, wedding party gifts, decorations, etc.)
How many guests did you have?
75 adults, 10 children
What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
Oh my gosh, everything and it was so fun to put together! My grandfather was our officiant and he used a bible that he got us, which was so special. My grandmother made my bouquet out of lace and brooches that family and friends donated at my shower and it came out more perfect than I could have imagined. My mother-in-law decorated two ceremony arches with flowers and fabric. She also made the grooms cake that looked so much like a real fish no one wanted to mess it up!
We had a DIY photo booth, there was a coloring table for the kiddos, my husband made yard games (beanbag toss, huge jenga, etc.) for everyone to play, I hand lettered the seating chart and one large program on chalkboards that we set on easels, and we had a guy there rolling cigars (more info on that below)!
A friend has a fun business and made us the most awesome gift—painted wine bottles with beautiful accents incorporating our wedding invitation and colors along with some personalized coasters using Scrabble tiles.
My aunt made baskets to put in the bathrooms with hairspray, bobby pins, nail files, mouthwash, all kinds of little things you might need in an emergency. A friend of a friend lives on the golf course where we got married and he let us borrow his golf cart for our getaway!
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
I started planning early and researched EVERYTHING. Thinking creatively about alternatives that might not come to mind immediately helped a lot. (For food we looked at the venue, catering companies, restaurants, food trucks, and pop-up kitchens before deciding on anything.) Groupon offers great deals on invitations and things you can use as décor—you can catch fantastic deals that way.
Thankfully, we found a venue that included tables, chairs, linens, bartenders, setup and cleanup of both ceremony and reception, which probably saved us thousands of dollars. We chose a golf course as the site for both the ceremony and reception and because it was so naturally beautiful the only decorations we had were centerpieces and the two arches.
We had lots of DIY details and tried to only use things we already had (jewelry, groom’s and groomsmen’s suits, I wore sandals with my dress) or things we could keep and use after the wedding or give away/sell. (My dress is still for sale if anyone is interested!)
We left out lots of things that didn’t matter so much to us—not having ring bearers or flower girls saved us from buying their outfits and inviting more people to the rehearsal dinner, we limited our bar to just beer and wine, and everyone toasted with whatever they had rather than champagne.
**Alcohol turned out to cost much more than planned because we had to get it through the venue. I didn’t ask enough questions before signing and they were vague on how much it would be. It ended up being as much as the venue itself because of a 300% upcharge on their part even though we chose inexpensive options—people aren’t kidding when they say to find a place you can bring your own alcohol!
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
- Give yourself lots of time to plan! Researching options to find the best price takes a while and if one vendor falls through, it can save your sanity to have plenty of time to talk with other options. This also gives you time to find great deals. Our 100% customized save the dates were bought for pennies and our invitations and RSVPs came out to $27 total with a Groupon.
- Don’t feel like you’re inconveniencing vendors by asking questions. Get the information you need; they’re earning your business and if they get frustrated with legitimate questions or act like you’re demanding too much up front, how are they going to treat you after you give them your money?
- Be confident but kind in your decisions to include what you want (even if it’s seen as weird) and leave out what you don’t (even if it’s expected). Those are the things that make your wedding unique and memorable!
- At the same time, don’t overload yourself with small projects. All those ideas on Pinterest are great but you have to know when to stop…they add up fast!
- While this is a very special day, don’t take it too seriously or let it consume every waking moment of your engagement—it’s not fun to be a bridezilla and everything will work out. You really are the only one who will notice if something doesn’t happen as planned and it’s so much more fun to focus on having the best time with your spouse, family, and friends.
- Find the best photographer you can within your budget! I didn’t think I would care so much about the pictures bust it’s been months since the wedding and I still look at them all the time. I am SO glad we went with our photographer, Lindsey! She truly has been fantastic and gone way above and beyond what we expected in every way—she met me at the venue a couple of weeks before the wedding, helped tweak our timeline based on her experience, gave us some photo ideas, and made us so comfortable. After the wedding she gave us every picture in color and black and white on an app/website and an awesome custom flash drive with our names and wedding date plus a date night gift card, free one year anniversary shoot credit, and a wedding album for Christmas!
What was your biggest splurge?
The coordinator! It took me forever to convince my husband it was worth it to hire them but he will agree now that they were worth every. Single. Penny!
From the very first moment, our coordinators asked the right questions to understand what we wanted, provided suggestions on how to work within our budget, offered to vet vendors, and looked over contracts we were ready to sign. (This alone saved us the amount that we paid them and saved us from a disastrous catering experience!) Having a planner for a small-budget wedding may seem counterintuitive but I think it could be more important because they’ve seen it all and can suggest alternatives that work for you and your budget.
Having them there for the wedding let me be truly present and not worry about what was coming next or whether anything was going wrong. Our coordinator’s boss even showed up and videoed the entire night since we opted not to have a videographer—how amazing is that?!
What was your favorite detail?
My favorite thing at the reception was the cigar roller I got as a surprise for Court. (I didn’t include that in the budget breakdown since I paid for it on my own and he didn’t know about it but it cost $600 plus tax. I’m pretty sure I found that idea on BSB—thanks for that!!) His mom made a cigar bar sign for the table out of reclaimed barn wood and the whole thing was a HUGE hit with everyone there. We were able to get several pre-made cigars from them that had labels a friend designed with our colors, initials, and date on it. So, so fun and he was really surprised and excited about it!
For the ceremony, we wrote our own vows and didn’t compare them beforehand but they ended up aligning perfectly! We both touched on the same things and added a little humor. It was so fun to have people ask us if we wrote them together and tell them we had absolutely no idea what the other was going to say.
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
Our first look was perfect and I’m so glad we did it. The look on his face was priceless and it was great to have just a few minutes to ourselves. Neither of us was nervous the day of (which is strange for me, not because I was worried about getting married but I get WAY anxious being the center of attention) so there were no jitters to work out but it was really fun.
Dress: David’s Bridal • Alterations: San Marcos Tailors • Photography: Lindsey Clare Photography • Invitations/save the dates/thank you cards: Groupon (Vistaprint and Zazzle) • Hair and makeup: Erin Parker at Allen Benjamin’s Salon • Catering: An Event to Remember • Ceremony music: Arnold Yzaguirre • DJ: Texas DJ Doug • Cake: First Impressions Bakery • Cigar rollers: Bobalu Cigar Company • Coordinator: Brass Tacks Events
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 pandemic wedding resources here.