Today’s budget-savvy couple got creative with everything from their decor to their menu! Jordan and Kotcha decided to throw a potluck wedding reception to keep within their budget. I love that they asked their family and friends for help so that they could throw a wedding without breaking the bank. And how beautiful is their ceremony cross? What a fun way to have your guests participate in your wedding and decorate your venue! Enjoy this lovely potluck wedding with handmade details! xoxo, Jessica
Jordan + Kotcha
May 14, 2016
Crystal River, Florida | Jordan’s Childhood Home
What was your budget?
We are both college students; so naturally, we had the typical college student budget. We set our initial budget to $6000. We knew we wanted to do a potluck, which fit in with our relaxed rustic theme, but could not find a venue that would allow it and still fit in our budget. So after months of searching, we looked at what was right in front of us: my old backyard! It was perfect for our DIY day, and FREE aside from some yard work that needed to be done. After we found that, the budget went from $6,000 to about $4000, still leaving tons of room for me to splurge on my photography, which was extremely important to me. My dress and veil cost just under $1000 together (YAY Sample Sale!), and the photography was around $2000. Those were my biggest purchases. Our invitations cost just $50 with a sale, Kotcha’s attire cost $80, our favors were around $100, and the materials I needed for my DIY projects were about $150 dollars. We found an amazing local wedding planner who did our day of coordination for practically nothing at just $100. We ordered stems of flowers online and arranged them ourselves for about $400, as well as used what we already had in the back yard. Extra last minute items cost another $100-$200 dollars, and we had ourselves a perfect wedding! My hair and makeup were done by friends who generously gifted their services, our cake was made by Kotcha’s sister who is one class away from becoming a pastry chef, and our tables, chairs, and linens, were donated by the church that we grew up in, along with our cross back drop. Overall, this budget friendly and personal combination of things created a day that was relaxed, yet beautiful, special, and a little bit goofy, just like us.
How many guests did you have?
We had 150 guests.
What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
The most personal aspect of our wedding was the foot washing ceremony we had at the end, inspired by John 13, where Jesus washed his disciples’ feet as an act of servanthood and service. We washed each other’s feet to signify the promise of submission, servanthood, and commitment we had made to one another.
We had a cross at the front of the ceremony space, and as guests were arriving, we invited them to place a flower on the cross, covering it in beautiful blooms that were perfect for our backdrop.
We also chose to include many fun games for our guests to participate in! Since neither one of us were big on dancing, we had croquet, horseshoes, bottle toss, corn hole, and a photo booth.
Did you do any DIY projects or create any handmade items for your weddings?
All of the signs were made by me, including the welcome sign, a large pallet program that was at the entrance, and small decorative signs for the photo booth, dessert table, etc.
The biggest DIY project was in our centerpieces/ring toss game (which was less than successful after the bottles fell over, but still fun!) We spray painted almost 300 glass bottles (beer, wine, mason jars, etc.) to use in clusters on each table that we had. They turned out beautifully when we popped a few loose stem flowers in them! We thought it would be harder to accomplish since we don’t really drink, but many local businesses were thrilled to recycle their bottles and jars, and felt connected to our day in a way.
Some of my friends and I took artificial flowers, cut of the stems, and strung the blooms on fishing line to create an illusion of floating flowers. We strung these, along with some sheer panels, behind the cross in the ceremony. It was dreamy, beautiful, and took a lot of patience and untangling.
My grandmother and I built and painted a beautiful corn hole set with a monogram that matched our wedding colors. She also painted our guestbook canvas.
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
The biggest one was definitely holding the event in my old backyard. That alone saved us thousands on the venue. But it also allowed us to have full creativity when it came to the layout, details, and food.
Equally as important was to have a potluck rather than catering. You can’t beat some down home southern cooking, and it fit our budget perfectly.
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
Relax!!! At the end of the day, stress only makes you more miserable. It usually doesn’t help make things go any smoother. Simply trust who you have put in charge, and believe that it will all come together.
Also, pick one or two things that are really important to you, be that having live music, photography, your dress, the cake. Splurge a little on the important things, and skimp on some of the others. Prioritize!
And of course, DIY to your hearts content, and utilize the skills of your family and friends, if they are willing to help!
What was your biggest splurge?
The biggest splurge was definitely photography. It comprised half of our final budget, but was worth every cent. Having amazing photos that would be shown to family, hung on the wall in our first home, and that would grace our coffee table as an album was easily the most important thing to me. I was not let down in any way, and our photos turned out amazing! Our incredible photographer provided us with something that would transcend the day that we got married, and make it last through years and generations as a beautiful memory.
Our wedding was just one day, but the pictures we have will last for a lifetime.
What was your favorite detail?
Decoratively, I loved the lanterns and lights that were hung everywhere, along with the flowers that were all over the yard. Those little details made it seem magical when the sun began to set. It turned our humble little back yard into a whimsical, romantic garden.
For me personally, it was the smallest thing that nobody probably noticed. On our guestbook canvas, we had my grandmother paint two balloons that were floating away from the rest of the bunch. On those balloons, we wrote in the names of two important people who could not be with us that day: my grandfather, and Kotcha’s grandmother, affectionately called “Pappy” and “Juju”. This just goes to show that the important things are not always big.
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
During the ceremony, the officiant, who was one of our pastors growing up, as well as a great friend and mentor, called for all of the pastors, spiritual leaders, and family members to stand and come to the front, where they all prayed over us and our marriage. It was a beautiful reminder that we are supported and loved by so many people.
Photography: Innovative Memories • Venue: Family home • Food: Potluck gifted by Guests • Day-of Coordinator: Hope from Keep It Calm Events • Stationery: Vista Print • Favors: Oriental Trading Co. • Bakery: Family • Hair Stylist: Jelsie from I Do Up Dos • Makeup Artist: Hannah Angel-Yu • Wedding Website: Minted • Bridesmaids Dresses: JCPenney • Wedding Gown Designer: Watters Wtoo • Bridal Shop: Debra’s Bridal • Jewelry: Zales & Rare Earth Jewelers • Veil:Debra’s Bridal
Editor’s note: During this time of quarantine and social distancing, 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! Learn more here.