Two words comes to mind when looking over this purple outdoor wedding: fun and creative! I love how Shelby and Jeff used their budget as a launching pad to think outside the box to create a great event. Shelby’s flowers are absolutely gorgeous and they stayed on budget with their food by working personally with a chef. And who wouldn’t want to attend a party with an over-sized Jenga? Enjoy this fun, outdoor wedding! xoxo, Jessica
Shelby + Jeff
September 21, 2014
Carpinteria, CA | Lions Park
What was your budget?
We spent about $10,500 total on our wedding, including the rehearsal dinner and main event.
Host Bar: $1000
Appetizers and dinner: $3800
Rehearsal Dinner: $500
Day of Coordinator: $450
Decorations (including flowers): $200
Wedding Dress plus alterations: $650
Groom attire: $150
How many guests did you have?
We invited 160 guests, and about 120 attended the festivities.
What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
We handmade all of our invites, the programs, and the limited decorations (thanks to the help of a lot of willing friends and family!) I designed the invites and program on Word (but you can use any online program or basic editing program), and downloaded a font I found via Pinterest (there are tons of free fonts that you can find to reflect the feel of your wedding). We purchased the paper from PaperSource for printing the invitations and then stamped and embossed a design on them. We sent off the programs to be printed at SmartPress which has great deals on bulk printing.
A few decoration examples: We created cluster centerpieces for the dinner tables with several flower vases at different heights and photos of our favorite memories together. The flower vases were re-purposed balsamic vinegar and wine bottles with the labels removed that I had wrapped in twine and lace to match the burlap runners. My dad actually cut the tops off of Skky Vodka bottles (beautiful blue glass) to add some color to the vase collection. I had collected flowers throughout the spring and dried them in our shed, then supplemented with baby’s breath. It gave the color and subtle effect that we were looking for. We asked a local wine-tasting room if they have leftover wine corks, which they were happy to get rid of, and we modified them to hold the table assignment cards and photos. Our guestbook was a beautiful picture book called LOVE (by the MILK project) and we asked guests to sign it and add their photobooth pictures to it rather than purchase a traditional book. The aisle was lined by the same flowers we had for centerpieces, which we taped (with floral tape) to metal kebab sticks that I found at the dollar store and we stuck them into the ground.
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
We paid for our wedding outright from our own personal savings, and so we considered each cost very carefully. We have a lot of gifted (and willing) family and friends whose talents we tapped to help us create the feeling we wanted for our wedding without breaking our budget. For example, one of our close friends is a great public speaker and served as our officiant. Another friend is a very successful photographer and she gave us a great deal on her services, then brought the business photo booth as a wedding gift. We also designated a hashtag for our wedding, so we could collect all of the social media photos together and look back on all the different memories that our friends had of our wedding. My cousin made all the lawn games (giant jenga, cornhole) as a wedding gift, and my brother outlined the four-square court and brought the ball (the games were a hit). My parents are part of a couple wine clubs, and donated a few cases of wine that they had received over the previous year, but that they didn’t particularly like (a lot of white wines). A friend has a flower farm, and donated some fresh flowers that couldn’t be sold but that were beautiful. A friend DJ’d for our afternoon reception, and we just made a dinner playlist and dance playlist for afterward to cut the cost since we knew exactly what songs we wanted played. Another friend put them into a mix-playlist for us so all we had to do was hit play!
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
Figure out specifically how you want your wedding to feel, what you want your guests to remember, and what you need to have vs. want to have. We eliminated or modified a lot of traditional or trendy wedding ideas to fit our vision rather than incorporating aspects that didn’t hold real meaning for us. One of the best conversations we had took place right after our engagement when we talked about all the best aspects of weddings we had attended, connected our family traditions that we wanted to include, and reached an understanding about how we wanted to pay for the party and how much we felt comfortable spending. From there, we were able to research and then prioritize where money was going.
What was your biggest splurge?
The food was for sure our biggest splurge, and even that was on budget! We requested quotes from several places and found that the major catering companies were pricey and also didn’t really want to give us what we were looking for – they tried to upsell us every time. We met with Chef Fidel of Si Senor Catering and he listened to what we wanted, asked about our budget and then told us what he could do within that. He worked MAGIC for us and delivered what we wanted at the price point we could afford. We also hired a day-of coordinator to make sure that everything ran smoothly during the event, so we could sit back and enjoy the day.
What was your favorite detail?
Both of us agree that our favorite aspect of the wedding was the afternoon reception with the lawn games, photobooth, and DJ. The combination was exactly the feel we were looking for, and is the aspect that most friends and family talk about.
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
We were taking our pictures, and I looked around and every person there was smiling and enjoying the day, playing games together, eating, drinking and chatting. Our families and friends were truly intermingling and getting to know each other, laughing and sharing in the love, and THAT was the best we could have hoped for.
Photography: Cherry Thomas • Catering: Si Senor Catering-Chef Fidel Cuellar • Site: Lions Park • Flowers: Full Bloom Flower Farm • Cake Designer:Delicious Expressions • Event Planner:RSVP Wedding • Submitted via Two Bright Lights
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.