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Elegant DIY Wedding

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Elegant DIY Wedding

Samantha + Donald

Washington, Vermont
Total wedding budget $17,000

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What was your budget?

Our goal was to keep the budget under $25,000 but ended up spending much less, especially with all the décor and tableware we were able to sell afterward! Major costs were the following:

  • Venue: $2,300
  • Photography: $2,800
  • Videographer: Gifted from a family member in the industry
  • Dress: $1,078
  • Catering: $4,600
  • Desserts: $300
  • Flowers and Greenery Garland: $1,400
  • Décor: $500
  • Tableware: $1100
  • Music: $875
  • Invitations: $150
  • Alcohol: $1,600
  • Bar: DIY by my dad!
  • Transportation: $400

Total: $17,103

How many guests did you have?

We were just shy of 200 guests

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

Donald studied geology in school, prompting us to have different geodes and crystals throughout the décor. I also knew that I wanted an abundance of greenery and flowers throughout the wedding and went wild with it!

Did you do any DIY projects or create any handmade items for your weddings?

So much of this wedding was DIY. When I found things we wanted that were out of our budget, I made it my mission to find cheaper ways to accomplish the same thing. Much of that resulted in DIY. We cut, watercolored, and hand addressed all of our own save the dates and invitations. Donald liked to joke he had a second job at a print shop during that time. We made all our own signage, décor, photo booth, candy bar, table arrangements, set up, etc. My dad built us beautiful bars and a beer wall from reclaimed wood and I even did all of our own flowers. Every part of this wedding was created with love.

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

I think there are a few major things we did that saved us quite a bit. The first would be that we did our own flowers and greenery.  I was able to purchase garland and work with a wonderful woman named Amy (Flower Moxie) to create a recipe to follow for all of the floral arrangements. I was able to do all I wanted and more for less than 1/2 of a florist quote I received. Not only did that save money, but I had so much fun!

Hosting our own bar also saved money. With where we were holding the wedding, we were able to serve our own beer and wine. We purchased a few kegs and many cases of wine. We made sure to have transportation available for all of our guests and everyone had a great time.

The last big money saver for us was utilizing networks of brides/grooms to buy and sell décor and other wedding items. We got many items at reduced prices and were able to sell all our table and stemware, and much of our décor back to other couples. This saved us a ton of money on both ends!

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

Planning is key; shop around and research your options. I kept a large binder and spreadsheet with all wedding info and updated it regularly. It might seem like overkill, but you will thank yourself when you are trying to remember a quote, give someone guidance on how a table should be set, or remind you to pay the DJ on time. Shopping around gives you the best rates and keeps your options open. If a vendor gives you an out of budget quote, look at other vendors or research what it would take to do it yourself.

My last piece of advice would be while we did DIY much of our wedding, know your limits and be realistic. You don’t want to be responsible for managing 10 things the day of, or creating 20 centerpieces the day before if you are also responsible to set up, etc.

What was your biggest splurge?

This is a tough one. Technically, our biggest cost was the catering, but we chose a really budget friendly caterer. It was the most expensive item because we invited over 200 people to the wedding. If we were to look at what was really a splurge, it would probably have to be tableware we purchased. I really wanted real tableware and stemware, even though our caterer provided disposable items. We bought full service (plates, silverware, cloth napkins, water glasses, wine glasses and champagne glasses) for the entire wedding, which was a total unnecessary splurge and a bit of a pain. We had to store 200 settings in our 700 square foot apartment for months leading to the wedding. Having said that, I wouldn’t change a thing! We ended up selling the entire set for about half of what we paid for it, so it wasn’t that bad…

The second splurge would be this little laser cut sign I bought last minute off etsy that had our hashtag. It was only $60 but seeing as that we made all the other signs, it was a bit silly.

What was your favorite detail?

By far, my favorite décor detail would be all the florals and greenery. I loved creating everything and seeing it all come together. The tables looked beautiful and the arrangements around the venue looked almost professionally done. Donald’s favorite details were the crystals on each person’s napkin (he’s a rock guy) and the candy bar (he is also a candy guy, haha).

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

My favorite memory of the day was that everyone had so much fun and it went off perfectly. The dance floor was packed with people the entire night, the food was delicious, and everyone talked about how much fun they had the days following.


Photography: Lindsay Raymondjack • Venue: Cyr Barn • Flowers: DIY with Flower Moxie and Wholesale Garland • Calligraphy: DIY • Favors: Provided by a family member • Videography: Blake Russell • Catering: Catered Events by Chef George • Bakery: Family Friend + Ben and Jerrys • DJ: Good Time Entertainment • Transportation: First Student Transportation • Ceremony Musicians: Good Time Entertainment • Hair Stylist: Ginny Raboin • Makeup Artist: Linda Leu • Bridesmaids Dresses: Azazie • Wedding Gown Designer: Allure Bridal • Jewelry:  Ilonti + DIY • Veil: Etsy • Shoes: Nine West