What was your total budget? Please provide a budget breakdown.
- Church fees (including the officiant, music, coordinator, and donation: $400
- Marriage Preparation Course (required by our church): $375
- Photographer: $3,100
- Flowers: $600
- Wedding Rings: $975
- Hair and Makeup (for the bride, bridesmaids, mother of the bride, and flower girls): $900
- Catering and Cake: $4,300
- Bartender: $175
- Alcohol: $1,200
- DJ: $600
- Reception Venue Rental: $2,500
- Ceremony & Reception Decorations: $1,400
- Favors: $300
- Transportation: $600
- Dress: Gift from mother of the bride
- Bride’s Accessories: $125
- Groom’s Attire: $300
- Save the Dates and Invitations: $300
- Gifts for Parents and Wedding Party: $850
- Tips for Vendors: $1,000
Total Budget: $20,000
How many guests did you have?
We had 135 guests.
What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
There were so many things that made our wedding day feel very personal and intimate, but hands down the most unique and special aspect of our wedding was the fact that we were married on the five year anniversary of our very first date!
Did you do any DIY projects or create any handmade items for your weddings?
The vast majority of our décor was handcrafted by us. I took the lead on crafting the garland centerpieces, signs, and seating charts and also personalized most of the gifts for the wedding party.
Phil is a Graphic Designer so he created all of our Save the Dates and Invitations. Phil also enjoys home brewing and brewed a special Witbier that was served during our reception.
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
We ended up saving a lot of money by utilizing a more unique venue for our reception. While our reception venue, Emory Grove, does host private events throughout the year, they are not primarily an event venue and do not heavily advertise their private event services. We happened to find them totally by chance while scrolling through local wedding blogs! Because Emory Grove is not a dedicated event/wedding venue and does not have contracts established with specific vendors, we were free to choose whoever we wanted for catering, DJ, and other services.
Because we were not limited to specific vendors, we extensively researched all of our options to make sure we were finding the absolute best professionals in our price range. We also decided to limit our bar options to beer and wine only, which lowered our catering expenses tremendously.
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
The biggest piece of advice that we could give to anyone currently planning a wedding is to pinpoint what your absolute must-haves are for your big day and budget accordingly. Don’t feel obligated to spend money on things that you don’t feel are important to you personally. Also, start planning early to save yourselves some stress and to avoid feeling like you’re in a time crunch.
Most importantly, take time during the planning process to enjoy one another! Planning can be stressful at times so it’s important to take a step back every now and then to appreciate your partner and to just be excited about this new chapter in your life together!
What was your biggest splurge?
Photography was our biggest splurge and it was worth every single penny. Our photographer was a dream to work with as she had a very laid back approach, but was phenomenal at orchestrating everyone for group shots and keeping us on track with our schedule. She and her second shooter captured such gorgeous snapshots of our day that we will cherish forever.
What was your favorite detail?
We had so many favorite details from our wedding day, but two specific details were especially important to us. My father passed away unexpectedly about two years before our wedding and a year before our wedding my younger brother was diagnosed with Stage IV Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (though he is now in remission!). After all that my family had been through together in the years leading up to our wedding, it was incredibly meaningful to have both my mother and brother walk me down the aisle on one of the most important days of my life.
We also absolutely loved the fact that we were able to celebrate our wedding day in two different states! I am from Pennsylvania and Phil is from Maryland, so we’ve had many adventures in both states throughout our relationship. It was awesome to continue that theme throughout our wedding day and to be able to celebrate in both of our home states.
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
One of the most amazing moments for us was being able to take a few moments away during the reception to simply observe everything that was happening around us. It was truly magical to see everyone that we know and love together in the same place enjoying one another’s company and having so much fun together.
Photography: Alyssa Christine Photography | Ceremony Venue: St. John the Baptist Catholic Church (New Freedom, PA) | Reception Venue: Emory Grove Association (Glyndon, MD) | Flowers: Laura of Lauxmont | Catering/Bakery/Favors: Brown’s Orchards and Farm Market (Loganville, PA) | Linens: Tableclothfactory.com | Transportaion: Your Special Occasion Limousine | Hair and Makeup: Fearfully and Wonderfully 139 |Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal | Wedding Gown and Bridal Shop: David’s Bridal | Jewelry: Amazon | Groom’s/Groomsmen Attire: Jos A. Banks >