What was your total budget? Please provide a budget breakdown.
- Venue $6000 (venue cost + food + drinks + tip for service staff)
- Dress: $900 (with a borrowed veil for free)
- Flowers: $500
- Cake: $150
- Jurassic Park Jeep (getaway vehicle): $200
- The rest of the budget went to various expenses like photography, favors, rented ceremony chairs, and odds and ends. I would highly recommend setting aside at least $1,000 in the budget for unexpected costs. You will use the buffer, trust me. Weddings have a way of sneaking in little extras like tip or tax or shipping fees.
Total budget $10,000
How many guests did you have?
Total guests: 82
How did you meet?
Preston and I met at a bible study and were friends for about three years before we dated. God knew the right time for us to be together and let it happen in His perfect timing. About a year before we dated, we knew we wanted to be together but Preston had made a commitment to God and himself to fast from dating for a year in order to center himself and devote himself fully to God. It was hard to wait but we trusted fully in God’s plan for the year, staying friends, and had our first official date one year from the start of the date fast.
What is your proposal story?
We love puzzles and escape rooms and, for the proposal, I was lucky enough to get my very own “Escape Room Proposal”. Preston surprised me after I got home from grad school with a bouquet of flowers and my first clue waiting on my nightstand (he was nowhere in sight). He hid clues throughout my apartment at meaningful spots for us in our relationship. The final clue led me down to a river behind my house where he was waiting with candles (at sunset) and…a ring!
Tell us about your wedding vision.
I’ve always loved neutrals and rustic/casual weddings but wasn’t sure how to pull off that barn chic charm without the price of a trendy venue. Our budget was tight and none of the traditional places were anywhere near the $5000 we had to spend on a venue. So, I started thinking outside the box and cold calling all my favorite places that might not otherwise be thought of as wedding venues. I started emailing coffee shops, public parks, wineries, bookstores—everywhere I could think of as an alternative wedding venue. After looking through several options, it all came down to my favorite coffee shop since before I even knew Preston—Roswell Provisions. While not traditionally advertised as a wedding venue, they agreed to host us and I couldn’t have been happier!
Tell us about your attire choices.
Budget was key with my dress and, knowing me, I could fall in love with a $10,000 gown if I wasn’t careful. So I loved the idea of Carrie’s Bridal, a boutique here in Atlanta where all the dresses are under $1,000. Knowing that they were all within budget helped me relax through the process and just focus on which dress I loved the most. And, what they say is true—try on every style, even ones you think you’ll hate. The dress I ended up buying was my least favorite on the rack and I would never have chosen it for myself if not for some encouraging friends and my boutique assistant.
Was there anything you chose to splurge on?
Definitely the Jurassic Park Jeep. Jurassic Park is both of our favorite movies, and we couldn’t resist throwing in this fun nod to the franchise for our getaway vehicle.
What were your favorite parts of the day?
Preston made me a beautiful hand-made card and box to open on the wedding morning that I will always treasure. I was lucky enough to have a group of my friends perform as my string quartet. They played one of the pieces from the movie Pride and Prejudice and it was absolute perfection! A lot of the wedding was a blur but having great food and dancing at the reception certainly made the night!
Tell us about your wedding flowers.
To help us stay under budget I ordered flowers online from a bulk supplier and made my own bridal bouquet, bridesmaids bouquets, and boutonnieres the day before with my mom and bridesmaids. That was actually one of my favorite wedding prep memories. I had ordered lily of the valley as one of my flowers (channeling the recent royal wedding, of course) and wouldn’t you know the entire $180 bouquet came in at the size of 5 blades of grass. I’m not kidding. It wasn’t enough for a boutonniere.
So, in true ninja bride fashion, my bridesmaids and I hopped in the car and went cruising from farmer’s market to farmer’s market picking up whatever they had. The flowers were absolutely beautiful and a tenth of the cost of the ones online. Yes, it spontaneously changed the color scheme from “all blush and neutrals” to wildflowers but I’m so glad it worked out that way. If you’re a bride willing to give away some control, I would absolutely recommend going the farmer’s market route! I wish I had done it all along!
Tell us about your wedding cake.
We heard of Imani’s Cakes through word of mouth and she did an AMAZING job on our cake. It was exactly what we asked for and honestly, I felt a bit guilty having her do something so simple when she’s able to do so much with her cake creations. Go check out her work! She’s done some amazing cakes!
What did you do for favors?
Coffee! We figured, you’re staying up late at our wedding, you’ll need a bag of coffee in the morning. Add cute burlap bags with a handwritten tag, and voila!
Please describe any handmade, DIY or personal items.
I think a lot of people expected me to do more DIY decor (because I’m a crafty kinda girl) but, for my wedding, I was way too exhausted to add that to my plate. (Real life wedding honesty! Haha) So, I called upon the talent of my friends and family to work their artistic magic. My aunt made a custom watercolor painting with our wedding colors and a portrait of Preston and me that guests signed as a guest book. One of my bridesmaids, Rachel, made custom wedding invitations with a secret velociraptor design hidden among the florals. (Another nod to Jurassic Park. I still don’t think most people spotted it!)
Do you have any advice for couples planning their wedding now?
Spend the money on the things that you know you want. Don’t be afraid to ruthlessly ignore any spending that you don’t care about but is somehow “expected” because of the dreams Pinterest has placed upon us all. If you don’t feel strongly about a garter, don’t stress about that added expense. If you don’t want a wedding topper for your cake, it’ll be okay. You’d be surprised how fast the small things add up so, with a budget wedding. Guard your resources for the things that matter. Oh, and—borrow your veil. I promise you, someone has one you can borrow and they are literally as expensive as the dress itself. The one I wanted actually cost more than my dress. Yikes! A borrowed veil is a free veil. I highly recommend it.
Photography: Audrey Grace Photo • Ceremony Venue: Private Home • Reception Venue: Roswell Provisions • Floral: Handmade by the bride • Stationery: Custom Design by Rachel Shogren • Videography: Garrett Coyte • Wedding Cake: Imani’s Sweets • Engagement Ring: Blue Nile • Wedding Dress: Carries Bridal Collection • Groom’s Attire: Joseph A Bank • Bride’s Shoes: Amazon • Bridesmaid Dresses: Lulu’s • Submitted via: Matchology