What was your total budget? Please give a breakdown of your wedding budget.
- Church – $225
- Reception site – $375
- Bed and Breakfast room $150
- Hair and makeup $150.
- Caterer and Bartender $1,300
- Alcohol – a little under $400 (Sam’s Club)
- Cake and cake squares – $300
- DJ – $795
- $1,400 – Decor, lighting, plates, silverware, cups, linens etc…
- Wedding Gown – $400
- Alterations – $100
- Shoes- $75
- Veil – $75
- Rentals – $330
- Rental Delivery – $260
- Day-of Coordinator – $900
- Photography – $1,200
- Flowers – $700
- Rings, his suit, and gifts for our wedding party and families – approx $2000
How many guests did you have?
We had 104 guests.
How did you meet?
We met through mutual friends in college. We were good friends for awhile before we realized we were perfect for each other!
What is your proposal story?
We fell in love during cool summer nights at a local piano bar in downtown Wilmington. On New Year’s Eve, we had plans to eat dinner with friends and go home for pajamas and board games. One of our friends at dinner casually suggested that we stop by the piano bar on our way home. I excitedly agreed, it had been forever since we visited!
When we got there, the place was PACKED, and the bartender recognized us and offered us a reserved table at the front of the stage. I thought we were living in the lap of luxury! I had no idea it was meant for us! We sat at the table when the lights began to dim as “our song” began to play. Jim guided to be to the front of the stage as he kneeled down with a beautiful proposal. I was so full of tears of joy that it took me a moment to realize ALL of my friends were there from around the state! They had been hiding behind the bar waiting to surprise me. I excitedly (and obviously!) said yes! We danced the night away as we welcomed in the New Year and celebrated our new engagement. It was truly magical!
Afterward, we walked across the street to a private loft, where he had rented for the night. It was covered in lit candles and rose petals! Take notes boys…
Tell us about your wedding vision
I knew I wanted something “fancy casual.” We had to cut back on quite a few things because we were on a budget. As I look back, I could not imagine a more beautiful night. We loved the rustic feel of Tanglewood Park. I knew that was my dream wedding venue because it had the perfect Bed and Breakfast for our ENTIRE wedding party and family to stay at during the weekend, a secluded, beautiful area for the reception by a quaint lake and surrounding trees, and the amazing, historic white church. My husband fell in love with the small chapel that was covered in gorgeous wood from top to bottom. It was the perfect venue. All locations were within half a mile of each other, making EVERYTHING run so smoothly. The Tanglewood Bed and Breakfast provided the perfect setting for pictures. We even took our engagement pictures in the garden. Every guest and family member had their own suite, which provided plenty of room with a personal touch. It was awesome to have everyone we love in one spot. It was so special for all of us to eat breakfast in the mornings together and converse at night.
We were blessed with perfect weather the night of our wedding (73 degrees in August!), so an outdoor reception could not have worked out better. I knew I wanted dinner to be served as the sun was setting because we had a TON of candles as table runners that lit up the night.
We are true North Carolinians, and we wanted a picnic style dinner. We had a classic barbecue dinner with picnic tables. I wanted to keep to that theme, so we went with a rustic theme throughout. Burlap and barrels were what I had envisioned! Twice Loved Vintage provided the perfect decor and attire for this setting. We had a sweet little couch with a smore’s bar down by the water, lit up with tiki torches and a Polaroid Camera for guests to take pictures. It was awesome looking through them afterward!
I truly loved dancing under the stars with all my friends and family. High Impact Entertainment was an AMAZING DJ and kept the party going all night. Our guests played corn hole and enjoyed the night.
Tell us about your attire choices
I knew I wanted a strapless ball-gown, because when else do you get to wear a ballgown!? Again, I was on a budget, so I was SO EXCITED to find the perfect dress at David’s Bridal. I went to several “fancy” boutiques and they honestly did not have what I wanted. I wanted my bridesmaids to wear a light color, considering most of our pictures would be against a green setting. I fell in love with the very light blush color. I wanted my girls to wear long dresses, but they all have very different styles, so I was grateful that Azazie offered a variety of long dresses in the same color for them to choose from. My brother was my “man of honor,” so he wore the same color pants as the groomsmen and blush suspenders.
I let my husband pick WHATEVER he wanted to wear and have the boys wear. My only rules were no red or green suits (lol!). He went with a very classic, southern look that looked great with the girls. He liked the navy blue look, but he wanted to stand out from his groomsmen. He decided to be the only one wearing a jacket while the boys wore suspenders.
What was the most important to your two? Was there anything you chose to splurge on or skip?
I wanted EVERYTHING, from the fancy lighting to the expensive rentals to the intense dinner menus. My husband did an amazing job of reminding me that all of that fancy stuff does not matter, what mattered was that we were in love. I am so glad I listened! Our night was magical, even on a budget.
We splurged on the DJ because I knew the music was important to me, it set the mood for the whole party! I am grateful we did that. We talked for a long time about whether we should hire a wedding coordinator, and we were SO GLAD we went with Magnolia Grove! Meagan made our entire day run smoothly. She helped take care of things I did not want my family or wedding party to have to deal with. I wanted everyone there and in the moment without a worry, it worked out perfectly!
Considering our venue was outside at night, I REALLY wanted to hire a professional lighting service. The quotes we were given were way out of our budget. We ended up buying strings of Edison bulbs and putting them up ourselves the morning of. It turned out EXACTLY how I envisioned it and it was one-tenth of the price!
The park pavilion already had picnic tables, we saved a ton of money by using them for the reception rather than renting table and chairs on our own.
We were very lucky with our food vendor, HonkyTonk Barbeque. They provided a delicious, gourmet barbecue dinner for half the price of any of the catering companies we looked into. They provided servers AND a bartender at no charge. Our guests were raving about it for weeks! We went to Sams Club and bought beer and wine in bulk. This turned out to be much cheaper than we thought and it kept the party going! They even take back unopened bottles and cans.
We saved money on wedding cake by going with a small two-tiered cake for us and then a variety of cake squares for our guests. It ended up saving us a couple hundred dollars!
Lastly, I cannot advocate for Amazon enough. We went with “fancy plastic” plates and silverware that looked real and we ended up saving a ton of money. It worked well with our picnic theme and made clean up a breeze. We bought all of our linens and table runners through Amazon as well, and that ended up being cheaper than renting them. I bought about 350 candles from Dollar Tree (I got quite a few “looks”) and that was such a beautiful touch at night.
What were your favorite parts of the day?
Helen Woolard from Visuals by Helen lived down the road from me when I was in middle school. She used to practice taking pictures of me and my Maid of Honor when we were 13 years old! It was so special to have her be a part of our special day, and she did a MAGNIFICENT job capturing the most beautiful moments.
Tell us about your wedding flowers
I wanted bright florals that complimented my bridesmaid’s blush dresses with lots of greens. For the bridesmaid’s bouquets, we went with hydrangeas, garden roses, spray roses, silver dollar eucalyptus, and seeded eucalyptus. We did the same with my bouquet with a pop of burgundy wine color. We wanted to keep things simple inside the church, and went with a bit of baby’s breath inside burlap pockets at the end of the pews. We did not have floral centerpieces to save money and instead went with white candles of a variety of shapes and sizes.
Tell us about your wedding cake
We went with a small, two-tiered cake for us from Dewey’s Bakery. The bottom layer was my favorite, Pink Lemonade, and the top tier was his favorite, Red Velvet. I loved the simplicity of a plain, white cake.
For the rest of our guest, we had Dewey’s famous Cake Squares, individually sliced pieces of cake. Guests could choose from Pink Lemonade, Chocolate, Vanilla, Red Velvet, and Carrot Cake.
What did you do for favors?
I honestly did not budget for favors but my sweet mom made cute wrappings for tubes of chap-stick that said: “Our love is the balm” with our names and wedding date on them. They were a hit!
We also had a Polaroid Camera that was passed around for guests to take pictures of themselves. We asked that they took as many as they wanted as long as they took one for us!
Describe any DIY, homemade, or personal details
Oh goodness, just about everything was DIY! For my table runners, I simply ordered rolls of burlap and rolled it out on top of white tablecloths.
My brother and I made burlap holders for the baby’s breath at the end of each pew, it turned out so cute!
My father and step-father ended up setting up the lighting for us the day before.
Did you include any family heirlooms or special traditions?
I wore my grandmother’s pearls that she and my mother walked down the aisle in. When I was born, my grandfather gave me a small, pink New Testament Bible with my name engraved on it. I put it in my wedding dress pocket as I walked down the aisle.
Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?
Take your pictures before the wedding! You can save so much time and money by skipping cocktail hour! It was special having our “first look” and we BOTH still cried when I walked down the aisle.
Take a few minutes to just you and your husband after you are officially married. We drove off to a private location to bask in the fact that we were finally husband and wife! It is one of my fondest moments of the night.
Photography: Visuals by Helen • Ceremony Venue: Tanglewood Park • Reception Venue: Tanglewood Park • Event Planning: Magnolia Grove Weddings and Events • Floral:George Walker Florist • Stationery: Vistaprint • Wedding Cake: Dewey’s Bakery • Rentals: Twice Loved Vintage TLV • Linens: Amazon • Hair: Updo’s Studio • Makeup: Updo’s Studio • Wedding Dress: David’s Bridal • Groom’s Attire: Ralph Lauren • Bride’s Shoes: Betsy Johnson • Bridesmaid Dresses: Azazie • Veil: David’s Bridal • Submitted via: Matchology