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Intimate DIY Lake Wedding for $8K

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Shalene and Alexander had an intimate wedding with their closest friends and family. They included so many DIY projects throughout their day which also helped them keep costs down. We are obsessed with their lakeside ceremony! You will love this Intimate DIY Lake Wedding for $8K!

Shalene + Alexander

Fayetteville, New York
- 06/07/2019
Total wedding budget $7,960

Budget Breakdown

Below is an estimated wedding budget breakdown provided by the couple.

  • Photography
  • Bridal Attire
  • Groom Attire
  • Cake/Dessert
  • Favors
  • Venue
  • Catering
  • Flowers
  • Dress
  • Music/Entertainment
  • Rentals
  • Total wedding budget

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

Since I did all of the décor and design myself I think the entire wedding was personal to us. But my personal favorite was the custom newspaper I designed and had printed. It was a fun alternative to a traditional wedding program!

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

I DIY’d literally everything! Our venue only provided tables and chairs, so I did all of the décor myself. It was stressful and exhausting, but worth it! Looking back, I still would have done all DIY if I had to do it all over again. ? List of everything I made/designed:

  • invitations & RSVPs 
  • boutonnieres (made out of dried flowers)
  • all florals (bridal bouquet, centerpieces, corsage for mother-in-law)
  • all signage (including laser cut signs for memorial mantel, escort cards, wedding sign, & acrylic signs)
  • custom newspaper
  • collected all vintage goblets and brass candleholders
  • poems printed on each table
  • recipe booklet favors
  • table numbers
  • seating assignments
  • petal toss cones
  • design for our keepsake box
  • custom scavenger hunt for my niece and nephew
  • hand-dyed cheesecloth table runners

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

We kept our guest list small and I DIY’d all of the décor myself. By having only 59 guests that meant less food and booze to provide. Our venue was maxed out with that many people, so even if we wanted to have more people (which we didn’t) they wouldn’t have fit! We loved how intimate our wedding was as a result of our short guest list.

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

  1. Stay true to who you are as a couple and don’t feel like you have to do certain traditions just because that’s what is expected of you. We dropped many traditions and our wedding was so intimate and personal to us, and that’s exactly what we wanted.
  2. Don’t invite people you don’t want to! We kept the invites to our very closest family and friends – those who have been there for us and have known us as a couple. If we lost touch with people over the past couple of years, we didn’t invite them. If we haven’t met certain extended family members, we didn’t invite them. We wanted to be surrounded by people who support, know, and love us the most.
  3. Hire a Day-of-Coordinator! She was AMAZING and made the entire day go so smoothly. Since our venue had no staff, she was 100% a necessity for us and worth every penny. Even though our wedding was considerably smaller than most we’ve been to, our Day-of-Coordinator was integral in making the day stress-free for us.

What was your biggest splurge?

Photography. Though she was really great about working with our budget, so compared to many other photographers I researched and just knowing how much photographers cost in general, she was very reasonable and did an amazing job.

What was your favorite detail?

Décor wise, probably just the antiquated look I created by collecting vintage goblets, brass candlestick holders, and the overall warmth of our venue as a result of all of that. Our reception building is a beautiful stone building so it felt almost medieval being in there with the soft string lights and candles. Also having an intimate wedding was great for us!

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

So hard to choose! I would say there were a few.

1) Before the ceremony began I was hiding in a room in the back of the venue so Alex wouldn’t see me, but I could see out of a window down the stairs where our ceremony was. It was really cool to be alone for a few moments and just see all of our family and friends gather together for us.

2) The ceremony, of course. Alex rarely cries, and though I couldn’t see him when I first walked out (my aisle was a long set of stairs that I was trying not to fall down), he was still crying when I reached him and his eyes were so blue and beautiful! Of course, our vows.

3) our father-daughter dance. My Dad and I immediately started crying, then he wanted my Mom to join in. More tears. Then he wanted Alex to join in, more and more tears. It was a beautiful moment.

4) The speeches. My Dad gave a short and sweet speech. My brothers gave a killer speech inspired by a scene in my favorite show (The Office) when they’re singing goodbye to Michael (all of my Office fans know what scene I’m talking about). And our friend Craig gave a truly personal speech that was wonderful.