What was your wedding budget? Please give us a budget breakdown.
- $3,000 on food, which included hors-d’oeuvres and dinner for 150 guests, plus a rehearsal dinner for 60 people the night before the wedding.
- $1500 on rentals, including both venues and a tent, table linens, and outdoor sound system.
- $1000 went to decorations, but we tried to keep costs down by purchasing items at thrift stores and DIYing as much as possible
- $400 on alcohol. We served a variety of beers and wines instead of hard liquor, which saved several hundred dollars, but we had so many options that everyone still found something they liked.
- Our cake cost about $300
- Siel’s dress, with alterations and accessories, cost about $350.
- Cole’s pants, shirt, vest, and tie cost about $100.
- We spent about $600 on gifts for the friends and family members who spent weeks helping to make our wedding vision come to life.
- We spent $175 on wholesale fresh flowers and fillers from Global Rose, which a friend volunteered to assemble for free.
- $200 on makeup and hair for the bride and all three bridesmaids.
Our total budget was about $8,000.
How many guests did you have?
We invited 250 guests, and about 150 attended
What creative or personal items did you include in your wedding?
Cole made our wedding rings himself out of meteorite and stainless steel. Our getaway car was a vintage International truck that Cole and his dad restored together. We made our own T-Rex cake toppers from plastic dinosaurs bought at a toy store. Instead of hiring a DJ, Siel spent months putting together Spotify playlists for every part of the wedding, and we put a very responsible 14-year-old in charge of managing them throughout the night. She did an excellent job!
Did you do any DIY projects?
Most of our decorations were DIY, which significantly cut down on cost. A good friend spent several weeks creating beautiful pew decorations for our ceremony from vintage lace, greenery, and Sola Wood Flowers. We decorated the reception space with hundreds of origami flowers, branches, live succulents, and greenery from my grandma’s backyard. We also constructed and hand-lettered several chalkboard signs. Throughout our year-long engagement, we set aside regular periods of time to work on DIY’ing almost all of our decorations, which made the daunting task seem more manageable. We were fortunate to have several crafty friends who were willing to help out.
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
We saved thousands of dollars on our wedding by outsourcing wedding tasks to loved ones instead of hiring traditional vendors. Most notably, our wedding planner, event designer, photographer, videographer, MC, DJ, and florist were all friends or relatives who have experience in these fields and were willing to gift us their services. Many of the services we did hire, such as catering, dress alterations, and audio equipment rental, are owned by family friends who did their bests to accommodate our limited budget.
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you are on the other side?
1. Trust your gut. During the planning process, everyone will have their own ideas of what your wedding should look like, but yours and your partner’s opinions are the only ones that matter. Most of the people who were initially skeptical of our wedding plans came around once they saw how our wedding truly reflected our unique relationship.
2. HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER. Or, if you can’t afford one, recruit a responsible loved one who understands your vision to act as a day-of coordinator. As with any detailed event, things will go wrong, and appointing someone who is not you to navigate the hurdles makes it so much easier to relax and enjoy your wedding day
What as your biggest splurge?
We could have saved a significant amount of money by holding our reception at an all-inclusive banquet hall, but we had our hearts set on an outdoor lakeside reception and were willing to fork over hundreds of dollars in rental fees in order to make it happen. Looking back, we definitely made the right decision and would do it again in a heartbeat.
What was your favorite detail?
Our wedding rings, which were designed and made by Cole, are one of our favorite wedding details. He used a water jet to cut stainless steel bands and inlaid them with Campo del Cielo meteorite.
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
Although our wedding was full of amazing moments, one of our favorites had to be stealing a few minutes of alone time on the dock at sunset.
Photography: Emily Vance with help from Ashleigh Noelle Photography • Ceremony Venue: Rawlins County Museum Church • Reception Venue: Atwood Lake • Flowers: Global Rose • Wedding Planner: Tiffany Laing (Siel’s aunt) • Day-of Coordinator: Tiffany Laing (Siel’s aunt) • Event Design / Styling: DillandCo • Videography: Emily Vance • Catering: Vanessa Merz (Cole’s cousin) • Bakery: Lyn Reeves • Rentals: Atwood Rotary Club • Linens: Atwood Rotary Club • Hair Stylist: A Second Look • Bridesmaids Dresses: IVNIS via Amazon • Bridal Salon or Shop: Donna’s Dress Shop in Kansas City • Shoes: Ollio via Amazon