August 5th, 2017
Louisville, KY | Highland Baptist Church, Kentucky Science Center
What was your budget?
- Church fees (reduced because we’re members): $300
- Reception venue, including set-up time the day before: $2385
- Photography (including engagement session): $2800
- Videography: $1800
- Save the dates and postage: $84.63
- Invitations, RSVP cards, and postage: $283.70
- Catering: $4451.95
- Dress: $953
- Veil: ~$30, made by mother of the bride
- Dress alterations: $350
- Bride’s Hair and Trial Run: $106.50
- Bride’s Make-Up: $150
- Suit (with $600 discount for having 5 groomsmen suit rentals): $40
- DJ: $595
- Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream: $553.85
- Rented tablecloths and photo backdrop: $467.36
- Bridesmaid gifts: $54.33
- Groomsmen gifts: ~$100
- Favors (jars, stickers, ingredients): $230
- Bubbles for send-off: $40.15
- Wholesale flowers and supplies (tape, pins, ribbons): $899.65
- Ribbon and lanterns: $10.61
How many guests did you have?
We invited about 100 people
What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
We planned our wedding to be as personal as possible! The ceremony was at the church where we met and the reception was at a science center, both because it had a beautiful space overlooking the Ohio River and because it tied into my (Megan) career as a biology PhD student. We had liquid nitrogen ice cream as a second tie to science, but also because it’s a top favorite dessert for Michael. Our favors were pancake and waffle mixes because an early “argument” in our relationship centered over which was better, and thus Michael had “Waffles?” engraved into my engagement ring as a reminder of those sweet, early times. Our music playlist was personalized too- we spent weeks making a playlist of songs for each part of the evening so the music would be exactly what we wanted. We also spent months making hundreds of paper flowers for the pews of the church and for decorations at the reception, both because they’re pretty (and cheap compared to real flowers) and because when Michael proposed, he lined the stairway of my building at my university with origami flowers.
Did you do any DIY projects or create any handmade items for your weddings?
Almost too many to count! My mom made my veil, we made our save the dates and RSVP cards, we mixed up pancake and waffle mix for our favors, and made hundreds of origami flowers and all the signs (for the guestbook, the photo booth, etc.). We DIYed the photo booth by making it a selfie version, where people could ask someone else to take their photo or take a selfie, and we borrowed props from Michael’s job at a theatre. My aunt and cousin arranged all the flowers for the reception, bouquets, and boutonnieres. We spent many months scouring Goodwills, dollar stores, and thrift shops for assorted vases to use for the centerpieces. We loved the look of them all together and were able to send guests home with flowers and vases to keep! Michael designed the ceremony programs and printed them himself. We even used a roll of butcher paper to make a table runner for the head table that people could use to leave us notes while we danced! Cheap and fun.
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
DIYing saved us a ton of money, but so did looking for deals (like a discount on DJ services that popped up a couple weeks after we asked for a quote) and asking for help with things like flower arranging and making my veil. We also skipped alcohol at the reception because the venue required a licensed bartender (so it would have been even more expensive) and alcohol simply wasn’t as important to us as other things.
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
My best advice is to start planning early. Michael is notoriously ahead of the game on planning anything, so we got going pretty much immediately after getting engaged, though we had 11 months. For instance, we’d already started on some decorations that early! While I thought he was slightly crazy at the time, it turned out to be so helpful. Working on the wedding really far ahead meant we had more time to look at all the options to find the best deal and the option we liked best. We never felt rushed, and there was even a period 3-4 months before the wedding where we were pretty much done. This meant we were able to take a break and just spend time together, going on dates and enjoying being engaged. Start early if you can!
What was your biggest splurge?
While they didn’t have the biggest price tags, videography, DJ, and makeup felt like the biggest splurges because they were more “wants” than “needs.” However, we’re so glad we did all three of these things now that it’s all said and done.
What was your favorite detail?
Megan: One of my favorite details was how the flowers all came together. We both love fresh flowers, but knew we didn’t want to pay florist prices for them. My aunt used to be a florist, so we asked for help, thinking she’d advise us a little but we’d mostly figure it out. However, she and my cousin jumped into action, helping us choose the flowers and how many to order (spoiler alert- it takes WAY more than you’d think) and doing ALL the work to arrange them. They turned out so much more beautiful than we could have asked for. Plus, there was the special touch of flowers that Michael and I picked out for my bouquet at Trader Joe’s the day before the wedding. It was a nice moment together amidst the craziness.
Michael: Hard to pick one. One of two- either the flowers we picked out together for Megan’s bouquet or the lines of poetry and hymn tunes that we picked out for the flower balls. The white flower balls had a detail that none of our wedding guests could really appreciate: the text. That text included lyrics from hymns we used in the wedding, poetry that reminded me of Megan, and bible verses that we used in the ceremony. Infused in each of those flower balls was a literary homage to everything that was to come in the ceremony, and as I watched Megan and her father walk down the aisle, seeing them made me think about all of the words that brought us there and would keep us together for the future.
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
Megan: For me, the most memorable moment was walking down the aisle and bursting into tears as I got closer to Michael. The enormity of what we were about to do, in a place we love, surrounded by people we love was completely overwhelming and amazing.
Michael: The last dance at the end of the night.
Our wedding day was unforgettable, and like most couples, we planned and staged plenty of moments that brought us to tears or had us grinning ear to ear. However, the part of our wedding day that I’ll remember most vividly was something we didn’t plan at all- the last dance. At the end of the night, after most of our guests had cleared out, the catering was all but gone, and people had begun walking out with our centerpieces (with our permission – they’re not monsters), our DJ announced that the last song was coming up. It was “I’m Yours,” by Jason Mraz. It wasn’t my and Megan’s song; there’s no back story about that song being especially meaningful to the two of us. We began to dance with each other, holding hands and swinging in circles. Then the weight of the day, the fact that it was ending and something better was starting fell on us and we began to sway, holding each other in a dance that was more of a hug than anything else. All of our closest friends, family, and the bridal party surrounded us and began to hold hands and sway, with us in the center still clutching each other. I’ll never forget how organic, how beautiful, or how perfect it was to be alone with Megan in that moment, and simultaneously surrounded by the smallest group of people who love us. It was the best kind of blessing.
Photography: Mee Photo • Ceremony Venue: Highland Baptist Church • Reception Venue: Kentucky Science Center • Flowers: Blooms by the Box , arranged by bride’s family (Anita & Heather Solberg) • Stationery: Wedding Paper Divas • Videography: Bruce Karcher Videography • Catering: Ladyfingers • Dessert: Insomnia Cookies and The Arctic Scoop • Rentals: Bluegrass Rental • DJ: Complete Weddings + Events • Ceremony Musician: Austin Echols on organ • Hair Stylist: Yaffa Bauer • Makeup Artist: Louisa Kleinert • Dress Alterations: Meghan Hicks • First Dance Choreography: Ann Marie Werner • Bridesmaids Dresses: Azazie • Wedding Gown Designer: Mori Lee • Bridal Salon or Shop: Rebecca’s Wedding Boutique • Jewelry: Etsy • Hair Comb: Etsy • Groom’s Suit: Men’s Wearhouse • Groomsmen Suits and Ties: Men’s Wearhouse