What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
We used some of our favorite country songs that have had meaning to us throughout our relationship for our pre-ceremony and ceremony music and had signs with the lyrics to our processional song lining the aisle.
We had a small table in memory of our loved ones who we wished could have been there. We also had lawn games that David made which is very ‘us,’ and instead of traditional wedding food, we found a mobile BBQ master who smoked brisket and bratwurst on-site (which David probably would have done himself if it was feasible!).
We also are big donut fans so instead of a traditional large cake, we got a smaller one for cutting and amazing donuts from our favorite neighborhood shop Mary’s Donuts as our primary dessert, which everyone raved about.
Did you do any DIY projects or create any handmade items for your weddings?
I (Nicole) picked up graphic design after losing my job due to COVID, so I designed all of the stationary, as well as elements like the table numbers, seating chart, menu, and bar sign. David also made corn hole boards with our monogram on them and giant Jenga for the cocktail hour and reception, and also made signs that lined the aisle with lyrics to one of our favorite songs (which was also our processional song, True Believers by Darius Rucker).
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
We are blessed to have a few friends in the industry which saved us a lot of money on things that normally cost a lot or would have been extras we wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise. Nicole’s best friend and her mother are a photography duo so they did all of our photos; another one of Nicole’s friend’s parents runs a local Marquee Letter Rental company and got us an amazing deal on the 4′ LOVE letters we had by the dance floor; Nicole’s childhood pastor was our officiant.
We also saved money by doing a non-traditional catering and doing BBQ instead, and we saved a ton of money by getting a plain 2-tier cake from Sam’s Club and having our florist decorate it, and by having donuts as our primary dessert for the guests.
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
Be creative and flexible! COVID or not, we had to downsize and reconfigure our vision several times because life threw us lots of curveballs over the last few years. We were still able to have an amazing, memorable, beautiful wedding for a fraction of what we originally planned on spending.
What was your biggest splurge?
Flowers. When we first decided we were going to have a budget wedding, we thought we would DIY the flowers. I (Nicole) had been a MOH in a wedding where we DIY’d the flowers so I sort of knew what it would entail, but I am so glad we ultimately decided to spend the money to have a professional take care of it instead. We wound up finding an amazing florist who went above and beyond what we even thought we were getting, and it was completely stress-free for us.
What was your favorite detail?
Our venue! There are so many special touches to Willow Creek Ranch – there’s a lavender patch which was in full bloom on our wedding day, vintage furniture, chandeliers in the trees, market lighting, a pond with a bridge, little hidden gardens, a swing, and vintage French doors at the top of the ceremony spot. Everyone talked about how they just kept finding more beautiful places to explore at the venue and that made the day even more memorable for us and the guests.
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
Our first dance. We chose a song that not a lot of people had heard but was special to us, “All-Time High” by Jon Pardi. We are huge country music fans and have seen Jon Pardi live a few times throughout our relationship. We picked the song when we first got engaged in 2018, and it’s one of the only things that didn’t change throughout the whole planning process! Considering how long we had planned the wedding and how many times we had to postpone and reimagine our vision, finally having our First Dance to the song we picked out and never changed was a really special moment. Even though we’re terrible dancers!