Eric + Emily
May 12, 2012
The Loveless Barn– Nashville, TN
What was your budget? If you are able, give us a rough breakdown of how you spent your budget.
We started with hopes of a $10k budget, but as our guest numbers climbed, we had to “up” it to $12.5k:
$6500 Food & Rentals (our venue lumps this together)
$3500 Venue Rental
$325 Trolley for Guests
$300 Flowers & Supplies
$300 Stationary & Postage
$180 Other decorations (mostly centerpieces/runners)
*Not included in this were my dress & our band/sound system, which were gifts from family members.
How many guests did you have?
205 (with so many out-of-towners, we only had initially expected 150)
What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
The music we chose for the ceremony & reception were very personal (I work in the music industry & grew up playing music). Our ceremony musicians (guitar, fiddle & mandolin) were close friends, and I chose to walk down the aisle to one of my favorite instrumental songs, “Angeline the Baker.” Our venue is also a popular site for music, and the vibe was very Nashville. A friend of my mother's married us, and we tried to include both Midwestern & Southern wedding elements as best we could. I felt like most every element of our wedding was “personal,” because we did everything we could ourselves, and included more close friends & family members along the way than I could have ever expected.
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
In a word– everything. With such a tight budget and way too many ideas, we had to pay close attention to every detail. Although a broad explanation, I'd say the biggest things we did in general would be researching all options before making careful decisions, prioritizing upfront, and also adding up the cost of DIY elements before digging in. It's easy to get caught up in DIY fever and assume that it's always cheaper, which isn't necessarily the case. Never be afraid to ask for a better deal.
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
This is 100% cliche, but 100% the truth from my experience: Don't get caught up in the “what if's,” do your best to ignore unwanted advice when it's possible, and just know that you've done your best with what you have to work with. Yes, you can stretch a dollar, but expecting to have everything your heart could ever desire for a dream wedding on a limited budget, might be unreasonable.
I was so caught up with scenarios of things that could go wrong, when in reality some things DID go wrong and weren't near the catastrophe I had feared. It rained on our wedding day and we had an outside ceremony planned (with a rain back-up plan). Things probably ended up being easier and more comfortable for our guests being inside with more space & AC, even though it's not what I had envisioned it to be. We had also hired a shuttle to bring several family members from the hotel to the venue, and the driver was 30 minutes late for the pick-up. We postponed the ceremony until they arrived, and no harm was done.
We had a great time and so did our guests, and above all– WE GOT MARRIED!
What was your biggest splurge?
Our biggest splurges were the venue and food by far, which accounted for the bulk of our final budget. Those were also two areas that we couldn't technically cut many corners on, as the venue provides food. With that being said, I'd always suggest asking the venue about any additional options if you need to, even though it may appear “mandatory.” For example, when I sat down and simply said we had to cut costs or things weren't going to work, new options were explored and we were able to save several thousand dollars. IT NEVER HURTS TO ASK!
What was your favorite detail?
I liked most of our decorations because seeing them all together brought to mind the considerable amount of the time and hardwork that went into them. I was probably most pleased with our centerpieces.
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
By the time our ceremony rolled around, we were all exhausted from such a long day already, plus hours of photos. My most memorable moment would still be making it down the aisle. Eric was sweating like I couldn't believe. I remember looking down as his boutonniere and seeing the flowers shaking. I was sure he was going to actually pass out! With our ceremony having been moved inside, the lights were a little bright and hot that were set up in the venue. Our “first look” session earlier in the day was also very memorable.