Today's wedding is a treat with its woodlands setting and rustic details! John and Sarah kept their wedding budget at $5k through asking for help from family and friends.I love how they kept capitalized on the beauty of their venue and complimented the outdoor setting with their choice of colors. They also opted for artificial flowers for their wedding, which they pulled off expertly. Not only did this save money, but it also gave Sarah keepsakes from their woodlands wedding. Happy Wednesday! xoxo, Jessica
John + Sarah
August 23, 2014
Oostburg, Wisconsin | Backyard Wedding
What was your budget?
Our total budget was $5075.
Dress + Alterations: $450
Venue: $0 (Aunt and Uncle’s yard, not charged)
Tables, chairs, and linens: $280
Portable Restroom: $100
Photographer: $875 (not including ordering pictures)
String Trio: $75
Paper products: $50
Misc decorations: $400
Bridesmaid gifts: $100
Groomsmen gifts: $100
Bridal party lunch: $35
Rehearsal dinner: $310
How many guests did you have?
There were about 80 guests who attended.
What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
The first and maybe most important personal aspect of our wedding as the ring that John gave me. It belonged to his Oma (his Father’s Mother) for many, many years of wonderful marriage. I cannot describe the love, acceptance, and honour I feel being given this ring. Every day I look at it and see the success of the marriage it witnessed before, the love and sacrifice it has seen, and the many more years of marriage it will bear witness to now on my own finger.
Being an artist, I wanted to have a lot of handmade effort in my decorations and outfit. I created my own flower crown/wreath out of artificial flowers so it would last forever and I still occasionally wear it out. A church friend and neighbour provided us with grape vines from his backyard vineyard out of which my Mom and I made our very own arch. We used a sort of burlap to tie the vines together and used shepherds hooks to keep it standing, and it turned out beautifully. With the help of my Mom and one of my three sisters we arranged each of the bridesmaid bouquets, the bridal bouquet, and the groom and groomsmen’s boutonnieres. We tied our own raffia bows around mason jars to add a cute handmade feel to them, and used them as candle holders. My Mother also helped me hang paper lanterns from the trees in the yard.
I also love to support other artists, so as my bridesmaid gifts I purchased matching wood-carved daisy earrings from an Etsy shop. My husband is from Canada, so as his groomsmen gift he purchased matching belt buckles in the shape of the Canadian flag.
We also asked my sister-in-law to provide music for the lighting of the unity candle and the recessional. She is an amazing musician, and her performance added a wonderful touch, really making it feel like our two families were sharing in the day and coming together.
During the reception we had a variety of songs, skits, and programs put on by different family members and friends so every felt involved. Once again my Mom graced us with her expertise and helped me create a bird’s nest cake-topper with two adorable love birds, surrounded the cake with a fall leaf garland, and set up the table list and table decorations and numbers. I really couldn’t have done this without her. I also sang and played guitar for John at the reception. I performed “Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” by Elvis.
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
The biggest thing we did to save money was utilizing our friends and family. They were all so willing to pitch in and lend a hand for either a reduced price or at no cost. My Aunt and Uncle did not charge us for the use of their backyard, my sister-in-law did not charge us for her musical performances, etc. We never wanted to take advantage of anyone, and they all came to different agreements with us to help us keep our wedding more budget friendly.
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
The best advice I can give is to first of all, remain calm. Here are a few ways you can help keep the nerves down.
Give yourself enough time to plan. Everyone knows themselves best, and each person needs different amounts of time to do certain tasks. However, rushing wedding planning only causes drama and chaos. Giving yourself and your vendors enough time talk things over, choose your service package, etc. is vital to remaining calm throughout the entire process as well as ensuring you get the vendor you want.
Do little bits at a time. Plan a few things a day, or a handful a week to keep the load light. Just like scheduling out your weekly work (or homework) load, wedding planning should be done in small doses over the time you have. If you try and get everything done all in one day (or week or month) you’ll cause unnecessary stress and get frustrated with the process rather than enjoying it.
Get friends or family to help, but not take complete charge (it is your day after all). Having help and assistance from others will ensure you don’t get too burdened down, especially if you’re having a short engagement period. However, know what you want before completely throwing something into their hands. If you need advice on something, that might be different, but if you know what you want, be firm about it and their help will be more effective and will turn out the way you want (which saves all kinds of hurt feelings, time, and money).
Lastly, have fun. That’s it. Have fun.
What was your biggest splurge?
Our biggest splurge was hiring our amazing photographer Rebecca Pfeifer. We knew of a friend who could provide photography services for an extremely low cost, but as soon as I met Rebecca, I knew I wanted her to capture our big day. I am a photographer myself, so we knew the photography would be an extremely important part of the day, especially for me. Rebecca is so sweet and caring! She also knows how to command a situation without losing her smile. I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful experience. She wasn’t just there, she was there for us.
What was your favorite detail?
This is such a hard question! On a non-materialistic level, my favourite detail was the over-powering sense of joy, love, and support we felt throughout the entire day. It was so tangible; it felt as if we could bottle it up and take it with us, which to some extent I think we did.
Other than that I think my favourite detail ended up being a combination of things. The arch my Mom and I made created the perfect setting for us to get married under, so that is absolutely one of them. I am still so proud (maybe overly so) of the flower wreath I created, I can’t leave that out of my favourite details either.
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
Four images really stick out to me from the day.
- Peeking through the blinds to see our guests arriving and starting to sit down.
- Walking down the aisle and seeing John (and trying not to cry)
- When I sang to John at our reception
- Our bridal party through confetti into the air and at us as we walked to our car at the end of the evening
All these moments made our day feel like a movie.