I absolutely love this school themed wedding by JAC Photography, coordinated by Preppy Chic Events. Although this wedding has a higher budget than most of the ones we feature on BSB, the lovely bride Jenn still has lots of good advice to share about cutting costs on your big day. Not to mention the details and the personal aspects of this day are just so cute- this couple really did alot of work to personalize their day! Many of these details could be recreated easily on a budget, by thrifting and repurposing items around the house! My personal favorite detail? They walked down the aisle to the theme song from Friday Night Lights! Too cute 🙂 Hope you enjoy this wedding as much as I did! xoxo-Jessica
Jenn + Joe
August 18, 2012
Palos Verdes, CA, Chadwick School
Total budget – $24,400
- Save the dates – $20 on Vistaprint
- Invitations – $212 on Zazzle
- Venue – free!
- Dress – $700, plus $700 alterations
- Tux rental – $230
- Catering – $7,500
- Wine – $800
- Wedding planner – $1000
- Photography – $4000
- Rings – $2000
- Flowers – $700
- DJ equipment – $200
- DJ – free! Laptop with our playlists run by a groomsman
- Wedding cake – $230
- Hair and makeup – $300
- Wedding favors – $140
- Site rentals – $3,000
- Decorations – $500
And of course other incidentals.
How many guests did you have?
- Designed our own wedding invitations on Zazzle
- Wrote our own vows
- Handmade fancy nametags for the wedding favor wineglasses
- Designed and printed programs
- Created music playlists for each stage of the wedding
- Ceremony backdrop was two bookcases that we filled with items that are special to us
- Our first dance was a recreation of the dance number for “The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing,” from White Christmas (which we watched together on our fourth date)
- My florist did the bouquets and boutonniers, but I made the floral centerpieces and other decorative flowers myself by saving and decorating old jars and filling them with flowers I bought at the LA Flower Mart. The florist bill was over $500, and I spent under $200 for 2 carloads of beautiful fresh flowers purchased two days before the wedding and kept in a cooler onsite. It took me and two friends one morning to buy the flowers, cut them, and arrange them in the jars, and I am so proud of how beautiful they looked at the wedding. We also decided to decorate the tables with bells (because we were getting married in front of the bell pole at the school) and trolled flea markets and craigslist for an amazing collection of bells that we encouraged guests to ring whenever they felt like it — and when they did, Joe and I would kiss! A fun alternative to tapping on glasses.
- The cake toppers were two paper origami cranes my dad made and glued on toothpicks
- Bought picture frames from goodwill and spraypainted them with chalkboard paint, then made my own signs (great idea from my wedding planner!)
- Instead of a photo booth, we had a VIDEO booth — we got a load of random props and set up one of the rooms in the library with a couple video cameras and some suggestions for “scenes.” Our guests filmed themselves saying sweet messages or acting out scenes from our lives, ie our first date, as well as some totally random things that were just hilarious (and good potential blackmail material)
- Crafts area where guests could make us cards or fill out a big calendar with birthday reminders or married couple “to-do's,” like “cook something together you've never made before” or “Call Robbie to say hi!” (The calendar is now on our living room wall and we try to do everything it tells us to!)
- Instead of a guest book, we ordered a guest tree on Etsy that I had seen in a bridal magazine, where guests write their names on colored dots that they stick on a backdrop with a blank tree. The tree is framed and hangs in our bedroom, which is so much nicer than a book that sits closed on a bookcase.
- All the DIY I described above went a long way to saving us money. We bought a lot of our decorations from goodwill or on craigslist from other brides, like the paper lanterns (and we've since sold or given the decorations to other brides too). We also bought a very small cake for the cutting from a fancy bakery but the cake we served was a fabulous red velvet cake from Costco. But the absolutely biggest savings came from the fact that we didn't have to pay for our venue (the school let us use the campus because I was a student AND a teacher there), and that I ended up getting my gorgeous dress from, of all places, Costco!
- The DIY will save you money AND make your wedding more personal. Make lots of lists early and go through them often. There are only six core principles to a good wedding: (1) good food; (2) good drink; (3) good music and a place to dance; (4) easy access to bathrooms; (5) make sure your guests aren't too hot or too cold; and (6) make sure it's the wedding YOU want, ie a wedding you're having fun at!
- MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A WEDDING PLANNER/COORDINATOR, especially for the day-of. My team was amazing (thanks Steph and Preppy Chic Events!). They made the wedding day run so smoothly and fulfilled their promise that I wouldn't have to worry about a thing!
What was your biggest splurge?
The photographers and my tailor. Both were completely worth it. The photos were amazing, and my tailor not only was the one who ended up helping me find my dress (she works for the designer, Kristie Kelly), but she also made into reality my idea for beautiful lace detachable keyhole sleeves that I put on for the reception after I removed my veil, so I wasn't dealing with the inevitable issues of wearing a strapless dress while dancing. She also designed and made the jeweled sash that I wore. Those touches made my dress even more beautiful.
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
Coming down the aisle to the theme song from the TV show “Friday Night Lights” to an amazing, personal, and funny ceremony performed by the judge I had clerked for, and exchanging vows with my awesomely handsome and wonderful man.
Editor's note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more resources for planning a pandemic wedding here.