Today’s couple, Nicole and Caleb, created a beautiful wedding on a budget of $13K for 90 guests. I love the mint bridesmaid dresses and white flower combo. And how beautiful is their outdoor venue? Also, Nicole and Caleb have all sorts of wonderful tidbits of wisdom and inspiration in their Q+A below; make sure you check it out! Enjoy this Asheville wedding! xoxo, Jessica
Nicole + Caleb
July 29, 2017
Asheville, North Carolina | The Country Club of Asheville
What was your budget?
Our budget was $12,000-$13,000. Here’s a breakdown of how we spent it:
Venue Rental (facility fee): $2000
Hosted Bar: $1,300
Photographer: $1,700 (included engagement session of $300)
Master of Ceremonies (DJ): $2,000
How many guests did you have?
We had 90 guests.
What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
One of the first creative things we did at our wedding was to do a group photo immediately following the ceremony to capture each guest that attended with us. Our photographers did a fantastic job creating this photo for us. Another aspect we threw in was when we chose the order of which table got to eat first. We had a trivia game and each table sent one person to the dance floor to be a representative. The DJ asked random questions about us like the number of pets we have,which sports we played in high school, favorite pop singer, etc. All correct answers earned tables the right to go get in line! Another personal touch was the telling of our “love story” by our DJ right before we went into our first dance. Caleb and I secretly sent separate stories about our story and how we fell in love and our DJ compiled them into a five minute story to retell to our guests. The background music and the tone of our DJ’s story telling really created an perfect atmosphere to transition into our first dance and make it special for us. The last touch we had was an extension of the daddy-daughter dance. We did our traditional dance to “My Little Girl” by Tim McGraw but about 15 minutes later during open dancing, we pulled up a YouTube video of my dad and I singing and dancing to “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepson and we re-created it on the dance floor with it playing behind us!
Did you do any DIY projects or create any handmade items for your weddings?
Our arbor was created and built by my (Nicole) cousin as a wedding gift and we will be building a bench into it and using it in our backyard for years to come! My cousin built it, my dad sanded it, and me, my dad, and my maid of honor stained it the week of the wedding. Our self-made florist was The Little Fleur Shoppe which is owned and operated by one of the bridesmaids, Katie Pierce! She created the floral decor for the arbor, made two gorgeous hydrangea arrangements that I used at the end of the aisle during the ceremony, and made my bouquet along with the “throw” bouquet for the bouquet toss. Katie then taught the bridesmaids how to create large flower crowns for the table centerpieces, and boutonnieres for all the special gentlemen in the wedding. My dad’s basement was COVERED in flowers the entire week before the wedding! Also, one of the bridesmaids helped create the bridesmaid bouquets and another bridesmaid let us use the lanterns from her own wedding. On the back of each table number were adorable pictures of our dogs with the table number worn as a necklace. So the decor was definitely a collective effort!
Our photobooth was made from PVC piping that Caleb cut and put together and we hung blackout curtains on it as a backdrop. We also created most of the signs we needed at the wedding using Microsoft Publisher. We printed them on cardstock and threw them in a cute picture frame! The only signs I couldn’t do myself were the ones larger than 8×10 inches. My friend Courtney Grant with Nu Expression designed and printed my welcome sign and a couple others I used at my ceremony.
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
The biggest thing we did to save money was choosing the DIY route for decorations/flowers and we didn’t have to hire a day-of coordinator since our venue supplied one. My flowers were ordered online (wholesale) through Sams Club and Fifty Flowers and we got them shipped to us. That’s where my handy-dandy florist bridesmaid stepped in and saved the day (and the money)!
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
Put all wedding expenses on a rewards credit card and rack up points that you can use to help fund the honeymoon! Our all-inclusive Jamaica honeymoon was essentially free despite the fees we had to pay for the credit cards we used!
Don’t hesitate to reach out to friends/family to borrow things for your wedding. This was a huge money saver for us. Between borrowing and Amazon Prime, I kept my decor costs low.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Focus on what matters and what people will remember and spend your money here. People will remember photos, food/beverages, and the overall experience while at your wedding. Hire an awesome DJ who’s main focus is you as a couple instead of solely dancing.
Keep track of your spending no matter what. Once I got closer to the wedding, I lost all motivation to stay on budget and I was primarily focused on getting everything done. Each time you buy something, type that amount into a spreadsheet and keep a running total.
What was your biggest splurge?
Our DJ and videographer expenses were our biggest splurges. I met Rich Lange (DJ) at a Bridal Expo and absolutely had to have him and he cost almost double what we were expecting to pay. He was awesome about our budget though, and definitely worked with us! He mentioned several times that money should never get in the way of a “good fit” when he meets couples and I guess he deemed us as a good fit!
At first, we decided to save money by doing Go-Pros and having people take their own videos throughout the night and send them to us. A few weeks before the wedding, I made a last minute decision against this and decided to hire Scarlette Fox Films to do our wedding. I didn’t want to regret not having a video so we decided to splurge which ultimately put us over our budget.
What was your favorite detail?
Our favorite detail at the wedding was our arbor and the floral decorations on it. There are just so many awesome memories associated with it that we will always get to re-live when we use it in our back yard. My cousin Roger built it custom just for us and built it perfectly to the very last detail. My dad sanded the entire thing and together he, my maid of honor, and I stained it. We got SO many comments on how gorgeous it was!
A nice runner up was that our dogs’ pictures were incorporated on the back of the table numbers! I took the pictures and stuck them in a box with the table decorations but didn’t get a chance to tell my decorating committee (my mom, her friends, Caleb’s mom, and her friends) what to do with them! Luckily, they found the PERFECT way to display them! It was a nice surprise when I walked into the ballroom. Max and Zoey are our children and we would have loved to have them at the wedding but they’re too hyperactive for that so this was the perfect way to bring them to the wedding!
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
The most memorable moment from the ceremony was definitely of my niece, Holly, who was my flower girl. She got to the bottom of the stairs and was about to go down the aisle when she dumped the entire basket of flowers upside down all in one spot. Her brother, Camden, who was my ring bearer doubled over laughing at her and it was an adorable scene. Right before this happened, I was a nervous wreck watching out the window. My dad and I are both uncontrollable criers and I was so nervous that I was going to ugly cry the entire way down the aisle and not be able to contain myself. Then, my niece happened, and all anxiety went away. We laughed the entire way down the aisle. Thanks Holly!
The most memorable moment from the reception was the telling of our love story by our DJ. Caleb and I got to relive the last 6 years when it all started with the people we hold most dear to our hearts. Everyone in the room had some influence on us during that time, and it was just an indescribable feeling to be there with them hearing the words of our story. We laughed, we cried, but most importantly we got to hear each other answer questions like; How did he ask? When did you know he/she was the one? What do you love about him/her? All of the answers were completely unknown to both of us and hearing both sides of the story was so awesome. We never talk about intimate details like this so it was definitely unique! I will never forget this moment. Our DJ was the best!
Photography: JCM Photography • Venue, Linens, Catering + Cake: Country Club of Asheville • Flowers: The Little Fleur Shoppe • Day-of Coordinator: Liz DeKoyer of The Country Club of Asheville • Stationery: Nu Expression • Favors: Totally Promotional • Videography: Scarlette Fox Films • Rentals: Timeless Event Rentals • Lighting and DJ: Rich Lange with Remarkable Receptions • Hair Stylist: Rachel Williams and Melody Francis at Abigail’s Salon • Makeup Artist: Apryl Naylor • Bridesmaids Dresses: David’s Bridal • Wedding Gown Designer: Jewel by David’s Bridal • Bridal Shop: David’s Bridal • Jewelry: Jared’s Galleria of Jewlery • Veil / Headpiece: David’s Bridal • Shoes: Nina • Groom and Groomsmen’s Attire: Christopher’s Formal Wear
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 pandemic wedding resources here.