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Visiting Brides of Weddings Past, Part 2

Photo By Foster Cryer Photography

I wish I would have used Reception Lighting. It would have given the bland banquet hall more pizzaz. I also wish I would have had a photo booth. I would have gotten more pictures of my guests and their personalities. A couple of things I'm glad I did was to have a live band instead of a dj. It's more energetic and fun. Several of the guests were musical and they all got up and played/sang. Made for great entertainment. Also, I got my cake at a local grocery store. It wasn't extravagant, but it was pretty and tasted good. I also highly recommend getting a good photographer 🙂

Valerie, Oklahoma (wedding photographer)


Small wedding, huge reception helped me out a lot with nerves! Also I loved having the wedding video, but I should of paid for them to do the reception also. The photographer is worth the money, wish I would of gotten someone else but went cheaper. Don't stress about the small stuff that is what the maid of honor and your personal assistant is there for, I loved my girls for dealing with issues. I also made a lot of my own things and that actually was fun because I saved money and it looked nice. Most importantly, do what you want and you make decisions and don't let others make them for you.

-Katie, Iowa


My wedding was decades ago…I would not have done an ice sculpture I ordered a swan and it looked like a dragon. It was just another way for the hotel catering to charge daddy more! That “wow” moment we thought was going to be delivered when we saw it…. turned into a “WTF” moment!

-Tami, Florida

weddingI thought doing a bucket of flip flops in the bathroom for the ladies was well worth it. You can get them at the dollar store. My aunt arranged the flowers that we bought wholesale and of course they looked great. We engraved bottles of wine from the vineyard we were married at for gifts for the parents. Bridesmaid dresses were regular dresses from Macy's because I only had two people.

-Amy, Texas


I'd say, of course use your contacts to your advantage. I found a friend who was good at taking charge to lead the rehearsal. After the rehearsal we had pizza waiting for everyone in the church basement. I borrowed the warmers from the pizza place to keep the pizza warm till we were ready. I had gone to a yard sale and the girl was selling her centerpieces which were red and white. I snatched them up. After the reception, the reception hall wanted to buy them for their collection. Awesome for me! For the dinner I ordered half cornish hens for the main dish. If you know someone in the restaurant industry, they usually will help you out and order from their food truck for cost!

-Nanette, Missouri



My wedding cost a total of $3200 (including the dress & everything) Here's what I did to save money:  1) I did the food myself (with the help of friends & family) Buffet-style with BBQ  and sides.  2) I bought my cake from Walmart & it turned out AWESOME! (I was shocked too!) The reason I used Walmart was because I forgot to order the cake in time, and Walmart only needed 2 weeks (the wedding cake & groom's cake both only cost me $105 TOTAL)! Everyone thought it was delicious & no one knew it was from Wally-World.

-Sarah, Tennessee


Don't get uptight over the “little” things…..the important thing is that you are getting married…something may go wrong—-don't let it bother you..just smile and move ahead. DON'T go in debt for the wedding either—it's just one day—you don't want to start out on the “short end.”

-Angie, Iowa (I was her flower girl at the tender age of 9)



I stressed about nothing and stayed extremely organized. I had a Wedding Notebook to use to compare prices on stuff and keep up with business cards. Fortunately we knew so many people we didn't have to pay much for labor….as in for flowers, our cake, our caterer, the band, and the DJ. I got a beautiful dress but did not go overboard. I do suggest printing out the order of your wedding and take it with you to the rehearsal. Also have somebody who can take charge and direct and knows your vision so you don't have to worry about it. But I would have a sheet that makes completely clear what you want. We bought decor from Hobby Lobby and even Party City. It was a beautiful wedding and reception, looked expensive because I decorated it well….but it was not 🙂

-Juliana, Tennessee


We had a sand ceremony in the park with our six children. It was the best and everyone commented on how cool it was!

-Sandee, Iowa


I didn't want to waste money on favors, so we took about half of the money that would have been spent and donated it to the colon cancer society in honor of my aunt. On the tables we put little notes that stated what we did instead of favors. We saved money and it was better then spending money on favors that people don't really care about.  We did serve a meal but we bought lasagnas on sale and baked them the day of the wedding, added a salad and green beans and no one had a clue we did the food! It looked like it was all catered 🙂

-Amy, West Virginia




I felt bad about asking my bridesmaids to spend hundreds of dollars on a dress they'll never wear again so I just told them all to pick out their own. I just asked they all be the same color. Something they liked that they could wear again. Some people may not like not having all the bridesmaids match, but I loved it. Each bridesmaid is a different person and so was her dress!! They all wore black cocktail dresses.

-Tina, Virginia



is a Nashville bride who planned a rustic barn wedding on a $12k budget. Read more of her wedding planning posts here.