Desktop and Tablet header image Mobile header image

helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank


california outdoor weddingcalifornia outdoor weddingcalifornia outdoor weddingcalifornia outdoor weddingcalifornia outdoor weddingcalifornia outdoor weddingcalifornia outdoor weddingcalifornia outdoor weddingcalifornia outdoor weddingcalifornia outdoor weddingcalifornia outdoor weddingcalifornia outdoor weddingcalifornia outdoor weddingcalifornia outdoor weddingcalifornia outdoor wedding

Where did you get married?

We were married at a private house that we rented through BKS Weddings in Vista, CA

What was your budget? Give a rough breakdown of what you spent if possible.

Our budget was approx. $10,000. The total of everything listed below is actually $7,842.00. We put the left over money towards our honeymoon and wedding bands.

Wedding/Reception Venue $3,700

Photography $1,500

Flowers $120

Food $500

Food Servers (through our venue) $200

Decorations $250

Bride's Dress and Accessories $100

Groom's Clothes $75

Invitations (incl. envelopes & postage) $110

Pastor $350

Favors (beach towels) $450

Cake $250

Guest Book $43

Chair & Table Rentals $194

How many guests did you have?

We had about 50 guests. We wanted it to be very small and intimate.

What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?

Our wedding was completely DIY, so pretty much everything was our own creative, personal ideas. We easily decided that we wanted our colors to be green (my favorite color) and yellow. Several months before the wedding, I was searching for design inspiration to unify all the different style aspects of the wedding. I found a fabric by Amy Butler, one of my favorite fabric designers, that both Josh and I loved. It is the green with yellow polka dot fabric that was used for our table runners, which I made myself. I also used the design on our invitations, and we incorporated green and yellow polka dots in the design of our homemade cake. I think the table runners and the cake were the most personal aspects that we included. I love to sew, and I love that I was able to sew something for our special day. Josh is a big fan of the show Ace of Cakes and became very inspired to create our own wedding cake. He spent months (with a little of my help 🙂 ) perfecting the recipes and the art of fondant decorating! Also, another creative and personal aspect was our homemade invitations. I designed them digitally using Creative Memories Storybook Creator software, and we purchased copies of my design through Creative Memories. One other important personal aspect was the flowers. We purchased bunches of flowers at our favorite local florist, and I put together all the arrangements the day before the wedding. I didn't really know what I was doing, but we asked our florist for enough yellow and green flowers to make small, simple arrangements for six tables; she guided us with what went well together.

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

The biggest was probably deciding not to have a wedding party. We both agreed that we wanted our day to just be about us; we wanted to be the only 2 standing at the altar with our pastor. So, we saved on all the wedding party attire and flowers. We also saved money on our own attire – I wanted to go with a more non-traditional dress, and through many hours of online shopping, I scored my perfect dress for only $40 on clearance! We also saved money by not hiring a DJ – we used our own stereo and playlist instead. We wanted the focus of the reception to be more about lounging poolside, so we were okay with eliminating that aspect.

What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?

Throughout your engagement, take periodic breaks with your honey where you're able to just relax and enjoy each other without thinking about wedding planning – amidst all the stress and chaos of planning a wedding, don't forget why you're marrying each other! Also, the best advice someone gave me: On the big day, some things will not go exactly as you expected, but don't let it bother you! Remember: your guests truly have no idea about the million details and expectations flying through your head. It's YOUR day, so relax and have a blast!

What was your biggest splurge?

Our venue – though the cost of our venue included staying 2 nights in the guest house, so I feel like we still got a deal! The overall atmosphere was the most important aspect to us. We searched tirelessly to find exactly what we were looking for – a lush, beautiful, intimate backyard setting with a pool! After we visited our venue, we left saying that we could do nothing else but order pizza for our guests, and we would feel like it was a beautiful day.

What was your favorite detail?

It's hard to pick a favorite, but I really love how our cake turned out, and that it was so personal to us (because we made it!). It's probably the one detail that we (mainly Josh) worked the hardest and spent the most time on, and I think it's a unique and special thing to be able to say we made our own wedding cake!

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

We spontaneously decided to jump in the pool with our wedding clothes on after all our portraits were taken! It was a blast, I think it really entertained our guests, and I feel like we have a really unique wedding portrait. 🙂


Photography: Katie Keller Photography

BKS Weddings

Flowers: Everyday Flowers

Rentals: Allie's Party Equipment Rental, Inc.


Share this post:

About Jessica

Jessica is the creator of The Budget Savvy Bride; she launched the site in May of 2008, shortly after becoming engaged. Jessica has been recognized as a budget wedding expert by various media outlets and continues to share realistic inspiration and actionable tips to help brides save money on their weddings. Google

Connect with Jessica
  • Ann

    Can you please tell me where you got your shoes?? I love them!

    • Cara

      I got my shoes at Baker's! I shopped online for many, many hours trying to find the right shoes (shoes are very important to me! 🙂 ). I absolutely loved these Badgley Mischka shoes (… ) more than any others I saw, but they were a little out of my budget (they weren't on sale when I looked either). Needless to say, I was SO thrilled when I randomly wandered into Baker's at the mall and found these for a fraction of the cost!

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention Budget Savvy Wedding of the Week: Josh & Cara --

  • I love the photography and the wedding certainly does not look or feel like a budget savy wedding.

  • savvybride

    i really love the color scheme and the bride's short dress! such a lovely little wedding 🙂

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!