Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Douglas and I began to plan our wedding in June 2011. With a wedding date at the end of July, we had less than two months to get everything together - which was perfect! I didn't need a long engagement, and I knew from the start I wanted a small, personal wedding where all of the planning and details were  done by me with the help of family and friends. We also knew that we didn't want to spend a ridiculous amount of money for one day. So with some planning, a little extra work, resourcefulness, and the fact that we're not the fanciest people around, we put together a low-budget but completely perfect wedding that had everything we wanted. 

Even though we just passed our one-year anniversary, I still love looking at wedding DIY projects and ideas other people have. It was such an awesome experience to plan ours and kind of fun to figure out different ways to save money here and there. I wanted to share a little about how we did things for our big day as well as a few resources. So here's how we did it:
The biggest way we saved on our clothing for the big day was by staying away from bridal and formal clothing stores. We kept it pretty simple, too, which really helped keep costs down. My wedding dress was from Zara; I couldn't have been happier with it, and it was much more like me than a fancy wedding dress from a boutique. The bridesmaids dresses were from New York and Co. and their black flats were from Target. We asked the groomsmen to wear their own black pants, black shoes, and white shirts.
For our reception dinner, we chose to hire a local restaurant to cater instead of a big catering company. It was a restaurant Douglas and I went to a lot, so that was a special detail. Our dinner was buffet-style, so there was no need to hire extra service for dinner. Instead of a bar, we had different types of glass bottled sodas and a few bottles of wine for people who wanted it. The different sodas were really fun for our guests to pick and choose from. And they were a nice accent to our laid-back reception.
To keep the costs of dessert down a little, we chose to have a small wedding cake that would serve 15 or so people, and then provide a few other dessert options. We had different flavored petit-fours and an oreo ice cream cake (as chosen by Douglas). I had trouble deciding what I wanted to do about our cake topper. I had this gold glitter cardstock from a few other decorations lying around and the idea for a big, simple heart popped into my head. It was perfect!
Probably the biggest way we saved money was by avoiding a florist and making all of our bouquets and centerpieces ourselves. This was the part I was the most nervous about! We ordered wholesale flowers from the Grower's Box. The flowers are delivered before they are in full bloom, so by the day of the wedding they were perfect.

My mom along with a few friends and family helped us prepare the flowers together before the rehearsal dinner. I thought it might be stressful to have to deal with that the day before, but it was actually nice to have something to work on. We bought wide silk ribbon, florist tape and pins to make the simple bouquets. For the arrangements we used mason jars and a few thrifted vases and containers to add a little vintage style.
We kept the cost of hair and make up at next to nothing by helping each other get ready. We had a room all to ourselves as a bridal suite at the bed and breakfast the wedding took place at. So we had fun relaxing before and getting ready together. Plus, we got this great picture of my bridesmaids dealing with some hairspray. Priceless.
For our photography and music during the ceremony, I went to the talented people around me (or at least to get me to other talented people). I was Facebook friends with this girl I went to high school with. We were acquaintances through band, and I hadn't seen her since high school. I took note of her beautiful portraits and photography she had been posting on Facebook, so I asked her if she would be interested in doing our wedding photography. She was still in school for photography, so her fee was (more than) completely reasonable. At the end of it all she gave us five cd's filled with our pictures. We couldn't have been happier.

For our ceremony music I went through one of my bridesmaids, who was a music major in college. She recommended a wonderful acoustic guitar player. We only needed him for a entrance and exit music during the ceremony, so the price of music was a really small portion of our budget. For music during the reception and for our dances, we made cd's that the staff of the bed and breakfast played for us. Because of this, we didn't spend any money on a DJ or any other emcee.
The programs are one of my favorite things I did for the wedding. I made them on Adobe Illustrator...not that I actually own this expensive software. I downloaded a free trial just for this purpose! I used free fonts from dafont to make the programs stylish and match everything else. I kept the programs down to one half sheet of paper per program, so getting about 80 printed front and back at a copy shop only cost about $15. The basket they're in was an old Easter basket we had around the house; I cut off the handle and covered the rim with gold glitter.
I wanted the overall feeling of our wedding to be special and personal to Douglas and me as well as our guests. From reading this blog, it is probably pretty obvious to you that I love vintage style, so I wanted to have some of that in our decorations. This also helped avoid spending money on a lot of decor because...between my mom and me...we already had a lot of thrifted, antique-y things.

For example, the basket holding the bubbles up there has been around my parents house forever, and it was perfect for holding these before people picked them up. And instead of buying a guest book, I made a "well wishes" box out of little old toy box my mom had from childhood. I cut little pieces of paper for people to write little messages on. Of course, we had to spend some money for little details here and there, so when we did I wanted it to count. I immediately knew I wanted to have these striped paper straws for our guests to drink with. And they were a perfect (cheap) detail!
For favors for our guests, we handed out folding paper fans (from The Knot shop) that had our names and wedding date burnt into the wood. They were extremely reasonably priced for a personalized product, and I found that that site has good sales and deals. The favors ended up being a minimal expense because they were useful to the guests...and in the July Georgia heat people definitely needed fans.
We definitely didn't use Etsy shops for every little thing we needed, but it was a valuable resource for a few special details. I wanted our invitations to be unique and fun because our wedding wasn't going to be formal and require people to wear their fanciest clothes. I knew these chalkboard invites from Ello There were perfect for us the moment I saw them. They were reasonably priced for what was included considering the prices we saw from local printing companies, and I love having one hanging in a frame in our apartment.

Etsy was also perfect for finding our "Mr. and Mrs." cake forks. I can't remember the actual shop these are from, but if you Etsy search for them, you'll find numerous shops offering similar ones. Like the paper straws, the forks a perfect little, inexpensive detail that added a nice touch to our day. The forks sat out next to our wedding cake before we cut it, and people loved them. And we love using them now and having them as a keepsake.
So that was our wedding and a few of the ideas we had to save a little money. I hope this will be helpful to some people. Do any of you have posts about your wedding? I love to look at other people's pictures and see how they chose to celebrate.


  1. Awww, you guys had the most lovely looking wedding. All the photos are so beautiful! I love hearing about people's budget weddings, me and my boyfriend are thinking of taking the plunge in a couple of years time and I'm terrified about how we will afford it. Luckily there are so many awesome resources for budget wedding planning now! Thanks for the advice xo

  2. So perfect! I wish I could have found a dress like yours! I did the boutique thing even though I had a vintage dress that I really really liked, but everyone in my family made faces at it, so I scrambled at the last minute and found something that totally wasn't me, and I still regret not trusting my gut with that. sigh! There were way too many cooks in the kitchen in regards to wedding planning, if you know what I mean. haha. But seriously, your wedding looks perfect, and I wish I would have seen this post when I was planning mine! I think things would have gone down a lot differently if I had :)

  3. I absolutely love this post! I have plans for a simple DIY wedding as well, I already have masons jars and things collecting that I know I will use for decor. I love that you had some personal vintage items to use, that makes it all the more special! So gorgeous, I just love it!


  4. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this! This is amazingly helpful! It's awesome to have a post to refer back to about trying to cut costs in my wedding. My friend just got married and is giving me a ton of mason jars and little blackboards for table numbers. This is just lovely!


  5. You had such a gorgeous wedding! :) I've been stressing myself out with planning mine, and through reading this I've come to the realization that the dress, decor, etc can be done easily and without spending major $...thank you so much for posting this!

  6. LOVE this! What a fabulous day it was!!! :)

  7. your DIYs are awesome and, I know I've said it before but hey, your wedding looked like such a great day! love all the little touches especially the well wishes box, vintage jars and programs :)
    no wedding pics to report for you at my end but maybe one day!

  8. Wow! You really make awesome things! I'm no good in anything DIY, but yours make me want to practice. Your wedding looked so beautiful.

  9. cutest thing ever. looks absolutely perfect:)

  10. this is beautiful and you look so happy! thank you for sharing

  11. A great and useful post!

    Happy Anniversary!

  12. Our weddings have SO much in common! We did a lot of similar things to save money. You can see an archive about our wedding planning here:


  13. woooow! your wedding was just perfect and it fits absolutely my style :) I love the cake topper !

    ( I've just discovered your blog, it's so interesting and full of cute things, and i love your etsy shop as well!)

  14. Your wedding was lovely and can see how much fun everyone was having! Thanks for sharing and I'm so glad to see someone letting folks know that you can have an amazing day without breaking the bank. :)

  15. What's special about this wedding is that everyone you love come to help. You can't have a wedding more perfect than this. I really really love it.
    I've been a wedding guitarist for years and by far simple weddings like these are the more memorable ones.

  16. It looks fabulous. I've always been of the belief that people spend waaaay too much on weddings. If I ever get married all my friends and family will be chipping in instead of gifts!

  17. Looks like a fantastic day! I definitely want a wedding similar to yours - small and cheap and heaps of fun. Oh and I love that last picture!

  18. This is so so lovely and creative and I can see the joy in your eyes. Thanks so much for sharing and pink suites you!


Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to say something back. I love hearing what you have to say...