Summer has arrived and along with it come wedding season. Since our wedding was before I started the blog I’ve never shared it here but I thought you’d enjoy seeing our budget-friendly DIY details, so here’s a quick recap.
We chose a restaurant in Boulder, Colorado as our venue because they had a beautiful garden area where we could host the ceremony. Rather than spend money on decorations that would only be seen briefly we kept things simple and let the focus be on us and the lush backdrop.
I ordered bouquets for myself and my sister who was my Matron of Honor from a local grocery store’s floral department and added burlap wraps with ribbon and a rhinestone pin to each. Since the hubs wore his uniform he didn’t need a boutonniere which was an additional cost savings to not having to buy a suit or tux. We requested his best man – who was his brother – wear a navy suit, which was readily available in his finance VP wardrobe. I gave my sister free rein on her dress selection just asking her to pick something navy blue as well, so she found an option she can wear again at a reasonable price. My mom paid for my dress, which we found at David’s Bridal for around $900. I had a local seamstress add a purple sash I bought online to the waist to customize it a bit. I found a rhinestone headband and simple veil online for a good price and bought shoes I could wear again to complete the look.
The reception was held in the restaurant’s upstairs dining room where the tables were arranged in long rows. We placed a simple burlap runner that my mom made down each and sprinkled river rocks from the dollar store (if I remember correctly we cleaned out their inventory! LOL) between the frosted votives provided by the venue. I ordered a bunch of daisies from the same vendor we used for the bouquets and snipped the heads off so they could be added in randomly among the rocks and candles.
The venue provided printed menus customized for us as part of the package price. They were simple but worked well with the tone of everything else we had going on.
Our favors were photo tile coasters I made with modge podge and my own Alaskan photography. The place cards on top were tied with simple jute twine and the symbols notified the wait staff which entrée each guest had pre-selected.
Our guest book was made of pre-cut card stock in our wedding colors where guests could leave a note and slip it into slots in a scrapbook. I later added photos of each guest next to their cards to finish the project. I found the scrapbook on clearance for around $15 and used a coupon to buy the card stock as 12″ x 12″ sheets that I cut down so the total cost with the photo prints came to around $30.
The frame we had nearby held the day’s schedule printed on our wedding stationary – left over stock from a DIY kit I picked up at Michaels with another coupon to make our own invitations and response cards. The frame later became décor in our home and now holds a recipe for a good marriage which I toasted the hubs with at the reception printed on some left over stationary.
The venue was able to make simple cakes so I requested a two tier Chantilly cake with berries for a garnish, which was DELICIOUS! (FYI – We’ve since discovered that Whole Foods has a Chantilly cake that is practically identical so we order one whenever we’re in Portland to celebrate.) The rhinestone monogram topper was another Michaels coupon bargain that ran me around $5. It later became an ornament for our Christmas tree with the addition of a ribbon hanger so now we can enjoy it every year.
My mom picked up these little treat bags on clearance and added some of her favorite candies. We borrowed a basket from the venue and set them out next to the cake with a few extra daisy heads and a votive to dress them up a bit.
We also saved by not hiring a DJ. Instead we put together a playlist of music for both the ceremony and reception. A friend helped make sure the right song was selected for the first dance and other important moments, which only took a few moments away from her enjoying the event.
As a photographer myself, I knew the importance of having a visual memory of the details of our wedding, so we made photography a priority with a chunk of the budget (photography credit for all photos to Nicole Nichols Photography). The other big expense was the food, but it was very good and well worth it.
I don’t have the exact figures anymore but the final total came to around $8,000 thanks to our budget conscious shopping and DIY choices. That didn’t include the rehearsal dinner which was covered by the hub’s family, but that was something that had been saved and planned for in advance.
I encourage couples planning their wedding to prioritize what they want and compromise on the things that aren’t as important or don’t have as much of a lasting impact. It is possible to have a dream wedding on a budget, it just takes planning and determination. 😉