Out For a While

Well, my Frugal but Fabulous readers, it looks as though I will be unable to post for sometime to come.  I am currently 22.5 weeks pregnant.  Sadly, it’s been a very trying pregnancy.  It is planned that I will be admitted to the hospital next week for the rest of my pregnancy.  I am working on gathering some real weddings for you to enjoy.  However, my DIY posts will be put on hold for some time.  Thanks so much for all the support thus far and I will be back with you all as soon as I can!

Take care!


Back and Ready to GO!

Sorry to have been away for so long.  Today I am officially 20 weeks pregnant with our first child! Unfortunatly, due to some complication, I was on moderate bed rest for 2 months.  But, baby and I are both doing great now and are ready to return to some Frugal but Fabulous Weddings!

I have some time to think about a few DIY projects on my downtime.  Plan to have a few done and ready to share within the next week or so.

See you soon!

Someone’s Loss Can Be Your Gain!

I was watching the news today when a feature of a new business came up…..a company selling CANCELED weddings!  I think this is a fantastic idea!  Being a former wedding photographer I can tell you that sadly some weddings to not end up happening.  In 8 years I only had 1 cancel (and it was the day before!), so the numbers are not that high.  But, for that couple they will be out thousands of dollars.

That’s where http://www.bridalbrokerage.com comes in to save the day!  Not only does the unfortunate couple save a little bit of $$$, but you can save some big $$$ too!  All you are responsible paying for are the remaining balances of the original couple.  Image

Yes, you will have to be a little more flexible in your plans.  But, if you’re able to get a fabulous $25,000 wedding for cheap it’s worth a try!

The Bridal Brokerage only just opened, so there are no reviews yet.  However, if the right deal comes up I would say it’s worth it!  You can check the reputability of the vendors before purchasing.  They even have an in-house graphic designer that can whip up invitations on the fly for any short notice weddings!

Let Them Eat BRUNCH!

I defy you to find someone who says they do not like brunch!  Everyone loves brunch.  Often when there’s a special occasion or holiday, the phrase “Let’s do brunch” will often come up. In fact, when my husband and I got engaged we had a small brunch in our apartment.  Same thing for many of my friends, bridal showers, baby showers, etc.

But, have you considered having a brunch reception?  As I have said in many posts past, think location and TIME.  By having an earlier wedding and reception time you can save thousands of the normal prices.  Often venues offer up to 30-50% off for early weddings (depending on the day).  usually these ceremonies would take place between 11:00 AM-1:00PM.  You can follow this up with a lovely light brunch reception (normally ending by 3:00 PM to allow a turn over for the next couple).

Now, as with any food options, you can go as light or as heavy as you want.  Want to WOW your guests?  See if your catering company can accommodate an omelet chef or a build your own waffle or pancake station.  Just want to have a relaxed atmosphere with your guests?  You can go with a buffet of fruit, cheese, and baked good platters.  And, of course, you can top of any option with a fantastic Mimosa toast towards the end!

If you are concerned about not having the whole day to celebrate, I wouldn’t.  Because it’s fairly early still, you can still go back to someone’s home and continue with a nice evening BBQ.



What’s Next….You Tell Me!

Hi there!

I have a few projects I’m working on this week for some new posts.  But, in order to really be useful on your FBF wedding quest I would love to hear for you all.  What would you like help figuring out to do for your wedding?  Do you have a specific theme you’re looking for some ideas on?  Please leave your comments and I would be so happy to start working on them!  

And, of course, thank you again for finding my little blog and coming back!  


That’s Amore!

Last weekend I got to come out of semi-retirement and shoot a wedding!  I still do some shoots from time to time, especially for previous clients.  I have known the members of the bride’s family for a few years now.  It was just a LOVELY day!  While I didn’t get to ask how much they spent in total, I know it was well under $10,000.  One of the things they did to stay on budget was the choice of food.  The event was catered, but they didn’t go with an elaborate spread.  They went with a simple build your own salad and pasta buffet!  I LOVED it!  It was simple and yummy!  They also had a delicious coffee bar complete with fresh whipped cream and flavored syrups.

The guests loved it and when I had a few moments I enjoyed a few bites myself ;) You started at one end and built your salad.  All the toppings were in individual containers.  Then you moved on to the different types of pasta provided.  There was whole wheat penne, fettucini, and one more (honestly don’t remember the other option).  And then you picked from different sauces and toppings.  I went with whole wheat, Alfredo, broccoli, and chicken, YUM!  The staff was wonderful and even asked me if they could box anything up for me. I would highly recommend Proof of the Pudding!  Here’s a direct link to their site http://www.proofpudding.com/menus.php.

If you don’t want to go the caterer route this is something you can easily do as a DIY task!

IMG_4282    pasta-stantion-wedding-buffet-ideas

#Please note that the pasta photos are NOT from this wedding.  I didn’t get a chance to take photos of the buffet, but this gives you an idea of what you could do!

Love Letters

By the time of our wedding my husband and I had been together for over 7 years.  So, in a way, we were already married (we were just get the paperwork to prove it).  This summer will mark our 9 year dating anniversary.  If you have been in a long-term relationship you know it takes some work sometimes.  Work, school, kids, bills, and just life in general can bog you down.  Especially in stressful times, such as planning a wedding, you need to take the time to remember what it’s all about.  Maybe he brings you flowers out of the blue.  You surprise him with his favorite meal.

To change things up recently I made a love letter board.  I took a chalk board and covered the edges in red rose trim.  Every now and then, we will write why (especially that day) we love each other.  It’s nothing too crazy, but it’s nice to come in and see a little “love letter” after all these years.


Have a LOVEly day!

Posted in DIY

Nic and Kelly’s Destination Wedding for Under $9,000

Today’s wedding is very special for a few reasons.  1) The groom (and now the bride of course!) is my cousin! 2) I got to shoot this wedding a few years years ago.  3) I can happily say they are still married 5 years later and have 2 beautiful daughters =D  This was not only a frugal but fabulous wedding, but it was a destination wedding also!  I can tell you it was a great day and weekend.  Because it was a destination wedding, everyone booked rooms at the hotel for the weekend.  They got to enjoy a cookout on the beach the day before along with a few other activities.  After the ceremony and reception the party continued ALL night long.  It was a lot of fun for everyone.  Check out some of Kelly’s tips (and great advice for difficult family members) on staying on budget in gorgeous Jekyll Island!


Q:  I know a “frugal” or “low-budget” wedding could mean different things to different people.  So, what did it mean to you?

A: To us, a “low-budget” wedding meant not going into debt.  We paid for our wedding ourselves and whatever money was set aside was what we had to spend!  While our wedding was an important day, we didn’t want to be paying off credit card bills for months to come over one day.

Q:  How much was your PLANNED total?

A:  We honestly didn’t have a “planned” total.  I wasn’t the little girl that always dreamed of her wedding day who looked at the bridal magazines while in high school and college.  We didn’t know how much to plan because we had no idea of what things to cost.  Instead, we ranked what was important to us and worked around those costs.

Q:  How much was your ACTUAL total?

A:  Including our honeymoon (5-day cruise), we kept it under $9,000.  Thanks to sales, we were able to even buy the bridesmaids’ dresses and groomsmen’s blazers, slacks, shirts, and ties.

Q:  What was your biggest budget saving tip that you can share with us?

A:  Don’t feel like you need to invite everyone you (or your parents) know.  We found that the key to keeping costs down was to keep our guest list to an intimate number of people.  We had 50’something guests and thought to ourselves thought that seemed like a large number or people.  Even with that number, we offended some but you have to keep in mind that if having a plated dinner, each person will cost you approximately $35-$50.  Because it was such an intimate group of family members and extremely close friends, we found it best to have a beach cookout rather than the traditional rehearsal dinner.  The relaxed atmosphere allowed everyone from each side to get to know one another.

Q:  What resources did you find especially helpful (i.e. websites, blogs, craft stores, etc. )

A:  Since we didn’t know anything about planning a wedding (and were way too cheap to use a wedding planner), we bought a book that provides a timeline and planning checklist.  This book was essential to us every step of the way!  Also useful were random websites we came across for centerpiece ideas.  I’ll admit, our centerpieces were a bit of a flop the day of the wedding.  We lived in Alabama and bought and practiced making the centerpieces (vases with beads, lilies, and beta fish).  We were able to easily make this and planned for the men to make these the morning of the wedding while the women were getting hair and makeup done.  Needless to say, the town in Georgia where we got married didn’t have the lilies and the men bought some different plants instead thinking it would yield the same result.  These plants didn’t work because the roots don’t clean as easily as the lily roots and we had clumps of dirt in the vases!  I was pretty angry then and almost had a “bridezilla” moment, but it’s laughable now!


Q:  What was the most important service you spent part of your budget on?

A:  This may seem terrible, but the honeymoon!  Whenever you bring together a bunch of relatives from different backgrounds, it guarantees that chaos will ensue.  For example, while taking pictures on the beach during what was designated as a cocktail hour, one of my relatives told all of the others that they could dress down for the reception.  We walked in to the reception room to find most of my relatives in t-shirts and blue jeans!  Also, we got married on an island and there’s a large bridge you cross to get to it.  One relative was afraid of large bridges and another whom is from the mountains was afraid of the ocean so we had to get her an inland room after having already spent the extra to get her an ocean view.  Anytime one of these family drama moments arose, my husband and I would sing “Come Monday” to each other by Jimmy Buffett because that’s when our cruise ship left.  It kept us from stressing over the little things and let us laugh and just enjoy the whole wedding weekend.

Q:  What was your favorite moment of the day?

A:  Taking pictures with two of my great grandmother


Q:  What was the most challenging aspect of the wedding planning for you?

A:  Our mothers.  They, like I’m sure many, had so many interjections during the rehearsal the minister actually asked them to be quiet!

Q:  Is there anything you would have done differently?

A:  We would have “assigned” someone to “deal” with the family;)

Q:  What advice would you give to a bride planning her own frugal wedding?

A:  Remember that it’s about you and your groom.  Don’t feel obligated to invite those you don’t want, have certain people as groomsmen or bridesmaids, or simply do anything you don’t want to do.  On the day of, unless there is another wedding in your venue shortly after yours, everyone can wait on you.  Don’t stress about zipping your dress and makeup to get down the aisle at an exact time; if you are a couple of minutes “late” it’s okay because the wedding’s not going to start without you.

Free For All:  Anything that I haven’t asked that you think is important to add.

A:  Just be flexible.  When you don’t have a limitless budget, you’re going to have give and takes.  Prioritize what’s important and just be prepared to roll with the punches.  Have fun with it all and try not to stress because you definitely don’t want to stress yourself into breakouts;)

IMG_0038 IMG_0025 IMG_0007 IMG_0001 IMG_9995 IMG_9994 IMG_9987 IMG_9985 IMG_9974 IMG_9959 IMG_9957 IMG_9950 IMG_9949 IMG_9947 IMG_9945 IMG_9938 IMG_9936 IMG_9921 IMG_0244 IMG_0242 IMG_0241 IMG_0240 IMG_0238 IMG_0237 IMG_0234 IMG_0228 IMG_0226 IMG_0225edit IMG_0209 IMG_0204 IMG_0200 IMG_0197 IMG_0190 IMG_0189 IMG_0177 IMG_0176 IMG_0175 IMG_0173 IMG_0172 IMG_0170 IMG_0164 IMG_0154 IMG_0136 IMG_0135 IMG_0130 IMG_0129 IMG_0128 IMG_0122 IMG_0119 IMG_0110 IMG_0106 IMG_0103 IMG_0099 IMG_0087 IMG_0086 IMG_0080 IMG_0077 IMG_0074 IMG_0072 IMG_0070 IMG_0069 IMG_0068 IMG_0066 IMG_0064 IMG_0058 IMG_0039

Wedding Location: Faith Chapel, Jekyll Island, GA  http://www.jekyllisland.com/historic-venues/
Reception Location: Oceanside Inn and Suite, Jekyll Island, GA  http://www.oceansideinnandsuites.com
Dress: David’s Bridal
Hair: JC Penney Salon
Makeup: Myself and Bridesmaids
DJ: Dance Jammers, Golden Isle area of Georgia http://www.dancejammers.com
Florist:The Flower Basket, Brunswick, GA  http://www.brunswickflowerbasket.net
Cake: Holloway’s Bakery, Brunswick, GA  http://www.yelp.com/biz/hollaways-bakery-brunswick

DIY Photo Booth!

While discussing a FBF wedding with one bride recently I asked about her photo booth.  I LOVE photo booths, but they can get pricy.  She had a wedding for less than $5,000, so I was sure she had gotten a great deal.  And I was right!  She shared her secret with me, and it’s called Sparkbooth.com  http://sparkbooth.com!


All you need is a computer.  To download the program is $60.00.  You can then opt to have it set up to a printer and print on site.  Or you can have it stored online to print later.  You can even have it set up to upload all the fun to Facebook!

There are a variety of ways you can personalize your booth.  For a backdrop you can use a sheet to cut costs.  If you or a friend is handy with wood-work you can have a large board mounted, painted and styled to match your theme.  Here is a great step-by-step tutorial on how to do this http://ruffledblog.com/diy-photobooth-vintage-wallpaper-frame-wall-backdrop/


Make sure that you place it in an area that is well lit.  You will be doing this on the computer, so the flash will be very limited and you don’t want your photos too dark!

Now all you need to do is add a few fun props!  Have fun and don’t forget to SMILE!

Posted in DIY

Fall Wedding in Indiana

Meet Isabel and Abe!  They were married this past fall in Indiana.  They wanted to have a fantastic day and still keep it on a budget that they could handle on their own.  Being a professional Life Coach (http://www.compassionatecoachingih.com/index.html) Isabel believes “if you can dream it you can do it!”.  And she did!  Not only did she stay in her budget, but wait until you hear how she made $500 to put towards their honeymoon!  Take a look at the creative ways she was able to pull off a fabulous wedding for $5,000.


Q:  I know a “frugal” or “low-budget” wedding could mean different things to different people.  So, what did it mean to you?

A: Having a great wedding with all the people we love but staying within a budget since we wanted to pay for it ourselves.

Q:  How much was your PLANNED total?

A: $6000

Q:  How much was your ACTUAL total?

A: $5000

Q:  What was your biggest budget saving tip that you can share with us?

A: Keeping your guest numbers on the lower end, being creative with decorations,

and opting for a smaller but adorable venue.  We auctioned off some of our decoration items at the end of the night – worked out great

Q:  Tell me more about this auction.  Was this something that your guests knew was happening in advance?

A:  Well, some of the centerpieces we gave away as thank you gifts for those who helped us setting everything up etc so we didn’t have to spend any additional money and they all loved it.

Some of the guests knew about the auction especially family member who just told others. But some of them didn’t. We had the DJ announce it (instead of the dollar dance or so). Most of the decoration we auctioned off were my paintings that were part of the fall decoration on the walls. If I remember it right, we made over $500 or $600 which went towards our honeymoon. We had wine glasses made with fall decoration on it that everyone was allowed to take home – so we integrated the dishes/ glasses with guest gifts. Online you can get great deals and they looked awesome.

Q:  What resources did you find especially helpful (i.e. websites, blogs, craft stores, etc. )

A: I did a lot of research online but also already had a picture in mind in what I wanted to create. There had been too many books and magazines out there that would have added to my budget so I avoided that.

Q:  What was the most important service you spent part of your budget on?

A: photographer

Q:  What was your favorite moment of the day?

A: The wedding ceremony at the church

Q:  What was the most challenging aspect of the wedding planning for you?

A: getting everyone involved aligned with our budget plans. My husbands family is very big so making the decision on who to invite, was hard. But it seemed to work out just fine – some we invited didn’t come and other we did not invite showed up instead.

Q:  Is there anything you would have done differently?

A: I would have taken more time to choose a photographer.

Q:  What advice would you give to a bride planning her own frugal wedding?

A: Don’t stress about what others may think and want you to do with your wedding. You don’t have to impress anyone and you don’t have to invite everyone. With clear communication and expectation everyone understood and was very understanding and helpful. Ask for help and support. Forget about a fancy rehearsal dinner – pizza and sandwiches totally work and everyone loves it.

It is your special day and you can have it however you want. Even on a budget a wedding can be incredible beautiful.

All The Little Details!

Wedding Location: A small church in Plymouth, Indiana (cost us about $150)

Reception Location: An old Club house in Plymouth, Indiana (about $300 for 2 days)

Photographer: Jeff Polk Photography ($1100 – was not convinced of his work)

Dress: David’s Bridal (on sale for $400)

Hair: a small Salon in Plymouth, Indiana (for myself, my 3 bridesmaids and mother-in-law I believe it was $250)

Make up: myself

DJ: Krazy King Productions (great value for an amazing price We loved them. They are originally from Indianapolis, IN but travelled just for us.)


Florist: mostly Kroger flowers (very nice) and arranged it myself with the help of my sister. Turned out pretty good.

Cake: It was honestly Walmart. Price and taste was great. I would have pictured the decoration a bit different but it wasn’t bad at all.

Tuxedos: Men’s Wearhouse (with some discount and coupons)

Linnens: http://www.linenhero.com/Product-Lines/Table-Linens

Wine Glass Favors:  http://www.bargainmugs.com

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