Shanna and Charlie: Frugal Outdoor Peacock Wedding

Meet Shanna and Charlie.  They had a lovely wedding in the mountains of Maryland for $6000!  Check out all of Shanna’s great tips on how she was able to cut costs and have the wedding of her dreams.  Complete with a Vera Wang gown no less!


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

A: Affordable, but not “cheap” looking.

Q:  How much was your PLANNED total?

A: 6000

Q:  How much was your ACTUAL total?

A: 6000

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

A: I found out that “DIY” was not always cheaper, definitely compare the DIY price to the actual price of just buying. It all really depends on the item, and saves a LOT of headaches and time.

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

A: Pinterest, Groupon, Craigslist, and my super crafty mom and her craft store coupons

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

A: Bar tab. I think its really inappropriate to have a cash bar, save on something else but give guests their drinks!

Q:  What was your favorite moment of the day?

A: The look on my husband’s face as I walked down the aisle.

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

A: Definitely money, we had so very little and both have huge families. We invited over 400 people, knowing not all would come because the wedding was in my hometown, which was 2.5 hours away from where most the groom’s family lived (Baltimore). In the end it was a blessing, and we got to have a smaller more casual 2nd reception once the wedding was over and we got back to Baltimore for the folks that missed it.

Q:  Is there anything you would have done differently?

A: In all the hustle and whirlwind of all the tiny details, I forgot to get a picture with my mom. It broke my heart.

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

A: Pay attention to prices per season. We got married the weekend after Labor Day at a state park. It was still gorgeous weather, but that one week changed the price from $400 to FREE, since it was out of season at a state park. Also, location is important. We live in Baltimore, and that’s where my husband’s family lives also. I am from a smaller city of Cumberland, Md. Having the wedding in Cumberland cut a LOT of costs just because it wasn’t in the city, and it had small town prices. After all the complaints of having to drive the 2.5 hours, the guests the made the trip fell in love with the mountains and small town, and now want to go back there for a vacation!

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

A: I really made use of all my possible resources.

My friend makes her own makeup so I asked her to make a combo pack for cheap to give to my BM’s as a present. Not only did she agree to do it for free, she made 3 new shades and named them shanna, charley and vancourt, and the shades were our wedding colors (purple, teal and green).

Another friend does photography as a hobby, she has wanted to break into weddings but had never done one before and didn’t have references to show to potential clients. I asked her to do mine and she agreed for really cheap ($200 for  12 hours), got some great shots and now has photos of a wedding to show to future clients.

My bothers GF works at a salon so I asked her about doing hair and makeup for the wedding party, since my party was so large and they made enough that day, they shut down the studio just for us and comped my hair and makeup for bringing them so much business.

My sister was married 2 years prior to me, I used absolutely EVERYTHING possible from her wedding that I could. Vases, treat bags, dishes, chair covers, etc.

My reception venue was a blank slate, I had to buy everything except for tables and chairs. It was much cheaper to buy sets of sheets for tablecloths than it was to rent or buy actual tablecloths, and there was a better color selection. Each set was about $10 on sale at Wal-Mart. We used the flat sheets for table cloths, and my mom cut and sewed the fitted sheets into runners. The pillowcases were cut and sewn into bows for on back of the chairs.

A friend of my sisters is a chef at a local hotel, he agreed to prep and serve our food for $100 plus the cost of food which he bought on his restaurant depot card so it was super cheap. We also talked to him about our meal selection to make sure nothing was an outrageous price.

We picked a peacock feather theme which was absolutely brilliant. We were able to incorporate a lot of colors, (teal, purple, green, gold) which is important and difficult when DIY or finding items to reuse from craigslist, etc. The feathers brought all the colors together and we found a cute old couple who owned peacocks and let us have 200+ feathers for $20.

My bouquet was the only one we had professionally made, and with real flowers. All the BM bouquets and men’s boutonnieres were made with artificial flowers by my mom. Be careful though, sometimes the real flowers are cheaper (but in my case much harder to handle/preserve!)

My sister found a magazine company (on craigslist) that was closing and giving away boxes of purple, teal, and white premium paper and balloons. I made all my invites, my own envelopes, and my own programs using that. Aside from the cost of ink (less than $20) and stamps, all my paper products were free. To save money (and the environment) I had people either RSVP online or call me personally.

We bought things like cake cutters and servers at dollar general and jazzed them up with ribbons, etc. They looked fancy, and to be honest I would never use them again so I’m glad I didn’t spend the money on the fancier ones.

I asked my MOH to make our cake. She is a good baker and I chose a simple cake. She agreed to do it as our gift from her, and no one was the wiser.

We made our flower girls little ribbon sticks to carry instead of flowers, and tutu dresses made of tulle.

I wore an old necklace that one of my BMs made me years ago, and earrings and veil from Amazon that totaled maybe $30.

All The Little Details!

Wedding Location: Rocky Gap State Park, outside

Location: Cumberland Outdoor Club

Photographer: Meredith Brown Photography (on facebook)

Dress: The big ticket item! Vera Wang White for Davids Bridal

Hair: Pistol Salon and bombshell studio (on facebook)

Make up: Pistol Salon and bombshell studio

DJ: Local Cumberland DJ, Jason Ryan

Florist: Mainly my mom, also Pharmacare floral in Cumberland for my bouquet only.

184489_585025081510826_1302110074_n 485032_508442869179413_994017315_n 703741_508446059179094_1614558556_o FF1 FF2 FF3 FF4 FF5 FF6 FF7 FF8 FF9 FF10 FF11 FF12 FF13 FF14 FF15 FF17 FF21 FF22 FF23 FF25 FF26 FF28 FF29 FF30 FF31 FF32 FF33 FFbouquet


Frugal Flowers Flock Together

If you are in the more advanced stages of planning your wedding, you know how expensive a couple of bouquets can become!  You are often looking at an average of $100 per bridesmaid and $250+ for the bridal.  Then you have the buttoners for everyone else (usually around $10-$15 each).  To help with the sting of the cost and get the FBF Peacock look you want there are several options you can choose from.

1) Use flowers that are in season in your area.  The further away you are getting those flowers the more they will cost.  Hydrangeas are great for this spring and summer.  You have all the peacock colors to choose from: purples, greens, and blues!  Plus the blooms are larger which gives you a fuller look for less.  You can add in a FEW of the more expensive favorites such as roses, calla lilies, and orchids.


2) You can use silk flowers instead of real flowers.  Once upon a time silk flowers looked very fake and cheap.  However, today you can find some fantastic looking silk flowers that you could never tell the difference.  There are many florists who also use silk flowers and can make you a fantastic silk version of your dream bouquets for much less.  You can also seek the help of the people working in the flower department of your local craft store (such as Michaels or Hobby Lobby).  Or if you’re up to the challenge you can make them yourself in advance.

Another perk to this route is you can sell the bouquets after the wedding and recoup some of your money!

you can make a large, beautiful bouquet with these 8 stems!  Usually half off at Hobby Lobby this would only cost you about $25.

 This gives you an idea of how they would look together.  I also added 2 peacock feathers. (please forgive the image, I shot these on my phone at Hobby Lobby)

3) If you’re up to the challenge (this is what I did), you can make your own real flower bouquets. Your local warehouse clubs (Costco, Sams, BJs) will always have great deals on real flowers.  You can also buy in bulk for a great deal.  You can also buy a few peacock feathers (again these are often 50% off making them about $2 each) to add in.

IF you do this I would suggest getting some help and doing them the day before for freshness.  After you make them, place them in a vase with water and place in the fridge or a very cool place to maintain freshness.

4) I mentioned this in another blog, but it never hurts to say it again!  You can grow your own.  I have known a couple of brides who love to garden and used their own flowers for their special day.  I LOVE this idea for several reasons:  I love to garden myself, this is a much more frugal route, and it’s a much more “green” option.
5) If you’re the more non-traditional bride you could skip the flowers!  A new trend for peacock weddings are fantastic peacock fans
 This image was from this Etsy store
These are a few options that you have. Just reflect on your budget and decide where you feel the importance is.  These options can really go a long way for a variety of budgets.

Peacock Wedding Inspired Part 2: The Look

Your “theme” doesn’t have to stop at the centerpieces.  The theme of your wedding is most often a reflection on you and your personality.  Whether it’s your favorite color, your favorite activity, era, etc.

If you’re wanting a peacock inspired wedding I would bet your not afraid to stand out a little and let your personality shine.  And color does not scare you one bit!  You can still wear your classic white dress while adding pops of color to really show off what you’re all about that day.  Think about your jewelry, shoes, and hair accessories.

peacock wedding ideas

Phase Eight wedding ball gown
£450 –

Take a look at this Etsy store for some beautiful peacock inspired jewelry for great prices.

 you add a beautiful hair clip.  You can check out Etsy for a lovely one made for you.  Or if your a crafty gal you can try and make one yourself (for less than half the price!).  Here’s a quick Youtube video to make your own.

You can also pump up the volume on your make-up.  Remember (from my other posts) that your make-up should have a little more umph than your everyday look, to counter your photographer’s flash.


 Incorporate as much color that you feel comfortable with. Whether you use all of these ideas or one.  Just remember to make it your own and have fun!

Peacock Inspiration Part 1: Strut Your Stuff!

When I started to do some research on FBF ideas on Peacock inspired weddings I was overwhelmed!  There’s SO many fabulous things you can do with this!  So, I’m breaking it into several parts over the next week.  Starting with Strut Your Stuff!

You can incorporate this into your personal look for the day in several ways.  Accessories are a must have!  You can go subtle or really strut your style.  Here’s a few shoe ideas for you:

Everyone know’s how I LOVE shoes!  And I LOVE seeing that lovely pop of color a bride has on her wedding day.  Here’s some fabulous shoes with a lovely peacock flare.  You can find these shoes at 

You may look at the $144 price tag and they start to loose that frugal aspect of a FBF item.  Don’t despair! You can take two approaches.  1)  Have you saved enough else ware to justify this purchase? If the answer is yes, then go for it!  I’m sure you will be able to wear these at future events as well and it will be worth it in the long run to have something special and unique  that you love the day of the wedding. 2) If you answered “no, I just can’t spend that”.  That’s OK, don’t worry you can find several ways to still achieve your look at a more comfortable price.  You can either look for something similar or you can DIY it!

Here’s another awesome peacock inspired shoe at a much more FBF price tag of only $55!

Head on over to Modcloth and check them out!

You can also find a plain shoe in purple, turquoise, royal blue, or emerald green for a great price at your favorite local spot and enhance it with a peacock shoe clip!  This can be an inexpensive DIY project or if you’re not up to the task you can shop Etsy for a pair of fabulous shoe clips!  Here’s one site to get your shopping going

These clips are only $35!  Couple them with a fab shoe that you found for a great price and you end up with a FBF look that can compete with the first pair of shoes we saw for still half the price!

Now, maybe you love the peacock COLORS, but you’re not a big FEATHER girl.  I can totally get that!  The colors are great and you go with just those lovely deep jewel tones!  You can don a pair of lushes purple, green, blue or turquoise shoes and still make a bold show of your style.