Backyard Wedding Delight!

I am DELIGHTED to share this lovely backyard wedding!  Had I not been told this was someone’s back yard, I would never have known.  This bride was able to turn this into a beautiful setting to start their married life off right on an affordable budget.  Here are all her fabulous details.


Looking back through my wedding photos, I realized that there was lots of things that I did and planned myself. I’ll start with the ceremony. A friend of mine had open area at their home and allowed us to have the ceremony there. We borrowed chairs from my husband’s church and chair covers from my mother in law’s friend. We chose a simple aisle runner from Hobby Lobby. The backdrop was sheer curtains (6) that came from Walmart, hung on some poles that my husband built using supplies from Lowe’s. The aisle was decorated in arrangements that my friend let us borrow. (They own a landscaping convenient!!) We also used shepard’s hooks with mason jars hung on them. The mason jars came from Walmart, the beads and flowers came from Hobby Lobby. I wanted something elegant, but then again simple for my outdoor wedding! I had used Pinterest for a lot of these ideas and added my own touch to them. The signs were made from scrap fence boards and my mother in law painted them. Our programs doubled as a fan. I made these myself using cardstock and pop-cicle sticks. The program had our picture in a watermark with all of the wedding party and order listed. Instead of a guestbook, we got a signature frame. We found this at Kirkland’s. The bridemaids bouquet were made by me using real to life flowers, burlap, and ribbon, all from Hobby Lobby. The flower girls’ baskets were a set also from Hobby Lobby that I painted white and added ribbon to. The groomsmens’ flowers were all live, we decided these would be easier if made by a professional-lol! The ringbearers’ pillows were made from extra fabric, paint, and ribbon. My mother in law made those as well. My dress, veil, and head piece came from David’s Bridal. The music and all the equipment was supplied by a good friend of ours, this saved us a ton! He also did our music at the reception. Our reception was held at the Holiday Inn. We chose just to have cake and punch, as well as a cash bar. I did not like the typical wedding cake toppers, so we chose a set of birds! We spent the majority of our money on the photographer, who was awesome at capturing all of our favorite moment, and our honeymoon. We chose to Honeymoon in Gatlinburg, TN. Another helpful tip is to book the honeymoon early! We reserved a cabin and had it paid off before we even left! We just needed extra cash for food and activities.




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

A: It meant that we could plan our wedding exactly how we wanted and save money for what we needed for us and a Honeymoon.


Q: How much was your PLANNED total?

A: $3500


Q: How much was your ACTUAL total?

A: $3700


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

A: We made our own invitations, save the date’s, and for the bridemaid’s we used fake flowers.




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

A: Pinterest, Hobby Lobby, and my own ideas!



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

A: Photographer and prints


Q: What was your favorite moment of the day?

A: Our wedding went as planned! The set up and decorations were beautiful.


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

A: Getting all our ideas actually together and getting things under our budget and done on time.


Q: Is there anything you would have done differently?

A: We would have chose a different time of the wedding ceremony and maybe included a dinner.


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

A: You can find deals at craft stores, bargain places, and even things other people have (things you can borrow). Give yourself plenty of time to plan! Look for sales on different items that you may need in the “off season.” Hobby Lobby was a great store to get many items for my wedding and they always had a sale on something that we needed.


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

A: I personally think it is better to spend the majority of your money on a Photographer and the Honeymoon. The ceremony won’t last but maybe 20 minutes and pictures can last even longer!

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All The Little Details!


Wedding Location: A friend’s back yard in our town.

Reception Location: Holiday Inn Banquet Rooms

Photographer: Sara Long of Sara Long Photography, Jonesboro, AR

Dress: David’s Bridal (I wanted a simple gown and it just so happen to be exactly what I wanted and on sale.)

Hair & Makeup: Brittany Brown of Split Endz

DJ: Cody Gentry (a great friend of ours) He took care of music for the ceremony and reception.

Florist: For the guys- Sassy Sunflower in my hometown, Manila, AR.

For me and my bridesmaids- I made our bouquets from getting supplies at Hobby Lobby.



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 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!

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

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!

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;)

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Wedding Location: Faith Chapel, Jekyll Island, GA
Reception Location: Oceanside Inn and Suite, Jekyll Island, GA
Dress: David’s Bridal
Hair: JC Penney Salon
Makeup: Myself and Bridesmaids
DJ: Dance Jammers, Golden Isle area of Georgia
Florist:The Flower Basket, Brunswick, GA
Cake: Holloway’s Bakery, Brunswick, GA

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 ( 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)


Wine Glass Favors:

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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.

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A Frugal Wedding for a Children’s Charity!

I love this wedding for TWO reasons: 1) it was for a TOTAL of $750  2) it was done during a charity wed-a-thon for a children’s shelter (Atlanta’s Children’s Shelter)!  Leesha is not your typical bride.  Some may cringe at the idea of finding their dress at Goodwill, but not her!  She shows us that if you have the right attitude, you can have the most memorable experience of you life on practically nothing.  Here are some of her tips and details

  • Q: I know a “frugal” or “low-budget” wedding could mean different things to different people. So, what did it mean to you?
    A: In a nutshell, just doing something that we could afford, but still making it memorable. I believe it is always possible to cut corners and save money without sacrificing the experince or quality.

    Q: How much was your PLANNED total?
    A: We didn’t really have a planned buget per say. We just got things little by little. If we had the money for it we got it, if not, we passed. We just made a goal of doing it as inexspensively as possible.

    Q: How much was your ACTUAL total?
    A: OK, I was off a little from what I told you. My total expense was about $750. However, I included things that I actually didn’t pay for myself in this total. Some of the things family members covered the expense for.

    Q: What was your biggest budget saving tip that you can share with us?
    A: Doing the Wedathon! It was the best decision we could have ever made! Our wedding and mini reception was short and sweet, but still had the feel of a more expensive, long and drawn out wedding. It was perfect for us.

    Q: What resources did you find especially helpful (i.e. websites, blogs, craft stores, etc. )
    A: Craigslist for sure! If I would have not checked there, I would have never found out about the wedathon and we probably would have been married at the courthouse with a small reception at my Mother in Laws house! I also used either or for our invites, but I can’t remember which one it was. I also utilized the dollar store for a lot of things. Pinterest wasn’t around when I got married, but I know if it was I would have used that for a LOT of great ideas!

    Q: What was the most important service you spent part of your budget on?
    A: The proffecional photographer! I can not emphasize the importance of having a good photographer enough! Our wedding may have been very fast, but every detail was captured beautifully and we can relive our special day over and over again!

    Q: What was your favorite moment of the day?
    A: Saying “I do” to my wonderful husband and our first kiss as a married couple. Nothing else really mattered at that moment.

    Q: What was the most challenging aspect of the wedding planning for you?
    A: Just figuring out what where to have the after party since we only had a mini reception.

    Q: Is there anything you would have done differently?
    A: I would have planned a head a little better and reserched the area and our options for the after party. I would have organized it a little better. It was still wonderful though and the spur of the moment decisions keep life interesting.

    Q: What advice would you give to a bride planning her own frugal wedding?
    A: Don’t be afraid to try something less conventional, you might be pleasently suprised. Don’t go with the first thing you see or have your heart set on, always research! Ten to one you will be able to find something for a cheaper price and something you like better if you don’t jump right into the first thing you like. Always try to negotiate a better price for goods, places and services….ALWAYS! The worst thing that can happen is you get told no. Most places, in this economy are willing to negotiate a little. You never know what you can get if you don’t try! Don’t be afraid of buying things second hand. There is nothing wrong with buying things used for your special day, it wont make the day any less special. You can put your own twist on things or repurpose them into something unique. The Dollar store can be your best friend! Expensive doesn’t always mean better!

    Free For All: Anything that I haven’t asked that you think is important to add.
    A: Just keep your options and your mind open.

    All The Little Details!

    Wedding Location: Loews Hotel

    Reception Location: Loews Hotel
    After Party: Front Page News Pub
    Photographer: Justin Kurtz (Kurtz Photography)

    Dress: Goodwill
    Hair: Fantastic Sams
    Make up: Me, myself and I
    DJ: Not sure who it was, it was provided for us
    Florist: Not sure, it was provided for us

    To see what  Wed-A-Thon is all about, check out this news coverage.


    And to check out the shelter:

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Get The Most Bloom for Your Buck

When it comes to flowers you can quickly start talking about over $100 for just one bouquet or centerpiece.  This is where you really need to start thinking about how much you want to spend on flowers.  Do you really have to have roses everywhere?  Or could a few mixed in with other less expensive flowers be OK?  Do you have to have real flowers?  Or could very real looking silk flowers do?  Are you willing to pull up your sleeves and do a little work or get really creative?

One frugal tip here is to go BIG.  And I don’t mean a large amount of stems.  One way to maximize your budget is to use larger blooming flowers.  Such as sunflowers, hydrangeas, and peonies.  You can easily use just a few stems of these flowers and have a very full looking centerpiece or bouquet.

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Even using one large bloom has become fashionable these days!


Take this little BIG tip and have fun with it =)

Kim and Jason: A Lovely Fall DIY

In October my dear friends Jason and Kim tied the knot!  Kim was up to her elbows in DIY projects for a year!  They were on a tight budget but still wanted to make it the best day of their lives.  Kim and I got to talk over some of the details to share with all you FBF lovelies out there!  Here are some of Kim’s tips.  And, of course, some photos!


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

A:  Being realistic and knowing your limits.


Q:  How much was your PLANNED total?

A:  Take a deep breath.  No more than $5000-4000, which is still A LOT!!!!


Q:  How much was your ACTUAL total?

A:  $3500-$4000


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

A:  Be willing to do it yourself if you can, but know that it take up A LOT of your time and make you a bit crazy.   I recommend having a long engagement, shop sales, think outside the box, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and don’t have too many expectations.


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

A:  Pinterest definitely!!  But definitely used coupons, watched for sales, and clearance areas for:  Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Walmart, and Target.  Also looked other places for items such as lanterns at Kirklands.   Day after Christmas sales are awesome.  Friends who just got married, use them as resources/advice.


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

A:  Most important eh?  Most expensive was food of course, but most important was dress I would have to say.  What is a wedding without a bride?


Q:  What was your favorite moment of the day?

A:   The moment I was getting ready to walk down the aisle!


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

A:  All of it!  LOL!!!   Working with other people and their schedules/inputs/opinions etc.  Secondly the money.


Q:  Is there anything you would have done differently?

A:  I would have cut a few things out that really didn’t matter that would have saved us money.   I would not have taken on SO MUCH!!


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

A:  Make a flexible budget, but stay with it.  Realize you will have to spend more on a few things, but you have to decide what is important to YOU and the groom.   Unfortunately realize that wedding planning will consume a bit if you are a frugal bride, but it is SO WORTH IT!!


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

A:   Remember it’s all about what you envision and realize it’s one day (yes an important day), but one day in the big scheme of things.  If you set your boundaries with family and friends (which is hard) things will work out.  If you think for a moment you won’t have this as a concern, hahaha…. get real =)


Just to list a FEW of Kim’s DIYs:  all the decorations, the wedding wreaths, ALL the flowers (including the bouquets), the favors, the sign in book, and much more!  Feel like you could never be as DIYey as this?!  Contact her yourself!  This journey has lead her to open her OWN Etsy store!

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Photography:  Samantha J. Beauchamp Photography

Ceremony Location:  Staghorn Chapel

Looking Back, What I Should Have Done Differently

I have told you many great things about my wedding so far.  We stayed in our small budget, everything was beautiful, ect.  However, no FBF wedding goes off without a hitch (nor do many of the $20,000+ for that fact!).  And now for a few not so glamorous details.  Looking back, there would be a few things I would have done differently.  But, really only one thing I absolutely would have done different.  And sadly it was a BIG thing….my photographer.

Here’s the sad tale. I’m a photographer, shot I can’t tell you how many weddings. While trying to stay in our small budget, I broke my cardinal rule and decided to go with a friend to do the photos……She lives in Wyoming (I live in GA). I sent her money in July to purchase a plane ticket. 3 days before my wedding she calls to say she never bought the ticket and was flying stand-by, but 99% sure she wouldn’t make it! Unfortunately, she did make it.

She put us 3 hours behind the day before the wedding, which means I was also WAY behind the day of.  If this was a wedding where I had a planner and a crew this may not have been such a big deal.  But, everything (the food and the decorating) was all supposed to be done the day before by myself, my fiancé and my Mom.  Plus, we had never even been to this cabin.  I had no idea where everything was even going to go!

She was rude to everyone, a few colorful words were used by many guests to describe her. BUT, after all the grief and stress she put on me that day, I thought I could deal with it as long as the pictures turn out great! To my coplete horror she FINALLY sent me a flash drive 2 months later. Over half are out of focus, overexposed, underexposed. And the other half she has lost! I am in complete dispair! I have no bridals, we have maybe 3-5 good shots of the two of us as a couple. We have none of the dances, or with our bridal party and are missing family photos. In total we have about 92 images from her that were usable.  It just breaks my heart!

I share this with you to hopefully help you from the same mistake I made.  I had a feeling that maybe I shouldn’t mix friendship with business.  I rarely shoot weddings for friends myself.  But, I quieted my fears.  I thought to myself, she will do a good job and it’s only costing about $700-$750.  You can’t beat that…..Yes, yes you can!  I should have stuck with my gut instincts and hired a strictly professional person.  All the while this woman was driving me absolutely crazy, but I felt I couldn’t really lose my temper because she wasn’t just an employee, she was a friend (a distant friend, but still).

There are two saving graces to this sad tale!  One, I had many guests who took some great shots! I am able to pad her shoddy work with some of their images.  And two, the important things still happened that day.  I still go to have a wonderful moment with Craig before the ceremony.  The ceremony was beautiful and we got married.

We’ll be doing some new photos on our anniversary.  But, I got the most important memories in my mind anyways!

I’ve already posted many of the ones I was able to use in posts and on the Facebook page. Here is a sample of why I’m heartbroken.

I wanted a “sneak peek” so bad.  Just a moment for the two of us before the ceremony.  They were all out of focus or overexposed like this one.  My Mom made this bolero for me.  She and I both wanted some photos.  The photographer took about 10….all out of focus.

 Sadly this is the best shot of us with our bridal party.

 This is the one bridal shot I have.  It was close to being good.  If she had just exposed it a little more.

 me and my girls.  Kept telling her the lighting was bad.  I was in the shade and they had the sun shining right in their faces.

because she put us so far behind, the ceremony started an hour late.  Which meant the sun was not where it supposed to be during the ceremony.  I picked that spot because of how the sun would shine at 3:00, not 4:00.  So, the whole ceremony has the sun shining right in our friend’s face and on me (and not in a good way as you see).

I don’t want to overload you on bad photos.  I’m sure you get the gist by now.  This is a visual presentation of what to avoid.  This along with the fact that she lost the card of some family shots, the dancing, the bride and groom shots, the shots we took with our Best Man and Maid of Honor, my bridals, and many others….. To which, she just shrugged off.

Make sure you intrust your precious memories to someone who will treat them that way.   Do you have friends that recently got married?  Ask them for referrals.  Check local business sites, the BBB, and blogs.  I’m someone who knows better, and I should have trusted my gut.  I hope that this helps you to do the same!