Sunday, December 14, 2014

Wedding Planning, Budget, and DIYs

It's hard to believe it's been two months since my wedding. The year is almost over and it sure went by fast! I first wrote about my wedding plans in this post. Some of the planning was fun but some of it was extremely frustrating. We spent more then we originally wanted but certainly not as much as we could have. Good golly, weddings can be expensive!! Just mention the word wedding and prices sky rocket on everything! Cori and I are very practical people, or at least we like to think, so dropping the equivalent of a year's college tuition or the down payment on a house for one day of our lives was simply out of the question.

For us, as I'm sure is the case with most couples, the biggest expenses were the food, followed closely by the venue and our photographer. We saved a lot by doing many things ourselves or with the help of family and friends. If we didn't already have something or couldn't borrow it we went with out. I think we spent a grand total of $200.00 on reception decor - and that's including all decorations, lighting, and center pieces! Save the dates, invitations, programs, and menus were all DIY. It did mean more work for us but in the end I'm happy we created these things ourselves.

Here is a breakdown of the various supplies, decorations, etc from our wedding and where we sourced them. The was very helpful in figuring out our budget, keeping track of payments, and making a to do list. And the best part, it's free! You will find all kinds of information on wedding planning.

  • Corsages  - Made of felt by the very talented Lucy of 1940s Style for You.  
    • Cost - approximately $12.50 each (we ordered 12) plus shipping from the UK, $162.
  • Bouquets - Made by me using wool felt from The Felt Pod, floral wire from Joann Fabrics, and vintage buttons from the stash. This is one of the tutorials I followed. 
    • Cost - I don't remember the exact amount of felt I ordered but I estimate the total cost of supplies for the bouquets to be around $130.
  • Hair Flowers - Made  by my wonderful friend Monica. Cutie Clips and more. 
    • Cost -  Free! These were made as a wedding gift.
  • Mums - Purchased from a friend's farm stand and used for both the ceremony and reception. They decorated the front porch of our new house after the wedding. 
    • Cost - About $12 each for 6 plants, $72.
  • Flowers as Part of Table/Cake Decor - All the flowers used on the tables, as well as on our cake come from my mom's garden. 
    • Cost - Free!!
Total Cost for Flowers - Approximately $364.

Wedding Attire
  • Cori already owned a 1920s tuxedo, which he pieced together for the Downton Abby event we went to in January of 2013. (Which is where we got engaged!) He purchased a beautiful 1940s pin striped suit from our friend Jennifer at Morning Glorious Vintage to wear for the reception
    • Cost - Hard to put an exact price on his attire as it was purchased here and there over the course of a year. Approximately $300, give or take.
  • The groomsmen all wore their own suits with the exception of the best man and my brother who both wore WWII army dress uniforms. 
    • Cost - No cost to us.
  • The bridesmaids all wore 1940s vintage dresses with the exception of one dress that was made from a 1940s pattern. Finding good vintage for the girls was rather tricky. I spent hours searching Ebay and Etsy for dresses that were the correct size, dressy enough but not too formal, and reasonably priced. I've been a bridesmaid a number of times before so I know the feeling of having to spend more then you want on a dress you know you will never wear again. Also, none of my girls are really into vintage so this was a new area for them. I wanted to make sure they were happy and comfortable.
    • Cost - Another difficult one to figure as I had to purchase several different vintage dresses. I was able to resell the ones that didn't work and two of the girls kept their dresses and reimbursed me. So actual out of pocket was around $150.
  • Originally I had someone scheduled to style hair the morning of the wedding. Long story short, that plan didn't work out so I styled my own hair plus my five bridesmaids. It saved us money but added to my stress big time.
    • Cost - I'm going to say $20 because I know I bought extra bobby pins and hair spray.
Total Cost of Attire - Approximately $700

Reception Decor
  • Lighting - Patio lights purchased at half price at Rite Aid, some strands of Christmas we borrowed from a friend and others we already had. 
  • Paper Lanterns - Purchased by my sister for my bridal shower and reused for the wedding reception.
  • Bunting - Made using scrap fabric from my stash and leftover lace from my wedding dress. I had lots of help making these!! There are lots of tutorials on the web for making bunting. It's really easy!
  • Chalkboard Seating Chart - The large chalkboard we used for our seating chart was borrow from one of my recently married bridesmaids. My sister wrote all the names. Thanks Stephanie!! :)
  • Centerpieces - These were the most fun to create. All but a handful of the items used came from either mine or Cori's vintage collection of stuff.
  • Tea cups and Tea -  Sourced at yard sales, flea markets, antique shops, thrift stores etc. We had lots of friends keeping their eyes open for colorful cups and saucers too. If you plan on doing something similar, plan ahead. It does take some time to accumulate the number you need. As it turned out we had more then enough so I'm using the extras as decor in my new kitchen. :)
  • Tin signs - We purchased four different tin signs at a local craft and farmers market. Each one is a reproduction of a vintage image. They are now hanging on the wall at home. You can find similar ones here.
  • Family Photo Table - Table was provided by the venue and we brought the table cloth. We decorated the table with "found items" - vintage gloves, hankies, and other wedding-y odds and ends. Next to the table we placed four family wedding dresses. The lace you see on the table is actually a detachable train from a 1930s wedding dress. I purchased it at a vintage trade show. Sure wish I knew what happened the dress! 
  • Sparklers - I blame Pinterest for this! The Forth of July was just around the corner at the time I decided I wanted a sparkler send off. So I figured, no problem, sparklers would be use to find. Wrong!! On July 5th there was not a box to be found! But luckily the Vermont Country Store came to my rescue. This was the perfect way to wrap up the evening. 
Total Cost for Decorations - Around $200 and that's estimating on the high end!

Some of you might recognize the vintage pattern booklets in the background from this post.
  • Wedding website - You can set up a free wedding website, when you create an account, using The Very helpful for both you and your guests for sharing hotel information, driving directions, etc. 
  • Save the Dates - Cropped a photo from a vintage magazine and used the free version of PicMonkey to create the card. We printed them at home.
  • Invitations - We used the monogram template found here, and printed at home. This particular template had response cards too. The invitation template seemed a bit plain so I used PicMonkey to jazz it up a little and add some color. Ribbon and buttons for trim from Joann Fabrics.
  • Menus - The background image for the menus came from The Graphics Fairy, again I used PicMonkey to edit, and had them printed at work.
  • Programs - Reused part of the invitation template and created the programs in Word, printed them at home. Ribbon and buttons from Joann Fabrics.
  • Table Numbers - I can't seem to find the template I used for our table numbers but if you do a web search for "chalkboard table numbers" you will find plenty of options. 
Total Cost of DIYs - About $50. I was able to print most everything at home or at my office which provides color printing.

  • We are so very fortunate to have friends who love taking photos and videos, and are darn good at it too! And it doesn't hurt that some of them are professionals. (457 Studios and Kris Jarrett Photography and Media Production.) We have more wedding photos then we know what to do with! lol! But seeing how much of the day is a blur I guess that's not a bad thing. Word of advise. Don't skimp on these two things. It's worth the extra money and you will be glad you have them.
    • Cost - We received a special friends and family rate so I wont can't disclose the final cost. 
  • Venue - Our venue was the historic Park McCullough House. I huge draw for us was that all rental fees are used for the upkeep and management of the house, carriage barn and grounds. Things like tables and chairs were also included which was a big plus. You can find out more about holding weddings and other events here.
  • Food - By far the most expensive part of our day but worth it. Pangaea was awesome to work with and really helped make our day special.
Total Cost of Venue and Food - These are two areas where I don't feel comfortable disclosing final costs. I will say, though, that by choose to get married on a Friday as well as keeping the guest list small (just under 100 people) we were able to save quite a bit.

Each wedding is going to be different  but I hope this post was helpful and inspiring! It you would like to see more photos from my wedding please visit this post.


  1. I'm saving this post for future reference - really useful as I do battle with my own wedding to-do list! x

  2. I have massive respect and love for you and how awesomely you budgeted. Tony and I had an uber small civil ceremony wedding (I was 20, he was 24, we lived in separate countries before our marriage and didn't have two pennies to rub together between us) at my mom's house with just a few relatives and the justice of the peace present. It wasn't how I envisioned my wedding as a child, but that didn't matter. I was saying I do to my soul mate and that's what counted and what I think some folks who go wildly into debt for the sake of their wedding days need to remember is at the heart of things (hopefully at least!). We spent under $2,000 and though it wasn't lavish in the slightest, it was lovely, special, and memorable for sure.

    You guys had a truly gorgeous wedding and did a super great (and very inspiring!) job of budgeting.

    ♥ Jessica


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