I know that we seem to preface every post by saying that this next feature is the be-all and end-all of weddings. But this time I really mean it. I swear. Sent to us by Krystel Tien of Couture Events, it’s hands down one of the most charming weddings I have ever laid eyes on. Plus it’s a DIY affair. Plus plus, it’s a budget friendly affair. So all in all, it’s kind of a homerun. Oh and the pics by Sean Walker? Beyond. Check out the gallery for even more.
Let me first preface by apologizing for the length of this description…it was just SO good, I couldn’t cut out a single sentence. It’s filled to the brim with the most incredible cost cutting tips I’ve ever read, so if you are working on a budget, grab a cup of coffee and get comfy.
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The wedding was held in San Diego in the backyard of a friend’s home. Sharon and Casey wanted to get married outside with a backdrop of trees and leaves. They knew it was a risk to plan an outdoor wedding in January, but the thought of bare trees and twinkle lights overcame the fear. The free venue helped!It ended up being one of warmest and most beautiful days of winter.
The major theme of their wedding was community. According to the Bride, “That’s how a wedding should be- a network of the people that you love and that love you coming together and joining family and friends from both sides to celebrate marriage.” The brides mother passed away from breast cancer two years ago, so her mothers best friends and her father’s bible study joined together to help make this wedding a reality.
In the words of the Bride, “We had an extremely small budget…partially by circumstance and partially by choice. We didn’t want to go into debt over our wedding. As time went by, it became revealed how expensive weddings really were! Enter: an amazing community. Our wedding would not have happened without our friends and family and we made that clear in our heirloom-themed day as there was a lot of old and borrowed.” The couple decided to string pennants throughout the trees. The pennants started out as mere aesthetic but soon became very nostalgic. Bride’s Quote: “Most of the fabric was my mom’s, an avid crafter. She was truly woven throughout the entire wedding. My amazing bridesmaids and I spent two days in my living room-turned-sweatshop, cutting pennants, passing off to the next person to iron, to the next person to sew, to the next person to string. I wanted them to be in trees, down the aisle, anywhere there was room!”
I took the couple to a wholesale flower shop to buy their flowers. It is incredible how far eight dozen roses and 80 hydrangeas can go when you’re going for a backyard look. The day before the wedding, because the arrangements would have been a little thin, the bride and her best friend ran around the semi-rural neighborhood where the wedding was, cutting wildflowers and naturally-growing plants from the side of the road as fillers. No one knew the amazing arrangements had no florist help and were comprised of half-weeds!
One of Sharon’s bridesmaids made her bouquet. She stuck all the flowers together, affixed them with burlap and tied her mom’s wedding ring to the base with twine (it was one of the brides favorite little touches in the wedding).
The brides best friend’s husband, Devon, went out into the mountains and gathered wood to make a four-posted chuppah for them to stand under during the ceremony. He nailed it together and draped muslin over the top to make it focal point to the woodland theme. Casey’s brother built the photo booth out of a sheet of plywood and a big frame someone almost threw away at Casey’s apartment complex. They covered it in burlap and leftover pennants. Sharon painted an old frame and put a piece of cardboard painted with chalkboard paint inside so that guests could add a special message. They had a friend take the photos.
Quote from the bride: “I didn’t want my bridesmaids to spend hundreds of dollars on their attire; neither did I care for a bulky taffeta number. The dresses were from Urban Outfitters. Going with the eclectic feel, and the fact that I had nine bridesmaids, we broke up the monotony with three different dresses. We went with tights for warmth and flair (Macy’s) and super comfortable heels from DSW. I made a Forever21 run a week before, got jewelry and hair pins I thought would go well with the dresses, and put out a box the morning-of for them to choose from if them wanted.”
Sharon had her dress made by Chris Gennaro. He is an incredible freelance designer that works out of his home, even with six kids running around! The bride wanted the J. Crew Sascha dress, which at $2000 would have put them over their entire budget. Chris copied the dress for her, but made it extremely flattering to her body. She ordered a custom silk flower and her vintage shoes on Etsy.com. It was perfect.
Quote from the Bride: “After looking into how much tablecloth rentals were, I knew we couldn’t fit it. So I thought, what is the cheapest possible fabric?? Muslin! I bought three bolts of it at $1.99 a yard (P.S. I can’t even count how many 40% off coupons I used at Joanne’s). After laying it on a table and realizing it would only come three inches off the sides, I had a momentary freak-out until thinking I could make table runners and then cut all the muslin lengthwise, right down the middle, and affix it to either edge of the runner. Krystel, our amazing wedding planner, called dozens of coffee shops to find burlap coffee sacks. After finally founding one, I made a donation to their clean water project in Ecuador. My grandma and sister cut and hot glued for three days strait!”
In lou of escort cards- The brides mom’s friend cut little tags from wood strips they bought at Michael’s and painted them with chalkboard paint. They wrote everyone’s names on the tags and then tied them on mason jars with twine, one for each guest that would serve as their drinking glass for the evening. They chose a more humble food route by having Souplantation cater just soup. The Brides mom’s dear friends spent New Years Day watching football and making cornbread to go with the soup. It was very affordable and all of the guests loved having comfort food. They cut prices again by ordering bulk biodegradable bowls, napkins, cutlery, and coffee cups online. Knowing that alcohol would be one of the major expenses of their day, they chose to stick to just wine. They bought enough Charles Shaw for everyone from Trader Joe’s – $2 a bottle.
The bride and groom asked select friends and family to make desserts that were signature or special to them. People loved being a part of our wedding this way! They labeled each dessert individually. The bride downloaded a font online for all the little signs and printed them on cardstock left over from their handmade invitations. The cake was made by a friend of the bride, simple and elegant, perfect for their special day.
Other details from the bride: We started asking friends to save their used wine bottles. Our friend Kevin from church let us borrow the sound equipment from the youth room. All the tables and chairs were generously lent to us from a friend of Casey’s dad. My sister sewed the ring bearer pillows and stuffed them with left-over fabric scraps. I order next-to-nothing Dallas Cowboys fabric from Ebay and my good friend Sarah made the garter. Casey’s brother, Daniel spent a day with the chainsaw, cutting wooden stumps, for lack of a more elegant word, to put on the dessert and guest tables. We also used wood disks to put desserts on to add to the rustic feel. -We strung borrowed lights between rigs in the trees in the Meier’s backyard.
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Are you crying yet? I am.
update…for those of you curious about the budget, the cost of the wedding was $2,000. The coordinator and the photographer were both friend’s of the bride so those costs weren’t included in that $2k.