This Connecticut wedding is perfect for many, many different reasons. First, it is beyond sweet and charming. Second it is a complete family affair with a ton of DIY straight from the heart and last but certainly not least, it was all executed for under 10k which most of us know, is no small feat. And the best part? The bride has left some great tips below on how to save money and still throw a gorgeous wedding. Photographed by Public Image, this wedding is a trifecta of pretty goodness and we are soaking every last detail in.
Daniel proposed on July 21st, and after a little encouragement from our family and friends we decided on an October wedding at my family's home in Connecticut. The decision to have a Connecticut wedding (we live in Boston) was largely influenced by the fact that my father had passed away the previous December, and it was important for us to honor his memory while still creating a day that was a joyful celebration of our marriage. Ultimately, having the wedding at home created a strong sense of my dad's presence. After we decided on the at home wedding, Daniel had the idea to replace lighting a unity candle with planting a tree, both to honor my father (who obsessively planted trees) and symbolize the beginning or our lives together. We chose to plant Mt. Laurel, which was my dad's favorite flower and the inspiration for my name. In addition, we used a piece of my father's artwork, a print of birch trees, as the cover of our programs. I love that when I look at our wedding photos, even though my dad is not in them, I am surrounded by all things he planted, built, designed and collected.
We knew we wanted a intimate and relaxed wedding, so along with our families we did most of the work ourselves. The few vendors we used, for food and photography, were already friends or acquaintances, which kept the informal, at home feel. Daniel and I printed the invitations and programs ourselves, scoured antique stores and flea markets for decorations, and spent many, many hours working in the yard. My lovely sisters made and canned the apple butter for favors, and my very talented sister-in-law did all of the flowers. We also had a large group to help with set up the day before and morning of the wedding. We can't thank our friends and family enough for all of the time, energy and support they gave to us during the planning stage. With their help we were able to create a wedding that was as beautiful as it was joyful. I think my sister-in-law described our wedding best when she said, "After an incredibly difficult year filled with loss and sadness, Laura and Dan's marriage was a beautiful reminder that joy cannot by snuffed out by despair."
A few ways we saved money...
Flowers: We saved a ton of money by having my amazing sister-in-law do our flowers. We purchased the flowers for the bridal party bouquets wholesale online, but the rest of the flowers came from local farms and the grocery store. Choosing to use seasonal, native flowers was a large part of keeping the floral budget affordable.
Alcohol: We saved money by limiting the alcohol selection to beer and wine. For beer we had Yuengling, which is delicious, cheap and a treat for our guests because it is not sold in New England (a guest from Pennsylvania supplied it). To add some variety we supplemented the Yuengling with pumpkin ale and hard cider. When it came to the wine the owner of a local store supplied a selection of reds and whites and allowed us to return any unopened bottles. As an added bonus, he lent us tubs to store the wine and gave us a key to his ice chest.
Decor: When it came to decorations our best resources were Etsy, thrift stores/flea markets and our backyards. I learned that in New England it is best to visit flea markets at the end of the summer, because the vendors don't want to store their stuff all winter and practically give it away (like two case of mason jars for five dollars)! Also, our budget forced us to be creative with what we already owned and the natural resources around us. As a result, some of my favorite decorations cost almost nothing. For example, I used my button collection on the place cards and collected sycamore bark from my street for table numbers. Also, I was able to scale back some ideas I had seen on StyleMePretty. I loved the idea of making my own napkins, but because of the cost of fabric and amount of sewing it would require we chose instead to use squares of fabric to ground our centerpieces. I was happy with the look, and my grandmother (upon Daniel's suggestion) incorporated the fabric into a wedding quilt she made for us.
When it came to photography we chose NOT to save money. It was important to us to have beautiful images of our big day and spending more money on our photographer was one of the best decisions we made.
Overall, because of our time and budget constraints we had to be flexible when planning. This turned out to be a blessing because some of the things I liked most about our wedding came together when our original idea didn't work out. During the planning stage a friend liked to remind me that it wasn't about the wedding, it was about the marriage. There were times when I had to step back and remember that the important thing was the sacredness of our vows and the joy in our union, not my table decorations. Keeping the celebration of our marriage as the focus allowed me to enjoy the day fully and that joy is what I remember most about our day and what I think shines through in our pictures.
Photography: Ricky Chapman of Public Image / Wedding Dress: WToo / Hair: Maryanne Warzecho of Cahoots Hair Design / Hairpiece: Whichgoose / Ties: Rokgear / Customized Birch Tube: Little Retreats / Caterer: Nick's Catering / Cake: Cakes Unlimited / Ceremony Musicians: Dave Swanson, Jonathan Cook, Melissa Rae