After drooling over these images from Karmen Meyer Photography for the past hour, I’m still wrapping my head around the fact that this beautiful event cost around $15,000! Hello, amazing DIY-ers! Color and whimsy played a huge part in the Water for Elephant’s inspired day from the carnival photos to the balloon pop board for the guest’s buffet numbers. Pink Champagne Social Events helped pull it all together and I’m seriously swooning over EVERY detail! Head over to the full gallery to see the rest for yourself!

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From the Bride… Brett and I got engaged in October 2010 and were married June 16, 2012, which gave me a lot of time to think about our wedding. After our engagement, we immediately hired a wedding planner – Abby of Pink Champagne Social Events – and she was fabulous from the beginning. She guided us through the costs and what we could expect for our budget of $15,000. I was quite disappointed when I realized our budget wouldn’t be getting me the huge fairy tale princess wedding I wanted. As a result, Brett and I really had to focus on which areas of the wedding to scrimp on and which to splurge on. We decided to splurge on photography, which was worth every single penny! We spent the rest of our money carefully and focused on choosing things that were unique and would provide our guests with a different wedding experience. We decided on a “Water for Elephants” theme and aimed to create something fun, sentimental and personal to share with our guests rather than spending a huge amount of money to impress them. And it was worth every penny we did and didn’t spend.

Our BBQ catering and homemade lemonade stand set the mood immediately. We had beersbee, bocce ball and horse shoes for games, and guests even had to pop balloons in get their order number for the buffet. All of our decor was either reclaimed thrift store items, borrowed or handmade. I made the runners and every burlap decoration from bulk burlap I had purchased at a local garden center. I also ordered bulk succulents from a local greenhouse and transplanted them myself into 15 cent ceramic pots or the flower boxes my husband made himself. We also ordered bulk hydrangeas to go inside mason jars centered on pieces of tree trunk my husband cut himself. We also made our own altar and pie stands from the same trees. We made straw tags, signs, yarn balls, chalkboards, flower boxes, centerpieces and even the lemonade stand itself. In addition, mason jars were a huge part of our wedding, especially since my husbands last name is Mason. We made strawberry jam as favors, and I also made the favor tags myself. We covered mason jars in lace to hold candles and drank from the cutest gifted mason jars with stems, otherwise known as redneck wine glasses.

We also decided to make pies and host a pie auction instead of a groom’s shoe, which was an absolute hit! Every single pie we made sold for over $100. I think the pie auction was one of my favorite moments of the day. The groomsmen took turns auctioning the pies off, and Brett and I delivered and thanked the individuals who bought them. It was an amazing way to interact with our guests, and we definitely felt overwhelmed with love and shocked by how much people wanted to give us. All in all our wedding was more fun than I could have imagined. We were also told by numerous vendors and guests that it was the best wedding they had been to. The whole day and seeing everything come together gave us such a fulfillment knowing we created something that was so uniquely ours to share with our family and friends.

Wedding Photography: Karmen Meyer Photography / Wedding Venue: The Chalet at Westerner Park in Red Deer, Alberta / Wedding Planning, Coordination, Design + Staging: Pink Champagne Social Events / Floral Design: Stems / Wedding Cake: The Entirely Elegant Cake Company / Catering: Rocky Mountain BBQ Catering / Cake Topper: theaircastle / Decor: DIY by the Bride & Groom / DJ: Glass Productions / Wedding Dress: Madison Collection “4018″ via Your Wedding Place /  Bride’s Jewelry: Borrowed from Her Sister / Bride’s Shoes: Colin Stuart via Victoria’s Secret / Bride’s Shoe Stickers: Your Happily Ever After / Hair + Makeup: Dana Mawer + Naomi Mawer / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Alfred Sung “D440″ + “D438″ (In Aquamarine) / Groomsmen’s Attire: The Bridal Store Calgary