My husband and I were married almost two months ago and it really was one of the best days of my life. However, leading up to the wedding, was several months of planning, making decisions, and of course, crazy amounts of crafting…which I absolutely LOVED! I started planning by looking at Pinterest and searching for winter weddings. There were a ton of posts, but for elaborate…or should I say expensive weddings. They were great for ideas, but we are not rich! Below are the ways in which we kept our budget in mind without trying to sacrifice the vision.
To start, we had to pick a place so we could set a date. We settled on the Thurston County Fairgrounds Expo Hall in Lacey, Washington where we both grew up. Doesn’t sound super weddingy does it? But I knew we could transform the room into something beautiful. The hall itself has a lobby and the main room which has white walls and hardwood floors. The perfect blank canvas to transform into anything you want. We book the date and set in stone the date of 1/7/17. (PS. We both love the number 7, so we thought it was a cute date).
After that, we went dress shopping where I found the dress of my dreams (nothing like I thought-I thought I would get straps and sating, but I ended up with trapless and lace). You we see pics below. Then, we got into the real work. We started planning in July, so garage sales were a plenty. We looked for candle holders and vases, plus other things that caught our eye. We (my mom and I) seemed to fill up my car each weekend with our finds. The first decoration thing I was concerned with was the tables my guests would sit at. I decided I wanted a lace table runner, candles, and flowers.
The table runners came from Wedding Linens Inc.. They were under $4 a piece. My mom did the flowers, we found the champagne glasses at garage sales and we picked up the candles at Shopko when they were on sale. Side note, we also bought the table clothes from the Wedding Linens and found them to be of excellent quality. The only problem was the hours of ironing it took to get them looking right.
We did not have assigned seats, but I did reserve tables for my parents and my husbands parents. I bought picture frames from the dollar store and printed out the reserved sign. Then I used my Chalk Couture snowflake to add the embellishment to the frame.
To make our wedding favors, we bought snowflakes at Hobby Lobby (surprisingly, September and October were the best times to buy). They always have 50% off coupons online. We made several trips to get the needed amount. In a net circle, we put five Hershey kisses, and then tied a ribbon around the net and through the snowflake. We then added a little tag with our names and date. (They were actually sitting on the table, but our photographer was going for a cute shot). My family got together and we made the favors (about 140) in an hour.
For the head table, we wanted to have a feature wall behind us. My mother and uncle designed a light wall by taking two 2×2 boards and running Christmas lights on them. My mom and grandmother then sewed up a net curtain. It turned out amazing!
For the ceremony space (which was later turned into the dance floor), I wanted candles down the aisle and an arch for us to stand under. Luckily, my mother does flowers for a hobby, so we saved there. The candles holders down the aisle came from garage sales. The greenery was cut out of the woods near our home. We chose to spray a few sprigs of greenery silver for each space just to add a little shimmer. We rented the arch from hobby lobby. The venue had the stage, but we added lights to it. The pillars the flowers were sitting on were made by my uncle with the exception of the center one (which I found at a garage sale). To keep people from walking down the aisle and messing up the runner (left over from a friend’s wedding) my mom tied a bow to a stick.
Our venue also had a lobby, and I wanted to make sure it was a welcoming place that not only set the mood, but gave people something to do. I used my Chalk Couture chalkboard as a center piece and added embellishments from Chalk Couture to decorate the frames. The sayings were just so cute. The frames came from Michael when they had a door buster after Black Friday.
I also wanted to have a photo booth in the lobby for guests. I looked into renting one and discovered it was $700 for 3 hours. Nope! Can’t do that. So, I made one. To do so, I ordered a background from Oriental Trading for $18.00. I bought pennants and spray painted them blue and added the word love. Finally, we hung blue snowflakes. The background was finished, now I needed to figure out how to make it take pictures. I grabbed an old plant stand and through a table cloth over it. It wasn’t quite the right height, so I wrapped a box in silver wrapping paper and added directions to it. I grabbed my old cell phone and set it so there would always be a timer. I bought a tripod for $9 at Target. I made sure to remove the screen saver and lock screen for easier pictures. It turned out to be a hit. The only problem is that sometimes the phone got moved occasional, so the pictures were not centered towards the end of the night (as is the case for my picture below). You could fix that by taping down the tripod. A few days after the wedding, I uploaded all the photos to Facebook for my guests to enjoy. (Below my picture, you will see how we set up the phone-didn’t have pictures of it at the venue, but we did have pictures to share of the test run at my parents house).
As for photo booth props, you can find them at most craft stores for pretty cheep. All in all, we spent under $50 for our photo booth.
We also had a guest book, tissues for tears, and a place where people could grab blankets if they were chilled (and they did because it snowed!). The guest book came from Hobby Lobby (50% off coupon). For the blanket basket, we spray painted an old basket blue, bought the blankets on Black Friday at $2 a piece, and made a sign. The frame was purchased at the dollar store and I printed off the wording. For the final touch, I used Chalk Couture to add snowflakes.
Drinks are expensive, but we wanted our guests to stay and enjoy the night. It was one area were I felt that we splurged a little.
We had two coolers full of pop, water and tea that we purchased at Costco. We also hired a bartender to serve alcoholic drinks (in our state we are required to have a server and didn’t want to burden family members). To make the bar, we took a tall table and put a table cloth and table runner on it. I then purchased a picture frame at the Salvation Army for $5. I spray painted it with blue chalk paint and painted the frame white. I then wrote out our list of beverages available from the bar. To add the final touches, I added a few of my Chalk Couture snowflakes. We ended up with a ton of left over drinks (even though we consulted with the bartender). I guess too much is better than too little. We have thrown a few parties to drink the leftovers…not too bad 🙂
We were very blessed to have our uncle make our wedding cake. To top it off (pun), we used my parents cake topper. We painted the grooms hair and added small snowflakes (found at Hobby Lobby).
We splurged again on our wedding party. How can you draw a line. So we got a little creative. I have blurred faces for privacy. We chose to have one maid of honor, one best man, two bridesmaids, two groomsmen, three flower girls, and one RING SECURITY. Yup, ring security instead of ring bearer. We did that because my nephew is a little older and loves playing cops. He really hammed it up and was a hit with the audience.
You can see we chose to dress our bridesmaids in blue and our groomsmen in grey. I didn’t want the Navy dresses to clash with black. To make my husband stand out, he dressed in a Navy suit. We found the bridesmaids dresses at David’s Bridal in the special event dresses (I think they were prom dresses). Just a tip, special occasion dresses were about $50 cheaper than the bridesmaids dresses. The flower girls dresses came from a garage sale (except one- we could only find 2). Our ring security badge came from Walmart.
That’s not it! We wanted to include more important people in our wedding party, so we added a few positions. First, we added a candle lighter. He was adorable and started off our ceremony by lighting candles. We then added two ushers and six usherettes. I know what you are thinking, what is an usherette…well, we made it up. Basically, it is a female usher. We had them do the same thing as the ushers and then proceed in with our wedding party. They were dressed in short bridesmaid dresses from David’s bridal in a similar style to the bridesmaids, but shorter. Looking back, I am so glad I did it that way. Many blogs that I looked at said keep your bridal party small because of cost. Our party bought their own attire, so that helped. True, we had to get bouquets, boutoneers, corsages, and gifts for everyone, but having the most important people a part of our day was well worth it.
Before I conclude, let’s just take a minute to look at my amazing bouquet! To add to the flowers, my mother added jewels found at Hobby Lobby (again, using that coupon! It glimmered and glowed in the candle light!
There were many other things that we did, including a kids table and a candy table. You can see pictures below (the kid table is the aftermath-the kids went crazy for toys). For the candy table, I borrowed glass bowls and containers to hold the candy/snacks (Winco had great deals on candy. Plus, my aunt made some of the treats). For the kids table, I bought toys and games on Black Friday at door busters. I also printed off some coloring pages. For the K & K, we used that to light up the DJ table. We found them at 70% off at Michaels.
I hope that at minimum, you got an idea or two from this post. The most important things I learned was to be thankful my family was so willing to help and coupons are gold. It does not hurt to go to a store a few days in a row to reuse that coupon!