day four. beautiful and budget can coexist

I just want to preface this post with the fact that budget conscious does not equal cheap. Is their cheap, poorly executed, corny, vanilla weddings out there? Sure. I think that is where my mind was when I first started planning my wedding. Just saying the word budget hurt me, but I think these three weddings will make you a believer as well.

Jamie and I are planning a very small wedding (20 – 30) guests, so I am really drawn to small, intimate affairs. However you can still pull off a larger wedding with more guests while maintaining a reasonable budget.

Kate and Billy hosted a wedding with 100 guests, in Orange County, California, all for under $6400. They shared their story and a complete breakdown of their budget with Snippet and Ink.  Kate breaks each cost down by category and gives figures for all of her expenses. It is an amazing resource.

This wedding is the complete meaning of DIY. Tera and Mike did everything themselves. They did have one vendor, one they decided was worth every penny – their photographer. Ah yes, a couple after my own heart 🙂 Check out their story and more photos on Green Wedding Shoes.

This wedding might be my absolute favorite so far for inspiration on a budget. Their wedding cost just a bit over $20,000 but they had 180 guests, which is a rather large party! Rachel and Dustin took on high impact DIY projects that would really stand out at their wedding and man did it turn out beautiful. It really goes to show that if you are planning on doing projects yourself for your wedding you don’t have to take on a million little projects that will drive you nuts. Be strategic. With the large amount of guests Rachel also knew it would be critical to hire help –

We did hire wedding planners to give us recommendations on vendors in our price range and to set up and keep everything running smoothly on the day of the wedding. We hired 3 party staff even though our venue only required one licensed bartender, so that they could help bus and refill drinks and most importantly, clean up at the end of the night.

She lays out all the logistics of her wedding and budget with 100 layer cake here and also shares instructions for DIY hand dyed napkins and this epic festive streamer backdrop.


Disclaimer: DIY isn’t as easy and fun as it sometimes seems Rachel gives a little information on her personal blog regarding this and I think that it is absolutely critical to remember:

This is what I try to remind people of every time they mention DIY wedding stuff. It’s fun (if you already love projects – this is key), it gives you some flexibility, it can save money. But the bottom line is that there is a reason why people hire professionals and pay them scads of money. It is a LOT of work and there isn’t any way of getting around it. I enjoyed it, because I’m the type of crazy person who genuinely loves planning stuff, but I still felt out of my league at some points.

In short …

Edit your projects
Pick your battles
Remember that every fun little detail you add has to get packed up, carried in and later packed up and carried out
Pad every single time estimate you make by about 25%
An excellent day of (or site) coordinator could be a lifesaver


To me there is a fine balance between DIY and going crazy. There is also a fine balance between DIY and cheesy/cheap. I feel like it is essential to look at your budget, hire vendors where necessary, and pick a few high quality DIY projects that make a high impact and reflect you and your fiance. I have always been interested in crafting and I admire those who do, but I have never really gotten serious about it. I know that I won’t be able to pull off a huge DIY wedding, and to be honest I don’t really want to try. Jamie and I are picking a venue that is beautiful in its own right, and won’t require a bunch of decorating. This helps with our budget and my limited knowledge of DIY.


How do you feel about DIY? Are you crafty? Will you need a designer to execute your wedding? Or are you ok with or without tons of decorations and personal touches?


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