We’re always excited to share a super cute wedding full of inspiring details–and even more so when it’s a local one! Brittany grew up on Orcas Island in Washington state (we went there on vacation this summer!). Passed down in her family is a beautiful hillside piece of property that overlooks a marina and contains a century old orchard. She and Stephen decided it would be the most beautiful place for their wedding and less importantly, free! In fact, this savvy pair managed to pull off their entire wedding for under $900 (whaaat?!) As impressive as that already is, it’s even more amazing when you see how ridiculously cute their wedding was. Clearly, we need to hear more from the bride to find out how they did it…
From Brittany: Our inspiration for this wedding was to show the people closest to us exactly who we were without generic monogramming, extra frills, or expensive decorations. This is us, and this is how we pulled off our wedding under $900. There was no real secret to our low budget success, we simply racked our brains for resources that were free, and after going through our list of wedding expenses, we could cross off just about every item. We were blessed to have so many people in our lives with special talents and willing hearts to make everything possible.
I had a bad misfortune when I tried to buy a $4,600 designer dress being advertised for $800. It took me 3 months of savings to pay it off and I waited another 2 ½ months before I finally even received it, and when I did, it was completely the WRONG dress! I totally got scammed and returned the dress and ever since have been desperately trying to get my refund! Ugh! My fiance’ reminded me that it wouldn’t matter if I wore a paper bag down the aisle, because at the end of the day, if we’re husband and wife, then everything has gone perfectly. What a guy! With two months to go I went shopping in Seattle, and I finally found a dress that I really wanted for $600. It was simply beautiful and I brought it home that day and began designing what I wanted to add to it. I ended up taking some of Gram’s old lace and making criss-cross straps in the back, a sash, and burlap and lace flowers. I ended up loving it way more than the “dream dress.” The best surprise of all was when my grandma told me that she would take care of all my alteration expenses.
Our next big priority was the photographer. We needed the best of the best to document the most special day of our lives and we could only think of one person for the job: Aubrey Joy Feyen and her husband, Josh. I suppose it was just a coincidence that she is the sister of my husband, because we would have hired her even if there was no relation. As their wedding present they photographed our entire wedding and wedding events for free. She was even willing to help me with planning, crafting, and setting up our wedding (It’s not every day that you find a photographer like that!).
I quickly became addicted to Pinterest for the eight months of our engagement. When I wasn’t glued to the computer, I was gluing paper flowers and coffee filters. Our colors were mint and peach and there wasn’t really one theme for decorating. I guess you could call it the Brittany theme or maybe a lace-feathers-buttons-vintage-burlap-antique-pastels-handmade theme. My tiny room at my grandma’s house began filling up with decorations and I spent many nights falling asleep to the smell of corn starch and glue. I had so much fun making everything from the centerpieces to the hanging ornaments in the trees. Everyone wanted to help too; my bridal party pitched in with crafting days, my 95-year-old grandma helped fund some of my supplies, even fat Willie, gram’s dear orange cat helped out by licking clean over 150 tuna cans which I wrapped in vintage wrapping paper and pinned to all the orchard trees as candle holders.
My favorite craft had to have been the bridesmaids flowers. I went back and forth on using real flowers or not, but in the end I decided that I could spend less and avoid wilting flowers on the ferry ride if I were to make them myself with crepe sheets that had been donated to my cause. Bouquets: free! I made extra large petals and then twisted brown craft paper around straightened wire coat hangers for the stems. I wrapped bits of lace around the stem and added a long cloth strip train to each of them.
I told my bridesmaids to get a dress that they would want to wear even after the wedding that was in the color range from blush to coral. It turned out so well! They wore nude shoes and as a gift I made them all a very Pinterest-y painted picture frame with a wire mesh back to hold the matching earrings that I painted with the perfect shade of mint nail polish as well as their feathery-button hairpieces.
My husband’s attire was under $200 (vest, shoes, and shirt from Urban Outfitters, and pants from Gap) and each of the groomsmen were told to wear an off-white shirts, gray pants, brown shoes and suspenders. I gave my mother-in-law beautiful old cloth napkins from my grandma and she made the most unique bow ties with them for all the men to wear!
When I was in seventh grade, I started writing letters to my future husband. I would write to my imaginary man about the things I was facing at the time, my hopes for our future, and some silly letters too! after a while I began posting them into a book that I decided I would give to my husband the night before we got married. The book grew bigger and bigger as the years went on and after Stephen proposed to me, I began gluing photos and mementos from our dating past into the book. When the night came that I gave it to him, it couldn’t even close it was so thick! He loved it so much and its been fun going back through the letters I had sealed shut and laughing at my middle school handwriting.
We wanted to do something very unique for our wedding vows so we decided to write a song together! We made up a melody on my banjo/kick drum and his ukulele. We would spend countless days at the beach and at the park trying to come up with our lyrics. Over the four months or so that we spent making our vow song we really took to heart how much cooperation, forgiveness and laughter was needed to make an amazing team in marriage. We decided what was going to be the most important things to remember in our marriage as well as our goals and expectations and incorporated them into our vows. We got so incredibly close during the process. It exposed new vulnerabilities to each other. We were both wary about singing it in front of an audience, but when it finally came time to sing, I didn’t even think about them being there. We simply just sang it to each other. For the last verse of our song we decided that we would write secret lyrics to each other and then reveal them to each other, live, at our wedding. That was the hardest time not to cry during the ceremony! Here is the link if you would like to watch our video (lyrics posted in the description).
For our party favors we filled an old dresser’s drawers with popcorn to create a popcorn bar with numerous toppings and handmade paper bags. Our guest book was an old suitcase filled with old postcards for our guests to write on and then place in a little mailbox (a great way to get everyone’s addresses!).
I collected my favorite items from my grandma’s house; beautiful vintage napkins, antiques, tablecloths, and lace galore, which I incorporated into most everything. I used her collection of old mason jars for cups and tied different colored strips of cloth around each of them. I collected beautiful old bottles and used hot glue to create designs on them before spray painting them white for our flower vases. I spent HOURS with my best friend Jordyn making string chandeliers by winding yarn soaked in a glue/water/corn starch concoction around balloons. My table decorations consisted of vintage linens, globes, old postcards, and antiques as well as a handmade box on each table containing “table topics” cards.
Our honeymoon was even dirt cheap. our plane tickets were a little over $1000 each but with the help of our “honeyfund” online, we hardly paid anything! When picking a destination, we decided to choose a country where our dollar could go the furthest. We picked the island of Bali in Indonesia and spent an average of $100/day including hotel, meals, and activities such as snorkeling, biking, and elephant rides! It was the most amazing trip I have ever been on and we can’t wait to go back someday!
Another special part of our wedding story is our rings. My engagement ring is one that has been passed down to me from my great grandmother. I wanted Stephen’s ring to hold just as much sentimental value. In 7th grade I received a promise ring from my parents made of silver inscribed with the letters “CTR” on it which stood for “Choose The Right.” Over the past 8 years it became a constant reminder to always choose the right in every situation: moral dilemmas, life goals, and most importantly, relationships. In fact, I chose not to date in high school, and it wasn’t until Stephen that I broke, because I knew he was the right one for me! I then took my promise ring and secretly had it melted down into a ring fitted for him by an amazing guy down in Oregon named Dan Palmer. After keeping my old promise to wait to give my heart to the right person, I made my new promise to Stephen that I would continue to choose him every day for the rest of our lives!
Videography: Patrick Bennett
Flowers: picked and arranged by Stephen’s mother
Dessert: apple pies made by the bride & bridesmaids
Hair and makeup: Amber Johnson (Brittany’s sister in law)
Music & sound system: Brittany’s brother and dad
Entrance song: “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds, sung by John Van Deusen, lead singer of The Lonely Forest
DJ: Used an app called “My Wedding DJ
” with a playlist they created
Pastor/Officiant: Stephen’s dad
Projection art: Brittany’s brother