This bride planned her wedding in FOUR months! Looking back on my own experience, I originally wanted a long drawn out engagement to soak it all in and enjoy that period. The average engagement is 16 months. By next month my engagement will have been 15 months long. Being the queen of procrastination, I can see why a shorter engagement would be better. From the looks of this sweet wedding, it can be done!
What was the overall theme for the ceremony and reception?
“My husband and I both really love history and anything vintage, but I also wanted a little bit of chic, to dress everything up. We decided to create something along the lines of Chic meets Vintage, or maybe more accurately, city girl meets country boy.
“We really wanted our theme to reflect us as a couple and also as individuals.”
Bridal Q & A
What were some challenges you faced planning your wedding?
“I am from Florida and came to California for school, where I ended up meeting my husband. We quickly became really good friends, dated and then a year and a half after we met, he asked to marry me. The December before he proposed, I had finished up school, moved back to Florida and was working full time. In January he flew out to propose and during that time we set the wedding date for the middle of May. That gave me about four months to plan the wedding, but I had to do it from Florida, so it wasn’t that easy. In February, my sister and I flew out for a week and went venue hunting with my future hubby, but the place we decided on was already booked for the date we wanted, so we had to move the wedding up a week. It was all a bit of a scramble, but everything worked out in the end.”
Describe the bride/bridesmaids’ attire
“The bridesmaids and the MOH wore a strapless, knee length, chiffon dress that gathered together at the hip and was part of the newest collection at David’s Bridal. Each of the girls wore the same dress in a pale pink, while the MOH wore a darker version of their dresses. All of the girls were in charge of finding their own shoes, as long as they were in silver.
I bought an off white, strapless dress, completely covered in lace, including a scalloped edge across the entire bottom of the dress and train. On the back, from the top of where the zipper hid, all the way to the bottom of the train, was a trail of buttons.
The groomsmen wore jeans, an off white, long sleeved shirt, rolled up to the elbows, and brown suspenders and bow tie. The groom wore the same except replaced the suspenders with a blue vest to stand out among his boys.”
What types of flowers did you have?
“I did a lot of research before I decided on what flowers I wanted to have at the wedding. I had a particular look in mind, but the more I researched ordering fresh flowers for myself and my bridesmaids, the more I realized this would be one of the areas that could hurt my budget. So I decided it was time to do a little shopping at my favorite craft stores- Michael’s and Hobby Lobby. And boy, am I glad I did! At Hobby Lobby, they always have really good sales and offer 50% off something every week. In that same week, Michael’s also happened to be having a sale, so a couple of my girls and I loaded up our cart with a bunch of high quality artificial flowers. We were able to find a large variety of flowers that could be used to fill vases, decorate the outside of mason jars, and could also be used on the food tables.
“We also found single stem artificial roses that looked and even felt real. The petals had a soft, velvety texture, and the stems held that glossy look as the greens changed from darker to lighter. The best part is that each rose was only $2! Each bridesmaid carried one single rose and I carried four of the roses along with light and dark pink wild flowers. After I made my bouquet, I wrapped the stems with pink ribbon and took a small piece of my mother’s wedding dress and placed it right above where my hands would rest when I carried it down the aisle. My bouquet cost about $20 and the boutonnières cost about $8-10.
“My mother and I went shopping and bought about $200 worth of beautiful and colorful potted plants to decorate the lawn, tables and to place at the base of the arbor for the service. Overall, I spent about $250 total on all of my flowers and I was extremely pleased with how all of it turned out.”
Did you have your wedding invitations made or make them yourself?
“I had a little help from my dad, who is excellent with computers. We designed the invitation on his computer and then went to a local Michael’s craft store and bought a box of blank wedding invitations. Then I printed them out and glued on some beautiful lace and pearls that I had bought from Joann’s fabric, and who-la! Handmade invitations!”
Did you go over or stay under your budget?
“Our budget was originally $5000 that we paid for on our own, but my husband’s wonderful family gave us another $5000 to work with, bumping it up to $10,000, which we are so grateful for. We also budgeted a separate $2,000 for the honeymoon. Unfortunately, we did go over our budget for the wedding by about $1,500. I would definitely advise any bride to be very careful about her budget. I over bought on my decorations and didn’t use nearly as much as I expected.”
Areas where we saved:
Couponing at Michael’s and Hobby Lobby for ribbons/invitations etc.
All of the bridesmaids did their own makeup.
Dessert and coffee bar, rather than a full meal or sit down dinner. We also had a chocolate fountain, which was cheap and a huge hit.
My dad is a pastor and preformed the ceremony
Borrowing friend’s chairs, tables, table cloths, videography and photography skills, musical skills, DJ skills, Friend’s property for venue. All of these saved us a lot of money! Talk to your friends and see who they know!
The venue was booked with a lot of weddings for that month, so we coordinated with a bride for the weekend after our wedding and we shared the expense of the lights that would hang over the dance floor. Be creative!
Any tips to share with other brides?
“If your venue or fiancé are in another state, plan for that. If your future hubby is not within easy visiting distance, it is going to be hard to be in constant communication with him about the wedding, as well as about your relationship. You will need to take time to talk to him about something other than the wedding. Also, realize that with him so far away, you won’t be able to do everything together for the wedding. (Like cake testing, ring shopping, dance lessons etc)
“Buy a planner. I found that wedding planning books, that you can actually write in, are really helpful to those of us who don’t know what we are doing and have to do a lot of it on our own. The book offered great guidance. They give you master lists and even detailed lists for every month leading to the wedding. Very helpful.
“Remember, less is more. Don’t overdo or over buy. It is so easy to do and can keep you from staying on budget. The key is to plan out your decorations before buying them- I bought and then planned and didn’t use everything.
“Even though 4, 6, or 8 months may sound like a long time (and you may think you have plenty of time) don’t procrastinate! It’s not worth it. Get it done and then enjoy your last few hurrahs as a single woman. Take away as much stress from the week of the wedding as you can.
“Plan time for dates! Plan time with friends, family and your man to deepen those relationships- don’t let your entire life be centered around the wedding.
“Be as organized as you can. Delegate and don’t try to do everything on your own. Let others know whats going on and what your vision is, so that the day of the wedding, you are not the only one with the answers. Try not to volunteer to do everything, let people help. They want to!
“Plan your budget well. Research expenses. Be specific about how much money goes where. List out the money for each category- flowers, dresses, food, entertainment, etc. And then keep track of how much of that budget has actually been spent on those items. If you don’t, it will be so easy to over spend and to lose track of where your money went.
What were the highlights from the ceremony & reception?
“Family is really important to the both us, so we decided that we would like to have each of our immediate family members somehow involved with the wedding ceremony and reception. My dad, who is a pastor in Florida, really wanted to perform the ceremony, as well as walk me down the aisle. In order for that to happen, we needed someone to start off the wedding until my dad could take over- so who better to do it than Jordan’s dad. His dad was able to start off the wedding and speak directly to the both of us, and then when they made the switch; my dad was able to do the same.
“My Father surprised us during the ceremony as he reminisced with Jordan and I, about our journey as a couple and how it had all brought us to that very day. It was such a sweet time to hear from both of our dads.
“At the beginning of the reception, when Jordan and I were announced, we went straight into our first dance as a married couple, but the song I chose, I hadn’t told him about. It was the song that he had played for me when he proposed- it had become our song at that moment, and every time we would listen to it leading up to the wedding, it would bring stars in our eyes, so I surprised him with it at the wedding.
“During the reception, after the traditional dances, we played the Happy Song by Pharrell Williams. It was great because our entire immediate family came up on the dance floor and to dance with us. We knew that once the reception got started, we wouldn’t get to see much of them, so we set aside a special time to enjoy laughing and crying with them. It is one of my favorite memories!”
Which pieces of music did you use during the ceremony?
“My husband comes from a large and very talented family. His sister, Shauna, and three friends came together as a string quartet. They played about 30 minutes of classical music as the wedding guests arrived, and also played Cannon In D, for the processional and bride’s entrance.
“We also hired one of my bridesmaid’s father. Jim Maris of Maris Media Productions, to be our DJ at the reception. We played Are you going to kiss me or not? by Thompson Square to make our grand entrance into the reception.
“A great song option for a Mother/Son dance, that will make everyone cry, is Mother Like Mine – by the Band Perry. It truly honors all of those hard working mothers out there.”
How many guests were invited and what was the final guest count?
“Our guest list was about 150, but in the end 90-95 guests attended the the wedding.”
Where did you go on your honeymoon?
“We spent 5 days in the little town of Monterey Bay, California. We stayed at a hotel within walking distance from the beach and absolutely loved it!”